|Find the shrouds!|
When jolly Jack Tars went aloft in the days of sail, they did so by clambering up light lines strung between the shrouds. Fore and aft, the masts were steadied by other items, the more sensibly-named forestays and backstays, but to port and starboard, there were just shrouds.
We ate biscuit which was no longer biscuit, but powder of biscuits swarming with worms, for they had eaten the good. It stank strongly of the urine of rats. We drank yellow water which had been putrid for many days. We also ate some oxhides which covered the top of the mainyard to prevent the yard from chafing the shrouds, and which had become exceedingly hard because of the sun, rain and wind. We left them in the sea for four or five days, and then placed them for a few moments on top of the embers, and so ate them . . . the gums of both the lower and upper teeth of some of our men swelled, so that they could not eat under any circumstances and therefore died.
The hammock, by the way, was a name garnered from the Spaniards, who called it a hamaca, after they adapted the Carib name for the same thing, which was hamac. But why the side stays on a ship are shrouds must remain a mystery, like the purpose of the futtock shrouds. They are the white rods sloping down and in, towards the mast, in the picture above: the rest is left as an exercise for the reader.