Mary-Ann Ochota specialises in anthropology, history and adventure broadcasting. Credits include 'Time Team' for Channel 4, 'Britain's Secret Treasures' (ITV), 'Silbury Hill' (BBC4), and 'The Truth Behind King Arthur' for National Geographic. She's currently writing her first book, a social history of the human body.
The challenge of researching a so-called feral child case is that it’s quite likely a hoax. Someone has dragged out a disabled kid whose wordless vocalisations can be interpreted as the howling of a wolf-child; their spasticity becomes evidence of imitating the wings, claws or paws of their host species. How DO you know when it’s real?
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race finishes this Sunday in Southampton. A day of music, festivity and celebration by the amateur crews that have logged more than 40,000 miles in the longest yacht race in the world.
One week on dry land, and the uniform of wool thermals, waterproofs and dirt are a happily distant memory. I have a lot of respect for the crew who will, at the end of this adventure, become Round the World Yachtsmen and –women. It’s a feat completed by fewer people than the number who scale Everest.
Wow. In less than 24 hours my mega-challenge to race a yacht across the Pacific Ocean will be over! We didn’t win the race – the winning boat, Gold Coast Australia, are already there enjoying warm beds and cold beers.*
It’s been a disappointment not to do better, but the truth is [...]
What an extraordinary couple of days we’ve had. Despite almost five thousand miles raced, we’re jockeying for position with two other boats in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet, with under ten nautical miles separating our ‘distance to finish’ rankings.
A momentous thing happened at lunchtime yesterday – we crossed the international date line, and in a swift lurch from one wave to the next, we stopped being 12 hours ahead of Greenwich mean time, and became 12 hours behind GMT instead.
In practical terms, this involved backtracking to lunchtime of [...]
“WAVE!” the roar from the Helmsman cuts through the roar of wind and sea.
A heart-stop, and then BAM! tonnes of raw Pacific powering over, around, under us. Primeval instinct curls my fingers into a vice around the webbing safety line behind me, we cling to each other, brace and breath-hold. [...]