Today has been a strange day on Planet Ocean. The wind was largely absent, just the occasional little waft of breeze lifting the British flag, now rather faded and tattered, that flies above the aft cabin. The ocean had no wind waves, just large, rolling swells at long intervals, and was strangely silent apart from the splashes of leaping dorados.
From my occasional vantage point atop a large swell, I could see dorados jumping in the distance, sometimes four or five consecutive leaps, like a stone skipping across a pond. Once, from the bottom of a swell, I saw a dorado jump from the top of the next swell, so it was silhouetted against the sky in mid-air, its body arcing and its tail waggling as if it was trying to gain just one more inch of altitude, before flopping back into the water. The chaps downstairs were also very active, jumping and flicking at the surface of the water, and turning slow circles in the shade of my boat.
Without the breeze it has been swelteringly hot. Truth be told, on this voyage I have rarely been able to row as nature intended – naked. It has generally been too chilly. But this afternoon when I noted the temperature for my NASA cloud observation, it was 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Even wearing just a sunhat felt like too much clothing, and I was glugging down the water as fast as it leaked out through my pores.
Today felt all the stranger because I know it is the lull before the storm. Impossible though it was to imagine in today’s conditions, the wind is forecast to reach 30 knots in a couple of days. So rather than being relaxing, the calm quietness had a rather sinister sense of foreboding.
Strange days indeed. Most peculiar, Momma (with thanks to John Lennon).
Jay – you asked who believed in me from the outset, before I rowed the Atlantic. I got generally great support from within the ocean rowing community – soon after I made my decision, I went to the Ocean Rowing Weekend in Torquay, Devon, and amidst much imbibing met a multitude of ocean rowers who were generous with time and advice. And then there was my first sponsor, Colin Habgood, a friend of a friend who got me off the starting blocks of fundraising. Much as I appreciated this early support – and am still grateful for the faith shown in me by these early supporters, I was dead set on rowing the Atlantic and would have done it regardless of what anybody thought.
Margo – your iPhone typo’d message made me laugh! Good to hear about the example of Iceland. Good for them. “No Impact Man” is great, isn’t it? I met the man himself on the Climate Ride. His book really made me think. Great stuff!
Doug – “always wear sneakers” (at least metaphorically) sounds like great advice. I also have to say, I am most impressed by your recent outdoorsiness. I don’t recall you being such a swimmer / mountaineer etc. Am I going to find you a slender shadow of your former self the next time I see you?!
Quote for the day: “For the man sound in body and serene of mind there is no such thing as bad weather, every sky has its beauty, and storms which whip the blood do but make it pulse more vigorously.” (George Gissing)
Photo: the early days: me sitting in Sedna’s cabin before she was fitted out (2005)
Sponsored Miles: Miles rowed yesterday: Doug Grant, Julie West, John Miller. Those who selected numbers beyond her intended destination: Jeffrey Green, Larry Grandt, Claire Winstone. Grateful thanks.