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Date: 09 Jan 2010 18:06:24
Title: A pattern is emerging.............

I wasn't expecting my first dip into the Atlantic to be collecting our floating toilet! Thankfully I avoided a Kevin & Perry going large in Ibiza moment and wasn't confronted head on with any large deposits on my way back to Red Arrow. Lesson now learnt and that won't be happening again!
Anyhow, we're now off the para anchor and headed due South for a day and now we've made the turn West towards our waypoint some 750 miles away! We spent some time planning our routes - think of them like "Strike it Lucky" there's a top one (most direct), middle one (Northern Route) and a bottom one (Southern Route) and each route has 15 or so waypoints all finishing in Antigua. The route we'd take would depend on the conditons at sea and we're now heading on the Southern Route - which is hopefully where the strong trade winds will be.  We're moving along nicely today and the weather has been kind so we're eating into this leg. I was watching Love Actually in La Gomera before we left and I think it was Colin the geeky guy said, "I'm on shag highway, heading west" - well there's been no shagging, I haven't seen a turn off for the highway but Red Arrow is heading West!
I just want to try and give you all an understanding of my "typical day" on Red Arrow and to try and show you how each of our 24 hours are broken down. In a normal 24 hour period I will row for 12 hours and rest for the other 12 hours - Rich will do the same. We've been doing 2 hour shifts and this is how it has been working so far and I've made some comments as to how I've found each so far.....
06:30     -    08:30     1st Rowing shift        So far this has been my favourite shift of the day as it is picturesque with the sun is rising over my right shoulder.
08.30    -    10:30      Rest                           Have some breakie and then try and stay awake for the rest of the morning.
10:30  -      12:30      2nd Rowing shift            Sun is normally shining and tend to chat to Rich as he's been on deck for this time.
12:30    -    14:30     Rest                            Lunch - as much food as I can fit down my gob in 2 hours and then a short siesta!
14:30    -    16:30     3rd Rowing shift          Normally blast out some cool classics and hot hits out through the on deck speakers and sing along very badly! 
16:30    -     18:30    Rest                         Try and catch up on emails/texts/blogs which is what I'm doing now.
18:30    -    20:30     4th Rowing shift          1st of the night shifts and the top and bottoms go on for this one. ipod needed as no power to run the on deck speakers. 
20:30    -    22:30     Rest                           Bite to eat and then sleep.
22:30     -   00:30     5th Rowing shift        Proper night time now and on a clear night the sky is covered with stars - very different from Lower Weybridge!
00:30    -    02:30    Rest                           Straight to sleep.
02:30    -    04:30    6th Rowing shift           The graveyard shift - the hardest one to wake up for but okay once I get started.
04:30    -    06:30    Rest                            More sleep...................
06:30    -    08:30    New Day                     Pattern starts again!
Obviously, during my rest periods is when Rich is on the oars and we give each other a 10 minute warning when the other one is due on shift. I always say "thanks mate" or "cheers Rich" although I can tell you at 04:20 in the morning when he's knocking on the cabin door I'm actually thinking "would you please just f*ck off". During my rest periods is when I need to sleep, eat, drink, wash, do boat maintenance, check all communications (emails/texts) etc and try and take in the scenery!
Just some various personal messages now as I'm really sorry that I haven't got time to reply to everyone individually......
Rachel & Lin  -      thanks for all texts and the card from you both. You could have told us it was going to be hard work! 
Ad -                      terrible "Dad" jokes you are sending through. Really pleased about your new job - love to Manda & Grace.
Anton -                 good to hear from you and sorry to hear about your trip across the Atlantic. Keep in touch and we're hunting dowm Mick & Lia!
Michelle Mitas -     very funny letter and you are one crazy chick! I'm working my way through all the letters that Laura rounded up and read yours first - I needed some loo roll!
Oli Dudley -           sounds like the Sisterhood owe you 10 ladies if all the other auction items arrived????? Hope Oz was good.
Matt Hort -            a real surprise to hear from you and I can't believe this time last year we were having a drink in Perth discussing our forthcoming trips. Great updates, thanks.
Swifty -                 thanks for the text and sorry to hear the news about your dicky ticker. We'll get you ship shape when I get back - just don't let big jaw get you back into any other bad habits!
Nelson -                love the quote of the week, cheers pal.
Coach Amy -        thanks for the email and you'll be pleased to know that your pupils are remembering all the coaching points you gave us. I must say it is much nicer rowing not having anyone shout at us the whole time!
Everyone else who has text or emailed - thank you.
Really looking forward to speaking to Laura tomorrow morning - the first time since we left on Monday. She has been amazing with everything and I'm missing her loads.
Antigua here we come!

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