It has become undeniably evident that the sea, does indeed hate us.
Moving into our final week at sea, we were in jovial spirits, ticking off 60 mile days like they were childs-play, and storming towards Barbados with an arrival estimate of Tuesday 9th February. We were lead to believe from numerous weather reports that our misfortunes were behind us, and a comfortable following wind would guide us to glory.
I currently write this blog sat next to James in our cabin, with screaming wind, rain and waves against us, pushing us back East. How did we get here? Let me update you on what has been a testing couple of days which has lead to this point.
On the weekend our chances of a quick arrival looked promising, with great weather predicted for another 2 weeks. This soon changed, and we were faced on Tuesday with some bad news which hit us hard and deflated our morale drastically. A front of Southerly winds was coming our way, and would halt us in our tracks and push us North, a worrying prediction given that if we find ourselves too far North, we will miss the island completely. Yesterday we battled against the weather, rowing together all day for a total of 10 hours, breaking ourselves to try and minimise damage and keep our arrival dates on track, through the night we limped on, and managed a commendable, yet menial 47 miles.
We headed into today knowing we would yet again face the same challenge, and had another 48 hours ahead of us until the winds switched to our favour on Friday, we set ourselves again rowed 2-up through the morning. Two major events though have made today probably the most memorable.
At around 11 am, we had been pushing ourselves hard on the oars, and were moving painfully slowly. We were both furious with the situation but carried on in the hope our luck would change. As we bitched to each other about the weather, our luck and generally how unfair the world had become, James let out a sudden yell from behind me - ‘Oh My God'
My initial thought was he had seen a shark or a whale, and so I span around to look left (all the weather has been coming from our right side, so our heads are craned this way 100% of the time to anticipate waves and swell.) to see an enormous cargo ship steaming past us, at a distance no more than 100M from our humble boat. We both stood in utter disbelief, neither of us had seen it or heard it (We both expected these ships to make a huge amount of noise, but this particular boat was like a Prius) , and without our AIS on the ship had no idea we were metres from its path. Simply put, if we had been 2 minutes slower, we would have been mowed down and without doubt killed.
We sat in shock, nervously laughing about our close encounter, and our spirits for some reason lifted. Our gripes against mileage and arrival dates seemed somewhat unimportant, and we had been humbled by a very lucky escape which left us feeling very small, and made our problems seem trivial. We rowed on in a lighter mood, moving slowly, but moving nonetheless!A few hours down the line, we have now encountered what is known as a squal. A random formation of weather that glides across the Atlantic, bringing with it its own winds and conditions, giving zero shits about predictions, charts or rational explanation. We have for the past hour battled into a monstrous North-Westerly wind, which has crushed our progress and is pushing us backwards. The Sky is black, the sea a moody gun metal grey and we are sheltering from a torrential downpour.
We feel like we are in the middle of some weird Hunger Games-esq experiment, with the Game Makers (I think thats what they are called) pulling string like puppeteers, throwing obstacles and challenges at us for entertainments sake. All our efforts are repeatedly squashed, and we are desperately trying to cling on to positivity, but struggling to say the least.
We are currently being pushed South, and have no idea why. Even with both of us rowing, we literally do not move! if you have noticed our tracker halting, we are alive, just stuck!
Although we are not religious, please feel free to pray to whatever God it is you worship, and get our salty, skinny and exhausted selves to Barbados!
As Ryan Holiday said, ‘The Obstacle is The Way’ - a good mantra to live by, but he never mentioned how many obstacles there would be