6 Dec, 05 – 20:46
Latitude: 26° 49′ N
Longitude: 20° 16′ W
Miles from La Gomera: have given up trying to work this one out – see atlanticrowingrace.com for official figure
Miles to Antigua: my GPS makes it 2320
One week into the race, and it’s been a real emotional rollercoaster. From seasickness and doubt in the first 24 hours, to quiet contentment as I established a disciplined routine for life on board; from consternation over the watermaker and lack of electric power, to a sense of satisfaction as I resolved the technical problems; from endorphin-induced euphoria as I rowed powerfully through the night, to glum depression this afternoon as grinding pain in my right shoulder blade led to early abandonment of my rowing shift.
I knew the first week would be the hardest, and I can only hope that the worst is indeed over. At times it’s been only my utter conviction that I can and will do this thing that has kept me going.
Grrr, I hate sounding negative. Other people have done much tougher things than this. But I haven’t, and there have been many moments when I’ve wondered if I am up to it. But I’m still here, still hanging in there, and not only that, but I’m not far off the pace. Chris Martin, the only solo male, and I have been swapping places at the back of the pack for the last few days, and we’re not far behind the hindmost of the pairs. This is encouraging.
People have been asking what wildlife I’ve been seeing. The answer, until today, was diddly-squat. I’d seen no whales, the dolphins were a no-show, and even birds were few and far between. The only visible wildlife was a small pink homo sapiens of the Savage variety.
But today… I was just having my midday sleep (I only sleep for 4 hours at night so have a quick kip just after lunch) when suddenly there was a loud impact on my boat. My first thought was that I’d run into Chris Martin. I jumped out of the hatch and looked around. Nothing. The sound came again. I looked down and there was a big green turtle gazing lugubriously at me.
He hung around for a few minutes, but defied all attempts to take a photograph of him. If he comes back I’ll try again. Maybe he’s the same turtle who hung around Debra Veal’s boat – maybe he just hangs out in the Atlantic on the lookout for slow-moving solo female ocean rowers ha can make a move on…
Wind: 11 kts
Weather: sunshine and cloud
Sea state: feisty and getting feistier
Hours rowing: 10
Hours sleeping: 6
Song for the day: Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd