We’ve been forced on land again for the fourth time in 7 days.
Coming on land in the first weeks of this challenge was exciting. It was a time to stock up on food, stretch our legs and shower, but the weather over the last few weeks has turned this luxury into a frustration.
Can you believe since we started this challenge 48 days ago, we have had wind in our favour for only 3? The rest of the time the wind has blown in the opposite direction. That’s 6% of our total row with good wind! Come on Mother Nature, give us a break!
When we rowed East, the wind was blowing from the East (that’s the bit where Lesley and I were forced on our bikes). When we rowed North, we had wind blowing from the North. Now we are rowing South….. You get the picture.
I am writing this blog from a wonderful place called Holy Island, a tiny tidal island off the northeast coast of England, just down from Berwick-upon-Tweed on the Scottish border.
Holy Island has a circumference of 9 miles and is only accessible at low tide. It’s very special here, with a monastery, beautiful white sandy beaches and lots of history. I’d never have come here if it wasn’t for this rowing challenge. However, I don’t want to be here.
We were meant to be stopping at Scarborough today, our penultimate stop 98 miles from here. We are severely behind schedule and it’s got nothing do with lack of human effort. The team and I have pulled so hard on the oars to get us as far along the coast as possible, but it seems Mother Nature has a different plan.
We are now stationary on Holy Island for the next 2 days and we can’t leave. Our 500kg fibre glass boat wouldn’t withstand the 30mph head winds.
When I originally signed up to this challenge, I was a little naive with what was involved in navigating round Great Britain.
I had a vision of us rowing constantly throughout the day and night, regardless of the weather and hadn’t even taken tides into consideration.
The reality is, if we do row against the majority of tides, we run the risk of being pushed on to the rocky coastline and then we’d be in a right pickle.
We’re now essentially trapped on this gorgeous island with nowhere to stay as all the hotel rooms are booked. We cannot stay on the boat as she’s in a dry harbour, which means Lionheart is sitting on the sand as there is no jetty. She’d get damaged with 4 bodies on board and not floating on the water. We’ll be sleeping on the floor in a Christian retreat library this evening – random I know.
I’m aware this is all part of the challenge. I would never have guessed that my frustrations and upset would come from NOT being on the boat. It turns out I like weeing in a bucket, rowing until my hands hurt and being woken up every 2 hours to sit on the oars. I enjoy the simplicity of boat life.
I’m going to diversify a little now….. there’s a guy currently rowing solo around Great Britain. No one has ever completed this challenge solo and unassisted. EVER!
Unassisted means Andy has all the food he needs for the entire challenge on board the boat. He isn’t allowed to accept or pass anything on or off the boat, nor is he allowed to pull into land or attach to anything man-made. (Check out his website here)
Andy is currently mid-ocean and suffering from the same bad weather as us. I wish him the best of luck, fair weather and good tides, yet I have already decided if he does not succeed in his mission to become to the first solo to row around Great Britain, then I am going to take the challenge on.
As I’ve mentioned before, I like ocean rowing, I think I’m good at it and I believe I’d be able to live on a boat comfortably to see this unassisted challenge completed. Plus wouldn’t it be cool for a female to do it first?
It’s thoughts and dreams like this that keep me occupied during my land visits.
Right. I’m off. I’m going to make the most of the sleep ready for our big push next week. We’ve got 301 miles to cover in 5 days. This seems impossible to me right now but there’s talk of strong winds in our favour from Sunday. Let’s see what happens.
“It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.” ~ Yvon Chouinard
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