Rowing Across the Atlantic
Atlanic Caper Track (Open with Google Earth.) Each number represents a day's travel, about 50 miles.
Day 1: Nov 7, 2002
Departure, 7:00 am
We rose at six am. Doug showed up at 6:30. Sam was late, and I had walk to his Pension to wake him up. Seems he didn't travel with an alarm clock. Our friends - Doug and Anita, Barbara and Peter, and John and Christine, and finally Sam - gathered around to wish us good luck and farewell.
Doug and Anita on the morning of our departure
At seven am Jenny and I untied the dock lines and fenders, stowed them in the forepeak. That done, we pulled out of the slip and started rowing out of the marina. As usual, Jenny rowed while I steered, facing forward to get out of the confines of the marina. We reached the open bay just minutes after the ferry.
Our friends walked to the end of the jetty, and stood waving goodbye. We were very glad to have their company to see us off. It was very special.
The morning was calm. We rowed slowly out of the bay and into the open ocean, heading due south. The sea was a bit choppy, with waves coming on the beam. This made the boat roll wildly and made the rowing more difficult, at least for us greenhorns. I rowed for the first hour, and at the end of my stint, the island of Gomera was still smack behind us. Surprisingly it would remain in sight the entire day.
We were extremely glad to be setting off. It was great to have these three weeks of working the boat behind us. We had worked from dawn to dusk, virtually without let up, save for the once or twice daily runs into the ferreterias. Many times the neighbors had expressed their amazement at how hard we had worked. Jenny: It made us realize that we had the proper mindset for ocean rowing. We were not afraid of long, hard hours. And we were not reluctant to focus on difficult projects.
Throughout the day we had frequent visits from shearwaters and storm petrels. We kept strict, one-hour turns at the oars. A decided counter current kept our speed to a snail's crawl. But the seas were reasonably calm and the wind absent. this made a nice and gentle start to our journey.
By the end of the second hour of rowing, we both had blistered hands. I was queasy and Jenny was seasick.
We rowed throughout the night; and what a gorgeous night it was. The moon waxed crescent and the phosphorescence was magnificent. Each stroke of the oars produced a dazzling sweep of greenish pinpricks of light. Our speed seemed ridiculously slow, and it seemd like we were in a counter current. We did not feel like eating, due to queasiness. We ate almost nothing that day.
Note: In winter, the Canary Islands are on the GMT time zone. We set off from San Sebastian at 7am, so that time of day became our mark for the daily run. So each day thereafter, at 7am GMT we would note our position. Therefore, the 36.9 miles shown below, was our distance traveled in the first 24 hours - from 7am to 7am. Throughout the voyage, we would use local time, but for the daily run measurements, we would use GMT. This was a simple matter of listening for the alarm of the GPS. When the alarm sounded at 7am, we would make a note of our position, as shown on the GPS.
36.9 miles today
27°34.154'N, 17°15.108'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 2: Nov 8
Early in the morning we watched dolphins leaping out of the water. One leapt about six feet high, about twenty yards behind the boat. Mid-morning we caught sight of a container ship steaming north, headed right at us. We got on the VHF radio and tried to call. There was no reply, but I think he heard us because he changed his course a little. The ship passed us a comfortable distance astern. this brought to mind Doug Carroll, who kept suggesting we take a hand-held VHF Radio, and Bert Coalson, who gave us one. What a blessing.
We were seeing many sea birds, mostly storm petrels and shearwaters.
The sea was flat, mostly. No clouds. Jenny jumped into the ocean to cool off. I took a sponge bath. We are still not eating very much. The night passed slowly, and after the moon set, the night was pitch dark, so dark we could not see the oar blades, but had to row by feel.
We watched a masthead light pass us slowly by, between us and Hierro Island. Our first waypoint was the one keeping us 20-25 miles away from Hierro to avoid the worst of the counter-currents. During the night the sea became very lumpy, so we added more ballast by filling empty jugs with sea water. This made the boat much more steady, and it felt more sea-kingly.
To keep our minds occupied, we talked about future boat names. and here in the narrative might be a good place to describe the name of our present boat.
We had bought the boat for £12,000 from Andy Chapple, who had built her, and named her "Comship.com" after his main sponsor. That name wouldn't work for us, so we renamed the boat "Atlantic Caper." The "Caper" part is a word that we got from reading the book "Britannia: Rowing Alone Across the Atlantic," by John Fairfax. John had used the word "Caper" a few times in his typical British slang, to mean "a capricious escapade of somewhat questionable intent." I had liked the "capricious escapade" part, and thought it reflected back to John, the first person to row across the Atlantic. So "Atlantic Caper" it became.
ORS Boats Sold
ORS John Fairfax
Britannia - Rowing Alone Across Atlantic
In the last 24 hours we have been rowing in one-hour shifts. Yesterday we had slight headwinds and during the night there were counter-currents. We thought we were going slowly, but our 24-hour run proved a good one.
51.2 miles today
27°06.881'N, 17°54.601'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 3: Nov 9
We Had a bumpy ride during the night, but today was wonderful. We wouldn't rather be anywhere else. It's a great trip so far.
We cooked our first meal of the trip: potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes, with a spoonful of packaged tomato seasoning. We watched a sailboat tacking east.
The conditions were boisterous, with 18 to 20 knots of wind from the northeast. The sea became lumpy with a 6-foot swell. Our speed was between 2.9 to 3.0 knots throughout most of the day.
During the night the wind died but the sea remained very lumpy. Rowing was difficult and our progress slowed. We were beginning to feel deeply fatigued, so we took a two-hour break, sleeping together in the aft cabin from 10pm to midnight.
42.5 miles today
26°44.219'N, 18°27.254'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 4: Nov 10
In the morning the wind was 12 to 15 knots northwest, on the beam. The going was difficult because of the rolling, with large waves constantly hammering us on the beam. The weather seems to come at us in 10 hour blocks. One block is the 20-knot northwesterly, the other block is a 20-knot north-northeasterly with periods of calm and lumpy seas between the two blocks. And always we have a 7-knot southerly set to contend with. This requires us to steer on average 25 degrees north of our waypoint bearing, which is 248 degrees.
The afternoon calmed. I washed my clothes using fresh water from the water-maker. We have plenty of water yet we rarely use the water-maker. The capacity far exceeds our needs, which is a good thing. Except that the solar panels are heavy and mounted on the aft cabin roof, where they detract from stability. The abundant fresh water is luxurious, something we have not experienced on any ocean trip.
We had a few hours of wild, almost downwind, going in the afternoon. The Fun Meter registered the occasional 3.2 down the face of the waves. Just after dark the wind calmed again. With all the wind changes, the sea never stabilizes. It is always chaotic. But it is good for learning to row. Jenny had just finished her hour of rowing from 9 to 10 pm. I had just sat down to row and had been rowing about 10 minutes. The wind began to pipe up rapidly from the northwest. We knew a weak cold front was due to pass someday soon, and the thick, streaky cirrus clouds we had seen all afternoon indicated this might be it.
This would drive us well south in very rough conditions, so we decided to deploy our home-made series drogue anchor. We secured the 2-part bridle to the boat, streamed the drogue out behind us, and it promptly wrapped around the rudder. So I stood in the aft hatch and worked fervently to clear it. We were lying beam on and our drift was not more than one knot so there was very little strain on the drogue. We pulled it all back in to the foot-well and Jenny unshipped the oars, took up the rowing station and pulled us around stern to the wind.
I deployed the drogue again and it went streaming beautifully aft. There was very little strain on it because the boat is small and the wind was only 20 to 25 knots. A child could have pulled the drogue in. But it held the stern to weather perfectly.
Last night the wind and waves prevented us from rowing because we couldn't manage to keep both oars in the water, so threw out the series drogue. The bad news is the rope caught on the rudder, so had to retrieve the drogue and free the rope in the dark, and then carefully let out the drogue again for 5 hours.
We are tired but rowing again an hour on and an hour off.
We tied the navigation light to the top of the GPS antenna and then retired into the cabin, hoping to get some much needed sleep. Problem was, the boat was rolling violently. This told me we had too much ballast. Rather than roll gently one way then the other, the boat would snap one way, then back the other way.
I lay on the aft bunk with my head to the stern so that the narrow confines of the stern would keep me from rattling around so much. After about an hour and half we went to sleep, not realizing that the blow had let up, which had increased the comfort factor that enabled us to go to sleep.
28.9 miles today
26°29.152'N, 18°49.664'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 5: Nov 11
At 5:00 am I awoke to some strange sounds. I jumped up, looked out the aft hatch and saw that the drogue was hanging almost straight down. We both got up, retrieved the drogue and flaked it on the foredeck to dry. It smelled fishy. Then in nice conditions I took the next stint of rowing.
Mid-morning I called my parents to give our daily position. My father answered the phone. It was 3:30 am his time. We had a good half-hour talk about our trip.
Changeable weather throughout the day. Lots of clouds. we found that the water-maker worked even under a thin cloud cover. We dumped out three more 8-liter bottles of sea water and the boat seemed to move a little better. The boat overall still seems sluggish, probably too much ballast yet.
In the afternoon the sky became full of high cirrus. We knew from the weather forecasts we had seen in La Gomera that a cold front was due to pass by tomorrow. According to Doug, we would get lots of clouds and probably some north wind. The night remained cloudy and much warmer than the previous nights.
