Sunday was a good day, we turned SW and with that we had the luxury of a following wind for the first time. It was less like rowing in treacle and things were going well. When I completed my shift at midnight I felt good and happy.
However, an hour into James and Cayle’s 3 hour stint I was woken up. James had been thrown from his rowing seat by a big wave and the conditions were deteriorating rapidly. We switched to hand steering (rather than the auto-helm which does that job for you) and we had 2 guys rowing. But it was to no avail as the wind was whipping up with some force. With no moonlight it was hard to see what was coming and we were being hit by waves like trains in the darkness.
We all knew the para anchor had to go out so we accepted it and that’s where we are now. Dangling on the end of a massive jellyfish shaped parachute with the hull of the boat crashing up and down against the waves. Being on para-anchor means that you feel every bump. When you are rowing with the waves you roll with the punches, when you are on the para-anchor you just get punched.
So our new routine is Operation Groundhog day. You get strangely used to this new existence despite the precarious situation. You still take things seriously in terms of safety and keep on top of routine but it’s very disappointing to be going nowhere, or more accurately, going backwards. We lost about 7 miles yesterday, but some crews lost over 20!
BLESMA, the Limbless Veterans charity very kindly supplied our communications equipment and since I am the media guy I still have to record footage, call our shore team and transfer files back to base. For the first time I am feeling sea sick when I am working on the computer although thankfully, no one has actually been sick.
Due to the rough conditions we have now battened down the hatches and we are eating wet rations as cooking is difficult. Yes, cold, wet rations. We are not tired but we are bored and this explains / excuses the next section.
In other news Scott managed to release some pressure, having not had a ‘serious’ visit to the bog since we set out. If you have a sensitive disposition don’t read this next sentence. An inspection appeared to reveal that following Scott’s loo visit, King Kong’s finger had been amputated and left in our poo bucket. A harrowing moment.
Other sad news - our recent stowaway, ‘Larry the locust’ has now disappeared from the gap in James’s flip flops and appears to have been consumed by the waves. Self-appointed Bishop of Row2Recovery, James Kayll led the whole crew in mourning and conducted a religious ceremony to mark Larry’s passing.
Oh, and we have seen some whales too.
Its two steps forward and one back but we are finding things to entertain ourselves. James is considering a future beyond the Army and we have been doing some career planning. For anyone interested I can vouch that he is a great seaman with a striking beard and he makes a mean cup of tea.