Welcome home Bella and Olivia. The girls arrive back in to the UK this morning! So glad you’re home- we’ve missed you!
And just like that, that’s it. It’s 4 weeks since we completed our challenge of a lifetime, my Antiguan holiday has long since been over and we’re all now back in Blighty. Safe to say I haven’t missed the cold, rain or wind at all, I don’t know how you’ve all coped! How odd it feels to be back in England. In fact it still feels a little weird to be back on land separated from our boat and the girls let alone back in the UK.
As I begin this the time is 20.11 (boat time), its 23.11 in the United Kingdom and roughly 18.11 in Antigua. We have just passed under the 60nm marker and are rowing and hand steering currently holding 3.2 knots. I am in the bow cabin with the laptop safely under my arm to write the final blog. It’s a weird thought to know that this time tomorrow (fingers and toes crossed) our feet will be firmly on Antiguan Soil… but here it goes, you’ll be hearing from me all throughout the night.
Fan mail to: 17° 57.61 N, 042° 45.72 W
No, I didn’t receive any. I’m writing it. A first timer in 33 years. Last time I considered doing that I was 13 years old and the lucky recipient would have been Mark Owen from Take That. I didn’t end up doing it.
A wave is just a wave right? Wrong. We’ve become quite accustomed to the waves out here and how they affect our rowing, body and mentality. Here’s our definitive guide…
The Surfer – this is the best type of wave, it picks up the boat and propels it forward at superhuman speed. It feels like you’ve picked up a power box in that game Mario Kart and got the speed boost – does that make sense?! It’s epic and I absolutely love them. This is the only good type of wave and comes rarely.
It’s official as I come to you from the stern cabin; typing on the laptop with my own blistered hands, the vomcano has fallen silent. Chunder shall erupt no more aboard Mrs Nelson- crosses fingers- that being said I wouldn’t want to tempt fate so will keep this relatively short and sweet. Just a quick note on vomit whilst I’m at it- man it sucks. There is absolutely no escape or relief from the feeling of seasickness. Almost instantly having been sick you feel nauseous again, it’s unrelenting. For the first 5 days or so having to hold this routine whilst not eating or drinking and constantly vomiting was not fun. Hence it’s taken me until now to brave the blog writing in the cabin- the feeling was just too unbearable to voluntarily put myself through it. But finally a blog from Gee, I hope it’s a good’n.
So here we are then.. Somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, nearly half way in fact at 1700m from Antigua in our ‘beautiful pea green boat’ we like to call Mrs Nelson.
Hygiene is certainly key to short term happiness out here, once a day or so teeth get brushed, hair plaited, boat scrubbed and rubbish rinsed and stored – all executed whilst we pitch and roll over 20 – 30 ft waves. These waves are enormous, but it’s not the big waves that we have found to be the problem to date, the ones to watch out for are the sneaky little sideways lickers that creep up, pitch the boat off balance and spit all over crew and contents, leaving everything drenched 5 minutes before it is time to retreat back to the warm cabins.
As I’m sat here typing away in the hot festering cabin I cannot believe we have been at sea for over a week! Time is flying by.
It was a strange thing leaving the marina of La Gomera, as we rowed away slightly giggly and hysterically, it took us about a good 3 miles to realise that this was it- no turning back now. A sudden realisation that oh, actually, we can’t turn back – no more training rows. We looked back to the mountains of La Gomera and Tenerife and all thought to ourselves this is a bit mad really, are we really doing this? And on we went.
Hi ALL! Apologies for the radio silence, today is day 5 and the first day we’ve been able to consider sitting in a small hot cabin and write a blog without vomiting everywhere.
The first two days were exhausting, the weather – although great for a fast start – was a real baptism of fire. Strong winds, huge waves, torrential rain to the point that you couldn’t see and A LOT of sick from Lauren and Gee. I have so much respect for those two girls, they battled through every bout of vomit, got on the oars and stayed as cheery as you can do when feeling that ill. Gee was very grateful that we cleaned the bucket with angel smelling disinfectant in La Gomera! Olivia was a little sick and my iron stomach lived up to it’s to reputation.