Refelctions from the Atlantic

12 November 2017


Reflections from the Atlantic
They say you cant cross an ocean unchanged. But I don’t feel particularly different. Perhaps like having a birthday you don’t feel any change on day to the next but they represent a gradual change. If so I hope it does change me, change the way I live. For me the experience was something of a contradiction. On the one hand you have this humbling exercise in scales. You just can’t get a true understanding of the shear size of the Atlantic in the few hours it takes to fly over it. But truly experiencing it, day in day out as we sailed across it made me feel very small. And I thought, ‘wow, how insignificant are we?!’
But as days turned into weeks and I was still searching for a tail, a fin – any sight of a whale – I realised they were missing. And not just the whales. Aside from some flying fish outside of the protected area of the Fernando Island Reserve the only marine life we saw were 2 dolphins and a small whale in the distance. So little in almost 3 weeks at sea. Read any account of crossing the Atlantic from 100, 50 even 30 years ago and they all speak of an ocean teaming with wildlife. Whales were an everyday sighting, along with dolphins and a huge amount of fish. You couldn’t throw something overboard without fish appearing from under the boat to eat it. But this is not the ocean we have seen today. What we have just crossed was a wet desert. The fishing and whaling industries have left a ghost town and we the insignificant have had a significant impact. The Fernando Marine Reserve gave a taste of the life these waters once held. Fishing is not allowed and impacts on the wildlife are monitored. Hundreds of dolphins, turtles and fish thrive in these protected waters. A safe oasis in a growing desert.

Atlantic crossing Oct 2017
Winsome Whyte

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