Seablog: From below deck

Ah, Bonjour mes amis. I am Tweedle le Grand, Capitain of ze school of pilot fish taking Sarah and ‘er beautiful petit bateau, Serendipity, to Maurice. She asked to me if I would like to say bonjour to ‘er ozer Tweedles so ‘ere I am. Please excuse me, I am not good wiz making ze, ‘ow you say ‘th’ or ‘h’ sounds. I am a French fish, after all.

Anyway, I am ‘appy to be ‘ere and very pleased to be wiz Sarah. It all started when I saw ‘er coming back from ‘er, ‘ow you say, ‘warm up lap’. Ze fish wiz ‘er zen said she ‘ad gone off Souz, but wanted to go to Maurice . Parfait! I ‘ave family in zat very part of ze world. Originally I am from France, but ‘ave recently been round ze globe on various voyages. Once I started wiz ze magnifique Ellen Macarthur. Oh la la! She is so fast – none of us could keep up.

So zere I was in Fremantle when Sarah was preparing to leave again. I gazered a crew and ‘ere we are – one ‘appy family! Serendipity is such a beautiful petit bateau – such fine lines. We ‘ave ‘ad a wonderful adventure already. One sees so much at zis gentle pace. In fact, zese last days we ‘ave been doing ze laps of ze boat as it is so slow! But when ze wind blows good, oh la la, zey love to surf. Zen we ‘ave trouble staying togezer! Especially ze young fish – zis is ze first ocean for lots of zem.

I would like to ask you all to be ‘appy and not worry about us. Sarah and ‘er dear Serendipity are ‘aving a lovely time ‘ere. You ‘ave my word zey will both arrive in Maurice very safe. I am very good wiz ze sharks also – you only ‘ave to turn zem upside down and zey sleep right away. Easy as un, deux, trois.

Bon. We will see all of you in Maurice, I ‘ope!

Msr. Tweedle le Grand

I was too tird to write, tjought you might like it straight from the fish’s mouth tonight instead. Thanks for all the jokes etc. S x

Xtina – Yes, I saw it too while pulling my all nighter at the oars. Very cool. Learn something new every day.

Theresa White – But I can’t write the book until I know how the story ends! I have hours of dictaphone recordings though. Rum punch because when in Rome –

Barry Gumbert – Love that one by Frost.Great choice.

Mary Paton – Similarly excellent books by Brian Keenan & John Macarthy, too. The ultimate has to be Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom’.

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17 Responses to Seablog: From below deck

  1. Susie Calderan says:

    You sure you’re alright, mate? ! 🙂

  2. Amanda B says:

    Ah M’sieur Poisson! Bon to ‘ear from you, it eez Philippe Floppay ‘ere, I am zo glad zat you are keepin’ an eye on Sarah and ‘er boat!
    Here’s another poem to keep your spirits up – by Sheena Pugh – keep smiling, Sarah! Amanda x

    Sometimes things don’t go after all,
    from bad to worse. Some years muscadel
    faces down frost; green thrives;the crops don’t fail,
    sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

    A people sometimes will step back from war;
    elect an honest man; decide they care
    enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
    Some men become what they were born for.

    Sometimes our best efforts do not go
    amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
    The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
    that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.

  3. Jenna says:

    Your blogs should be a book, they’re so funny, brightwn my day at
    Glad they’re looking after you

    x x x

  4. Jenna says:

    obviously can’t spell – that’s supposed to be ‘brighten’

  5. ian says:

    hi sarah,finished a whole pile of thorny complicated work stuff and thought i’d brighten the day with a few minutes on the blog,this tweedle character has a way with words,glad they are around to keep an eye on you and dippers,i also think the blogs would make a great record of your journey,at least a great audiobook for anyone who wants to undertake a similar epic or live vicariously through you……hope you are still finding intersting bits and bobs in the far reaches of dippers,might leaven some of the less fun stuff?
    regards to you dippers and bob

  6. Grace and Glenys says:

    Grace and Glenys – relatives in Bampton-have been reading your blogsfor several weeks and contacted Maldwyn for your latest news this week. We wish you well and are looking forward to your safe return

  7. Christine & Kathleen says:

    Hi Sarah

    Your blogs really get the point over. Lets hope the wind will be in the right direction for you, you are so courageous. We shall be thinking of you espedcially on Saturday, your Dad will be looking over you all the time, I can just imagine his face with your last episode.

