My haven: Monty Halls, The Marine turned action man wildlife presenter shows us around his boat in Cornwall
Monty Hall's RIB is named after his best friend in the Marines, Jason, who died in a helicopter crash in Iraq
1 MY BEST FRIEND
This is a Humber 8m Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) – it’s key to my work in the marine world and I’m seldom happier than when I’m out on it. I named the boat Jason after Jason Ward, my best mate in the Marines. He died in a helicopter crash at the age of 34 during the 2003 Iraq invasion.
Just before he went out, he found out his girlfriend was pregnant.
He never got to see his son, who’s named Jason too. I’m young Jason’s godfather.
2 RIGHT HAND DOG
My dog Reuben is five. He was about seven months when I found him at a rescue centre and already called Reuben, which I think really suits him.
He’s my new best mate, my right-hand man.
He’s part Alsatian, and part Newfoundland I think, because he has webbed feet and a strong instinct to rescue me every time I go in the sea… which as a marine biologist can be a problem! I grew up with dogs, at one stage our family had 15.
3 A DAD AT LAST
My wife Tamsyn knows a lovely old fisherman who carved these pendants for me from a bone he found on a beach in Cornwall when our daughter Isla was born a month ago.
The big fish is ‘Tam’ and the little fish is ‘Isla’. I carry them everywhere – I’ll hang them in the boat or stuff them in a pocket or whatever.
Whenever we can, we try to travel together as a family, particularly now little Isla has come along – she’s small and highly portable.
4 CHARMED I'M SURE
I’m very close to my sister Patsy, who at 48 is three years older than me. When she moved to Dubai four years ago, where she became the first ever female air traffic controller, she gave me this silver ladybird for luck. People associated with the sea tend to be superstitious, so I have this, the bone pendants and a champagne cork with a coin in it that Jason gave me before he went to Iraq. I carry those three things just about everywhere.
5 MY INSPIRATION
When I read Ring Of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell as a kid I was mesmerised by it.
The idea of going off and living alone
on the West Coast of Scotland stayed with me, and that’s where my show
Great Escapes came from.
It’s a wonderful thing to be able to live the
dream you’ve been bewitched by since you were young. Gavin was a genius
whose writing is incomparable, but he was a troubled soul which may be
why he did it. He died in 1969.
6 WHAT A SIGHT
Anyone who goes to sea should always have a pair of binoculars for safety.
But if you just sit with them off the coast and scan the cliffs and water, it’s amazing what will appear. I think my favourite trip was to the Great Barrier Reef – we filmed there last year and saw parts of the reef we wouldn’t normally be allowed to visit. It’s 2,000km long and the stuff going on there is mind-blowing – I saw 26,000 turtles coming in to breed.
As told to Peter Robertson. Great Barrier Reef presented by Monty Halls is on BBC2 tomorrow night, and Sunday 15 January, at 8pm.