10 years ago today, after nearly 72 hours at sea anchor, while huddling in the bow and eating my two minute noodles, I looked over board and said to Iain, "look at the pretty fi------sh..." What had initially looked like a fish, was actually a fin. A fin that got bigger and bigger as it came into view because it was attached to a creature that made the hair on my neck stand on end. The sea changed colour from the enormity of this creature and as it swam under our boat and away from us, I thought to myself that this was the most amazing wildlife experience I would ever have. But, when our shark turned on a dime and came back at us with full force and an open mouth, I realized that I was wrong...THIS was the most amazing wildlife experience I would ever have. Actually, I thought it might be the last experience of any sort that I would ever have! If you want to read more about it, here's a link to an article written not long after this happened. Spoiler alert...despite a great effort on the part of the shark, the rowers lived to tell their tale!
10 years ago today, Iain and I were in La Gomera, off the West African coast, busily getting our Team Sun Latte boat ready to start the 2005 Atlantic Rowing Race. We had just received the news that the race start was going to be delayed for three days because Tropical Storm Delta was heading our way. Neither one of us had been in a hurricane or tropical storm before so we weren't sure what to expect. Little did we know that we would become all too familiar with the conditions that these storms would bring over the next two months! Relieved to be experiencing this one on land, we joined the rest of the crews and battened down the hatches, and prepared to wait out the weather.
Today was a great day for our 'Rowing for Charlotte' Givealittle page http://givealittle.co.nz/cause/rowingforcharlotte . Thanks to some generous donations this month from the lovely people of the Awhitu Peninsula, the Manurewa Gardens Probus Club, and Char's friends Jade and Sebastian (also happen to be my children), we have surpassed the $7,000 mark!!!This is a fantastic milestone and keeps us on track to reach our $10,000 goal!
At last my Oar Boards have arrived and conditions were perfect to take one out for a spin today. It was easy to assemble and transport (used the wheelbarrow since I don't have a trolley-yet) and very stable on the water. Lucy, my Jack Russell sidekick, seemed even more relaxed hanging out on the bow while I was rowing than she is when I'm standing on the paddle board. It was great to have the oars in my hands again for the first time since the Pacific Row, and it was nice to be rowing something that weighs less than a small elephant for a change! I had so much fun I lost track of the time and ended up in mud instead of water when it was time to return to shore. To all the neighbours and passers by who watched me try to get back to land first carrying Lucy to shore, then on all fours pulling my board as the Crocs were sucked off my feet, I hope you enjoyed a hearty laugh at my expense. Check out the video below and see how I spent my morning and see for yourself just how fun the Oar Board is and how easy it is to transform a stand up paddle board into a rowing skiff.
Most of my working days on land include a Horleys Protein Bar somewhere around afternoon tea time. So, when I found out I was headed out to row the Pacific, I got in touch with the team at Horleys and asked if they would be keen to get involved and provide sponsorship in the form of a Protein 33 bar a day for each day I was at sea. You may notice that in the picture, all my bars are Cookies & Cream flavoured-that was my choice since I am very happy to find what I like and eat the same thing every day. They also make other great flavours too, and I encourage you to give them a try. If they aren't already a favourite of yours, I'm sure they will be. Thanks Horleys for supporting The Pacific Row 2014 'Rowing for Charlotte'!
Thank you so much Bryan Johnston and Seko Omni-Channel Logistics for sponsoring our great looking sponsors tees. It sure is a lucky thing to have a father-in-law in the shipping business! Before, during, and after the row, having those tees on us and our supporters made sure that our sponsors got lots of world-wide exposure. And check out this page from the LA Times where most of our sponsors logos got snapped in a photo and received some global visibility. Thank you Seko Omni-Channel Logistics for supporting the 2014 Pacific Row 'Rowing for Charlotte'!
When I was taking inventory of all my gear before the Pacific row, I found my old personal locator beacon and noticed it needed a battery service. I took it down to Safety at Sea where the wonderful Tristan broke the news to me that a service wasn't possible and my old beacon was ready for the wreckers. We started talking about my previous Atlantic rows and the sponsorship that Safety at Sea provided during those rows. I am happy to say that after our chat, Tristan spoke to people at McMurdo and Baltic, and I went off to row the Pacific with a brand new Baltic Harness/Lifejacket combination, a safety line to keep me tethered to the boat in inclement weather and at nighttime, and a McMurdo Fast Find Personal Locator Beacon in case I ended up in the water very unexpectedly. All of these things made my mother-in-law particularly happy since this was going to be the first row she had to weather. I am happy to report that I got a lot of use out of my Baltic Harness/ lifejacket and safety line and it saved my bacon on more than one occasion. I am even happier to report that I never had to use my McMurdo Fast Find Personal Locator Beacon. Thank you Tristan and Safety at Sea for arranging this sponsorship and helping me get home safely!
Thank you so much Sian and family for your Mr. Biltong sponsorship for The Pacific Row 2014 'Rowing for Charlotte'! My connection to Sian's family began back in 2007 when her incredibly generous dad Pete loaned my 'Unfinished Business' teammates and myself his boat 'Commando Joe' so we could raise a heap of money for the Meningitis Trust and become the fastest four women to row across the Atlantic Ocean in the process. Like Charlotte's family, the Rowlands know what a devastating and irrevocable effect Meningitis can have on a family. They lost a dear brother and son to Meningitis and have actively worked to raise awareness and funds to fight the disease. It was very generous of Sian to sponsor our biltong for the row and we were even lucky enough to get a piece of artwork from her son Arion to decorate our cabin! Thank you Sian and the Rowland's family for all that you do to raise awareness and funds for Meningitis, and thank you so much Mr. Biltong for supporting us on our Row for Charlotte!