My father enclosed Rudyard Kipling’s ‘if’ with a letter to me, and there are two lines i really like among the many –
‘if you can meet with triumph and disaster,
and treat those two imposters just the same.
Every day there are relative triumphs and disasters out here, and its all to easy to get caught in a moment and forget the bigger picture.
it all started two evenings ago. I was on the oars on my sunset shift and the skies were heavy and thick with grey on all sides. the water looked spectacular in different strips of colours as partial sunlight changed its tones around the boat. I was looking south where the clouds were the most dense and ominous and giggling as I imagined the other boats, and in particular will and dan, getting wet and soggy. All of a sudden I looked forward, the air temperature dropped as fast as you could imagine and a fatoff cumulonimbus cloud like a black anvil had appeared from nowhere. s*** i say. Normally rain is a huge pain. it ensures a wet bottom, and therefore no purchase on the seat, Hands get soggy and skin peels, undoing days of work toughening them up. I might add that we both have to use gloves no more, our hands are tough as elephant skin, well maybe not quite but i like to think almost. Continue Reading
33 days at sea and the relentless strain on our minds and bodies is now very obvious to the eye. the pain from the sores on our bums has reached new levels. I’ve just had to sit on an infected sore for 2 hours whilst the waves sway me from side to side spreading and stretching the skin again and again and again. it is incredibly unnatural putting yourself through the agony we are when relief could come in the form of lying on our fronts. however, this is not an option for us as it would lead to a slacking in discipline which is unacceptable given the circumstances. worse though than the sores are our testicles. a rash has completely covered mine and when they come into contact with anything other than air, they give off a burning sensation that spreads. other than my new invention – the Cocksock, I’m utterly helpless. the cure from this pain is simple, but it is the one thing we do not have the luxury of. I’m talking about rest. Continue Reading
morale has been high since the boat was scrubbed properly and we near the halfway point in terms of distance. Hopefully the second half will be slightly shorter in terms of days due to the slow start,
Now ill just ramble for a bit.
Talking to myself has reached a new peak. I really enjoying getting to know myself better! and for the past few nights I have been convinced that i am somehow rowing the boat through evergreen trees on either side going down hills in a sort of alpine snowy setting. What is that about?! it has been so dark and overcast at points in the nights that i think the mind starts making stuff up on its own accord.
On my final night shift from 5-7 i have not been able to shut my brain up. its very bizarre, ill narrate nonsense to myself in the same style as the audiobook i have been listening to, for example. ‘marco spiro stiffened his back suddenly from his hunched stupour , as mr luddledoorfs attention also turned to the window. his eyes narrowed and he thrust a crooked finger at the incumbent with a sense of clairvoyance that would only have deceived the…..’
it got so annoying i had to listen to music last night!
A very happy Christmas and boxing day to you all! apologies for the tardiness of this message but we have been so busy attending parties and generally socialising. oh no, that’s what i would be doing any other Christmas but certainly not this one. in fact, Luke and i didn’t even take a shift off which i was very happy about as we are once again chasing down the leader having discovered we were carrying an extra 100kg of sea water as our bilge pump was blocked. what a shocker! at least we’ve discovered it now before it’s too late.
I’m currently lying on my front airing my sore sore sore bum looking out over the sea scape, although directly in front of me 6ft ahead are Luke’s testicles. i thought that the nudity aspect would become normal but I’m just as disgusted now as i was on day one by the fact that wherever i look i see bare ass and genitals. i literally can’t wait to cover up when we arrive, which if the conditions remain as they are should be between the 23rd and 27th of Jan! i do these calculations every time i get on shift. The sea has this incredibly monotonous ability to numb any fast thinking at all. so much so that it can take me half an hour now to just estimate simple sums. when doing radio interviews i have to really try and switch myself on in order to speak fluently as my brain is slowly frying. Continue Reading
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. Continue Reading
Im going to divide this blog into 2 parts- positive first
im really enjoying blasting music all the time and listening to some good audiobooks etc. it really gives you the chance to think about stuff.
my meditation app is going great for me, i feel relaxed more of the time than the other way around,
And I have been thinking about my friends and family, and how special they all are to me and how lucky I am to know such wonderful funny and kind people. Ill be on the oars and scream to myself ‘chuddleyyyy’ or other stupid names I have for people. I often start laughing when im rowing as i recount funny and good times shared with friends. its only when you are truly away from them and facebook that you really appreciate i have found. My family I miss the most, I have spoken to my parents once each and have been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to have their unconditional love and support. Continue Reading
Ocean rowing is the hardest thing i believe i will ever endure. 11 days in and i simply cannot get my head around the fact that i’ll have to continue getting up every single 2 hours for 2 hours rowing. it’s so bloody tough. what i had paid little thought to was how scary rowing with following waves that are 3 storeys high and moving at 25knt winds. it’s so terrifying that after my 2 hrs i have considered telling luke to continue sleeping because im getting the hang of it and i do actually have far better eye sight. Continue Reading
So we have got into our 7th 24 hr period at sea, and the wind is blowing us back towards La Gomera sadly!
Not to worry though, being stuck in a tiny cabin with sweat and stuff everyday for 3 days seems bad, but there are teams with 4 men and their cabins are only a tiny bit bigger than ours. How they manage I don’t know.
On the plus side, the things you need are never out of arm’s reach, even if it takes 30 mins to find a cable out of the thousands we seem to have. The worst it got for me was last night when my little fan broke. Jamie was laughing as he deals with the heat much better than me, and I was trying to screw this really fiddly thing while falling all over the cabin, I eventually managed it, but then it broke again, and I felt sea sick enough already after one try. Continue Reading
Special thank you to our First Sea Lords WeSEE.com today for their wonderful sponsorship of our row.
Words can’t really describe the first 24 hours, we wanted to be out front for that great helicopter shot at the start, and our youthful exuberance, and gun ho attitude meant we went flat out. Jamie said at one point ‘its a sprint not a marathon!’However as the night came we were absolutely exhausted, I got off the oars cramping in every part of my body; back, arms thighs; places it would never usually get me. I can’t even remember what schedule we were doing. Our cabin quickly became a mess as we tried to adjust to our routines, I was trying hopelessly to find the right ointment to put on my bum which was agony already; I had ruined it by sitting in sweat for too long on the wrong kind of seat.