Health report: We were a bit seasick the first two days so we didn't eat much. Jenny made vegetable stew yesterday. Learning to drink a hot cup of liquid in high seas with the wind swirling around, boat going every which way, is a challenge.
We had seen lots of dolphins the first two days but no fish so far. Lots of petrels and others not interested in the boat.
Water-maker powered by solar cells is working great. We have more water than needed. Could fill a bath tub.
Seem to have more energy since eating corn pasta for dinner. Have one melon and a bucket of fruit remaining.
Beautiful night, beautiful day. Looking forward to favorable currents.
42.2 miles today
26°09.676'N, 19°24.272'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 6: Nov 12
I called my parents again with our position, and talked to both Mom and Dad this time.
We've been frustrated with our speed and our daily mileage. We're doing good to get 2 knots of speed. We dumped the last of the sea water ballast. We still have the equivalent of 150 liters of fresh water and canned food. But we just can't seem to get the boat moving well.
I suspected there might be some growth on the bottom, so I put on my snorkeling gear and jumped overboard with a 5-inch square of carpet. I found a think layer of algae, slime and thousands of infant barnacles in the hull. Both the barnacles and algae came off with a soft scrub. I used the rough backside of a piece of carpet. It took about twenty minutes to work all the way around the hull. The water is incredibly clear, but I did not see any fish.
Still there was no great improvement in rowing speed. Obviously, one must keep the boat light, stroke long and hard, and hope for a push from the wind and current. In the afternoon the swell grew in size from astern, and we had fun watching the Fun-Meter hit 3. And short bursts up to 3.2. That is a brisk walking speed, and that is the boat's surfing speed.
I had just finished my hour at six pm and was getting off the seat when it squirted out from under me. It sent me crashing down hard. My back hit one of the slider uprights which has a sharp metal edge. I heard and felt something break, and was shot through with pain. Jenny rushed to my aid and I told her I just broke a rib. She said, no, everything is alright. It was good to be reminded to keep cool.
I couldn't move. Jenny told me to take deep breaths. That seemed to help. After about 10 minutes she was able to help me up and into the cockpit. I was reluctant to crawl into the cabin for fear of seizing up and not being able to get back out. I sat in the cockpit while Jenny rowed, then I wanted my turn. With a great deal of effort she helped me into the blasted rowing seat and sat behind me, supporting my body. Taking up the oars I found I could pull with the left but not with the right. This hit me pretty hard, psychologically. Not the pain, but just the idea that I could no longer row.
After trying unsuccessfully a number of ways, I retired dejectedly into the cabin and found I could hardly tolerate the pain of even lying down. Jenny did most of the rowing that night, with me doing a couple of one-hour stints of weak, one-handed rowing but otherwise just steering the boat downwind. But at least it was progress in the right direction.
Another reason I sat in the cockpit was that it was difficult being in the cabin together. We were not used to this and we felt a lot more vulnerable that way, with no one outside to tend to things and keep watch. But mostly the pain of Jenny banging me constantly with the boat's motion was too much. Lying still was not possible in these sloppy waves.
Throughout the night I took aspirin to relieve the pain. It was a most uncomfortable night for both of us. And frustrating for me, as Jenny tried her best to row and I wasn't able to help much.
Temperature at noon: 80°F
29.4 miles today
25°56.922'N, 19°48.895'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 7: Nov 13
Sailboat spotted in area. Fixing rowing seat.
47.3 miles today
25°32.843'N, 20°25.884'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 8: Nov 14
We've gotten some rain and clouds, however the water maker is working fine even in cloudy weather. The wind blew a gale, in fact for about an hour they experienced a real squall. My dad asked about "salt water boils," we said they were experiencing some. Their foam seats are always wet. However they have plenty of baby powder and lotions etc. So no problem.
I had a solution to the problem of falling off the rowing seat when the ocean is wild, but haven't had time to make the adjustments.
Jenny was about to cook some baby food for breakfast. We wanted oatmeal but stores didn't have it. She said she's learning not to fight the ocean but to work with it.
21.2 miles today
25°16.207'N, 20°34.754'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 9: Nov 15
We are in a storm and unable to use the oars. We are drifting SE at a little less than a knot.
We are experiencing big waves up to 30 feet. All we can do is ride it out. We're being blown to the south.
We had enough fresh water today to take showers and do laundry.
23.0 miles today
24°57.171'N, 20°42.187'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 10: Nov 16
Finally we had better rowing conditions today. At 4 am we finally unstowed the oars and started rowing. The wind had begun to veer towards the east a bit.
From 10 pm, 2 days ago, and straight through for 30 hours until 4 am this morning, we laid a-hull, drifting in the storm, and being battered by big waves. We had thought the cold front had passed several days ago, but this 30 hours of north-northwesterly wind and heavy cloud cover with squalls was definitely the major front.
The cabin was terribly cramped for this 30 hours. During the day we would sometimes sit outside, but the motion was too violent to sit there comfortably. We debated about putting out the sea anchor, but decided the boat was doing fine, just drifting at 1 knot.
Unable to rest, and with nothing else to do I made a new foot steering plate out of plywood. Working on it was quite the feat in these rough conditions.
We had tried, early on, to get a hold of Doug Carroll back in La Gomera for a weather update. I finally reached him about three pm on Sunday. Doug said it looked like another 24 hours of the same conditions and then easing.
Jenny spilled her bottle of almond skin oil spilled open. Probably half a cup soaked into the aft cabin pad.
The day before the 30 hour blow, we were rowing in a northwest wind, blowing at 20 knots. The boat was pinned sideways to the wind so we were beam-on the wind and seas. But the boat tended to hold bow away, just a little bit. The sea was very rough and this is when we figured out that we could safely lie a-hull without the sea anchor because this is basically what we were doing while rowing, as long as there were no large, breaking seas.
50.2 miles today
24°32.390'N, 21°21.685'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 11: Nov 17
Last night we had very squally conditions but the wind veered around to the northeast, favorably astern. We rowed along at three-plus miles an hour all night. Lots of rain squalls passing through. We wore rain jackets and shell pants. Because of the recent switch in wind direction, the seas were quite lumpy. I rowed a couple extra hours to give Jenny more rest.
We rowed through the night, as usual. Lot of clouds during the day, no rain. The wind continues at northeast 12-15 knots favorably astern.
A pilot fish about 4-5 inches long escorts us. I saw a school of flying fish, about 5 to 6 inches long, formation flying upwind slowly.
63.6 miles today
24°05.136'N, 22°14.378'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 12: Nov 18
Strong northwest wind with lots of rain squalls all through the night. We continued our one-hour-on, one-hour-off routine. Although we have tried 2 hours rowing a few times, we found it too tiring, and more painful on the bum.
Mid-morning Jenny decided to go overboard to scrub the boat's bottom. The young barnacles had started growing again, although they were not as numerous as last week. It was tiring work, mostly because the boat was dancing and jumping around in the lumpy seas. It took about 15 minutes to work around the entire hull. The sun came out between large, dark rain-laden clouds. Usually the wind dropped between squalls and this made the rowing more tedious because the seas were quite lumpy.
We are feeling better about our progress, 50s and 60s the last 2 days. My back and rib are still painful. We haven't seen any other boats for over a week and no airplanes. But we have seen lots of flotsam: a glass ball fishing float, a yellow oil drum, plenty of plastic bottles, a piece of plywood and other junk.
Good NE winds 15-20 knots making for good progress. The night was much the same, but with several rain squalls. Have seen no other boats or airplanes for one week, although we did see a yellow oil drum and glass fishing float. We now have a five foot pilot fish escorting us.
We would like to congratulation Stein Hoff on the completion of his voyage. And we would also like to convey our best wishes to Fedor. That's all for now."
More updates as circumstances allow.
55.5 miles today
23°42.193'N, 23°00.703'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 13: Nov 19
The conditions are about the same as the last two days. We make good progress when the wind pipes up with the passing squalls, then to so good progress as we wallow in the voids between the squalls. We are both feeling tired of this routine of row, sleep, what's to eat; but we realize this is the way it is going to be for many more weeks to come.
Discipline is important and we our best to take our row at precisely the top of the hour. This is especially hard for me because I don't sleep well, because of the pain caused by the broken rib.
We are progressing really well lately, but the sea state has proven very challenging, testing both the boat and our own abilities. We have experienced a wide variety of sea and wind conditions since Day 1, with sometimes huge waves, and winds up to 35 knots. On average, waves have been between 8 and 10 feet, and winds around 20 knots.
For the past several days, winds have been out of the NE, which is a tailwind allowing for a much-appreciated extra shove. The boat is heavy and very slow to row in the absence of a beneficial wind. Without the wind advantage, the boat's top speed is about half that of a normal walking pace. And the Atlantic is a BIG ocean! There is an analogy between what they are doing and a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike, for example.
They are indeed rowing around the clock, 24 hours a day, and they accomplish this by rowing individually in one hour shifts. Changing positions takes about a minute to accomplish.
I pointed out that this adventure is not a race; we are pushing ourselves simply because we find it rewarding.
64.9 miles today
23°14.185'N, 23°54.042'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 14: Nov 20
It was less squally throughout the night. In fact, we got rained on once. Early in the evening a porpoise came by, but it did not stay long. There was still a lot of cloud cover obscuring the full moon, but the night was wonderfully lit. With the passing of each cloud we would get a nice push by the cloud dump. And so by 7 am we had our best DR ever: 64.9 miles.
Gradually the wind died through the day and we could barely average 3 mph. But the weather seems much more settled with the steady northeast tradewind at 10 to 12 knots, and the cloud is small cumulus.
Early in the morning, about 5 am, I wanted to take an hour off, but Jenny said no, let's row. We find no rest when we are in the cabin together, and as much as we would love an extra hour of sleep at that time of the day, it just makes us more tired and cramped.
We waver between the monotony of this life: Row-Sleep-What's to Eat, and the adventure of it. We watch for fish, birds, other boats, but mostly our world is reduced to the blue horizon 360 degrees, and our immediate basic needs: row, eat, sleep.
We have gained a tremendous amount of confidence in the boat in these two weeks. She can handle quite easily some pretty awesome seas, swell, and wind. It puts our minds at ease, knowing that she is quite seaworthy.
We have reached another milestone in our journey with the conclusion of the second week of rowing. We are starting to adjust to our "little spaceship on the big galaxy of ocean." It's quite a nice feeling.
Regarding our sleep patterns while at sea, We are each adhering to one hour rowing shifts, with the following hour off for resting, sleeping, etc. So one of us is always rowing while the other is on break. And we make a point to begin rowing on the hour, every hour.
Occasionally, the break is extended beyond the hour, either by accident or because the person sleeping has not had the stamina to begin rowing again. Typically this would occur at night, and might result in a couple of extra, uninterrupted hours of sleep.
In general though, we cannot sleep for more than an hour, because the pattern has taken hold, and we wake up automatically at hour's end, ready to row again.
Admittedly it is probably not a good idea to break up one's sleep as such on a regular basis, at least Physiologically. During one of this morning's rowing shifts, I noted that the horizon appeared to be canted 5 degrees, sloping upward toward the right. It remained that way for the full hour. I recognized this sort of distortion syndrome from previous trips, so wasn't alarmed.
We sleep both day and night, usually for 30 minutes or so during daylight hours, with the balance occurring at night. In total, they are going to sleep 12 times a day, which I admit is a bit strange, but works well, because we are relatively inexperienced and do not have the stamina to row efficiently for much longer than an hour at a time.
63.8 miles today
22°46.657'N, 24°46.305'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 15: Nov 21
We have had good tradewinds, but with lots of rain squalls. We get a magnificent push from the cloud dumps, but the constant drenchings become wearisome. Fortunately, our rain jackets and shell pants dry quickly after the passing each dark cloud. The heaviest squalls are always at night. But because of the squalls and constant tradewind and some favorable current, we've been able to go 60 plus miles per day. This had indeed raised our spirits immeasurably. In fact, for the last 8 days we've been over 50 per day.
61.2 miles today
22°20.453'N, 25°36.368'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 16: Nov 22
Conditions still about the same, but hardly any rain. In fact, just one little bit of drizzle, although the clouds are no less thick and heavy. We have just been spared the rain. We see it falling to the north of us, or to the south of us, or in front of us, or behind us, but we stay dry.
Since Day One we have heard, every now and then, a low rumbling motor sound. At first I though it was the power generators from the Canary Islands. But now, nearly 1000 miles from land, we still hear it. Submarines? Atlantis? I suspect it is a vibrating harmonic coming off the boat in a certain amount of wind.
We continue to make excellent progress, mainly because of a favorable NE wind. On whole, conditions are good, although we are having quite a bit of rain, especially at night; and now that we've entered the tropics, the rain seems to be heavier. However, it is not particularly cold, and because of the wind we dry fairly quickly once the rain relents.
Following one particular storm, we found that half an inch of rainwater had collected in the rowing footwell. And once or twice a heavy rain has persuaded us to hole up in the cabin and wait it out. But most of the time we're better off simply rowing through the weather, in order to maintain our westerly progress.
Very beautiful out here. We are having a wonderful adventure.
60.7 miles today
21°51.362'N, 26°23.854'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 17: Nov 23
During the night we are getting more and more flying fish landing on the boat. It started with little 1-inch fish, but last night a nice 8-inch fish landed near the rowing station. I finally got him back overboard after much flopping about with scales sticking to the deck.
We received nice text messages from our friends back at Skydive Arizona: Astrid, Gabe, Betsy, Gordo, Johnny Eagle, and Chris and Ray, who sent us a couple of rowing tips: 1) Try to row in a straight line, and 2) Don't sleep while rowing. We also received a text message from Brett.
We ate our last fresh orange and apple today. All that is left for fresh in one lemon.
Today we had winds off of stern about 30 degrees, coming in more on our starboard quarter. This persisted throughout the day and night, slowing us down a little . We like to have that wind on the stern. Nonetheless, all is well.
Thanks to all of our skydiving friends who have sent text messages, including Astrid, Gabe, Betsy, Gordo, Johnny Eagle, Chris and Ray, and Brett. Special thanks to Chris and Ray for their helpful suggestion, which was, "Try to row in a straight line."
62.3 miles today
21°26.015'N, 27°15.256'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 18: Nov 24
During the day we had 10-12 knots of wind on the starboard quarter, making for lumpy seas and slow going. Lots of cloud cover during the day and the night .
During the night the wind was from the NE, 15-20 dead on stern. And so we sped along until about 5 am, when we reached the day's 60 mile point, so we both went to bed and slept for 2 hours.
We have had some flying fish landing in the boat, mostly small ones of an inch or less in length, but there was one eight inch fish, which I scooped into my hands and returned to the sea.
We witnessed some beautiful moonbows during the night. With so much cloud cover lately, we'veseen just brief, heartening glimpses of the recent Leonid meteor shower.
61.3 miles today
20°59.824'N, 28°05.009'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 19: Nov 25
I went overboard to scrub the bottom. After climbing out and bathing, I noticed a tanker headed south, toward us. We diverted and he went about three-quarters of a mile away from us. We tried calling on the VHF radio, but we had no luck raising anyone on board the tanker.
We received another rowing tip from Chris and Ray: Don't try to pet the sharks.
Lumpy conditions yesterday due to the wind switching direction back and forth a few times. Made for some difficult rowing, because the water isn't always where we'd like it to be, under the boat. Also the water maker is sucking air when the seas are rough, but we have a system that removes that air, so it's not a problem. Although, during the night we had about 2 hours that were so rough that we couldn't row at all. We were being pitched right off our rowing seats, which has actually happened to us a few times throughout the trip. So we had to just sit there and steer. But other than that 2 hour period, we've had very good rowing, with a favorable wind, so were able to make our miles.
We continue to have cloud cover, which is quite nice because it keeps us cool. Every now and then we get a hole in the sky, and the sun glares down at us, offering a hint of what to expect whenever it finally comes out full force - it's going to be hot! We do have an ocean to jump into, to cool off once in a while.
While I was rowing last night, had a flying fish smack me in the arm. Didn't get a look at it, but must have been of a pretty good size. It fell down onto the rowing deck, and moved itself through the scupper and was gone. The confrontation wasn't startling; it's just one of those humorous asides that happen out here. Good thing it got out, because otherwise it might have landed on the dinner table next morning: all our fresh food is gone. We do have plenty of corn pasta, however.
60.8 miles today
20°34.350'N, 28°54.514'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 20: Nov 26
It was a day of light and variable winds, punctuated with rain and sudden squalls from time to time, and cloud cover that has been constant and heavy. Ultimately , though, the tailwind was sufficient for us to make good mileage.
As of this morning, we are about 80 miles from our waypoint destination of 20°N, 30°W. At that point we'll change course slightly and head directly for Barbados. So part of today's excitement lay in getting ever closer to an imaginary point in the vast expanse of sea.
We do just as much rowing at night as during the day. This is because darkness is about the same length of time as daylight. And sometimes it's so dark that we can see neither the waves nor our oars, even though the oar blades are white. Our visual sense is much reduced, and so we compensate, rowing instead by feel and by listening to the approaching waves. And when conditions permit, usually at night, we listen to our mini-disc containing books-on-tape and also music. One of the selections we recently enjoyed was "The Hobbit," among my favorite stories.
55.6 miles today
20°13.087'N, 29°40.761'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 21: Nov 27
More rain squalls. Somehow, I always seems to take the brunt of these rain squalls; they hit the hardest while I am rowing. We have both grown quite weary of the rain. To make things worse, the sea has become so lumpy that we could no longer row without danger of serious injury from the oar handle which becomes like a battering ram when the swell overpowers the rower.
We tried our best to row in the wild conditions, but finally on November 27 we shipped the oars and sat steering only and found to our delight that we could still go from 2 to 3 mph just being blown and riding in the current.
And so for the last 48 hours we have not rowed! I call it the Rower's Secret. Imagine if we had an autopilot. It takes a lot of effort, a heavy hand, and concentration to stay on course. An autopilot would relieve us of that.
52.0 miles today
20°03.000'N, 30°27.604'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 22: Nov 28
The tradewinds seem to have really kicked in, and the swell has also. We took a major splash in through the aft hatch, drenching the bunk pad. We took the yellow cover off and rinsed it in fresh water. It is very slow to dry, however, because we are constantly getting splashed. In fact, not long after the giant splash through the aft hatch, we began taking major splashes in through the main hatch. But we do not want to close it. We need the ventilation and we like the small bit of propulsion the raised hatch provides. So we have just gotten used to the occasional drenchings. They usually happen when a tremendous swell towers up behind us and breaks on the stern. It is really a sight to behold and a real adrenaline rush, with the seething froth and the burst of speed as Caper surfs madly along. The spray is mostly air anyway, but still it is always a shock when it hits.
Today we reached our waypoint of 20 degrees north and 30 degrees west. from here we head due west to Barbados. And from here we should be getting more and more in to the steady tradewind conditions. We presently have a 15 to 20 knot tailwind, but the sea is quite confused, especially with so many days of squally weather.
Squally conditions continue, with heaps of rain. Very wet out here, but not considerably cold, so we dry quickly when it does relent.
Seas have continued to be rather moily, due to shifting winds. Even a 20 degree change in wind direction creates very lumpy conditions, making for challenging rowing. But judging by the cirrus cloud behavior in the last few hours, a front appears to have passed, or is passing, and with it we are beginning to experience trade winds for the first time on the journey.
Despite the weather, we're having a great time out here. It's a wonderful adventure indeed.
58.6 miles today
19°52.419'N, 31°20.496'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 23: Nov 29
Every three or four days, Jenny or I don snorkling gear and jump in the ocean. The underwater experience out here is very pristine, often with 150 foot visibility. While under, we also attend to a little boat maintenance: scrubbing off the barnacles which are always trying to colonize the surface of the hull. They tend to slow us down by way of friction, due to the increased surface area. We have to scrub the hull every 3 or 4 days, taking turns, one time is Jenny's, the next mine.
On the most recent occasion, I had just finished scrubbing and had climbed back in the boat, when I happened to glance out toward the horizon and suddenly noticed a huge container ship cruising almost straight for us. We hit the oars and frantically rowed in a direction perpendicular to the tanker's course. I tried hailing them on the VHF radio, but received no reply. The boat missed us by 3/4 of a mile. In every likelihood, they never even saw us.
Lots of rain again yesterday, with heavy cloud cover. Seems we are getting more and heavier rain with each passing day.
For the past couple of weeks, we have been hit by a steady procession of squalls that occur every 45 minutes or so. These last typically 5 or 10 minutes - occasionally longer - and often produce a driving rain. Minutes later we may see a patch of blue sky, before the next mini-storm is upon us.
58.3 miles today
19°37.240'N, 32°11.750'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 24: Nov 30
Just before dawn (5am GMT?) another container ship passed us. I saw the ship as two lights to our starboard beam. The lights grew brighter and more distinct and we watched as the dark hull and bright lights passed behind us and away to the south. We could smell diesel exhaust when it got upwind of us.
This morning we had a menagerie of fish alongside Caper. There were at least 3 large trigger fish and at least one medium size (4-feet long) mahi mahi. I would love to have a fresh mahi mahi, especially for a birthday dinner tomorrow.
The ACR rally has started, but of the 500-plus boats in it, we have seen perhaps 10. We hope the bulk of them has passed us by now.
On the morning of November 30 the air was thick from dust, probably a Sahara dust storm. By the end of the day the worst of it had blown west.
jenny went forward to the forepeak and packed all our remaining food in to dry bags. Then she rearranged the bags and other items so that we could keep the forepeak hatch open to catch some wind. Also, I came up with a way to keep the bow going downwind. In order to do this, I had to lash two empty water bottles on to the foredeck, like a weather vane. Now when we steer too high or too low, the boat doesn't go a-beam quite so readily.
Today we had less clouds and no rain.
Our weather has taken a turn for the better. The progression of squalls has ceased, and now we're experiencing a different kind of rain, in the form of a light drizzle. To us, this is a 100% improvement in conditions. Last night, we even had starry skies overhead, which made for some very beautiful rowing .
[ed. note: Ray tried to relate another tale involving the dreaded container ships, but the satellite phone cut out. Until he can reiterate, suffice it to say these ships seem to be the scourge of the tropical Atlantic ocean rower. R&J appear vigilant to the danger, and are using every means available to remain safe.]
60.9 miles today
19°25.508'N, 33°06.392'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 25: Dec 1
We had a fun party this morning. Jenny had pulled out cards and pictures and had cuppas ready when I awoke at 9 am. Then Jenny tried to make an Oreo Pudding Pie but it turned into a bowl of very rich glop.
The conditions are mellowing today. So far we have not had our daily dollop of sea water into the main hatch. The sun is intense when it is out from behind clouds. We now welcome the clouds. The air was still very hazy with dust from the passing dust storm of yesterday. Again today we had less clouds and no rain.
Unfortunately, there has been no sign of fish today. I would like to try putting a lure out. The wind is so steady that we are not doing much rowing. We are happy to just sit in the cockpit and steer.
Just after nightfall a tremendous firehose gusher hit the aft cabin. It hit the open hatch and came pouring into the aft cabin in two large, frightening torrents. Jenny had just come off watch and had settled myself down comfortably with the quilt over me when it happened. How rude! She gasped and sputtered in the shock. I had it just as bad out on the rowing seat. I didn't lose his seat, but I did lose my grip on the oars. They wrenched free of my hands and the force of the water on them actually caused the carbon fiber in one oar (the new one) to fracture.
Jenny was very upset by the soaking. Everything was totally soaked. The cushions, the quilt, all our clothes, everything. For an hour she worked to sop up the water. She was cold and tired by the end of it and the aft cabin cushion was much too wet to sleep on. Now where were we going to sleep?
I let Jenny take another hour to try to sleep. Jenny lay in her wet clothes on the very wet cushions. Over her she placed our shell jackets. They provided just a minute amount of warmth. It was miserable, but she was able to doze.
I came off watch and devised a plan. We pulled the therma-rest pads from the forepeak, rolled one of these out on top of the soggy cushions, and I lay down on it. The second pad I placed over me, like a blanket. I was a human-therma-rest sandwich.
Jenny improved on this arrangement on her next rest by draping the wet quilt over the top of the sandwich. And so throughout the night we slept as best we could in this manner. The seas remained so incredibly tumultuous.
For the last couple of days we've had unruly seas. The winds have been from astern, which is good, but it's kicked up a huge swell, which makes for difficult going. Nonetheless, we are making fairly good progress.
Yesterday we had quite a number of fish swimming and darting around the boat; we counted three or four trigger fish among them. These are beautiful, brilliantly colored fish, and their effect was all the more stunning in the aquamarine water. Also there were some dorado, sometimes known as Mahi Mahi, and Jenny hopes catch one sometime.
Today we had a party. Before the trip, Jenny had stashed away some cards from friends, so this morning we opened the cards, and pictures, and treats. One of the cards was signed by at least 50 of our skydiving friends; opening that was quite a thrill! As was seeing the picture of our friends. Thank you all.
65.4 miles today
19°13.861'N, 34°05.231'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 26: Dec 2
Hosed again! Just as the cabin had started to become livable again, the waves sluiced over the boat and entered the cabin for another awful drenching. It seems to be the breaking swells that hit the stern that dump so much water onto the boat. So now we do not dare open the aft hatch for ventilation, and we rest and sleep uneasily with the main hatch only open by a few inches.
We mopped up again, trying to squeeze the salt water out of the foam pad. The pads remained damp and sticky with salt for several days, but gradually they became dry enough that we no loner needed the therma-rest pads to sleep on. Correspondingly, the wind and seas diminished as well. Every day, it seems, the sea shows us a new face. Each face is different from the others; like human faces - similar, but still not two alike.
A good day's run, but also one of our more difficult days, due mostly to rough seas, which were about 12-15 feet in height. They were running from the east, which is a favorable direction for us, but at that size were difficult to handle nonetheless.
During the night, which was pitch dark, we had about 12 waves break over the top of us. Nothing serious, but it certainly removes a person from the comfort zone momentarily, which is always good for the soul. In one particular instance I was sitting on the rowing deck, up to my armpits in water. The entire rowing deck was under the wave as it crashed on top of us. Usually in these conditions we just have big, breaking seas. But in this case, by happenstance, we were in the wrong place just as the seething monster wave smashed into us.
Another wave threw about five gallons of water into the cabin, rendering our quarters essentially useless, and completely soaking all of our bedding. But then we reminded ourselves that this is a water sport and not a winnebago trip. We are using homemade quilts and happen to have a couple of inflatable camping-type mattresses along. So after removing the water as best we could - sponging it up and bailing it out over the course of several hours - we used these inflatable mattresses to make a sleeping bag, one serving as the bottom layer, and one on top. This created a dry haven to crawl inside; and then over this we draped our soaking wet quilts. We actually slept quite warm this way.
Our gear, as well as the cabin, are beginning to dry out again, and we're ma king good progress.
60.9 miles today
19°00.487'N, 34°59.364'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 27: Dec 3
We have been romping along nicely with strong tradewinds and diminished swell. During this time we saw several sailboats, typically parallel with our track, but well to the north or south. The little storm petrel paid daily visits and we never grow tired of watching his water dance. We watched for fish in the water, and one morning were quite surprised to see 8 to 10 bonito or mackerel and 2 or 3 mahi-mahi. They swam alongside for several hours.
Conditions have moderated a bit, but are still somewhat rough. We enjoyed a day of hanging onto the boat, doing as best we could.
I neglected to mention that during the previous night's rough seas, the largest wave that crashed over the boat broke an oar, snapping it like a matchstick. This was a carbon fiber oar, 2 inches in diameter. Which just goes to show the power of these waves sometimes. I vividly recall hanging on, the wave trying to throw me off the boat. In any case, we've repaired the damaged oar and are using it again. Also we have 4 more spares in reserve.
The following afternoon, with somewhat rough seas persisting, I jumped overboard with snorkling gear to scrub the boat's hull. I found it quite covered with barnacles, and removing them required about 20 minutes of vigorous exercise using a small carpet patch as a scrubber. The winds were pushing the boat sideways at about 1.2 knots, and so it was necessary to hang on at all times.
While under, I watched a beautiful Dorado, about 3 feet long. Presumably this is the same fish we saw two days earlier. Managed to get a good look at it this time, noting a few distinguishing scars along its side. Hopefully we'll be able to recognize it again. Sometimes a fish will adopt a boat and swim along with it for a number of days, perhaps for a thousand miles or more on occasion.
70.6 miles today
18°42.628'N, 36°01.231'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 28: Dec 4
About midmorning yesterday the mountainous seas began to crumble, and soon we had large haystacks all around, which eventually gave way to gorgeous conditions. For the first time in a week we were able to open the aft hatch, allowing us to cross-ventilate the cabin a bit. All told, a very nice day of cruising along, followed by nighttime conditions nothing short of spectacular. It was one of those nights seemingly made for rowing on the sea.
Along the way yesterday we saw a loggerhead turtle, 3 feet in diameter, orange in color, boxy in shape. He was swimming with a large plastic bottle (five gallon size), giving the impression that he might be tied to it in some way. But as we passed, he starting swimming for us, and we could tell he was okay. However we were outpacing him, and soon he was gone.
With the good weather last night and likewise our good spirits, we really put a lot of energy into the rowing, which accounts largely for our higher mileage. It appears we are once again rowing across the ocean, and no longer the Himalayas.
57.6 miles today
18°24.937'N, 36°50.545'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 29: Dec 5
The wind has veered to the NNW, sending the waves into our starboard beam, and denying us the beneficial push we've had of late. This left us struggling ahead throughout the day and night, working harder for comparatively fewer miles.
Gordo, one of our skydiving friends, suggested that if the Dorado returned we should name him Dinner. And while we did not see the Dorado, we did see a whale, probably a Minke, about 20 feet in length. But we weren't that hungry, so we just let him be. We also spotted eight dolphins and a mackarel in the last day.
There is a trough of low pressure coming through, as evidenced by the wind shift. Unable to make much headway during the night, around 4am we finally decided we'd had enough. So we secured the rudder and oars and went to sleep for about three hours; both of us did, which is something that hasn't happened in quite a while. While we were asleep the boat drifted south quite a ways off course, but this is not a problem; there's plenty of room out here. We're coming up on the halfway point now. Will probably reach it later tonight .
42.1 miles today
18°12.529'N, 37°26.702'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 30: Dec 6
Our aft cabin was back to normal - dry and comfy - when it happened again. Ray was resting under the open aft hatch when he got hosed. Gallons and gallons of sea water right onto his back and totally drenching him, the cushions, everything. Again. Well, almost everything. Fortunately Ray had tucked the quilt out of harm's way and it remained mostly dry. By now the weary routine of mopping up was no big deal. Out came the therma-rest pads again.
Now we have a new rule: Open the aft hatch at your own risk. If you get hosed, you clean it up. When you leave the cabin, close the aft hatch all the way. Tight.
At night we sleep with it shut tight, but during the heat of the day we desperately need the ventilation.
I saw a turtle. Medium large and orange in color. It was on the surface, next to a rotted old plastic jug. I thought it might have been stuck on the jug somehow, but when the turtle saw the boat, it swam toward the boat.
Progress remains slow as we continue to experience a cold front coming through. This one seems to be taking its time in passing, although very mildly so, with relatively light winds. Yet it is the persistence of an unfavorable wind direction - out of the NNW - that is slowing us down. We rowed all night at about 1.5 knots, the best we could do. But otherwise, it was another beautiful night out here.
We cannot say enough good things about the boat. It is performing fantastically well under a wide variety of conditions, in seas and winds both harsh and mild, which is quite a credit to its designer, who obviously put a lot into it. A versatile boat, highly seaworthy, and we're very pleased with it.
The boat will be for sale upon our arrival in Barbados, and for anyone even vaguely considering an adventure like this, here would be a great opportunity. A couple of races are coming up next year, as detailed on the Ocean Rowing Society's website. [ORS link at top of page]
Jenny recently performed some scientific experiments that might be of interest to the world at large. She pulled out a thermometer that must measure all of an inch and a half in length (something you might find in a Cracker Jack box), and with this she resolved the daily high temperature to be 85°F, with a nighttime low of 72. And this, just to give an idea of what the December air is like out here.
60.5 miles today
18°00.503'N, 38°20.460'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 31: Dec 7
Today we had our first visit from a white-tailed tropic bird. The petrels still come regularly, but we haven't seen a sheerwater for over a week.
We are a little bit concerned about the northerly swell, so we called Doug for a weather update. He said way north at 50 degrees was a large low pressure cell, and we may be feeling the effects of that. But other than the northerly swell, we did not experience any bad weather.
The wind veered to NNE at about 10 knots, offering some assistance yesterday. And then in the evening, it came around a little bit more, but remained light, so we still had to work for our mileage. We rowed almost continually for 24 hours, keeping our shift transitions to the bare minimum of about one minute. This is just enough time for us to trade seats and get the boat moving forward again.
We saw a shark yesterday, as well as a number of other fish. Also, our tropicbird came to visit once again. We first spotted this bird, or one like it, two weeks ago. Its wings are black-tipped, with some black also on the wing feathers. [ed. note: this may be the white-tailed tropicbird. "Tropicbirds forage far from land, sometimes following ships.]
The satellite phone has been acting up, due to a small amount of corrosion on the battery. Have installed the back-up battery, and it seems to be working fine once more.
61.4 miles today
17°48.213'N, 39°14.907'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 32: Dec 8
Today I saw the back side of a whale. It was uniformly dark gray, perhaps 30 feet long with a small dorsal fin. It didn't show its head or tail.
The winds veered toward our starboard quarter, so we loped along throughout the day and night, making satisfactory progress.
Lots of rain during the night, and we took another gusher into the cabin late yesterday afternoon, soaking everything. But we're starting to get used to it now, and are beginning to figure out ways to avoid it. One would think that to we could keep the hatch closed, but easier said than done when the day is sultry and ventilation so dearly needed. But these conditions are no cause for concern.
70.4 miles today
17°33.420'N, 40°17.090'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 33: Dec 9
The wind is still veering slowly toward a more favorable position, which is nice. We had quite strong wind during the night, helping to speed us along. Also bit of rain - to be expected. Now enjoying a bright new day, which thankfully also features some cloud cover to keep ol' sol off our sunburned hides .
63.3 miles today
17°20.581'N, 41°13.062'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 34: Dec 10
For the last 4 days the conditions have been gradually abating. In fact, we enjoyed awesome, 60+ mile days with a very steady tradewind blowing 12 to 15 knots. The days are becoming uncomfortably warm. We welcome any little puff of cloud that gives us shade. Rain clouds are few and far between. But every now and then, usually in the early morning hours, we get a good soaking.
We use the mini disc player a lot, listening to music, books on tape, or movie soundtracks. Jenny finished The Hobbit, TimeLine, Lewis and Clark and others. These are all tracks that I had pre-recorded for us during the past year.
Flying fish still land on deck. Typically 6 per night, ranging in size from half an inch to 3 inches long.
Progress is good. We had a 70+ mile day. We can't help but start a countdown to our arrival at Port St. Charles on Barbados. Given favorable weather and good tradewinds so that we can keep our 60 and 70 miles per day progress, we should be in by January 1st, 2003.
We've had lumpy seas, squally winds, rain, and pitch darkness last night, making for a very bumpy ride. It was quite an experience.
Here is a quote that seems appropriate for our voyage: "When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." - Patanjali
65.6 miles today
17°08.042'N, 42°11.177'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 35: Dec 11
The trip is going very well. We are enjoying it and finding it to be every bit the challenge we had anticipated. Even with the stormy conditions, we have encountered no problem that has proven unmanageable, and our bodies are holding up very well. Lacking fresh fruit and vegetables, we eat corn pasta for dinner probably three out of four evenings, and think it's the greatest thing in cooked food, such is the go-power that it provides.
We're still rowing in one-hour intervals, meaning one of us rows for an hour while the other sleeps, the next hour we exchange positions, and so on. Yet with all of the rain we've had lately, we sometimes find ourselves extending the shifts by a few minutes, waiting out a storm if possible, in order to allow the "relief" rower to begin under more favorable conditions.
63.2 miles today
16°52.386'N, 43°06.096'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 36: Dec 12
A very enjoyable day yesterday, even as we continue to experience big lumpy seas. The wind, what little there is, has veered back to the north, coming in on our starboard quarter, which hinders as much as it helps.
Last night the rains came less frequently, and we enjoyed rowing under the gorgeous moonlight for a time. Moments like this remind us of how special is this journey, and of how beneficial it is to escape from the distractions of modern life for a while. Out here our minds really open up to the beauty all around us, allowing us to clean out some of the accumulated cobwebs.
One of our more difficult decisions while planning this trip was whether or not to mount any kind of sail to the boat. This was especially tempting given our sailing background. Ultimately we decided against using a sail at all costs except in an emergency, and we've held firm to this decision throughout the trip. Too, we're thankful that we made up our minds early on, as this has improved our resolve during the more challenging moments out here.
60.3 miles today
16°41.517'N, 43°59.510'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 37: Dec 13
The day before yesterday I was rowing under total darkness of night when suddenly the boat slammed to a stop and the oars quit working. Felt like they had set in concrete. Mystified, we got out our flashlights to see what had happened, but within a few seconds the boat was free again and floating along. Perhaps we had run into a drift net or something, although we could find no trace of it. Nor had the boat suffered any damage as a result.
Last night, another dark night, Jenny was rowing while wearing her rain jacket. She had the hood pushed back, since it wasn't raining at the time, when suddenly a flying fish jumped from the water and landed in the open hood.
And one more item of humor: during my rowing shift in the wee hours of the night, I suddenly fell asleep, falling off the rowing seat and slamming into the deck. I awoke with a start, one of the few times I can recall ever waking up laughing.
58.3 miles today
16°31.619'N, 44°51.222'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 38: Dec 14
Our trade winds seemed to have abandoned us for a time, and we're left with rather calm conditions. The seas have flattened to about a foot and a half in height, and without the obscuring waves the horizon now appears to expand to forever. For the first time on the trip we're getting a true glimpse of the immensity of the ocean.
Skies continue to be cloudy most of the time, with occasional sunshine. Although last night we had an absolutely magnificent time, with mostly cloud-free, calm conditions - really forcing us to dig in with the oars but we enjoyed the night immensely all the same. It was a spectacular night for viewing meteorites, and we saw literally hundreds of them. A few were brilliant blue in color, streaking across the sky like fireworks.
As this update appears it is now Day 38 of the trip, and at 11:00 GMT we reached the two-thirds point in our voyage, with approximately 1,000 miles remaining to Barbados. So we're on the downhill run now.
I would like to give a special thanks to Brett for handling these updates, for transcribing our messages from an answering machine and posting them to the web. I would also like to thank some special friends at the skydiving center: to Chris and Ray for polar bears and penguins, to Omar and Olivia for the little boat that could, and to Astrid for her continued support. And we would like to especially congratulate our friends who completed in the recent world record skydiving formation: a gigantic, 300 person snowflake-like formation, with 15 airplanes required for the jump.
952 miles remaining to Barbados
58.2 miles today
16°21.836'N, 45°42.815'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 39: Dec 15
A high pressure cell is situated within a few hundred miles of us, depriving us of our beneficial trade winds. The seas are flat and almost glassy, undulating with large ground swells rolling in from distant storms. So we have to work for our mileage, as always, but it certainly feels like more work without the wind to assist us.
We had another glorious night, with the waxing moon illuminating the sea for two-thirds of the night. We also witnessed another meteor shower, perhaps two dozen meteors all told, one of which was brilliant green in hue. [ed. note: this may be the tail end of the recent Geminid meteor shower, one of the most consistent shows from year to year. It is believed that the parent material is from an asteroid rather than a comet, and that the resulting difference in composition and density yields the slow-moving, brightly colored meteors.]
And speaking of beautiful displays in the sky, we continue to see our tropicbird every few days. It flies to the boat, circles us a few times, then flies off. We believe it is the same bird each visit.
We don't have a lot of spare time aboard. We row for one hour and when the person comes off the rowing shift he or she tends to do a few tasks and then tries to get some sleep. The bulk of these odd jobs we perform during the morning and afternoon hours, typically averaging between 20 and 40 minutes of sleep during each hour off-row. So it's mostly work and sleep; not until about 4pm GMT do we feel like we've made sufficient headway in our chores to allow us a bit of time for simply relaxing. And this is when we usually record our thoughts on the previous day's journey. Then in a few hours we start to switch cycle again for the evening, with an emphasis on sleeping during our downtime shifts.
898 miles remaining to Barbados
54.5 miles today
16°11.905'N, 46°30.986'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 40: Dec 16
We watched a large, 7-foot long fish swimming with the boat. We thought it might be a dolphin. First it was alongside, about ten feet away, then off the stern, still about ten feet away. I got a good look at it by standing up in the aft cabin with my upper body hanging out the hatch. Not a dolphin. maybe a shark? Maybe a marlin? We could not see it well enough to determine what it was.
In the wee hours of the night, around 1 am, I watched the boat run into a drift net. At least that was my guess. He said the boat came to an abrupt halt, then several long seconds later the boat pulled free. We inspected around the hull with flashlight, but could find nothing amiss.
We had another gorgeous day, with just the lightest breath of wind. Seas are amazingly flat: we estimate the wave height at one inch. Needless to say the view is incredible all around.
I went overboard to scrub the bottom of the boat free of barnacles, which had accumulated to half an inch in length. When finished, I climbed back aboard and got a freshwater rinse. About this time Jenny noticed a large fish swimming alongside the boat near the stern. While Jenny rowed, I went into the aft cabin and climbed half way out the aft hatch for a closer look at our traveling companion, which I believes was a marlin, about 7 feet long. The creature hung around for 15 minutes, all the while swimming not more than 10 feet from the boat.
The night was once again beautiful, with an almost-full moon overhead - we call this our Barbados moon. The stars were magnificent as well. We couldn't ask for a more peaceful, serene night.
834 miles remaining to Barbados
63.6 miles today
15°59.286'N, 47°26.903'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 41: Dec 17
So far we have kept up an average of 60 miles per day. We have approximately 750 miles to go. So we expect to arrive on December 30. Anything can change that though.
For the last 8 days, the conditions have remained much the same. At one point we called Doug again for another weather update because we still had the northerly swell and the tradewinds had suddenly shut off. Doug reported that about 200 miles north of us is a high pressure cell, but nothing else of concern. Perhaps is was this high that had our tradewinds shut down. But we are not complaining. The quiet conditions are a very welcome relief from all the boisterous seas from the first half of the voyage.
The storm petrel continues to make his daily visits. We haven't seen any shearwater for over two weeks, since the end of November. We have seen the tropic bird several times, and last night there were two, flying together. They squawked loudly at us, "kek!" Which caught our attention immediately.
This afternoon was saw a frigate bird, then half an hour later, a pair of them.
It was a very quiet day yesterday, with zero to three knots of wind and glassy seas. Under mostly clear skies, it was also quite hot. To protect us from the sun we erected a small awning -- a piece of reflective mylar -- and this worked well, particularly with the light winds. However we did have a little help in making progress yesterday, thanks to the north equatorial current. That, along with our hard rowing for 24 hours, yielded a very satisfactory 60 mile day.
Just at sunset, we were visited by a group of dolphin swimming about the boat. Also we saw another container ship yesterday, but this one was about 5 miles away, crossing perpendicular to our path. It presented no danger whatsoever.
About 6am GMT the winds started picking up, along with the seas, so it appears our little vacation is about over. Once more we are lumping and rolling along in good-sized chop. But we are well and enjoying the adventure as always.
771 miles remaining to Barbados
63.0 miles today
15°47.591'N, 48°22.396'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 42: Dec 18
The seas were lumpy throughout the day, causing us to bounce around a bit and making for difficult rowing. Seas and winds calmed during the night. Cloud cover is very thick, but as yet without any accompanying rain.
We had trouble staying awake last night. Consequently, once we reached our 60 mile point for the day, we both hit the sack, letting the boat drift for 1.5 hours
Yesterday we saw a pair of tropicbirds. And in other news for the day, we happened to row past - not into - a drift net, suspended by a red buoy on one end and a green buoy on the other. Possibly a similar net was responsible for our sudden grinding to a halt several nights ago.
715 miles remaining to Barbados
55.6 miles today
15°36.332'N, 49°11.076'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 43: Dec 19
Yesterday we saw two large frigate birds, a beautiful species, black in color. Seeing them helped to make up for our lack of fish sightings in recent days.
Conditions were quite calm, with virtually no wind. The moon is nearly full, shining brightly in the sky as we rowed through the night.
665 miles remaining to Barbados
50.2 miles today
15°27.826'N, 49°55.400'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 44: Dec 20
606 miles remaining to Barbados
56.8 miles today
15°18.664'N, 50°45.570'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 45: Dec 21
Two gorgeous days of flat water and no wind. These calm conditions make for comfortable, if arduous rowing. But also very warm temperatures, so we have fashioned an awning over the rowing station. "How about sunburn?" we were asked. "Brown on south side and white on the north, with no way to reverse the trend" I replied.
We are seeing more big fish lately, including our returning companion, probably a marlin.
We could use a little help now with East winds and favorable currents to maintain the 60 mile per day average, and to arrive in Barbados by the first of the year. We are headed for Port St. Charles around the north and west side of the island of Barbados.
We seemed to have lost our time frame. We can go to sleep for less than a minute, wake up thinking it's time to row. In the earlier stages of the trip, the person rowing would call out, "Five Minutes" as a signal for the other to wake up and get ready to row. Now that has become confusing, "What does five minutes mean?" The rower now has to call out more specifically, "Time to get up". Our sleep is so deep, it's hard to judge time.
The sunsets and sunrises have been fantastic as well as the stars at night.
Thank you, to all the wonderful people who are following our trip.
550 miles remaining to Barbados
55.8 miles today
15°07.568'N, 51°34.380'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 46: Dec 22
We still have almost no wind. The lack of wind is frustrating, since we are counting down the days to our finish. We would prefer high mileage days, of course. The rowing has been easy and soothing, though, and Jenny said she was glad for the chance to row without bruising her legs and knees.
The calm water has been beautiful to watch. I went overboard to scrub the bottom and had a couple tuna swim with him. See my story on the web updates. Our joke is that I almost became a tuna fish sandwich.
With these slower days, our progress seems agonizingly slow. We have two weeks left, but the countdown seems to hover around 13 or 12 days as the miles slowly go down.
The moon grew to full, washing out the stars. We love to see the stars and to steer by them, but we also love the moonlit nights. When the moon is below the horizon, the sky is so incredibly dark; so black that it is often difficult to find the horizon.
Again, we called Doug for a weather update, but since he had a bad cold and could hardly talk, we got the message from Anita that the charts showed good tradewind conditions for us for many days to come.
Once again no wind during the day. However midway through the night the trade winds began to stir anew, and conditions became frisky, with confused seas . A very difficult night of rowing.
Early in the evening we saw another container ship, this one about two miles away.
480 miles remaining to Barbados
70.8 miles today
14°54.502'N, 52°36.479'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 47: Dec 23
Favorable winds and gentle seas allowed us to make great progress throughout the day and night. We have seen more frigate birds; the storm petrels are still with us, day and night; and occasionally, the tropicbirds make their colorful appearance. So we're having a good time out here still.
We would like to convey a message to Anne Quemere: wishing her bon voyage and good luck (bonne chance). She is preparing to depart La Gomera on Christmas Day for her solo Atlantic crossing.
426 miles remaining to Barbados
56.7 miles today
14°44.473'N, 53°26.294'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 48: Dec 24
"How I Almost Became a Tuna's Sandwich"
I was scrubbing the bottom of the boat, in spite of the rough seas, when two large fish, what I thought might be Albacore, started swimming around the boat. They were approximately four and half to five feet long and something like 150 pounds each. I continued to scrub the bottom of the boat, keeping a wary eye on them. They kept coming closer and closer, acting almost like sharks. Eventually one drew too near and I had to kick at it. I'm not sure whether I hit it with my fin or not, but both fish backed off and eventually went away. I felt bad about kicking the fish, but was fairly convinced it had in mind to try to nibble.
24 Dec 2002 at 18:30 GMT
392 miles remaining to Barbados
Vigorous trade winds helped us along.
We want to wish all who are tracking us a Joyous Holiday season, and we are praying for peace around the world and a new year filled with hope and peace.
354 miles remaining to Barbados
71.9 miles today
14°30.404'N, 54°29.062'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 49: Dec 25
We have some great tradewinds and so our progress is very good.
Being as today is Christmas, In lieu of sending Christmas cards, Jenny has been thinking of sharing a visual image: Santa bounding across the ocean in a red rowing boat stacked full of presents for everyone, and pulled speedily along by his trusty dolphins.
284 miles remaining to Barbados
70.1 miles today
14°17.062'N, 55°30.350'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 50: Dec 26
Our Christmas Day was blessed with classical trade wind conditions - the traditional fair winds and following seas that make for excellent progress. Sometimes the wind would back or veer, setting up cross-seas and slowing us down occasionally. But all and all, a fine day and a very pleasant night with no rain.
For the benefit of a very few, select individuals who will be meeting us upon our arrival, I might note that these updates take up to 24 hours to appear on the website. So we're actually a day ahead of how it might look on the webpages, which is not the webmaster's fault but our fault because of how we relay the data late in the afternoons. With thid in mind I would note that our earliest arrival at Port St. Charles would be on the 30th of December in mid-morning. This is not necessarily our "E.T.A." [estimated time/day of arrival] but it is the earliest that we would arrive if good weather holds. And of course any weather that slows us down likewise would delay our arrival.
211 miles remaining to Barbados
73.4 miles today
14°03.751'N, 56°34.589'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 51: Dec 27
We are again enjoying glorious trade wind conditions, along with plenty of sunshine, and intermittent rain squalls to cool things down during the day when we need it and at night when we don't. Nevertheless, the wind is directly astern at a perfect 15 knots - couldn't be better for us.
We saw another container ship, this one about three miles astern and heading south, reminding us as always to keep a close watch. It seems we are continually scanning the horizon, looking out for these behemoths.
We'd like to send our sincere thanks to whoever has been praying that our water maker would miraculously repair itself. This seems to be what has happened, for it is filtering more than ample drinking water, as usual, but now the water no longer tastes saline. So we're very pleased to have fresh, healthy, potable water as we near the end of our trip.
144 miles remaining to Barbados
65.3 miles today
13°50.574'N, 57°31.370'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 52: Dec 28
A very fine day of rowing yesterday, although the wind has veered somewhat to the south, coming in on our quarter panel and producing rolling, lumpy seas. Consequently we needed to redouble our efforts in order to make good progress.
We saw another container ship in the distance, which is where we would prefer to see them. It seems that we are seeing more of these as we near the Caribbean.
The nighttime rowing is as beautiful as ever; in fact, last night was among the finest, thanks to clear skies and a vast array of stars glimmering brightly overhead. We enjoy discerning the stars and constellations, and know many stars by name, due to our time spent navigating by them during the first part of our sailing trip years ago.
One more anecdote: I was rowing in the dark of night when from inside the cabin came a sudden shriek: "Get that fish out of here!" A misguided flying fish had flung itself into the cabin, landing on Jenny as she lay sleeping.
Jenny: The incredibly slow-moving countdown of the previous 10 days was finally speeding up during the last week. I spent many hours while rowing calculating in my head our remaining distance, speed and estimated date of arrival. During my rest periods I'd pull out my little notebook and make various charts showing days remaining, along with food supplies remaining, and then I would list by the day, what treat we would eat on what day. I practically obsessed with this sort of food rationing.
76 miles remaining to Barbados. We were still too far out to see any lights from the island, but the GPS told us that we needed to steer farther south to avoid being pushed too far north.
67.7 miles today
13°35.477'N, 58°29.756'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 53: Dec 29
The winds remained on our port quarter, while seas, we are noticing, have begun to change color. Throughout most of the trip the ocean has been a deep aquamarine blue, but yesterday it began to lighten toward a deep, dark greenish-blue. Probably this is corresponds to a change in the ocean's depth as we draw near land. We checked the chart and saw that about 70 miles out, the sea depth shallows from 5,000 meters to 2,000 meters.
We are anticipating our landing tomorrow at the island of Barbados. The landing promises to be tricky due to the reefs and currents around the island, and the strong winds. However, Thomas Herbert of Barbados has offered to meet us by boat, a ways offshore, and to pilot us safely into Port St. Charles. We'd like to thank him very much in advance for his assistance. The trip around the north and western shore supposedly takes about 5 hours.
In the evening of of December 29, we could see a faint, hazy outline of the island. We rowed most of the night, but stopped about seven miles off,
with the coming of night, we had to stop rowing and simply wait for the night to pass, before drawing any nearer.
At 7 am GMT. we were 28 miles from the island.
Day 54: Dec 30
Early morning and we had Barbados in sight. We were 28 miles out. Through the darkness and distance, we could see the outline of the island in its pattern of lights, a beautiful sight.
As we neared the island, the wind became strong and the seas and became frisky, and we found a strong current pushing us north. The sea was fairly rough, and the sky full of storm clouds.
The morning remained cloudy. Then, when we were perhaps 20 miles offshore, the current switched, and now pushing us south. So we rowed all the harder, trying our best to row toward the north end of the island.
It must have been about seven am when I called Thomas Herbert to let him know our position. He said he would call a few of his guys to get ready to come out to greet us, and to show us the way in. We were still a long ways out, but Thomas said it would take them a while to get going, get their boats ready, and then to motor out around the island and to find us.
It was probably about 8 am when we sighted the first sport fishing boat headed our way. It when right past us, without seeing us. So I called them on the VHF and Chris Rogers on board Lionheart greeted us. Soon he found us, and a second sport fishing boat came by, Serenity. These two boats were huge compared to our little Caper. Probably 40 feet long with huge diesel engines, and three stories high. We were amazed that both boats stayed with us hour after hour as we rowed and rowed into ever increasing headwinds as we rounded the northeast and north ends of the island. Chris was concerned for our safety, getting around the island to Port St. Charles. He offered a tow rope, but we declined. He had his engines on as low as they would go, probably about 2 knots. He was disappointed that we had no fish following us. They were expecting an entourage of dorado. Chris kept us well offshore and away from the line of reefs at the northwest corner. Unfortunately, we found ourselves much too far offshore and couldn't row into the tradewinds that were funneling through the island and fanning offshore. We could see where the line of reefs ended near the Harrison Point lighthouse, and we could see the long pier of the cement works, but now the wind was really whistling and we were trying, without success, to head in close to shore for some protection.
