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Date: 18 Jan 2010 09:42:27
Title: Happy 30th Greeno

Another big birthday I’ve missed although I’m sure that me being away is the best present you and Reynolds could have wished for. I’m sure you’ll be celebrating in true Bob style – no doubt a Gaylord Indian takeaway, night in on the sofa watching an Alan Partridge box set. Anyhow, I’ve joined your Casio watch club as my sports watch died just before I left the UK and I needed a cheap replacement and thought what would Bob do? £15 later in Argos I had found myself a bargin and 2 weeks into the trip it is still going strong! I read the letter from you and Elizabeth yesterday which was very entertaining and clearly shows you have too much time on your hands. Yes, I am very much missing number (2) from the “Things you will MISS” list!
Finally, I just want to share with people a very special going away present that I received from Bob just before I left the UK. One of my nicknames is “Crouchy”, originating purely because of our goal scoring similarities and nothing to do with our giraffe like frames or robotic dancing. Anyhow, back in November when we were having a very nice dinner party at the Swifts I was presented with what can only be described as a used garlic bread take away box with graffiti on the outside.  The graffiti turned out to by Bobs’ handwriting but inside the box was a real gem – a signed Crouchy shirt from England v Brazil with the wording;
“To Crouchy
All the best for the row.


It’ll be framed and going up on the wall when I get back. Enjoy your celebrations mate and thanks for your sponsorship. Will give you a buzz later. 

Back to life on Red Arrow and we’ve now been at sea for exactly 2 weeks and it’s certainly flown by for me. I thought it would be easier if I listed some of the highs and lows of the trip so far although I have just realised that I some of things haven’t been mentioned in my blogs - my bad, sorry. 

Highs so Far

1.         Actually, doing it as I’ve been dreaming about it for so long it feels so good that we’re actually living it.

2.         Being in the warmth – more weather gloating!

3.         Being circled by Free Willy - for 45 minutes this monster whale was either eyeing up for dinner or wanting to mate with our hull but thankfully he left without incident.

4.         Watching 2 very small birds fly past at really low level and they ended up playing around the boat for ages. I just wasn’t expecting to see these small, domestic type birds hundreds of miles from land and I didn’t think I’d be doing any bird watching on this trip.   

5.         During some night shifts it appears as if the water is like a lava and that whenever you make a stoke you move the lava and it makes the most amazing sparks/flow around the displaced water. Lin/Rachel – have I had too much sun during the day or do you know what I’m talking about? What’s this all about??????? 

Lows so Far

1.         Without doubt the lowest low has to be the cabin getting soaked. The cabin is still quite damp and we’ll keep drying the cushions out although the cabin does naturally suffer from condensation issues anyway. The problem is we have to strap the cushions to the solar panels to dry so we when do that it means we’re not gathering power to run our electrics – arrrrrrrrrr!

2.         Having completed 2 weeks of very tough rowing realising that we’re only a 1/5 of the way across!

3.         Doing a dive The Hoff would have been proud of off the side of the boat to save our little toilet.            

4.         Trying to eat Expedition Food “Chilli Con Carne” which I think came out of the Pedigree Chum factory and spitting the vile food out only to realise we’ve about 40 more days of them!

5.         Looking at the GPS after a 2 hour hard row and realising we’ve rowed only a mile closer to Antigua!

Update on how the old body is shaping up;


Hands     -    Visually you can see blisters/broken skin but they are holding up well. It does hurt when I try and clench my hands into a fist – it takes longer than normal to do and I can feel a throbbing pain.


Feet         - No major problems at all. A few non painful blisters and some sun burn but the Sharx shoes are fantastic.


Bum         - 2 weeks in and I can still sit down without any pain which I’m really pleased about. Granuflex (big cushioned plasters) on my bum cheeks have saved the day although my bum is now officially waxed when I pulled them off after 4 days use!  Thanks for the warning Oli!


Mentally - I’ve been telling myself the last couple of years that mentally and physically this trip is going to be hell. More so mentally I think – the regime, the monotony, the isolation, the primitive lifestyle and the conditions I’m sure will break me mentally at some stage. I also told myself that if it wasn’t as bad as hell then it’d be a bonus – so far, I’m holding up okay.


My favourite text from yesterday goes to Eugene “The Pebble” Cariaga.

“Big Nose. I hope that you have not started to eat Rich yet. The state of his spelling you may have already started on his fingers!.”

Sorry Rich but it made me laugh.

A few personal messages……………………

Rachel / Lin      -           Did you used to use the Toughbook on deck? It is like a greenhouse during the day in the cabin!

Andrew Line     -           The sports reports are first class and I share them with Rich when the come through. Thanks for keeping us up to date.

Caz                  -           Thanks for the texts/emails and we’re beating the Jersey 4 on Mission Atlantic.

Steve Green     -           Thanks for posting the photo to James Downie.

Frapey              -            Reasonable - we haven’t sunk yet!pey -  

Fiona Patterson / Catherine Hurd – Ladies, thank you both for your recent donations. Very kind of you both

Joy                   -           An email from my Nan and now a text from you – whatever next! Sorry to hear about your recent operation and I hope Aunty Jean is looking after you.

The row must go on – Antigua here we come.


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