40th Danny Purton -
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
row must go on – Antigua here we come.
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.
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.