When we lived in England my days had a familiar rhythm. Each morning, my mother flung open the curtains in my room, and I tugged my school jumper over my head and pulled on my skirt before tumbling downstairs to eat cereal with my younger brother Jon. After school, we’d play on the swing in our garden, or crouch at the far end of the stream to watch dragonflies hovering above the gold-green surface.
I was used to this rhythm; I liked it and thought it would never change. Until one morning over breakfast, my father announced that we were going to sail around the world.
I paused, a spoonful of cornflakes halfway to my mouth.
“We’re going to follow Captain Cook,” Dad said. “After all, we share the captain’s surname, so who better to do it?” He picked up his cigarette and leaned back in his seat.
“Are you joking?” I asked.
Next to me, Jon watched Dad, his lips parted.
“Not at all,” said my father, puffing out a cloud of smoke. “I’m deadly serious.”
“Well, someone needs to mark the 200th anniversary of Cook’s third voyage, don’t they?” he said, raising his eyebrows at my mother.
“Of course they do, Gordon,” said Mum, returning his smile.
‘Dad said: We’re going to follow Captain Cook’: how an endless round-the-world voyage stole my childhood
In 1976, Suzanne Heywood’s father decided to take the family on a three-year sailing ‘adventure’ – and then just kept going. It was a journey into fear, isolation and danger …
This is an excerpt from the book:
Wavewalker: Breaking Free
by Suzanne Heywood