Thor, The Storm And The (almost) Tragedy

A Weekly Update

By Team Status Row on February 1, 2019

So I know we just updated you about the para anchor woes but there is SO MUCH MORE that has happened this week.

As soon as I pressed send on our last update two things happened in quick succession:

1) We spotted a boat on the horizon 2) our music system died

Now, if you know anything about status Row by now you will understand how devastating that second one is. Excited by the sight of something new on the edge of the ocean we were all ready to listen to a good pump up mix but all that came out of the speakers was a faint hum. The boat slowed to a stop as susan frantically tried multiple iPods, changed the fuse and fiddled with the wires every which way. Our music was Dead and Gone (T.I feat Justin Timberlake) and we didn’t even get to say Bye, Bye, Bye (N’Sync). We were Praying (Kesha) to the music gods… please Don’t Stop Me Now (Queen) but it seemed fated we would be reduced to silence.

Sad and quiet we rowed on, at least still excited that the boat appeared to be on its way to us. Suddenly the AIS system lit up… not only was the sailing boat definitely on its way to visit… it was Suntiki!!! The Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge yacht that the race doctor, Thor, skippers. Thor was coming!!!

It was painfully slow until they arrived but we were all smiles - it’s so wonderful to see some friendly faces after weeks of it just being us. The crew updated us on news from the race, asked some doctor-y questions (including whether our backsides were the colour of our boat yet) and then stuck around to take some photos and videos of the team at work. This, I won’t lie, was a little nerve wracking… in the ocean there is endless space so you can get away with making a little mistake here and there when steering. That’s not so much the case when there is a giant sailing boat dancing around you… very close! Now, I trust you, Thor, but you will pay for that last pass where you got so close your wash sprayed our boat. Mark my words! I did not bring enough anti anxiety remedies for that level of stress!

After a bit more chat the crew sadly waved us goodbye and disappeared into the sunset. Well… they disappeared about a mile away where we saw them doing backflips into the water and enjoying a pitstop. To say we were jealous as we continued to row is the understatement of the century but we have an ocean to cross and no sails or motors to help us out so on we slogged.

We were jazzed from the visit. That is… until that evening when the rain came. And oh, did the rain come! The sort of hard, endless monsoon rain that soaks you through to the bone regardless of wet weather gear. And because we were soaked, soon our cabins were dripping as well. The condensation would drip from the ceiling and leave puddles under the mattress. Now, we’ve gotten used to being salty and dirty and endlessly tired but this constant damp was a whole new torture. Personally I cried every time I got into my cabin.

To make matters worse our handheld bilge pump hose was claimed by a feisty wave so instead of being able to properly defend against the rising water we were reduced to bailing the foot wells with a small measuring jug. Dejectedly we would throw a cup of water into the wind only to have another gallon dumped on us.

But the rain left and as you read in our last update the upside to being stuck on para anchor the following two days was a chance to properly empty the boat and dry our cabins (and selves!) out.

Also! I have now experienced a flying fish attack but, much to Susan’s disappointment, it was not very dramatic. He landed with a thud behind me, kindly flopped into the same measuring jug and got tossed into the next wave. Susan also was under siege but her assailant got lost under the oars, flopped his scales all over the deck and died a smelly smelly death before she could get to him. I’m sure there’s a life lesson in there somewhere haha!

We’ve now been on the go for a solid two days, making steady progress and are happy to report that 500 miles is now within grasp, marking a real psychological milestone. 500 miles means we are very nearly there, nearly back with our friends and families and on land with magical things such as showers, beds and toilets that don’t move.

We’ve continued to be visited by whales (one got so close in the middle of the night that when it blew air out suddenly I shrieked like a baby and threw my oars in surprise!) and yesterday there was a rambunctious marlin leaping about. Most excitingly though… our music has been resurrected!!!! So get ready, we are singing our way all the way home.

Love from 519 miles out

Status Row

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