    You put us all to shame, we are all so proud of you, just like your family, chin up and happy rowing with some nice red carpets.

    Much love

    C & K

  8. Helen Cassin says:

    Hi Sarah
    Loving the blogs and you’re doing so well! I was showing my year ten class your website today – they were suitably impressed. After a quick look through your gallery I ended up with a line of boys attempting the flying push up in the middle of my classroom….not strictly relevant to an English lesson but very entertaining nonetheless!!!
    Keep on pushing, you’re an inspiration.
    Lots of love and best wishes for that red carpet weather,
    Helen xxx

  9. Robert Nixon says:

    If I didn’t already know you have a brilliant sense of humor I would be worried. I laughed rather hard when I read read this and was glad nobody saw me doing so.

    It’s great to see that you are handling the tough weather with good humor and laughs.

    Now for the news…
    Flying Ferkins is 275 nmiles southeast of you and heading more south so it is unlikely that they will pass by near you
    Southern Cross the other pairs boat is 245 nmiles southeast as well.

    Finally the last bit of news for you… you are now the only solo rower on the Indian Ocean, Old Mutual(Simon Prior) is being picked up by the support vessel, after many troubles he called it a day.

  10. Marcel says:

    I knew you could speak le Français.

  11. Dear Sarah: You are doing such a fantastic job. Your Tweedle character would make a terrific children’s book character. Perhaps you can use him to tell your story when you get your paws back on land. Best of luck and I hope the wind blows in your favor.


  12. Rupert says:

    couple of questions.
    Do you have any stretches you do on the boat to help keep your spine supple?
    How did you train for this?
    Do you have a musical instrument (indeed any music) with you? do you sing?

    hope you are well, sleep tight, i wish i could do this!

  13. Barry Gumbert says:

    Poor Sarah she have lost what was left of her tiny little mind.

    I love Frost here’s a couple more:

    Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    by: Robert Frost

    Whose woods these are I think I know.
    His house is in the village though;
    He will not see me stopping here
    To watch his woods fill up with snow.

    My little horse must think it queer
    To stop without a farmhouse near
    Between the woods and frozen lake
    The darkest evening of the year.

    He gives his harness bells a shake
    To ask if there is some mistake.
    The only other sound’s the sweep
    Of the easy wind and downy flake.

    The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.

    From “You Come Too”, 1916

    And my favorite:

