I have been overwhelmed by the response of people to your piece “Living the dream” (Citizen, December 5).
I have been stopped in the street by people who recognise me from your article and received e-mails from old friends I have lost contact with, all wanting to know more about my travels and experiences.
It seems the article has even inspired a mother to write to you (Citizen Letters, December 19).
Thank you, Monica, for your very kind and indeed flattering words. I hope your boys go on to become real adventurers, a way of life which has some great rewards: the sight of sunrise on safari, or waterfalls in the Amazonas or the sense of freedom when at sea in a boat hundreds of miles from shore, which could take you anywhere in the world you wanted to go. All have their own unique rewards, which are difficult to quantify.
The “snake” in the picture to which you refer, Monica, is in fact a Goldentail moray eel (Gymnothorax miliaris), easily identified as a moray by its dentition. Sea snakes usually have just two protruding teeth and tend to be banded. I caught the moray in the picture while fishing from the island of Terceira in the Azores.
In five years fishing from Sinbad, I managed to boat or land 72 different species, including Hammerhead Sharks from the shore.
In Brazil, I caught 47 species from salt and freshwater, which is nothing when compared to the 2500 species in the Amazon alone. It is a river so vast it is impossible to comprehend, containing islands bigger than Switzerland and with rafts of vegetation floating along which are bigger than most fen towns, each one carrying in their twisted branches and reed beds their own ecosystem of Capybara, Egrets, Yacaré and so much more; difficult to fish through, but interesting to watch.
It’s funny how commonplace uncommon things can become when you travel and how sometimes you can long for the familiar. Each port is a mission of discovery for the things most people take for granted – fresh water, the bakers or butchers with no idea of the quality you may receive, when all you want for dinner after a hard sail, when you are cold, wet and tired, is a good old toad in the hole with quality British “butchers” sausages like the ones from Betts in Station Road, March, where you know exactly the style and quality (once bought tripe sausages in France!) you will get and from a butcher who knows you.
I have in my journeys been lucky enough to have met people from all walks of life and despite our shallow cultural differences, we share so many needs in common, many of which we take for granted in the UK. We would all do well to reflect how lucky most of us are most of the time.