Quite a lot has happened on board Rose.
Wednesday 15th about 18:00 we arrived at the Canaries, a key milestone (waypoint) on this passage. The crew were in high spirits, and seeing land again after 9 days at sea was an odd feeling. Our skipper Ralph referred to it as "seeing a Christmas tree from the sea". The sun was setting and the island was glowing, all the lights twinkling made it look very enticing. I however was fixated on the boat speed of 5.2knts that we were achieving with the support of the current.
Niall and I both had one key objective at this milestone and that was to pick up 4G passing the island so we could reset our offline Spotify date counters. The thought of not being able to have music for the last 15 days of the trip would have been unbearable. With that goal achieved we had another 30 days to listen to the amazing playlists friends and family had put together, please have a listen to a few on the website and see what you think.
Like any other situation in life where people are not connected to the World Wide Web for more than 24hrs we have withdrawal symptoms, so the off watch both then logged on and spent the next few hours starring at their phones. The on watch were secretly hoping there was still signal when we finish the watch.
Clément has been learning the rules of the ocean with coaching from Niall. Watching for vessels on the horizon and identifying them by the lights, checking the AIS and also getting to grips with the VHF lingo.
Thursday 16th at 09:00 marked the 10 day milestone we set to reach the canaries by and we were extremely pleased we achieved it with the time we had to spend on the sea anchor due to the storm.
We started to row away from the Island and had a beautiful sunrise to see us off. We were making good speed and I used the opportunity to call a few friends and family to check-in on life back home.
Whilst checking in with my business partners I managed to get an unexpected motivational peptalk from Terrafirma's fabulous channel partner Alan Thorogood at STL Group. Big thank you to everyone at STL for your support ❤️.
We tried to say goodbye to Canaries but the shadow of the island combined with the currents and headwinds meant we were only able to make between 0.8knts to 2.0knts of boat speed. It was like the island had a huge grip on the boat and wouldn't let us leave. We had a strategic decision to make, do we A) head slightly east to get out of the current and shadow of the island and then south to pick up the trade winds or B) continue the exhausting battle. So we took A) the longer route but it was an amazing feeling making the boat go faster, overall we feel we lost about 5 hours (~15nm) progress in the right direction. Later the conditions improved and we had a visit from a pod of dolphins.
Due to the heat and effort required to stay hydrated we ran the water maker for too long and ended up depleting both the batteries on board to less than 20%. This meant we had water but limited power to run the other electrical systems. We shut off as much as possible to give the solar panels chance to recharge the batteries.
After a frustrating Thursday we felt that Friday being St.Patricks day we were due some good luck, this was not the case...
Niall was given the bad news first, there was no Guinness or Irish whiskey stowed away for this special occasion.
We then had a spot of excitement when a few hundred meters container ship changed course directly for us. As it approached within 200m the person on the bridge waved at us and then proceeded to bear away back to his original course. What a joker!!
Then later in the afternoon conversations moved to food, over the last 10 days we had noticed a large dent had been made in the chocolate supply on board. It appears that our Skipper who is not able to smoke at sea has a sweet tooth instead, also Clément has been rationing himself to only 3 chocolate bars a night.
So Niall the enforcement officer calls for a stock check and issued the allowances for the next week. Lets just say it was about 5 mins before valuing of each item and trading started. We are not worried because if all else fails we have about 4000 energy gels to keep us going.
Despite these daily trials and tribulations the morale is very high, I guess because our on board jester Ralph keeps us amused by rubbing energy gels all over his body instead of sun tan lotion. It must be a faster Dutch way to consume energy.
From a rowing perspective in a day we
- Row 12 hours,
- Sleep 8 hours,
- Eat 2 hours,
- Do other tasks for 2 hours
Daily tasks include:
- Taking comfort breaks
- Doing the laundry (weekly)
- Cleaning the Solar Panels
- Producing 30 litres of water
- Tidying up the rubbish
- Reviewing the weather
- safety checks
- Checking emails and replying to you all at home
In terms of health on board
Ralph - as mad as ever and in denial about his nicotine withdrawals.
Niall - the old man sat on his inflatable cushion, nursing aches and pains but full of Irish cheer.
Clément - young and healthy other than a few bottom sores.
Colin - sea legs have been found but have pulled a muscle by trying to move the ocean rather than the boat, now rowing with one arm whilst resting the other.
Last night was the most magical yet, we finally started to head west and the moon had set so we were in total darkness other than the stars and some cloud cover. The ocean was still calm, so much that it felt solid. As you pulled the oars through the water if you made a mistake with your stroke the boat felt like someone hit the brakes.
When moving you feel like you are on a rollercoaster in the dark. Then you spot the way the Navigation light hits the phosphorescent in the water. We were gliding through the water with stars and the sea sparkling, the whirlpools from the oar stokes glowing as they flowed behind the boat. It is the moments like these that make the tough times insignificant.
So I will leave you with a quote left on board rose
"You don't have to be great to start but you need to start to be great" - Hana
Thank you for all your support and please take the time to read more about the charities I am supporting as part of this challenge. It would mean a lot to me if you could show your support for those less fortunate than ourselves.