Date: 31 May 2018 22:58:09
Title: The longest week.

I was always going to try again. It was just a case of when. After I had to abandon my first attempt in 2014 I have to admit that I often hoped that the desire to row the North Atlantic Ocean would fade and that would give me an excuse to say "well, I tried" and move onto something else. That has never happened, even after all the setbacks and seemingly endless stumbling blocks that appeared. I am doing this because I really want to. But that doesn't make it any easier or lessen the fears and doubts.
 Rowing underneath the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
I apologise for not writing more sooner but I was completely focused on getting a good start and making it out to the Gulf Stream as soon as possible. I am going to document my challenge as honestly as I can. This is not some swashbuckling adventure full of stunning sunsets, amazing wildlife and blue skies. It's hard and I have found these past few days very hard. Self-doubt, fear, fatigue, impatience, low mood - it's felt like the longest week. And that is just the first week out of a few dozen!
I didn't really want to share what I was feeling incase I alarmed anyone but I am OK and starting to accept and deal with life out on the ocean. There will be good days and bad days. I have also been feeling a bit queasy when I use the laptop and it's amazing how many typos you make when typing on a moving goat.
Gloria Hunniford, my wee birdie pal.
Small whales around the boat.
I had forgotten just how frustrating it can be to do an ocean row. Being pulled in the wrong direction by counter-currents. Battling headwinds to gain just a couple of miles for maximum effort. Oars up in the air and oar shafts hitting your ankles as you try and row across the waves. And the slow, slow pace. It can really get to you and it's easy to let even the smallest thing become something much worse. In my mind, I have been trying to row the North Atlantic in a week, totally irrational I know, but that's how I've felt sometimes. Let's just get it done. I've had to challenge my impatience and recognise that this really is a marathon, 3-4 months.
I'm also scared of failing. I wish that I wasn't but that feeling is there. What if? This might go wrong, that might go wrong? Worrying about things that aren't my immediate concern and may never even be an issue. I am here and I am going to try my very best, that's all I can do. I am not an adventurer, far from it. I feel very insignificant out here on this vast ocean. I make careless mistakes, react too quickly, see the problem instead of the solution. Hopefully over the next while I can grow into the challenge that I have chosen. I need to thank Leven Brown who is acting as my weather router for NY2SY. Not only is he trying to find the best, and quickest, route for me across the ocean back to Scotland but for the last week he has handled all my expressions and outbursts of doubt and despair with understanding, empathy and wise words. I couldn't ask to have a better person guiding me through all of this.
I'd also like to thank the wee warbler-type bird that landed on my boat the other night. It was a welcome unexpected visitor when I was feeling very low. I decided to name it Gloria Hunniford (I was extremely tired and slightly manic) and it gave me a great lift for the couple of hours it spent flying around the boat catching insects. Sadly, it also caught and ate a moth that I had befriended the day before. Nature can be brutal.
As I write this, I am currently drifting gently in calm waters on the outer edge of the Gulf Stream. The plan now is to keep rowing due east to get into the main channel and find some decent current. The days have been very warm and it's been hard going but I can see the miles adding up and, although I seem to go round in circles at times, I am making progress.

I have been made aware of the support back home, and further afield, and I cannot articulate what that means to me. Thank you for taking the time to get in touch and for believing in what I am trying to do, thank you so much. I have many more people to thank, people who made it possible for me to finally get this far and I'll write more about them over the coming weeks.
Please remember that I am trying to raise funds for the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and mental health issues in general. Thank you for your amazing generosity, it will make a difference to someone's life.

p.s. boat


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