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A few years later we catch up with Jim who is now serving as a mate aboard a nice ship. During rough weather, Jim gets whacked by a falling spear. Ouch. The injured Jim has to go to the hospital and gets left behind by his ship. Not cool, mates.
After his stint at the hospital, Jim takes an easier job aboard the Patna, " a local steamer as old as the hills, lean like a greyhound, and eaten up with rust worse than a condemned water-tank." (2.7). Sounds charming.
Appearances aside, life on the Patna is pretty easy for Jim. The crew is an international hodgepodge of dudes who don't care to work all that hard, so there's no need to impress.
The Patna is ferrying a large group of Muslim pilgrims to Mecca, in nice, warm weather. All is well.