The wake of Magellan is based on two real life events. The first occurred less than a year before this album was released when the captain of a freighter threw three Romanian stowaways overboard in the middle of the Atlantic. A fourth stowaway was saved by the courageous action of a deckhand, who risked his own life to protect the youth. (news article)
The second event regarded the Irish reporter Veronica Guerin who died fighting the growth of the drug trade in her country. Her death may accomplish what she could not in life. (news article)
These events are combined into the story of an old Spanish sailor, who has decided to end his life by sailing his small boat out into the Atlantic until it sinks. In his mind he has romanticized this decision as a glorious, Vikingesque way to die. When the ocean winds push him into a great storm, and he believes that his wish is about to be granted in a great dramatic fashion, he suddenly sees a man drowning in the ocean. In an instant he finds himself taking back every wish for death's embrace, and fights to save this soul. After many twists and turns, he is able to save the stowaway that had been thrown overboard. Returning to land, he now realizes that not only every life is precious but also every hour of that life.