Picture: JUNK Learn more -click for their website.

Today, after several days of failed attempts, I finally managed to make contact with the good ship JUNK, on her way from California to Hawaii to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the oceans. Sound familiar?!

Navigator Joel picked up the satphone, and I spoke to him and to Dr Marcus Eriksen. I’d spoken to Marcus before, while we were both still on dry land. He works with Captain Charlie Moore of the Algalita, the two of them having visited the infamous North Pacific Garbage Patch to conduct scientific research. Marcus and I had discussed how we could combine efforts to the greater good of both our ventures, but then my departure date was brought forwards and we ran out of time. But it seems we were destined to meet – and it looks as if it might be sooner rather than later.

Today we compared latitudes, longitudes, courses and daily average mileage, and it appears that we are on converging routes. The JUNK is gaining on me steadily. We are going to try to rendezvous – most likely in 3 or 4 days time – but this is going to be VERY tricky. We are two small, not very manoeverable craft, trying to meet up amidst towering waves on a very large ocean.

But at least we do now have communication, which is a good start. And we want to make it work, which is a good next step.

If we succeed, theirs will be the first human faces I have seen since I passed the Farralon Islands on 26th May. I am now rather thinner, browner, and considerably saltier than I was back then. Time to dig out some clothes and try and make myself presentable!

I also saw an aeroplane today, for the first time on this crossing. It was heading northeast, maybe from Hawaii to California, the reverse of my route.

So after months of seemingly having the ocean to myself, it’s starting to get kind of crowded around here!

Other stuff:

Position at 2120 8th August Pacific Time, 0420 9th August UTC: 23 09.417’N, 145 06.322’W.

After a rather frustrating day yesterday, it was once again too rough to row this morning. But this afternoon the wind slackened by a couple of knots and I was able to get back to the oars. Yippee! In fact, it turned into a fine rowing day with large swells and helpful winds. I rowed along contentedly while listening to a P.D James book, A Death in Holy Orders. Nothing like a good murder mystery in mid-Pacific!

Thanks for all the messages – encouraging, informative, and supportive.

Special hi to George and Astrid in New Zealand.

And to Bob and Jamie Craft – thank you for the update on the family. Great to hear the news of REAL lives! Hope to see you in DC (or St Louis) during my “lap of honour” of the US this autumn.

And special thanks to John H for the stats – although my weatherguy and I work in nautical miles, not statute miles, so you may want to switch over so we are talking the same language! But my daily mileages definitely sound better in statute.

Louise – wow, what an adventure! Sounds very exciting. Good luck with the new life in Cowes, and with the sailing.

Rog Dodge – good luck with the preps for the Indian Ocean race. I will be watching it with interest!

Richard Dib – good to hear your family is cutting down on water bottles. Congratulations! Unfortunately I can’t browse the internet from here – only send emails (which is how I do my blog) but will check out your song when back on dry land.

Melissa – lockers, hatches, holes under the decks with lids on top. whatever. Sorry if I’m getting my nautical terminology wrong. Don’t blame me – I’m just a dumb rower! On my boat, the round ones have screw lids and the rectangular ones have hinged lids with pivot handles to secure them closed. All lids are white plastic and opaque. Does that help?! Part 2 (fore cabin) coming up tomorrow. Now just try to contain your excitement..!

Click here to view Day 76 of the Atlantic Crossing 14 February 2006: Ultimate Valentine Greeting – a vist from the Royal Navy!

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