Through to the outside, I dive. I struggle much more with this attempt than previously as another tear on my suit has now snagged on the broken framing of the hatch. I break free and clamber up to see Ben through safely.
He emerges feet first, still clutching the torch. Close enough, I think. I grab it and cast it, still illuminating, into the life-raft.
'Ben, you never have to apologise to me ever again about anything. Ever!'
The noise of the helicopter is ferocious, the lights fixed upon us are dazzling. So much so that I am forced to look down. Another phenomenal sight. So amazing in fact that I fall backwards. Through the clear waters of Biscay I can see the sails of the catamaran set eerily beneath us. It seems as if the boat is still trying to get somewhere. Rigging and other lines are climbing up the mast in a ghostly motion. A hand on my shoulder startles me away from my transfixed gaze.
Hello? A red wet suit, a new face with a French accent. A very welcome guest to have on board. What's he doing? Trying to put me into the harness to go up into the helicopter is what. Me and Ben start frantically pointing to the skipper, he needs to be looked at first. The flying frenchman nods and straps Ben in. Up he goes complete with his waterproofs and his expensive boots. Lucky bugger.
Slava had went up first, Sacha second. It was going to be Sacha first but he'd wrapped his legs around the Frenchman. This is good to do if you are drifting alone out at sea, though whilst your fixed to a boat it is unnecessary. Our rescuer in this instance thought that it was inappropriate and turned his attentions to the seemingly less affectionate Slava.
Then after we had motioned for Ben to go up it was my turn. As I was lifted higher and higher the scene became more and more surreal. The water was spiralling up into the air with me up to the blades of the helicopter. There were people on the Ijselbourg looking over and taking photos. There was our boat, looking so tiny and insignificant from so high up. Her sails still set, still trying to carve forwards though the water. I feel my laughter behind the noise. I feel! This is enough.