It is eerily quiet on the ocean today. No roaring wind. No crashing waves. Just the steady creak of my oarlocks. Yes, at last, after 10 days of enforced leisure, the hostile weather conditions have abated and I am back on the rowing seat.

At the moment I’m not sure how long this opportunity will last. The winds are due to start picking up again from tomorrow evening, but the row-ability will depend on the size and steepness of the swells. So I’ll make the most of this chance while I can. It’s still not exactly ideal weather conditions – overcast skies have made for chilly conditions – but at least I can do what I came here to do, i.e. row.

And the watermaker worked too. Happy days!

As an aside: after spending most of the day listening to Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (by Douglas Adams) I was flicking around Leo’s iPod when I stumbled across The Experts’ Guide to 100 Things Everybody Should Know How To Do. After telling me how to get a good night’s sleep (in a cool, quiet bedroom, with a comfortable mattress- yeah, right) and how to make a bed (make sure those hospital corners are neat), the book moved on to personal grooming. “Knowing your hair looks good can give you the confidence to face the day’s challenges”, the book solemnly informed me, before going on to describe exactly how one should wash and condition one’s hair. I thought about my own locks, untouched and untended for 19 days now, and generally crammed under a hat. So now at least I know that when I am struggling with this challenge, it’s not because rowing an ocean is hard, it’s just that I haven’t paid enough attention to my coiffure.

Now, to respond to some comments and questions that have come up recently..

Paul and all at South End Rowing Club – great to hear from you. Would be fantastic if you and Melissa can make it to Hawaii. In the meantime, erg hard and enjoy a pint for me!

Rachel Smith, Nevada Bev, cousin Russell – thanks for the words of encouragement. Rachel – see above for hair update!

John – I’m not really listening to music much. Only when doing chores. More into books at the moment. Am storming through them at a rapid rate!

Ed Davies and John H – I shall leave the two of you to work out the relative cost/greenness of recharging phones in a car vs recharging at home. Glad to have at least got the debate going!

How do I compare the Pacific with the Atlantic? Too early to say. But so far, remarkably similar – both cold, windy and rough for most of the first month. The big difference is that on the Atlantic, the winds were behind me as soon as I set out from the Canaries – very much NOT the case on the Pacific!

Paul P: How do I stay warm? Yes, I wear more clothes, and at the end of the day curl up into my Ocean Sleepwear sleeping bag (not sponsored, alas) – an excellent sleeping bag specially designed for ocean-going folk. It’s got a thick pile fleecy bag inside a waterproof shell. Absolutely perfect! But even in there it sometimes takes hours for my feet to warm up due to my lousy circulation – probably damaged by too much water exposure on the Atlantic.

Hi George Riley! Great to hear from you again. Would love to find out more about MFISH and your work in the South Pacific. Would be great if you could get in touch again when I am back on terra firma.

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