Remember that Gary Larson cartoon, a ship is sinking stern first, a couple of life rafts with the captain and the crew are rowing away from the ship? On the bow of the ship is a man wearing a chef's hat thinking to himself "I wonder if that's really true...The cook always goes down with the ship?"
In 1856 the cook of the schooner Triumph found himself in the same situation.
The Triumph, ........struck another ship in the night and started to sink. When it was clear the vessel was doomed, all hands rushed on board the ship they hit except the cook, who was sound asleep below.We may never know how Gary Larson's cook fared but the Triumph's cook won a $300.00 salvage award, 6% of the value of the vessel.
“Being roused by the crash, [the cook] ran on deck, found no one there…hailed the other vessel, and begged that he might not be deserted.” But for reasons unclear in the record, the master of the other ship refused to turn back.
After the professional seamen fled cowering, this clever cook rigged a pump, found the leak, patched it up as well as he could with the cotton from mattresses, and managed to save the schooner, navigating after a fashion for many hours until he reached Harwich, Mass.