    By Robert Frost

    “You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
    To the village, through Mortenson’s pasture to-day:
    Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
    Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
    In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!
    And all ripe together, not some of them green
    And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!”
    “I don’t know what part of the pasture you mean.”
    “You know where they cut off the woods–let me see–
    It was two years ago–or no!–can it be
    No longer than that?–and the following fall
    The fire ran and burned it all up but the wall.”
    “Why, there hasn’t been time for the bushes to grow.
    That’s always the way with the blueberries, though:
    There may not have been the ghost of a sign
    Of them anywhere under the shade of the pine,
    But get the pine out of the way, you may burn
    The pasture all over until not a fern
    Or grass-blade is left, not to mention a stick,
    And presto, they’re up all around you as thick
    And hard to explain as a conjuror’s trick.”
    “It must be on charcoal they fatten their fruit.
    I taste in them sometimes the flavour of soot.
    And after all really they’re ebony skinned:
    The blue’s but a mist from the breath of the wind,
    A tarnish that goes at a touch of the hand,
    And less than the tan with which pickers are tanned.”
    “Does Mortenson know what he has, do you think?”
    “He may and not care and so leave the chewink
    To gather them for him–you know what he is.
    He won’t make the fact that they’re rightfully his
    An excuse for keeping us other folk out.”
    “I wonder you didn’t see Loren about.”
    “The best of it was that I did. Do you know,
    I was just getting through what the field had to show
    And over the wall and into the road,
    When who should come by, with a democrat-load
    Of all the young chattering Lorens alive,
    But Loren, the fatherly, out for a drive.”
    “He saw you, then? What did he do? Did he frown?”
    “He just kept nodding his head up and down.
    You know how politely he always goes by.
    But he thought a big thought–I could tell by his eye–
    Which being expressed, might be this in effect:
    ‘I have left those there berries, I shrewdly suspect,
    To ripen too long. I am greatly to blame.'”
    “He’s a thriftier person than some I could name.”
    “He seems to be thrifty; and hasn’t he need,
    With the mouths of all those young Lorens to feed?
    He has brought them all up on wild berries, they say,
    Like birds. They store a great many away.
    They eat them the year round, and those they don’t eat
    They sell in the store and buy shoes for their feet.”
    “Who cares what they say? It’s a nice way to live,
    Just taking what Nature is willing to give,
    Not forcing her hand with harrow and plow.”
    “I wish you had seen his perpetual bow–
    And the air of the youngsters! Not one of them turned,
    And they looked so solemn-absurdly concerned.”
    “I wish I knew half what the flock of them know
    Of where all the berries and other things grow,
    Cranberries in bogs and raspberries on top
    Of the boulder-strewn mountain, and when they will crop.
    I met them one day and each had a flower
    Stuck into his berries as fresh as a shower;
    Some strange kind–they told me it hadn’t a name.”
    “I’ve told you how once not long after we came,
    I almost provoked poor Loren to mirth
    By going to him of all people on earth
    To ask if he knew any fruit to be had
    For the picking. The rascal, he said he’d be glad
    To tell if he knew. But the year had been bad.
    There had been some berries–but those were all gone.
    He didn’t say where they had been. He went on:
    ‘I’m sure–I’m sure’–as polite as could be.
    He spoke to his wife in the door, ‘Let me see,
    Mame, we don’t know any good berrying place?’
    It was all he could do to keep a straight face.
    “If he thinks all the fruit that grows wild is for him,
    He’ll find he’s mistaken. See here, for a whim,
    We’ll pick in the Mortensons’ pasture this year.
    We’ll go in the morning, that is, if it’s clear,
    And the sun shines out warm: the vines must be wet.
    It’s so long since I picked I almost forget
    How we used to pick berries: we took one look round,
    Then sank out of sight like trolls underground,
    And saw nothing more of each other, or heard,
    Unless when you said I was keeping a bird
    Away from its nest, and I said it was you.
    ‘Well, one of us is.’ For complaining it flew
    Around and around us. And then for a while
    We picked, till I feared you had wandered a mile,
    And I thought I had lost you. I lifted a shout
    Too loud for the distance you were, it turned out,
    For when you made answer, your voice was as low
    As talking–you stood up beside me, you know.”
    “We sha’n’t have the place to ourselves to enjoy–
    Not likely, when all the young Lorens deploy.
    They’ll be there to-morrow, or even to-night.
    They won’t be too friendly–they may be polite–
    To people they look on as having no right
    To pick where they’re picking. But we won’t complain.
    You ought to have seen how it looked in the rain,
    The fruit mixed with water in layers of leaves,
    Like two kinds of jewels, a vision for thieves.”

  14. John Williams says:

    Sarah – this already has all the hallmarks of a great ocean row – you are still very well-placed to make Mauritius and the big prize – the first female solo row of the Indian Ocean. If the boat and the food and the water can make it, then so will you. Great respect for what you have already accomplished, John Williams.

  15. xtina says:

    Love the “below the deck” ~ does Bluey show up at all whilst Msr.Tweedle le Grand is explaining about the Tweedles or do you think he’s done a bunker!! Maybe seeing Msr, has felt threatened and decided to swim back to FF as they too are using ‘Bob abit’ …You never know Bluey might be a messenger and you haven’t picked up on his messages from the boys.You might have to ask him if he has any news of what Eddie intends to do next?
    Whatever,tell Msr Tweedle le Grand we shall look forward seeing him et all in Maurice!! very soon we hope!!

    Hope you are rowing today? (Fingers and toes crossed)

  16. Linda Morison says:

    I am in awe of your spirt- you’ll get there cos you know the end of the sayin “When the goin gets tough…” Mum and Dad in Florida send their very best wishes to you. I print out your letters everyday in Bunbury WA and post them everyday to Florida. Snail mail but they still get the news! They told me they only had to put out a sea anchor once and that was when crossing Ninety East Ridge and they had bad weather. They said the water was all misty and disturbed, quite mysterous….Are you over that spot yet or is that still to be looked forward to??? I wish I was 24 again and doing something as exciting ( yes it is – even being in the cabin with nothing to read) and brave ( you are the bravest person I know right now)and as rewarding ( you have accomplished soooo much – look where you are and what you already have done!!!) I wish you every thing you need everyday to keep going in the right direction!! Linda Morison

  17. charlie pitcher says:


    You are a natural entertainer aswell as an adventurer. It’s a joy reading your blogs. Better than books! The world will be your oyster on your safe return to land.

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