Thursday, 24 March 2011

A long overdue explanation for my prolonged absence part 3

I had arrived at what proved to be the most difficult and hazardous leg of the journey; Crossing the Irish sea. I presumed it would be simplicity itself, I mean you're out there floating on some wood after all so in theory the boats doing all the leg work and after my many hundreds of miles so far I was ready for a big, long sit down.
Stealing a row boat was easy. Coastal people don't even padlock them to the shore or anything. If you are to steal a boat for a brief marina joyride here's a tip; get some oars. First thing to do is steal some proper oars. Sea faring folks must take them home with them because I couldn't find a set anywhere. For a boat heist you should really go equipped. In the end I nicked a shovel from a building site which was a disaster for navigation but at the least gave me some means of propulsion.
Navigation is another important point, you really have some base knowledge of the heavens to find out where you're going. I knew Ireland was to the left from Wales and it being such a big Island I assumed that I would smash into it after a few hours. The plan was simple, leave at night, row out the harbour, turn left, then straight on until morning. Couldn't fail.
Twelve fucking days I was adrift, alone in that row boat bobbing about on the high seas. I did try to navigate by the stars but the only one I know is Apollo by the three stars on his belt, but what I'm meant to do with that knowledge is still beyond me. I will say however that without the light pollution the constellations are very bright and pretty at night on the sea. Dehydration and hunger were also quite awkward problems, if you are going to cast yourself adrift be sure to bring sandwiches. Many wast the night I dreamed about an egg mayonnaise and a can of Lilt.
Finally I sighted land and made for it with all the speed my withered limbs could propel me with. As it turned out I was back in Wales, about fifteen miles down the coast. Some sort of tidal shit apparently. I must have just gone over the horizon and then spent nearly a fortnight rowing in circles in some sort of slow whirlpool effect. Was I embarrassed? I was sure it was Ireland, from a distance Ireland and Wales seem very similar when you look at then flat side on. Another thing, in this day and age of radar and massive scale international shipping how is it possible for a person to drift about in a busy commercial lane for twelve days without at least one coastguard coming to see what's happening? I must of just got lucky.
Well needless to say I just threw the towel in and decided to beg on the streets of Bangor until I got enough for a bus and ferry ticket to Belfast, which from Wales is about twenty six pounds. It took me less than four hours and I realised that if i had just swallowed my pride and put my hand out for spare change in Truro four and a half months ago I would have been in Belfast the very next night. You live and you learn eh?

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