I’m counting the days until I can engage a babysitter and rush off to the Orpheus. The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists is almost here.
I live in Bristol – once famous for its pirates and also the city where the film was made – and I’ve been following director Peter Lord’s behind-the-scenes tweets, so my anticipation has been growing for a long time.
I love pirates, and my kids, of course, love pirates* but it’s the second part of the title, “In An Adventure with scientists” which has made me particularly anxious to see this film.
A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to spend a fortnight on a ship off the Atlantic coast of South America. It was an adventure! There were scientists!
After Darwin: A Graphic Biography was published in 2009, Dutch broadcasters VPRO invited me aboard their clipper which was following the route of Darwin’s Beagle voyage, making weekly TV shows as they went.
One of the aims of the series, Beagle: In het kielzog van Darwin, was to take Darwin’s discoveries and compare them with current scientific thinking. For this they needed scientists and lots of them; at each port the crew were joined by ornithologists, biologists, archaeologists and more. There have probably never been so many experts gathered in one vessel. And then there was me. I boarded at Montevideo and disembarked at Puerto Belgrano, leaving my shipmates to venture into colder, stormier regions. This clip has some of the scenes I filmed:
Here are some of the scientists and experts, from my ship sketchbook:
It was a humbling experience being among such knowledgeable people, but an inspiring one too, and I’m extremely grateful to VPRO and especially Lex Runderkamp, for such a rare opportunity.
*The outfit mini-Gurrilla #1 will be wearing to watch Pirates! An Adventure With Scientists: