Grinning and bearing (baring) it.

27 Jan, 06 – 20:37

Last night I finally admitted to myself that I am not enjoying this. I’d been so determined that I would enjoy it, it has taken me until now to admit that I was wrong. (There then follows usual litany of whinges – oars broken, food cold, bed wet, shoulders aching, stereo kaput, flapjacks finished etc etc etc.)

But it’s OK.

In fact, when I made this honest admission to myself, I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my weary shoulders, the burden of pretending to myself or anybody else that this is fun.

Because it doesn’t matter. I am still achieving my personal objectives out here, and whether I am enjoying it or not is irrelevant.

In fact, it is even a good thing that I am not enjoying it. My mountaineering friend Sebastian, who was killed by an avalanche in Peru in 2003, once said, ‘The greater the suffering, the sweeter the summit’. If I was finding this easy and fun, the ultimate sense of achievement would be less.

This row has already pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of enduring. For the most part I have found it unpleasant, uncomfortable and exhausting. It has taken every ounce of my resolve and determination to keep going. When I arrive in Antigua (God willing) the knowledge that I struggled and still succeeded will sweeten the final accomplishment a hundredfold.

I figured this out at the start of my night shift last night, and spent the rest of the three hours cheerfully hating every moment.

Other stuff:

Of course, as soon as I decide it’s OK not to enjoy this, I catch myself almost having fun. The wind picked up this afternoon for an enjoyable few hours, a turtle came to visit, and there was a lovely rainbow. Maybe it’s not entirely horrible after all.

Thanks for texts from:

Marina and Ben – wonderful news. Congratulations on your engagement!

Natalie – thanks for the nutrition advice. Fear not – still a couple of hundred Wholebake 9 Bars, which are probably better for me anyway, as higher in protein. No nuts, alas – error!

Tebays – yes, What Colour Is Your Parachute didn’t list ocean rowing as a potential career! Good to hear from you.

Also Guy, John T, Mike Dunsmore, Victoria, Tim Ratbag, Susan Clarke, Candy, Margaret and Bob (thank you!), Penny and Rich, RJA, DB, Mel, Clarkie, AJ, Sandi (looking out for that flapjack-bearing pigeon!), Mark Reid.

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Wind: E, 8-12 knots (estimate)
Weather: sunshine and cloud
Sea state: moderate to calm
Hours rowing: 12

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