Day 64 – A blog about blogs
A number of you have kindly asked us questions in emails or in our blog comments, as to ‘when do we find the time to blog?’, ‘where do you get the inspiration about what to write?’, ‘when do you start thinking about your blog?’etc. so I thought I’d take inspiration from you all and use this time to answer your questions.
As you may now know, we rotate around the team writing a blog each day, so that we only need to write one every 4 days. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when we have no idea what to write about and it feels a little arduous, but truth be told, I think writing the blogs has been a blessing, as it creates a natural distraction from the monotony of row, eat, sleep, repeat. Sometimes we have the ‘planned blogs’ where we’ve thought of a number of subjects we want to write about and have 3 or 4 lined up before it gets to our turn. Other times it will be a ‘reflective blog’ where in the preceding 3 days it occupies some thinking time whilst on the oars and therefore helps a 2hr shift fly by.
Alternatively, there is the ‘wing it blog’, when literally in the last 2hr off shift you still have no idea what you’re going to write until you pick up the iPad and start typing. Finally, there’s the ‘event blogs’ when you’re lucky enough to have something significant happen on your blog day, whether that’s an animal sighting, a storm or a key milestone achieved.
With regards to the timing of writing our blogs, this comes down to our 2 awake shifts, giving us less than 4hrs to fit it in amongst the other chores. Thankfully, being a great team, we look out for each other and often the one that isn’t blogging, will make the food and run the water maker to save time. This leaves just eating, washing and reading our emails coming in, before we can settle in to writing our blog.
Once our blog is written, we tend to do ‘story time’ for the other team mates on the oars, which is usually during the sunset shift or before depending on timing. This entails propping one self up by the aft cabin so to face the rowers and also the team mate in the cabin can hear. The blog is then read out which also gives a chance for correction of any mistakes and/or additional comments to add from the rest of the team.
The iridium Go is then run so that we can send/receive emails for the second time that day, it would be our night time so equivalent of your early morning (approx. 7am UK time). Often the sending of the blog runs over into our first sleep shift, so once the routine of logbook, talcing and sudocreme application is complete, silk liners laid out and alarm set, the blogger will lay reclined and the light off so that the team mate can snooze. Then the blogger will lay out with an arm outstretched by the hatch so that the iridium go aerial can face up to the sky. If a picture is being sent, this can often take many attempts and up to an hour, leaving just 15-30mins of snooze time before being back on the oars.
The comments and emails we receive from you all is really humbling and running the iridium go to receive emails into our inbox is honestly what we look forward to each day. Our support team back home will post us a copy of your blog or Facebook comments and then in our row partners, one of us reads the messages aloud to the other. Simon TY, JG, Jim Andrews, Andrea Herr to name a few, thank you for your unrelenting support since day 1, your comments make us feel connected to you and closer to home than what we really are. Emails received from people we have yet to meet but send us regular updates, I.e. Mike Fenwick and Aunty Linda thank you. There are also those we may never meet but send us a fleeting email to let us know they are reading and following and have been influenced by what we’re doing, we are truly humbled to think we can touch anyone’s lives, so thank you for letting us know. What is strange and difficult for us, is to have this one way relationship with you all, receiving amazing emails and messages from afar but not having the ability to return our thanks. Please know we do appreciate every comment or email we receive and we hope that one day on land we can get back to you with a personal thank you.
UPDATE: Don’t say it too loud or it might come back but we seem to have had a let up in the strong westerly current over the last 24 hours and have been able to make progress South! Woop woop about time! We appear to be in sperm whale territory at the moment. The other night on the stroke of midnight Lizanne and Ems were visited by a large pod of sperm whales swimming all around close to the boat. It was magical to see them by the light of a full moon and a really special moment. Early this morning Laura and Ems saw another pod of these beautiful whales with their big stubby noses swimming past Doris. We also watched a group of masked boobies and frigate birds catching their breakfast. We have had the most beautiful couple of nights rowing under a clear sky with the horizon lit up by a huge bright moon. Sadly there was no sign of an eclipse over here and we think it must have been over before our night time.