From the At­las Moun­tains to a Boil­ing Lake:

Fam­ily back home af­ter epic 14-month jour­ney

Irish Independent - - News - Lorna Sig­gins

WHEN two Ir­ish chil­dren set sail with their par­ents for a cir­cuit of the north At­lantic last sum­mer, lit­tle did they know they wouldn’t be the only kids home-school­ing.

Nor was “pan­demic” on the list of po­ten­tial haz­ards as Lil­ian (12) and Ruairí (10) Quin­lan-Owens, and their sci­en­tist par­ents Vera and Peter, headed south in heavy winds from Kin­vara, Co Gal­way, all of 14 months ago.

Brighter sun­shine, a west­erly wind and a warm wel­come greeted the fam­ily yes­ter­day as they fi­nally sailed their 13-me­tre yacht Danú home.

Nav­i­gat­ing the rain for­est on the Ma­roni river in French Guiana and col­lect­ing rock from the Caribbean is­land of Do­minica’s fa­mous Boil­ing Lake the were among high­lights re­counted by Lil­ian on deck.

Reach­ing the Sa­hara desert be­fore sun­rise af­ter a seven-day trek across the At­las moun­tains in Morocco, and swim­ming with sharks and st­ingrays were some of Ruairí’s best mem­o­ries.

“I did miss my friends,” Lil­ian said.

When they had to quar­an­tine af­ter the full im­pact of Covid-19 hit, it was off the small is­land of

Bar­buda north of An­tigua, where islanders left fruit and veg­eta­bles for them on the beach.

They had un­der­gone their third quar­an­tine by the time they sailed in yes­ter­day, af­ter a 10-day trip from the Azores north to the Aran is­lands.

But it wasn’t all smooth sail­ing as they en­coun­tered fierce winds on the jour­ney.

“We rode out the con­di­tions over 10 hours, and were hit by two growlers where a huge wall of wa­ter swept over Danú, knock­ing the rails right down un­der be­fore she came back up,” said Vera. “My heart did flut­ter a bit. Thank­fully, the kids slept through it all.”

PHOTO: AN­DREW DOWNES

Ad­ven­tur­ers’ re­turn: Peter and Vera Quin­lan-Owens with their chil­dren Ruairí and Lil­ian af­ter com­plet­ing their ad­ven­ture of a life­time sail­ing to the Caribbean and back.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.