logo Red Arrow
Date: 25 Feb 2010 19:06:17
Title: 2 more birthdays and a big ship!

Happy Birthday Hannah Levin -            I’m sorry that I’ve dragged Rich away from you for so long but you’ll have him back soon. I hope you have a great birthday and enjoy the celebrations. Thanks for all your help and support with the rowing.


Happy 40th Danny Purton -                    I didn’t realise I had such old friends! I hope you had a good time in Barbados and it’s a shame I’m missing your party at the weekend. Enjoy.


Well it’s been a weird last day or so. We reached our waypoint of 50 Degrees west which we’d been locked onto for a week or so. We finish at 61 Degrees west so we’re edging closer. To celebrate Rich ate all his of half of a pick and mix sweet bag we were given and I decided to jump in the water and do a couple of swimming laps around Red Arrow!


During my 20:00 to 22:00 shift yesterday I was making slow progress and I noticed a bird (flying variety) out of the corner of my eye. It then nose dived into the water and came up empty handed. A couple of minutes later it was on the tail of a flying fish who was zipping along a couple of feet above the water. It was like Tom & Jerry and it seemed to go on for ages with the fish ducking into the water every so often. Eventually the bird grabbed the fish in its beak and flew around for about 15 minutes trying to digest it. During the day we’d received a text from Cath to say look out for a Pterodactyl bird which was large and black and just like I’d seen. Cath – how did you know to text us that yesterday?


Rich then went onto the oars for 2 hours and the conditions were getting worse. The wind and waves were coming from the South, which meant we were trying to track across them and getting thrown all over the show. At the end of the 2 hours we’d travelled 1 mile and I can’t tell you how demoralising that is – all that effort for what we’d cover in 20/25 minutes on a good day. When it is that slow my gut feeling is to rest as you waste energy and our bodies always need sleep. Rich tends to like to keep going come what may but we decided last night that it wasn’t worth fighting. We let the boat drift overnight and only lost 2 miles from the next waypoint which wasn’t the end of the world.


The conditions hadn’t improved this morning so we put the para anchor out AGAIN! Every time we deploy it with its large parachute type canopy, 80m main line and its 100m retrieval line I always hope it will be the last as it means we’re not getting closer to Antigua. We were right on top of HCL Workforce and could see them on our radar and hear them on our VHF Radio but couldn’t see them. As I thought, we are having problems with our VHF as we could only receive transmissions from them.


During the day our AIS radar system starting beeping again and we had a 175m cargo ship called “Advantage” on the horizon. I tried to do a radio check with him but again we heard nothing and the ship powered off into the distance. I was then on deck making some lunch and looked to my right and this huge ship was heading straight for us – it was moving at some speed. “RICH – Get out here” I screamed and we both thought “Shit!”


As a last ditch attempt I suggested Rich try the VHF again and check that they have a visual with us. It worked! The really nice American captain hadn’t initially heard our radio calls but a look out had spotted a small red boat (which they thought was a life raft) in the stern (behind them) and they did a complete u-turn to come and investigate. We were showing up on their radar as a boat but no specific information about Red Arrow was being shown which was strange. The captain was fantastic and couldn’t have been nicer and offered us food, drink and a beer although sadly we couldn’t accept – please note Woodvale! It was so reassuring to know that a commercial vessel was prepared to waste valuable time and money to come and investigate a small red boat. Advantage wished us well and they powered off whilst we took lots of great pictures.


We’ve just been told the forecast is much the same for the next 24 hours so we’ll be sitting tight until then. We’ve some jobs to do onboard and we’ll make sure we’re ready to row as soon as the weather turns.


Looking forward to:     

  1. Getting rowing again!


If anyone would like Rich or I to talk about anything that you have questions on, or specific topics (within reason) in our blogs then please drop us a text or email and we’ll try and accommodate.


 The row must go on – Antigua here we come.




Thanks to the following people for getting in touch with various good luck messages, jokes and stories; Andy Sturt, Debbie Alright, Amie Willenberg, Durie, Jacqui Sechari, Ian Pain, Tiger and Cath Rogers.


Sarah Grimes –            sorry to hear about the operation and I know how you feel with everyone staring at your nose all the time! I hope Dan is looking after you.

Diary Entries