14 Jan, 06 – 21:18
For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see http://www.atlanticrowingrace.co.uk
The ocean has been having some fun and games at my expense today, and the bilge pump has been busy.
The Atlantic started off in playful mood – a gust of wind blew my Fourth Element baseball hat into the water and I thought it was gone forever, but the waves kindly brought it back to me before it sank.
Then I found that Locker #7, the one with my lifejacket and emergency grab bags in it, had flooded. The Baltic lifejacket had self-inflated, as it’s supposed to do when it gets wet, which was inconvenient but reassuring, I suppose.
Worse, one of my drybags hadn’t lived up to its name – miraculously my handheld GPS seems to have survived its bath, but I’ve yet to find out if the chocolate bars have.
So still nothing too serious, but later on the mood turned nasty. Shortly after these photos were taken I was just emptying the bedpan over the side of the boat when suddenly I found myself face down in the water (at least I hope it was mostly water). The boat quickly self-righted, and I was still in it, clinging to the oar guardrail for dear life.
The deck was absolutely swamped, the footwell flooded. Luckily I’ve now learned my lesson, and there’s nothing on deck that isn’t lashed down or attached in some way. My lip salve had slipped its leash but I rescued it just before it vanished through the scuppers.
I shuddered when I thought how easily I could have gone overboard, and rowed on in chastened mood for some time before recovering my spirits.
So the sea has been in feisty mood, but mustn’t complain. Conditions are good, if rough, and Antigua is getting just a little nearer. But I could do without these frequent drive-by drenchings, and as wind speeds approach 25 knots safety is paramount. If my boat and I should part company I can’t count on being as fortunate as my baseball hat, and solo rowers don’t get second chances.
Mark in Colorado – will answer your question tomorrow.
Message to my sister Tanya as she sets off on a one year trip around the world: Have a marvellous time. I hope your travels bring you all you wish for, and a few nice surprises too. Rx
Texts: thanks to Magnus Burbanks, Pauline, Andy & Emer (thanks for navigation tip!), HSS, Tim (row for pleasure? who knows?), John T (yes), Guy (thx for text hug), Jeff (stickers still looking good. Salty kisses? – no comment!), Candy (go for it! Good luck), Jan Meek, Steve Moore (have YOU ever tried peeing over the side on 20 foot waves? As a girl?), Bruce D (no, only chilly at night), Ian Nelson, Sal and Dick (what next? watch this space!), Jo Allen.
SPONSORED MILE: Coming up soon I think, Cliff Butters at number 1106.
Distance rowed according to Woodvale is now on Saturday evening very nearly 1100. (Rita Savage.)
Weather: sunshine and cloud
Sea state: very rough
Hours rowing: 11