2 Jan, 06 – 19:46
For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see http://www.atlanticrowingrace.co.uk
‘Have you fallen in love with the ocean yet?’ Cdr Mike Pearey, my man in the Royal Navy, rang me just before Christmas to check on progress and wanted to know if I shared his passion for the high seas. It was a thought-provoking question, and I’ve been pondering it ever since.
Living on the south coast last summer I met lots of people who genuinely did love the sea, and couldn’t wait for their next opportunity to go sailing, cruising, or just messing about on the water. I can see why many people do love the ocean. She and I have had some magic moments – rowing quietly on a calm moonlit sea, surfing along on rolling blue waves, watching the setting sun sink into golden waters.
But if I’ve seen the other side too – the big scary stormy waves, the spiteful little breaker that comes along and soaks me just before the end of a shift, the occasional hit-and-run wave that knocks me for six.
I haven’t yet reached the level of ocean rage experienced by John Fairfax, an early ocean rower. He got so hacked off with it, in a magnificently futile gesture he fired his harpoon into the waves. But I’ve been close. There have been some frank expressions of opinion on being soaked yet again.
But despite the downsides, do I love the ocean?
I love the solitude, the wildness, the beauty. But the ocean and I would get along better if it would stop trying to get in the boat with me. And if maybe it weren’t quite so awesomely, occasionally overwhelmingly, big.
Thanks to those who have texted me since I put my Iridium number on the website. Every day is indeed an achievement, Brian, and boy does it feel like it. And I shall be listening for that Remenham roar as I near Antigua, Dick and Sal.
Mike, I saw my first flying fish today. But none on board yet, so no chance yet to try my hand at gutting and filleting.
Wind: 15 kts, E
Weather: sunny and cloud
Sea state: rough
Hours rowing: 11