We were tiring. Our last sleep had been at 3 am. Neither of us had had our usual morning sleep. The tradewinds seemed to blow stronger and stronger as the morning hours passed. We traded positions every 20 minutes, then every 15 minutes, and then every ten minutes. But the long pier of the cement works was getting further away by the minute. We were being blown back out to sea. We had no desire to continue on to the next island. We could see the roofs of the condos in Port St. Charles. It was only a mile or two distant. But we couldn't make it there on our own oar power, not in these strong tradewinds. If we had been closer in to shore while rounding the reefs, and if we had quickly rowed in to shore after passing the reefs, I think we might have been able to make it all the way in on our own. But now we knew we had only one option. I called Chris on the VHF and asked for the tow rope. He and his crew made short work of it, and soon we were in the calm and aquamarine waters near the breakwater. As we approached several small fishing boats at anchor, we dropped the tow line and proceeded on rowing. All went well, although it was still hard work rowing into the wind. We noticed a small crowd of onlookers who began to cheer as we rowed toward the end of the breakwater. But here we tried to turn too soon into the port. The wind caught us broadside and sent us back out past the breakwater again. We were both exhausted, but with me on the rowing seat, and Ray pushing on the oars with me, we finally managed to maneuver into the port and alongside the customs pier. The time was 5:45 pm GMT. or 1:45 pm local. Since we were still operating on GMT time, this had probably been one of our most difficult days.
We arrived in Port St Charles on the island of Barbados at 1:48 pm local time, 5:48 pm GMT. We had a wonderful time rowing our remaining miles along the eastern shore of the island, thanks to some fantastic people who came out in their fishing boats to escort us into port. We're feeling terrific that we made it, and had a great trip!
What a huge relief to be in. I wanted to celebrate. I wanted to relax and savor the joy of having finished the voyage. The port authorities wanted us to come into their office and take care of paperwork. While folks helped us tie up, I quickly changed into my bathing suit and leapt gleefully overboard into the calm water of the port. Then I gathered up our boat papers and passports and stepped ashore. Whoa! The ground reeled. Neither one of us could stand unassisted. And when we tried to walk, we could only stumble, lurching and staggering like drunkards. Thomas's daughter Kate escorted us by the arm. She said she was used to this. All Atlantic rowers arriving here are in the same condition. I was so excited and happy to be here that I summoned up a whole bunch of energy and enthusiasm. I didn't want my fatigue to get in the way of this moment. And that helped me to regain my land legs fairly quickly.
At Port St. Charles we were treated like royalty. After stepping off of Caper and spending a good half hour in the customs/immigration office, we were then driven by water taxi, first to the dock where Lionheart was tied up. We thanked Chris Rogers profusely for his time and effort helping us in to the port. We sat on the dock and talked to him and his crew for a half hour. Then the water taxi took us to the Thomas's personal condo. Thomas and Cathy were going to let us use it for the night for free. Meanwhile the PSC guys had towed Caper to the dock right below our condo. These are million dollar condos, and obviously a very exclusive area. The condo was very clean and comfortable, and waiting for us in the kitchen was a basket of probably 5 or 6 large papayas, a watermelon, a half dozen mince cookies, and a handful of chocolates.
Soon the doorbell rang. A maid handed us several grocery sacks full of breakfast type food: a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, a quart of orange juice, a quart of milk, a loaf of bread, a tub of margarine, a box of corn flakes, and six or eight cans of soda. My first priority was to call the airlines to see if we could change our return date, which was just the next day, December 31. When I had made the reservation seven months previously, I never dreamed we would actually be there for our return date. In fact, I had contacted American Airlines requesting a waiver of the fee that they normally charge for changing the date on the itinerary. The return date I had picked, December 31, was just a guess. But here we were, and according to the airlines, there were no seats available for two weeks. This was the peak of the high season. We would have to be on our flight the next morning. So we resigned ourselves to a very short stay here on Barbados.
We had a lot of work to do. Clean up ourselves, wash some clothes, eat as much of the food that was given to us, clean out the boat, pack up our bags for airline travel, and get the boat ready to be left for awhile here before it was shipped off to a new owner. It was midnight before all this was finished. We had to be at the airport at 5 am the next morning. I set an alarm for 3:30 am. I called the front desk and arranged for a taxi to pick us up at 4:00 am. We both slept so soundly that the 3.5 hours went by in what seemed like 3.5 minutes.
The flight home was pleasant and uneventful. We arrived back in Arizona City in the evening. Poly was there. The house was still in good shape.
0.869 nautical miles
Day 1: Nov 7, 36.9 miles today; 27 34.154'N, 17 15.108'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 2: Nov 8, 51.2 miles today; 27 06.881'N, 17 54.601'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 3: Nov 9, 42.5 miles today; 26 44.219'N, 18 27.254'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 4: Nov 10, 28.9 miles today; 26 29.152'N, 18 49.664'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 5: Nov 11, 42.2 miles today; 26 09.676'N, 19 24.272'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 6: Nov 12, 29.4 miles today; 25 56.922'N, 19 48.895'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 7: Nov 13, 47.3 miles today; 25 32.843'N, 20 25.884'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 8: Nov 14, 21.2 miles today; 25 16.207'N, 20 34.754'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 9: Nov 15, 23.0 miles today; 24 57.171'N, 20 42.187'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 10: Nov 16, 50.2 miles today; 24 32.390'N, 21 21.685'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 11: Nov 17, 63.6 miles today; 24 05.136'N, 22 14.378'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 12: Nov 18, 55.5 miles today; 23 42.193'N, 23 00.703'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 13: Nov 19, 64.9 miles today; 23 14.185'N, 23 54.042'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 14: Nov 20, 63.8 miles today; 22 46.657'N, 24 46.305'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 15: Nov 21, 61.2 miles today; 22 20.453'N, 25 36.368'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 16: Nov 22, 60.7 miles today; 21 51.362'N, 26 23.854'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 17: Nov 23, 62.3 miles today; 21 26.015'N, 27 15.256'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 18: Nov 24, 61.3 miles today; 20 59.824'N, 28 05.009'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 19: Nov 25, 60.8 miles today; 20 34.350'N, 28 54.514'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 20: Nov 26, 55.6 miles today; 20 13.087'N, 29 40.761'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 21: Nov 27, 52.0 miles today; 20 03.000'N, 30 27.604'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 22: Nov 28, 58.6 miles today; 19 52.419'N, 31 20.496'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 23: Nov 29, 58.3 miles today; 19 37.240'N, 32 11.750'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 24: Nov 30, 60.9 miles today; 19 25.508'N, 33 06.392'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 25: Dec 1, 65.4 miles today; 19 13.861'N, 34 05.231'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 26: Dec 2, 60.9 miles today; 19 00.487'N, 34 59.364'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 27: Dec 3, 70.6 miles today; 18 42.628'N, 36 01.231'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 28: Dec 4, 57.6 miles today; 18 24.937'N, 36 50.545'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 29: Dec 5, 42.1 miles today; 18 12.529'N, 37 26.702'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 30: Dec 6, 60.5 miles today; 18 00.503'N, 38 20.460'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 31: Dec 7, 61.4 miles today; 17 48.213'N, 39 14.907'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 32: Dec 8, 70.4 miles today; 17 33.420'N, 40 17.090'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 33: Dec 9, 63.3 miles today; 17 20.581'N, 41 13.062'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 34: Dec 10, 65.6 miles today; 17 08.042'N, 42 11.177'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 35: Dec 11, 63.2 miles today; 16 52.386'N, 43 06.096'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 36: Dec 12, 60.3 miles today; 16 41.517'N, 43 59.510'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 37: Dec 13, 58.3 miles today; 16 31.619'N, 44 51.222'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 38: Dec 14, 58.2 miles today; 16 21.836'N, 45 42.815'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 39: Dec 15, 54.5 miles today; 16 11.905'N, 46 30.986'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 40: Dec 16, 63.6 miles today; 15 59.286'N, 47 26.903'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 41: Dec 17, 63.0 miles today; 15 47.591'N, 48 22.396'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 42: Dec 18, 55.6 miles today; 15 36.332'N, 49 11.076'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 43: Dec 19, 50.2 miles today; 15 27.826'N, 49 55.400'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 44: Dec 20, 56.8 miles today; 15 18.664'N, 50 45.570'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 45: Dec 21, 55.8 miles today; 15 07.568'N, 51 34.380'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 46: Dec 22, 70.8 miles today; 14 54.502'N, 52 36.479'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 47: Dec 23, 56.7 miles today; 14 44.473'N, 53 26.294'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 48: Dec 24, 71.9 miles today; 14 30.404'N, 54 29.062'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 49: Dec 25, 70.1 miles today; 14 17.062'N, 55 30.350'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 50: Dec 26, 73.4 miles today; 14 03.751'N, 56 34.589'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 51: Dec 27, 65.3 miles today; 13 50.574'N, 57 31.370'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 52: Dec 28, 67.7 miles today; 13 35.477'N, 58 29.756'W at 7am GMT the following morning.
Day 53: Dec 29, 48 miles today;
Day 54: Dec 30,