Leg 3, Day 24 – Ocean rowing is not that easy!!

Meg Dyos By

Day 24 – ocean rowing is not that easy!!

I’d hate to state the obvious, but really, ocean rowing is not that easy! It’s not like I joined the crew expecting top tanning and weight loss without any challenges, but it’s week 4, and the honeymoon period of experiencing newness is most certainly over for me and crossing the Pacific has become normality. This is not to say that I’m not having the time of my life, and at risk of sounding like a wimp member of the Coxless crew and aware that my mere 3 and a bit weeks in comparison to the other girls 8 months at sea, I shall elaborate…

Is it strange to say that the rowing part of ocean rowing is actually the easiest part of the experience? Being on the oars is the place where your mind can drift away, it’s where you have space, it’s the seat that you’ll see the wildlife from (still yet to see any), it’s the spot where you’ll have that moment of realisation of where we are, and what we are doing, and it is the position that will get you that tan! However, being on the oars is also where you are most subjected to the splashing, the soakings of salt water on those salt sores, and you remain the victim of a flying fish attack, as well as it being the place that you must remain awake throughout the night.

So the above, is where 12 hours of our day is spent. Where do we spend the other 12? We climb through the human sized cat flap into a sweat festival. This festival allows only 2 to enter it at any one time. Upon entry, there is a process of drying and de-salting as much as possible, applying talc and sudocreme and then jobs. Jobs ranging from downloading emails, blog writing, making water, making food and then getting a few winks before heading back out for another 2 hours.

So there we are. That’s our routine, and it is this that I am struggling with the most. The monotony of everything being controlled by a 2 hour window. This window of time is regimented to the minute and when we say 2 hours on, 2 hours off – that is it – there is no excuse of ‘being stuck in traffic’, and there is no shortened shift for a dentist appointment! Thus 7 days a week and 24 hours a day we complete this routine. In normal life you might guess that my life is not governed by routine. In fact one of the only routines I have is cleaning my teeth, and that’s one that I’m struggling to maintain out here, most of the time not entirely sure whether it’s morning or evening, breakfast or supper time!

Encapsulated within this 2 hour time pattern is also sleep. Ahhh sleep I do miss you! I know in my first blog I said how I loved napping so sleeping on Doris is great. I still stand that napping is brilliant – however it’s much nicer when it is on top of a nights sleep. The horrid alarm bleeping sound that goes off at night time and causes a wake up that makes you feel like you have been hit with a sledge hammer, and the amounts of time that I have woken up and it’s a surprise that I’m on a boat in the Pacific!! Then there is the wet weather gear that we put on at night, and if it’s been splashy, putting it all on wet. Who’d have thought as a Pisces and a massive lover of water I would have become scared of being hit with any nighttime splashes! As Ems keeps reminding me – ‘if you take up water sports then expect to get wet’ – wise words from a fellow hater of the splashes!

I did have one new experience this week, that of the para-anchor. What a truly incredible piece of equipment! It was so exciting learning how it all works, and then seeing it do its business. The girls had told me not to be so excited about the para-anchor as its a very uncomfortable experience. Well I had a fabulous time! All be it a rather sweaty affair, there was a film with LP, whilst munching a twix and then there was the whole night of sleep (for me), absolute bliss!

Update: last night we had an attack of the flying fish – always fun in the dark, and then feeling a flapping fish in the lap. For LP it was the head! We do also appear to be stuck in a current that doesn’t wish us to pass Vanuatu too quickly! Watch this space!

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8 Comments

  1. Simon TY says:

    It is that eight hours sleep. Neptune is getting his revenge.

    Their must be phases of mood in the journey. A start of enthusiasm. Followed by exhaustion at the new routine a week later. Then encouragement at the miles being covered, at first apparently so easily. Then exhaustion again, but still fresh enough to fight through it. Then just tedious, repetitive sleep deprived exhaustion. I am not sure Keith would put it in exactly those terms !!!

    Anyhow, on the map your progress still looks amazing. You have the passing of Port Apia to look forward to ( ? Next week) and then the miles will count down so much more easily…….

    Stick with it Meg. You are all being amazingly heroic. I am so senile I can hardly remember nine months ago. Our news ? British jets start bombing Syria. Oscar Pistorius has had his manslaughter conviction overturned…..and is now guilty of murder. Masterchef is firmly underway. It might also please you to hear that Novemebr was the dullest month ever recorded. There were only 18 hrs of sunshine all month, and on 17 days the sun never appeared at all. Not even once. So yr suntan is better than ours.

    Xxx Simon Ty

  2. JG says:

    Interesting blogpost Meg. Amongst other things I have often wondered about para anchors. It seems that most serious sailors never put to sea without one. Do you attach it to stern or bow? Does the line stretch to take up shocks and do you tune the length of line to the wave pattern? The 2 hour routine is a good time-passer. Without it I think the time would drag. I think there is more routine in our lives than we are fully aware of. Humans are natural creatures of habit and that’s what a routine is in my opinion.

    Drinker – ” My wife made me into a millionaire you know”
    Barman – “Oh really! What were you before?”
    Drinker – “A multi-millionaire”

    Keep safe The Crew. Fingers crossed for you on the weather front.

  3. Jim Andrews says:

    Good blog Meg and well done for your mega kip! We are polar opposites because I thrive on routine, not in a an OCD way but I like to be well organised. I guess a military career has made me a bit of an anally retentive clock watcher. I hate to be late for anything. I still couldn’t endure your current routine though! The two hours on the oars sounds marginally better than trying to squeeze your many duties/activities into your two hours “downtime?”. All this, while you are wet cold (or too hot) and extremely tired. Your fellow crew members are gladiators having endured over 7000 miles of what you are now going through, that is not taking anything away from you Lizanne and Izzy. You are all, brave beyond comprehension and on that note, you come in for some extra kudos because, to take this on, with no rowing experience!!!!! Lets hope your progress gets back on track once past Vanuatu. Stay safe. XX

  4. Well done Meg. I like your good sense of humour. Remember you asking Lizanne what happens when you go over the equator, does it go boink ……. like over a speed bump. I can almost hear you talk. Glad you could get a good night’s sleep , courtesy of the para-anchor
    Keep hanging in there. We hope you will get out of the unfavourable currents soon and get the ones that will propel you in the direction of Cairns
    Keep safe and have a good timexxx

  5. pete mewton says:

    Sounds like Megs having fun! Not clear on what is the para-anchor? And dont kamakasi flying fish count as wildlife? Hang on to your sense of humour in the salty adversity. Keep having fun and experiences. Row on!

  6. Hi Meg, so much time has passed since I met you in the summer. I thought you would burst with anticipation at your future adventure… and now its happening. I remember your main concern when we met was writing your blogs. Well you no longer have to worry they are brilliant! Loving each one. Keep rowing and keep safe to all of you amazing stuff be proud most of all. Good night from Margate. XXXX

  7. Michael says:

    Another great blog Meg.
    All that multi-tasking wore you out!
    xx MB

    For those of you who are interested in the para anchor – the link below should be quite useful:

    http://www.sailboat-cruising.com/parachute-sea-anchor.html

  8. Barry says:

    Another great blog Meg keep going you’re more than 60% through 3rd leg and every pull on those oars is another closer to completing the team goal that will change your lives for ever 🙂

    I’m there with you all in spirit and on gonging moral support for you all is rowing a 5k on the Concept 2 rower each time I go to the gym !

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