As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up on a tiny island in the middle of the South Atlantic. The sea was our constant companion: I could lie in bed at night listening to the whales blowing as they fed on the kelp, and in the morning I could watch the only motorboat towing a long line of fishing boats off to the fishing grounds for the day.

In those days we went everywhere by ship: from UK to Cape Town, then a wait until a ship was going to call at the island: then a trip on all sorts of ships, including one with a flat bottom (I don’t recommend it – it rolls hideously and my Mum was even more seasick than usual!)

One thing we did absorb as kids: that you have to respect the sea. It is a mighty and unpredictable force. We were on it in all weathers, very conscious that it needed huge skill, accurate knowledge and experience, and great respect at all times. There is no way you can tame the sea. You can only try and co-operate with such a titanic natural element.

I find this is influencing me as we all watch the news of the sinking of the Costa Concordia.


What a terrible thing to happen – that goes without saying. Praise God so many were saved. Thank goodness the captain is under house arrest – what was he thinking? And how sad for the families who lost people.


But I dunno. 4,000 people on board? That has to be a massive ship, trumpeted as a floating hotel with every sort of convenience and leisure pursuit on deck. Much bigger than any normal hotel on land.

And it makes me wonder. Have we got so over-confident, even blase, that we think our technology and our expertise is able to tame even the raw power of the ocean? Has it made us lose our respect for it? It is not wise to pit oneself against the elements and assume that we are so clever we are bound to win. I am afraid we are going to find ourselves in trouble.

In deep trouble, if you’ll pardon the pun.



  1. Interesting to hear your recollections of childhood and what you learned from living as you did so close to the sea. It appears that we (the human race) and individuals like the Captain of the Concordia are too often guilty of complacency when it comes to the power of the Earth and nature’s ways.


  2. I find it flabbergasting that one human being, by an error of judgement, caused such utter chaos for no good reason whatsoever. Terrifying! And we can only be grateful there weren’t more casualties….. Makes me question the safety of one person being in control of many many others……8|


    1. I do admire the Italian coastguards, the way they have really stepped up to the disaster, and the divers who won’t give up until they have searched every nook and cranny.


  3. The ‘draft’ of a boat/ship is paramount…we used to have a 40ft yatch and she drew 6ft 3 inches…the Concordia drew something..

    Ship Facts
    Lenght: 290 .00 m
    Beam: 36.00 m
    Draft: 8.00 m
    Gross Tonnage : 114,500 m.t.
    Passengers: 3,700
    Crew: 1,100
    Decks: 17
    Engine: Wartsila, 12-cylinder
    Power: 12,000 kW
    Speed: 23.0 kn
    Built: 2006
    Shipyard: Fincantieri Yards
    Price: 600 millions USD

    Doesn’t equate somehow.????

    P x


  4. I couldn’t agree more…I think we are totally blase…like you I was taught at an early age to have a deep respect for the sea and the weather….neither which we can control.

    The Captain seems to have forgotton the basics, maybe become too relaxed having done the run so often.

    Yes…why do things have to keep on getting bigger, if an accident occured in open ocean at night I doubt there would be so few casualties, fortunately this happened close to an Island.xxxx


    1. It could all have been a lot worse, I agree! but we do need to respect nature, not think we can control it. I know you agree with this because of your work with animals and your love of nature – it worries me that so many people have put technology between us and the natural world, and it has made us arrogant … rant rant rant :>


      1. When it comes to respecting nature I think a lot of people now don’t acknowledge it at all…and if they do they think it’s invincable…..some never look up at the stars or see the seasons…..a friend of mine once said she never noticed the seasons change until she was forty!

        I pity the youngsters now, sitting in front of and engaging with technology day and night, from phones, ipods, tv wii, etc…how unatural is that? My daughter was wrapped up and taken out in all weathers and could recognise trees and animals at five. I go into schools doing wildlife awareness talks and come across 10yr olds who don’t know what a hedgehog is!
        And now I’m off…..rant rant rant…….xxxxx


      2. That is so awful to contemplate! What are parents doing? It’s not impossible to take one’s kids out into the country – or even into a park!

        Mrs and Mrs Rant

        :> :>


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