LUKE first (scroll down for Jamie’s) :-
the last few days have been tiring. but then the whole thing has so not much has changed! Today we moved into first place in the pairs, and third overall. This was a great feeling for me and Jamie, as our more northern route choice has paid off. and the fact that we decided not to have a weather navigator like many of our competition makes us feel quite smug about our progress. we have been rowithere have been a few really tough nights; the sea is totally unforgiving. Picture the frustration and obscenities i shouted having got to 1 hour 58 mins without getting hit by a wave, and then a huge one comes over, smashing my ribs into the end of the oar and thoroughly soaking me. its so annoying because then the cabin gets soaking and everything becomes extremely icky.
I think the nights will get more enjoyable when it becomes less rough, and then I might be able to listen to something more relaxing, but when the water and sky are indistinguishable in colour and you have heard about the other teams that have capsized, flooded batteries and snapped rudders, the nights become quite tense and require good aggressive music. i listened to an entire 50 cent album top to bottom last night, and loved it! I dont think I have done that since when i first bought ‘get rich or die tryin’ on a school ski trip, at the counter in hmv the guy pointed out the ‘explicit content’ label and i assured him that i knew all the swearwords already, reeling off a few until I got a poke in the back and a stern look from the teacher that I didnt realise was next in the queue.
On the morning of our 14th day in the boat we had a what seemed to be about 50 dolphins pass us, surfing down the waves and jumping out of the water either side of our boat. It was wonderful to see and amazingly uplifting to experience the joy and playfulness among them.
we have spent lots of time messing around with different seat combinations, today im writing this almost in tears of frustration. our stupid waterproofs are so useless i have just come in from a shift where i went from dry to miserablly cold as it rained to agony as my bottom half got drenched by waves and as the salt crystallised it it t keep my bum dry and now have a horrible set of boils/rash between my legs ive taken codine and all types of painkillers and its still miserable to row and i feel helpless because there is little to amend the situation. we have lost our foam seats overboard, and skin just wont heal in these conditions. i hope something can change because its realy going to suck if im in this pain each shift for the next month out here.
the rowing part is the easiest bit by far, its the continual discomfort and pain and salt and difficulties that accomplishing even the simplest tasks that makes the challenge so gruelling.
but i know we are going to get there, and I will soon have forgotten these small blips in the bigger picture.
time for an update from me. We’re 17 days in which sounds amazing to my ears and i say with some hope that the hardest part is behind us in terms of culture adjustment. what we will never get used to is the lack of sleep. during the day when the sun is up (although it’s been bloody gloomy for ages) it’s easier to get up and crack on but in pitch black your body just can’t react. last night i endured for the first time the symptoms of sleep deprivation. when we all wake up we have those maybe 2 minutes of blurry eyed vision. i had this for my entire 2 hour shift! i would shut my eyes intending to continue with the monotonous motion of back and forth but within 5 seconds my mind shut down. i was having to slap and pinch myself in places i shouldn’t mention. All i wanted more than anything was stimulus. just anything to fire an electrical signal through a nerve and get the machine working again. nothing at all came. i rummaged through a snack pack and devoured a pack of nuts and Haribo and beef jerkey hoping for a sugar rush. eventually around an hour in i collapsed back off my seat onto the deck. i wanted to cry just to let the frustration out but i had not even the energy to muster that.
3 days ago i experienced what can only be described as my first ‘oh shit this is going to hurt’ experience. waves away from reefs like out here don’t usually break but when the wind is up to 25knts, they do, and this one clattered the hell out of me ripping the foot plates out of their screws and throwing me onto the side of the boat flooding absolutely everything. for those that have seen jackasses ‘wall of water ‘ stunt, that’s what it was, but mine was in darkness. i’d say that if i experienced half the stuff i do out here in normal circumstances i’d run but considering the mind can’t do that out here its amazing how brave you have to get. you simply learn to react accordingly and consequently stay calm.
I must be the fastest surfer on the block. I know this as I’ve broken 17knts around 5 times although i do find myself getting battered, drenched and hurt more than most rowers i’ve spoken with. you know what they say – ‘if you play with water you’re going to get wet’! our aggressive rowing style has also seen us catapulted into first in our class and 3rd overall though. what this means is if the scary tough weather continues we’ll clean up but if it gets calmer and nicer which i actually want, they’re may be faster boats. (pause to get over wave of sea sickness)
my bum has sores and my elbows, shoulders, knees and hands all hurt terribly. within 1 week i see us both having to administer pain killers before each shift. I feel like an old man. or a young man trying to paddle his stupid ass across an ocean. My beard and hair is a bloody pain but i deserve to pay the price of vanity, although funny enough i’m the only one that likes the look.
when my mind wonders on shift i come up with the most incredible life plan for myself. people call me delusional for a reason. out here there are no boundaries, only opportunities and i can’t wait to return and getting going on them. my aim through it all (my life) has always been to help those less fortunate so, i would like to start a charity called Adventures for disadvantaged kids or ADK. you must all be thinking that i’ve had a zoolander centre for kids that cant read good moment, but i’ll give it my best shot.
all your messages of support have added an extra element to self drive. every tough action i take i no longer embark upon with just my mind and body but with all of your support as well. i cant describe how good it makes us feel to know that you’ve all got our backs. on return i don’t know how i’m going to express my thanks. Lots of hugs and kisses i guess.
my aim has always been the truth. i have no interest in dressing up what’s it like out here so i apologise if i’m not going on about the wonders of seeing dolphins because to be honest, i couldn’t have given a monkeys, as my bum was in too much pain. j xx