Sunday 27 April 2014


Early evening, just before sunset. A few short hours ago, I was waving goodbye to N back in our mountains. Then it was a hop, skip and a jump across northern Spain over to the Cantabrias.

Finally we pulled out of Santander harbour and into the open sea. Of course, it would have been cheaper and quicker to drive or fly. 

But there is always something rather special about this slow travel by sea. Born in the British Isles, I've already taken countless ferries in my life. But every journey by boat enthrals me.

The hours on this boat may drag, but what's the rush? It's six months since I last set foot north of the channel. What difference would one more day make?

Just after ten o'clock, I fall quickly asleep in my bunk, lulled into a light sleep by the rhythmic rocking of the boat as we cross the Bay of Biscay. As I sleep, no doubt pilot and sperm whales are lurking in the depths, chasing squid through the deep canyons stretching out into the Atlantic from the Spanish coast. Landlubber that I am, the only whales I see however swim through my Atlantic tossed dreams...

The next morning, I'm up early and head from the comfort of my cabin outside. Sat up on deck with the west wind caressing the pages of my book, I'm too excited to read or knit. My eyes  frantically scan the horizon, longing for that elusive glimpse of a gannet or porpoise. Instead, I spy land through my binoculars. First the craggy western coast of Finistère, then the windswept islands of Molène and Ouessant. And plenty of lighthouses in between. 

Leaving the islands of Brittany behind, we turn into the shallower waters of the channel. In a short time, we shall dock in Plymouth, and then in another couple of hours I shall be back in Dorset. 

In this moment, I feel a jubilant sense of freedom, of being simultaneously in limbo and in movement. Here in the middle of the bay of Biscay, I am beyond all national boundaries, all restraints except for the natural elements of sun, sky, wind and sea. It feels wonderful to be alive. It feels wonderful to be on the move. It feels wonderful to be going back.


  1. What a lovely post - what a lovely way to travel x

    1. Thanks! It does always seem terribly glamorous to travel so far by sea...except at two in the morning when the rocking boat keeps waking me up!!!

  2. There is really something special about travelling by sea... beautiful pics!

    1. Oh hello! Welcome here and I'm very pleased to meet you! :)