There is no doubt in my mind that some of the things that attract so many modern Westerners to small, open boats is the capacity of them to transport us mentally from a world of complexity and abstraction to a tangible world of cause and effect; of elemental beauty, and in that, a freedom from modern pressures. It only just occurred to me, looking at these photos from a trip we did to Darwin, that the reverse is true for many refugees when they put themselves and their families at risk in small boats to seek freedom in the world that we spend so much emotional energy escaping.
These are pics of a boat in the Darwin Museum. It was seized from 'illegals' and taken for an exhibit rather than being burnt. No power tools at work here, no labouring over plans. No dreams of holidays spent afloat, reading, drinking wine or testing the new electronic navigation aid. Just escape. I find it useful to remember that most of us, even in Europe, were migrants at some point (or points) in our history.