Charter and I had flown from Boston to St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and taken the ferry to Road Town, Tortola. There we met Nathan, Charter's best friend from high school, and his wife, Linda, at a small restaurant near the ferry dock. Over dinner we talked about what had prompted this trip. Nate's great-great-uncle Benjamin Briggs had captained the brigantine Mary Celeste, which on Dec. 4, 1872, was found underway, with tattered sails, hundreds of miles off the Azores. Missing were Briggs, his wife, his daughter, and a crew of seven. The ship, intact but for a missing logbook, sextant and lifeboat, showed no signs of damage or struggle. The contents of the hold were untouched; the cabins and galley and deck shipshape. The riddle of the mystery ship has never been solved, and Nate has had a lifelong fascination with the details of his relatives' fate.