The kayakers were two weeks overdue. They had insufficient food and during that time many savage pitoraqs of 140 knots (260 kph) had swept through the region. It seemed reasonable to the yacht crew – waiting in a safe anchorage – that the kayakers could not have survived and were most probably dead. And worse, there was no possibility of ever finding their bodies and so being able to report accurately on their fate.

The Note, a few hastily penned words by expedition leader Earle de Blonville on a piece of card torn off an oatmeal box, brought a message of hope that the kayakers had miraculously survived, and signalled that the whole expedition might yet escape the oncoming winter night.