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Sarah Outen in a typhoon

Old hands on this site may remember the intrepid Sarah Outen, who wrote me a lovely email in 2009 from the boat on which she was rowing solo across the Indian Ocean. She told me she was whiling away the hours at sea listening to the audio version of The God Delusion. In reply I wrote her an admiring poem, reproduced below.

It has just been announced that Sarah is now in mortal danger in Japanese waters from typhoon Mawar ("Rosie"), while on an attempted solo voyage around the world. Japanese coastguards are preparing to rescue her. Here is the poem I wrote for her in 2009 when she was alone on the Indian Ocean rowing towards Mauritius.

I'€™ve received a splendid email
From a most courageous female.
Battling onward to Mauritius,
Lone among the flying fishes,
Albatrosses, giant whales,
Turning turtle in the gales.
To hell with Health and Safety rules,
She's in tune with tuna schools.
She'll dance – while others dance in bars –
With pilot fish and Pilot Stars.

I have not the faintest notion
How to brave the Indian Ocean
In anything that keeps afloat,
Let alone a rowing boat.
But Sarah takes it in her stride,
And going with her, for the ride,
A book, or audio CD
Read by Lalla and by me.
To speed her trip to its conclusion
We're reading her The God Delusion!

All godly tripe and tosh she's doubtin'
So raise your glass to Sarah Outen.

If you want to keep in touch with Sarah, and the courage with which this real woman, scientist and sceptic copes with being harassed by a 115 mph typhoon, look at the website of her round-the-world attempt.




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