National Geographic : 1971 Jan
Aviary above, aquarium below 54 W E ARE SINKING! We are going down in perfect, com plete shape, and we can do noth ing but wait. Norman checks the amount of water absorption; he also ties a string to the foot of Sindbad, our duck, and gives him an outing (below). Marveling at the life in the sea beneath us, I go under Ra II to swim with the pilot fish. After several dives, I come up and see our ship moving away. My waist rope has slipped off, and I am alone on the Atlantic! But the wind is weak, so it is easy to make it back to Ra II. This is for tunate, since the ship can sail only downwind and thus could not return to rescue a man over board-the reason for our lifeline with the buoy at its end. "Our last grasp at life," Norman calls it. As we sail past the Canary Is lands, we delight in visits from birds, who consider our boat a reedy island in the ocean. Though most of our visitors eventually flew away, as if knowing that land was about to disappear, two remain (opposite, top). The bright-colored roller on the tiller died because we had no insects to feed it. The pigeon, wearing a Spanish leg band, lived with us until we neared the West Indies. Then it began circling and flew away to a new home.