Record-breaking adventurer Nick Hancock was forced to leap into the sea to finally get off the Atlantic Ocean rock he had been living on for 45 days.
On Thursday, the Edinburgh-based chartered surveyor broke the world record for the longest occupation of Rockall, a small, barren chunk of granite poking out of the sea, nearly 300 miles west of the Scottish mainland.
But he was stuck on the eroding ancient volcano until the weather improved at the weekend for a motorboat to collect him. The crew of the US research vessel Knorr altered course to set off fireworks at breakfast time off the rock to mark his milestone.
Loading article content
Nick, 39, missed the entire World Cup and, without telecoms or radio masts hundreds of miles, didn't know that Germany had won until he got a Inmarsat satellite link for a Skype call with his wife.
On Saturday afternoon, he was delighted to spot his transport home, the modern passenger coastal cruise boat, Orca III of Harris-based Kilda Cruises coming into view over the overcast horizon.Wet-suited crew members jumped into the Orca's dingy and clambered up the rock to help Nick lower plastic barrels, equipment down its vertical east side. Last of all, his heavy bright-yellow pod was glided down the sheer rock in perfect condition, to Nick's relief. He scrambled down its southern face, which was slippery with a mix of seabird droppings and water, but the six feet high swell made it impossible for the tender to close in.
The adventurer jumped into the sea and swam out to grab a rope thrown from the dingy. The crew yanked him inboard and sped to the nearby Orca III where Kilda Cruises' owner Angus Campbell was the first to congratulate him with champagne as he stepped onto the catamaran.