We rowed across the Atlantic Ocean!
Well, after over 2 years of planning and 46 days 22 hours and 30 minutes of rowing, we have finally made it! We rowed our little ocean rowing boat all the way from Gran Canaria to Barbados. We arrived last Saturday and adjusting back to life on dry land has been a bit of a whirlwind. Every sound, smell, and sight was like experiencing them for the first time, and driving at the whopping speed of 30 miles per hour felt like sitting in the back of a rally car! We are starting to get our land legs back and it is now time to reopen the laptop and reflect (don’t worry, we both have a rum punch on the go too).
I went into the row with high hopes of documenting our journey. However, my aspirations of writing a weekly blog were thwarted by a few minor details that I hadn’t quite considered…
Firstly, I was absolutely exhausted! Our schedule was pretty gruelling - we would each row for a total of 15 hours a day. This was split into “2 on 2 off” overnight, where we would take it in turns to row for 2 hours and rest for 2 hours, and “3 on 1 off” during the day where we would overlap our shifts. Overnight, each “off shift” consisted of a race to close your eyes and steal as much sleep as you could manage before the dreaded beep of the alarm signalled it was time to switch. During the day, each “off shift” seemed to be filled with an endless stream of boring yet essential jobs; make water, drink water, make food, eat food, clean body, clean boat, stretch… This routine meant I barely had time to choose music for the next shift, let alone consider writing a blog!
Next, the environment wasn’t exactly conducive to creative flair. You sometimes hear of writers having specific locations where they work; a shed in the back garden, a favourite coffee shop, or a home office. I don’t think any would choose a sweltering sauna the size of a telephone box pitching about in Atlantic swell.
Finally, the actual process of writing proved a little bit difficult. Weight was the name of the game on the boat and a laptop with a keyboard didn’t make the cut. This meant that all typing had to be done on a phone. Doing this when your knuckles are filled with fluid and your inflamed fingers resemble (and are as useful for typing) as pork sausages, proved a challenge.
For these reasons, my writing on the water never quite took off. As a solution, Andy came up with the idea of recording daily voice notes that we could listen back to on dry land. And so, we have a new plan! Over the coming weeks, we will be listening back to these recordings and going back through our photos and videos on a week by week basis. We are then going to write up our reflections of the row into blog posts of each section and send these out.
We hope you enjoy reading these retrospectives. If anything, the benefit of hindsight might give them a bit more colour. And we no longer have to rely on satellite communications to send out photos and videos, so we’ll be sure to attach plenty of pictures too.
For now, we wanted to say an enormous thank you to everyone who has supported and followed along with our Atlantic Escapade.
All our best
Rosalind & Andy