Bound for foreign lands and adventure, we left the UK in July 2008. After interviewing some breeding seabirds in the Caribbean, rounding South America in our eighty-year old sailing boat, running the continent, giving birth to Theo (at home due to various complications) we finally headed into Falmouth, direct from Cabe Delo, in Autumn 2015 with a pod of pilot whales (see Dave’s blog here for the full story).
In addition to deck-hand, Theo, who joined us for the first 9 months of his existence, we were assisted by Coattie the monk parakeet, whom Dave found half dead on a sandy track in Uruguay. Defying all expectations, she survived hand-rearing, on a diet of figs and bananas and soon took to life at sea, with a daily (cold!) bath in the frying pan.
Sailing offshore generally followed a rhythm of lengthy inactivity, interspersed with sudden, heart-stopping action. While life itself felt somewhat bizarre, in that we would bake bread, wash nappies and read books on a fifty foot floating platform in the middle of the Atlantic with not a soul for miles upon end.
When becalmed, we would hop over board, paddle with some petrels or scrape the barnacles off Lista Light’s sides. This we did singly with one remaining aboard (for fear of sudden gusts that might tickle Lista’s sails and send her bounding into the distance). It was always sobering watching tiny pieces of barnacle shell flicker down through the fathomless depths beneath us and considering what else might be lurking down there….