Time is a Funny Thing

Susan reflects on what keeps us going

By Susan Ronaldson on January 8, 2019

Time is a funny thing. When you’re on shift in the middle of the night, battling to both move the boat at even one knot, and stay awake, time almost seems to stand still. And in those conditions Antigua seems a long way off… But we’re amazingly just completing our forth week at sea and it seems incredible it’s been that long!

Because we’re the ‘happy’ team perhaps we can give the impression of singing and laughing our way across the ocean. There is certainly a lot of that!! But this isn’t known as the worlds toughest row and one of the great endurance challenges for nothing. It’s oh so very hard!

Take a simple thing like popping to the toilet. I was on one of those tough solo rowing shifts at 6am this morning (we work on GMT so that’s about 4am local time) and I needed to go! That involves securing the oars, scrambling along a rocky deck on your hands and knees, unhooking the bucket and leaning over the side to part fill it with water. The challenge is to stay upright on the bucket which is had enough at the best if times. But this morning my peace was shattered by something hurling it’s self onto the boat and flapping around vigorously at my feet. The flying fish and I looked at each other and did a back and forth of ‘oh f@&:;’. I leapt up, knocked the bucket everywhere and with the fish still flapping around my feet, screeched a lot until I woke the others. You see even the simplest thing is a challenge!!

We’re now very used to life on board- in a routine with our shifts and various chores. You never really get used to the heat, the wet (condensation in the cabin is unpleasant), being pretty dirty and smelly (we do wash honestly!) and the constant of rowing 12 hours a day whether you are feeling it or not. For me the hardest thing is waiting for proper trade winds- you can never guarantee winds but you kind of expect the 40ft waves of the promo videos. The lack of wind means slower pace, tougher rowing and no certainty when we’ll complete this challenge. Only a belief and determination we will.

So what keeps us going. Well certainly lots of singing, hugging, the occasional tears and lots of laughing. This was our dream we worked so hard for- we know it’s meant to be tough and we are aiming to rise to that challenge. We have special, magical moments- the wildlife, the stars and sun rises and sets, a visit from a passing yacht (Freebird spotted us yesterday and came over to say hi- the loveliest crew on board). But one huge thing is the support. We wouldn’t be here without people backing us and we want to repay that. You have no idea what it means to know people are following us and cheering us on. At 6am this morning as I was battling the seas, I knew in the morning that so many people would be following the track I was making on the app- so I put my head down and rowed harder. Antigua- we’re coming!!

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