Rich and I just watched this little documentary by Eric Hiscock about his circumnavigation of the world with his wife, Susan, in the 1950s. Once you get over the fantastically British accent, the post colonial atmosphere and the slightly creepy coercion of the Tahitian dancing girl, it’s a sweet little romp round the globe. They make the task of sailing (mostly without self-steering mechanisms) look easy, navigating and plotting their yacht in a time before satellites or GPS, often not seeing another craft for days on end. We know from friends’ tales that a lot of the world looks quite different these days. We can see for ourselves a dramatic change in places we have visited like coastal Spain, and yet Auckland, where I lived for a while a few years back, seems to have changed very little – I could point out places I know to Rich. It’s inspiring to see anyone doing what we hope to do when Gwen is going, but particularly nice to watch an older couple leaping up mast and tree and bouncing on to deck. I hope we’re still doing that in many years’ time.
Rich and I have dreamed about going round the globe, but would never be allowed such close access to the Galapagos, or be able to take the same route round East Africa which is now mostly famous for its terrifying pirates. I will, however, be absolutely sure to grease up the eggs, check the spuds for cockroaches and spend as much time as humanly possible eating cake and drinking wine.