Factual error: The version of the Lord's Prayer in the burial at sea scene is a more modern version, not from the Book of Common Prayer which would have been used at the time. (02:00:40)
Factual error: At the end of the film, Aubrey sends the de-masted prize Acheron to Valparaiso, Chile, for repairs. Valparaiso is 3,000 miles from the Galapagos Islands, and, in 1805, was a tiny village without appropriate port facilities to dock or repair anything as large as a frigate. Valparaiso did not become a major port until after Chilean Independence from Spain (1810). Guayaquil (in modern Ecuador) would have been a more appropriate choice, being about 750 miles from the Galapagos, and being a major port in 1805. The choice between the two ports was moot, anyway, since both municipalities were Spanish territory in 1805, and thus were allied with the French, and hostile to the British.
Factual error: In the brief shot of the Surprise underway after entering the Pacific, seen from dead astern and from above, the ship is leaving a respectable wake but is not heeling with the wind at all and the sails are hanging slack as though completely becalmed.
Factual error: The (authentic) book on Lord Nelson, that Captain Aubrey gives to Midshipman Lord Blakeney, wasn't published until 1806. The film is set in 1805.
Factual error: In the dinner scene, the captain points and asks the doctor which "weevil". Those are actually mealworm larvae (sold as reptile food in most pet stores in the US) and would never have been in a ship's food. Also, they show the doctor catching common green iguanas, which are not native to the Galapagos Islands. Neither is the species of tortoise pictured in the movie.
Factual error: As the Surprise attempts to weather Cape Horn, the wind backs westerly, so Aubrey gives the order to steer South. As the command is passed to the helmsman, he spins the wheel to the left - which would point the vessel Northerly, since the wheel would be turned in the opposite direction.
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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