After the British leave the Galapagos, they sail to intercept the Acheron, which was spotted by the doctor when he was looking for specimens. While the doctor and Aubrey are talking, the doctor mentions how some species of insects have evolved to look like part of their environment to avoid predators. Captain Aubrey devises a plan to disguise the Surprise as a whaling vessel and ambush the Acheron. This goes almost according to plan, and they capture the Acheron, although a number of the Surprise's crew are killed or seriously wounded. The captured Acheron, now commanded by one of the Surprise's officers, sets sail for an English port. Just as the Surprise is about to head back to the Galapagos so the doctor can find a specimen of a new bird species he discovered, the captain and the doctor realize that the French captain is still alive and aboard the Acheron with the other captives. The Surprise turns around and escorts the Acheron to port, much to the dismay to the doctor.
Trivia: When Captain Aubrey makes the toast 'To wives and sweethearts - may they never meet' he is following a custom in the Royal Navy called the toast of the day. There was a special toast for every day of the week. This one in particular was usually for Saturdays. There is a minor mistake, however: tradition dictated that the proposer (in this case, the captain) would say the first part 'to wives and sweethearts', to which the most junior officer present would reply 'may they never meet'. Here is the list that seems to be most commonly followed dates from before Trafalgar, courtesy of the Canadian Navy website: Monday - our ships at sea, Tuesday - our men, Wednesday - ourselves, because no one else is likely to both, Thursday - a bloody war or a sickly season (to ensure quicker promotion), Friday - a willing foe and sea room (The two preceding seem to be of historical interest only), Saturday - wives and sweethearts - may they never meet (reply is made by the youngest officer present) Sunday - absent friends.
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