Just like the subject title suggests, where do I start with this blog post? I‘m going against all the writing rules and starting with no idea what I am going to say.
I‘ve only been gone 9 days but it feels like I‘ve been gone a month.
Within the first 24 hours of rowing, our journey was jolted to a stop with 60mph winds bang on our nose, forcing us to pull in to Dover Marina. With the boat being lifted out of the water and transferred to Little Hampton in search of calmer weather, it was a no-brainer for me to hunt down a bike and cycle the 114 miles to meet her in order to keep the dots around the country connected.
Every day I have thought “I‘ll write a blog today” but each day has thrown a different challenge at us, mostly in a wind-based way meaning our daily routine is disrupted. There has not been one day that has been the same so far. No sleeping/rowing pattern has been established. Sometimes we row for 2 hours and have 40 minutes rest and other times we do 6 hours straight just to make up the miles.
The weather we are experiencing, 25-30 knots of wind speed with 45 knot gusts, is apparently some of the worst weather Great Britain has had during June and July for many years. Plus it’s going in exactly the opposite direction to where we want to go.
Heading out of Burnham on Crouch on the first day was the only day we’ve had the wind in our favour. Since then it has been an absolute battle. Cycling from Eastbourne to Brighton when the boat was being transferred was horrendous. Our average speed for the entire cycle was just 5mph. I was in granny gear 80% of the time and even had to use it to cycle downhill because the wind was so strong.
Right now, I‘m sitting on beautiful Lion Heart just 500m from Portland Bill, bobbing around on the anchor for the next 12 hours writing this blog. We’re waiting for the tide to change so we don’t go crashing on to the rocks.
Is this journey what I expected it to be? I have no idea. Each day the weather has thrown a completely different challenge at us. We’ve crawled along the coast and had to stop on land more times than I‘d have liked, but I suppose that’s all part of it, adapting to each thing Mother Nature presents us.
As I write this, we’ve just had rhib (rigid hull inflatable boat) fly by us full of tourists, all with their jaws dropped. They watched in utter amazement as we lounged against the safety lines on the side of Lion Heart, scoffing our faces listening to classical music full blast. We felt like zoo animals the way they were looking at us. We played up to it and looked completely casual like it’s normal thing to be doing.
These are the moments that makes rowing all through the night in the pouring rain worth it. It’s the most bizarre situation but feels so fantastic.
The next stop is Padstow, that’s if the wind doesn’t push us to land again. As of tomorrow, the weather forecast looks to be in our favour with just 4-5 knots of wind, which might even be behind us. As I‘m learning though, each hour things could change.
So right now, I‘ll make the most of the idyllic and rather unusual situation and continue enjoying the peace of being anchored out at sea.
If you’d like to see what I am up too, please visit my You Tube channel or Facebook page, LTFactor, to view my video diaries.
Thank you for reading. Until next time…..
Read more from the Great British Row 2017