Day 24 – Claw Hand, Wet Socks & More Lessons Learned

Emma Mitchell By

Day 24 – Claw Hand, Wet Socks & More Lessons Learned

Last night we put a line out and let Doris drift along as she was holding a good course over ground and the waves were a little large for night rowing. Izzy and I were in the aft cabin whilst Nat and Laura were in the fore cabin. It was nice to get a little more sleep than usual although in the aft cabin we still had the alarm every 2 hours so that we could check our course and speed. However this did mean that every 2 hours we had the chance to stretch a bit and move our hands. Even so I woke at 5.30am with a swollen right hand with fingers unable to bend properly and no grip strength. Izz was the same but with both hands. We have named this phenomenon ‘claw hand’ and it has been happening more and more recently as we spend more hours rowing. Luckily after a session of tendon gliding whilst waiting for it to get light we both regained enough movement to go out, get the line in and start rowing again. It’s been another day purely of right arm rowing with some terrifyingly large swell and a lot of crashing waves. Back to permanently wet socks.  However we have been holding a good westerly course and Tony’s weather forecast this morning is promising showing the wind speed dying down over the next few days and then turning North East! We’re looking forward to that.

I am going to finish this blog with a few important things that we have learned over the last few days:
1) Always put the hood of your wet weather jacket up when there are big waves even if the sun is out and you start to overheat. Failure to do so is guaranteed to result in a huge splash to the head causing a cold head and water to run down the neck and most importantly salty hair is even more difficult to get a brush through than windswept hair.
2) If two rowers are on the oars and one of those rowers are Nat then the majority of the big waves will break over Nat leaving the other rower safe and dry. Equally if Nat isn’t on the oars then the one getting wet is likely to be me.
3) When using the bucket facilities ensure that the surrounding area is clear of items which may fall into the bucket at an inopportune time.
4) No matter how wet and cold you are getting on the oars happiness can always be achieved by singing at the top of your voice to cheesy music on the speakers. Whitney, Backstreet Boys and Bewitched all made an appearance yesterday!
5) I hate to admit this as it is another example of how Tony is always right but don’t package mints that smell like deep heat (in fact just don’t buy these as they are basically inedible) or teriyaki beef jerky in zip locks into snack packs. Deep heat and beef jerky infused chocolate and dried mango just doesn’t do it for me. We made up some new snack packs in Santa Barbara and have been mainly eating them and thus avoiding the problem but are now back onto the contaminated ones.
6) A dry bum is a happy bum. Now that we are back to permanent sogginess the angry bums are making a reappearance for some people.



  1. pat mitchell says:

    Have a safe nite. We must be on really different times I am heading to bed. I say a prayer nightly for all of you for a safe trip. VIRGINIA,USA.

  2. Robert says:

    Row as a pair with 2 hands on the handle of your 1 sweep oar & you won’t stress your hands & get “claw hand”. Unlike a normal pair you have riggers on both sides of each station, so you can both pull on one side if you feel the need. However you should be rowing down wind +- 37 degrees & you will still arrive in Hawaii & a lot faster. C’mon Emma change to 6 hour watches & get some sleep so your brain kicks into gear & put some deep thought into your situation …

  3. Jim Andrews says:

    Oh dear, not getting easier is it. Claw hand doesn’t sound nice. Salty hair, angry bum etc, etc yet the sense of humour still shines through. My admiration grows daily as your remaining journey grows shorter and shorter. XX

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