Ellen MacArthur’s next project will be a personal crusade to save the Albatross. (http://www.savethealbatross.net/) She has an affinity with this majestic bird of the oceans, and from December, for two months, she will be accompanying biologist, Sally Poncet, on her annual bird life survey on South Georgia. That’s a fine way for this creative and youthful ‘Dame’ to spend Christmas, never being far from the sea and the breeding colony of the endangered albatross.
For many of us less ambitious sailors, but, like her, passionate lovers of the sea, our boats are laid up for winter and we pine for the open water and sea salt spray. Perhaps we can take some consolation by reading John Masefield’s poem, ‘A Wanderer’s Song’?
A WIND'S in the heart of me, a fire's in my heels,
I am tired of brick and stone and rumbling wagon-wheels;
I hunger for the sea's edge, the limit of the land,
Where the wild old Atlantic is shouting on the sand.
Oh I'll be going, leaving the noises of the street,
To where a lifting foresail-foot is yanking at the sheet;
To a windy, tossing anchorage where yawls and ketches ride,
Oh I'l be going, going, until I meet the tide.
And first I'll hear the sea-wind, the mewing of the gulls,
The clucking, sucking of the sea about the rusty hulls,
The songs at the capstan at the hooker warping out,
And then the heart of me'll know I'm there or thereabout.
Oh I am sick of brick and stone, the heart of me is sick,
For windy green, unquiet sea, the realm of Moby Dick;
And I'll be going, going, from the roaring of the wheels,
For a wind's in the heart of me, a fire's in my heels.