My time out here on the ocean has provided me with some incredible adventures and new perspectives on life – in the raw biological sense of the word. I have unique and wonderful experiences out here every day…
In a bucket load of seawater there are countless planktic organisms; albatrosses with wingspans greater than any human being is (or ever has been or will be) tall have soared right over me, close enough for me to stroke their feathers; compared to a 20 metre colossus of a whale surfacing beside us, Dippers is but a smidgen and then you scale that up to a tiny smidgenette of a boat on a massive three dimensional ocean….which is connected to the rest of the beautiful blue on our planet….and then all that green blue ball is winging through the infinity of the universe. I find it mind-bogglingly, breathtakingly brilliant. Literally each day is wonderful and awesome in all their true senses of the words. I am in awe and full of wonder.
Then there is the fact that I can blog and call someone up and you can track my progress – how amazing is that? The Scientific Age and all its developments are incredible, yet what is even more exciting is that there is still so much to study, discover and elucidate. Every day I am amazed by it all, and I particularly enjoy the fact that my science training and learning has endowed me with knowledge and tools to understand at least something of how it all came to be, how different systems interact, how x is related to y and so on (ad finitum,truly). Yet the most alluring thing perhaps is the gaps – and the fact that there are many things we will never know in my lifetime, my (notional) children’s time…and most probably never, never ever, in humanity’s stageshow. Life is a fantastically complex and diverse phenomenon – I think I’ve been treated to a glimpse of the ocean’s goodies, but there are many orders of magnitude more species out here. Most of them unknown to science. Again, mind-blowing.
One of my recent audiobooks was ‘The God Delusion’ by Professor Richard Dawkins. Both he and I are of dark blue origin (i.e. Oxford – not that funny minty green place in the Fens!), and I remember attending various of his lectures while a student, both in and out of my biology course. I emailed him at the weekend to tell him what I thought of his book – brilliant – and how I learned a huge deal from it, how it made me laugh, made me cry, made me think on many subjects etc and I dropped in the context of my listening to it, too.
An email conversation later and he has posted my email on his website, with the following introduction from himself. Anyone and everyone with an interest in life, the universe and everything should read his books – they are superbly well written and lucid, genius, witty and insightful. So, here is the Professor himself with a poem he wrote…
I’ve received a splendid email
From a most courageous female.
Battling onward to Mauritius,
Lone among the flying fishes,
Albatrosses, giant whales,
Turning turtle in the gales.
To hell with Health and Safety rules,
She’s in tune with tuna schools.
She’ll dance, while others dance in bars,
With pilot fish and Pilot Stars.
I have not the faintest notion
How to brave the Indian Ocean
In anything that keeps afloat,
Let alone a rowing boat.
But Sarah takes it in her stride,
And going with her, for the ride,
A book, or audio CD
Read by Lalla and by me.
To speed her trip to its conclusion
We’re reading her The God Delusion!
All godly tripe and tosh she’s doubtin’
So raise your glass to Sarah Outen
Just 300 nauties to go, folks!
And ironically it looks like I am in real danger of touching down before Mum and Matt, so there may be a bit of rowing in circles round the M or employing Bob to slow us down at the last minute. I can’t arrive before they do:it’s just not cricket to worry your own Mum by putting to sea (a rather big sea), in a boat (a rather small one),for all these months and then rocking up before she gets there.
12 days today, therefore. So August 8th is the earliest I will permit myself to land. Besides, I have no clean clothes until Mum arrives!
Exciting and fairly ironic times,
Outey Toot Toot x
Rob from Enigma – Great to hear from you! Think about you all at RPYC often. Planning to be back early next year. I need to return your thermometer and I owe the bar a round of drinks!
Molly – 1st week of Sept, no appearrances then, no, just catching up with friends and land life! I hope to be in Australia again next year.
Mike Pearce – Look forward to meeting ou in M. Can I climb the 800 m thing? I expect it’s a volcano?! I’ll check out the music too once I’m back.
Jim – The obvious is just eat it before it all melts…:) But it’s actually stored away in hatches etc so is fairly cool.
Frankie Owens -We’ve had Darwin’s ‘On the origin of species’ too – 150 yr anniversary and all. Birds, yes. The albies were pretty cool obviously (at least 4 species).And I’m being visited by various terns as I draw closer to land. Then there have been giant petrels, storm petrels, pintadoo petrels, and a host of others which need an ID guide.
Ron in Vancouver – There are still ships on the South side, believe me! Seeng the cloud banks forming over Crab Island:my first land clouds in many many days.
Averil – Great stuff!
Xtina – I am on my way!