January 3, 2016 oliviabolesworth

‘Our beautiful pea green boat’ Blog 3 from Olivia

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.

Small comforts today for me include a bag of chocolate raisins from mum, a fresh white cotton t-shirt, a silk scarf wrapped around a small bag of lavender to enhance sleep (thanks Eva) and a new slice of polyester cut from my rowing seat to release pressure from a sore spot threatening to blemish my (so far) surprisingly pimple free bottom.

Rowing at night is either wonderful or horrific. Nights that begin with the sunset behind moonrise ahead and colossal westerly rolling waves are the bestest… The moon’s reflection streaks across up the black sea so you can see for miles, with liquid silver flecks dancing in a straight beam. I find myself disappointed at times like these to have to give up my rowing seat and swap with Bella. One night I remember Bella waking me up through the cabin door telling me I had 10 minutes to get on the oars… I got up, rolled into the wall as we went over a wave, scoffed down some Haribo sweets and went to join the girls on deck. No moon tonight, this saddened me as its undoubtedly one of the coolest things to see, however, what came next was even better, if daytime at sea is amazing… Night-time is when the real magic happens. My eyes begin to adjust and a few minutes later – Wowee! Millions and squllions of stars arching around our little boat in an enormous dome… stars so bright that they created their own light halo through the passing clouds.

It’s these moonless black nights that are the most disconcerting too as I can’t see Gee rowing in front of me which increases chances of blades getting smashed as rhythm is lost. I can sometimes just about make out her right elbow against the light of the digital deck repeater. Every now and then this little digital screen which normally sits about eye level with me will rise up way above my head – “Ahhhhhhhhhhh it’s a bloody enormous wave” – exciting and terrifying, especially as you can’t see a god damned thing. One wave was so big and powerful that it spun our boat in a complete 360 and sent the auto helm into a tantrum.

Other times a wave will catch you off guard by lifting the boat from the side before dropping it again, this is a similar sensation to being on a horse when the creature decides to try and drop its front shoulder to try and get you off… when this happens in the boat it leaves one chucked from their seat with oars digging awkwardly into hips and shins.

There are also those nights that never seem to end, so often I have fallen asleep on the oars and ‘crunch’ the blades nip the top of a wave and send the wooden handles straight into my shins. This hurts.

Every morning the deck reveals the carnage from the night before in the form of a sort of chocolate bar massacre, with sprinkles of broken Twirl Bars and wrappers from confectionery we are scoffing to keep ourselves awake in the wee hours.

Funnies: – you literally can’t make this stuff up:

  • New years eve photo preparations had Lauren balancing precariously with a pot of gold glitter at the front of the boat trying to apply it to her face in less than calm waters… suddenly her stance changes into that of Bambi and “POOF” the glitter went everywhere – all over the boat, crew, skin sores and food, leaving us all bent doubled in chronic laughter.
  • Gee leaning over Mortsy to adjust the Efoy settings in the cabin, wearing nothing other than a pair of trainers and socks. As she leans into the cabin, Lauren is left to row right up to her bottom; after which Gee falls back bare buttock on Lauren’s shoulder.
  • Opera plays on my iPod as Bella comes out on deck, as naked as the day she was born, bar a pair of sunglasses… continues to prance down the boat, sprawls elegantly across the deck in-between myself and Gee rowing, and continues to soak up the midday sunshine whilst tucking into her chilli con Carne ration food pack. I found this highly entertaining, she looked like some sort of nude vision from a post-modern Botticelli – ‘The Birth of Bella’ I shall call it.
  • Gee was hit in the head by a flying fish last night.
  • Lauren and myself cleaning the underside of the boat on a calm day – in stitches of laughter – we have a video of this so shall save that until our return.

Minor idiosyncrasy of the week:

Spectacularly two of the oars we had branded up to read www.brandwavemarketing.com down the shaft, were printed back to front and upside down – for two weeks now I have been trying to pronounce this ridiculous word in my head. IT’S DRIVING ME INSANE! 

Happy New Year to all, thanks for all the lovely emails and messages… keep them coming through, especially the funny ones of life back at home! 

Love Olivia

Comments (9)

  1. Les T

    Dearest Olivia!! Loved your amazing blog! Am following you everyday! So so so even more than words can say proud of you all!!! Sending you all so much, love, strength and courage, and of course much laughter!!! Lots of love and Hugs Les T and Dogs!! XXXX

  2. JG

    Nearly half way girls and holding second place in the race. Brilliant work.I am in awe of your courage and determination.One thing inrigues me – how does your rowing shift pattern work? Withy you all the way – take care and keep safe.

  3. JG

    Well done girls – amazing progress and still holding 2nd place.Love reading your blogposts and learning all about your adventure. Keep safe and take care.

  4. John Goodfellow

    Fantastic effort girls 2nd place & half way there Wow! Take care and keep safe!

  5. Cheryl Beeden

    Dear Row Like A Girl

    Congrats on your achievement so far. Good to see you are showing the rest of the teams that Girl’s Rule out on the water.
    It’s great to see you have settled into life on board and have worked out how to row the high milage. Will be following your journey across the Atlantic.

    Good Luck and keep at it.

    Cheryl Beeden

  6. Chris

    Girl power! I can’t wait to meet all of you in Antigua. By the way……. girls do it best!

  7. Emma Pitcher

    Hi Bella and Girls

    Wow, I can’t believe how glamorous you all look in your shimmering gold outfits! FAB-U-LOUS. I’m very impressed that you can look so amazing whilst living in the cramped, sweaty conditions of an ocean going rowing boat.

    So Christmas has been and gone but there is a lovely story which I’d like to share with you … concerning Granny Jenny’s Xmas present to the Pitcher family. We opened a large cardboard box to find a dark brown bear 70cm high and 1 metre long! As Granny Jenny was explaining that it was infact a foot stool Ula, our beautiful labrador, came into the room. Ula took one look at the bear and started growling loudly, then barking and then attempted to bite the bear foot stall on it’s nose! After some bottom sniffing and ear chewing Ula realised the bear wasn’t real and has ignored it ever since. Phew.

    Do you remember having to go back to School after a fabulous holiday? Well, that was James and Freddie on Tuesday and me back to work on Wednesday. I’d forgotten how dark it is at 6:30am! Hopefully, it’s lighter where you are now? And a lot warmer? We are continually checking your progress and wishing you a speedy and safe journey. Keep rowing girls and continue to do what you are doing. I am in total awe.

    With lots of love and best wishes to you all.

    Emma xxx

    PS. I haven’t forgotten my IOU and am looking forward to hearing all the stories at our dinner in The Shard. Feel free to dress in your gold get-ups!

  8. Sue Bennett

    Hi Olivia
    You four are amazing and make our moans about a stormy Christmas and New Year seem very trivial. What an extraordinary thing you are doing. Good luck. I hope to hear some good stories back in in West Wittering when you return.
    Much love
    Sue x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *