Position N18.12.116 // W033.34.791
This past week has been a rough one for more than a few reasons…
It started with some good miles going in on the 24 hour shift days, we were averaging 60 nautical miles per day which was amazing and we could see our progress towards our destination.
Unfortunately these great days had to come to an end and we soon found the rowing becoming much heavier than usual and pretty sluggish. We slogged on and tried to make progress, as we were rowing harder, but not going as far we were baffled. A few reasons can cause this - 1) weather being the main issue - the wind had dropped so that could play a big part. 2) Weight on-board - we had only eaten/ drank items on board so the boat should be lighter than ever for us. 3) Barnacles and sea life attaching to the bottom of Roberta. (as our speed is so significant - little sea life starts to live on the bottom of the boat creating a decent amount of drag)
We decided it was time for a swim and a clean of the boat. Something we honestly were not that stoked about. As i finally got in after thinking of every reason under the sun that it wasn’t a good idea, the boat clean lasted about 25 seconds before i announced “finished” - more out of the fear of being in the open water - i had barely tickled the bottom of the boat with a sponge and i made 0 difference. Jumping in and looking down/ around with the goggles on was a crazy feeling. Real exposure to the scale of where we are and how small the boat really is. As i was splashing around pretending to clean - all i could think of was a sea creature coming up from the depths and plucking me down to the darkness. Hence the record speed clean!
We continued on our way and put the slower speed down to weather.
The weather then changed - we had heard about a big storm coming in a few days in advance and wanted to progress as far as we could before it struck. Unfortunately this was going to mean para-anchor and no progress for up to 1 week! We were gutted but there was nothing we could do. Rowing got tougher and tougher until about 8.30pm on Monday where we decided to drop the anchor and settle in for the next few days. Always satisfying to successfully release the anchor but not something we ever want to do again - an amazing sunset followed! Upon opening the para anchor locker - we discovered about 80 litres of water inside, all contents in the locker were under water (including our beers which now had barnacles themselves!) - maybe this was why the boat felt so heavy. We obviously laughed it off and proceeded to pump out the water - amazed by the sheer volume of water and our complete oversight to this ever being an issue.
I am writing this now from the cabin after being on anchor for nearly 48 hours. The first 36 were complete hell, we have been pummelled with rain and big choppy swell that has meant we couldn’t spend much time on deck or get any of the jobs done (like cleaning the bottom of the boat for real this time). So Tommy and I have been cramped into the tiny cabin for hours on end - pretending to sleep and seemingly getting worst backs now then when rowing for 12 hours each a day. Waking up with plastic forks in my side and GoPros on my face as the boat gets tossed around, the items in the pouches also get thrown.
But if you were following our tracker and wondering why we haven’t moved, or are going in circles over the last couple of days - this is why. We have not sunk, we are just at the mercy of the winds and waves until we can get going again!
The weather today has been better and we have spent more time on deck, eating, chilling and now fishing. Always a sign that we have some sea life on the bottom of the boat when we are being followed by fish that look like omelettes (weird)! Although never safe, we were just having dinner when a big wave came straight over the bow - i leapt to slam the hatch shut and Tommy got drenched head to toe whilst clutching his freshly made Chicken Tikka! If the hatch was open, the wave would have put an end to our trip - killing the whole electrical panel and writing off our navigation/ comms system in the process. A close call.
So i am now shut into the cabin with both hatches closed so that doesn’t happen - it is approximately 130 degrees in here and Im being fried like an ant under the magnifying glass that is the hatch door!
We are awaiting some more positive weather that should come our way tomorrow or the next day. Fingers crossed after this we can head west for good and make some solid ground to Barbados. We are still 1500 miles away from the destination.
Tommy was on BBC Bristol on Monday so check it out if you haven’t heard - I will be on BBC Three Counties Radio next Monday from 2.15pm so tune in to hear me slurring through a Sat Phone (if it works)
We are still in high spirits here despite our lack of sleep and no progress, we hope everyone at home is loving life.
Please keep the donations coming in and the messages of support - we love reading them whilst eating our vast selection of not-boring dried food :)
James and Tom