Tuesday 22nd September

12:45 GMT

Had a poor nights sleep, rain in the night woke me up a few times, alarm went off and I was in a trance for about 25 minutes, finally shook myself awake and am now half an hour behind schedule. Not a big deal but it gives me less flexibility in the day.

Forecast ok, ESE to E, 15/12 reducing to 12/9.

Course over ground (COG) while at rest 237°, best yet.

17:15 GMT

Well scrap the forecast again, started in not a breath of wind, very easy swell, easy enough to scull in. Moving along nicely, 3nm and time to drink coffee in the first hour, second hour the same but I feel the odd poof of wind, unfortunately it’s on my back. Two more miles in the next 40 minutes but the poof’s get more regular.

There’s thunder and lightening to the NE and I hope it stays there. Not many stars visible so I know it’s cloudy. Normally when it gets light the sky brightens in the east first, today it was the west. As it gets light, it becomes obvious why, the sky is heavy with storm clouds all through the east and to my south. I row on but know trouble is on the way. I just manage to get 10nm in the 3.5 hours, the last 30 minutes in the rain and into a headwind. Not sure where the day will go as I’m making breakfast and its tipping it down and I’m also being pushed west. I had brought the CDG down to 230° so will have to fight to get that back I guess.

I’ll report later.

21:00 GMT

Went back out, raining bullets as the huge storm past over. It also increased the strength of the headwind coming from the SSE. I fought both for nearly 2 hours. The wind was so strong it ground me to a halt a few times and it ate all the good COG I had made earlier and left me with shabby mileage. However, as I’ve said many times, the tough days are the important ones, this is turning into a tough day. The glimmer of hope is the last 40 minutes it calmed, the sun came out (screaming hot) and I sculled the last 40 and got just short of two miles. I’ll scrape for every last mile and even if we end in the mid 40s it will be all there is out there. Mo didn’t give up in his last 5000m, from what I’ve been told it was his best race. He looked beat for a second, he could have settled for 2nd thinking, I’ve got plenty of medals, let this one go, but he didn’t, he fought and won and I bet it’s the medal he’s proudest of. Well those days where I could say get the para anchor out and wait for better weather, I won’t, I’ll take the tough 3 miles instead, things change but only if you make them. So, I need a minor miracle but we’ll see what happens, I can’t see it staying flat all day and it will be incredibly hard to scull for another 6 hours in this heat.

05:00 GMT

Went back out, still calm, the storm is off in the distance. To the east, the sky is clear for the first time in 3 days. Suns out and it’s serious hot, I started sculling, big long steady strokes, the current although I am cutting across it helps, the water smooth to pull against, I’m doing over 3 knots. All of a sudden I feel a little poof of wind, then ripples on the water and the flag lazily flopped about. Not sure if you’d call this a minor miracle but I had a very light NNW breeze, despite being light and patchy it stayed and helped for 45 minutes. After that the wind died, thought it was trying to come from the west, then the south, but nothing at all. Six hours of sculling, my legs screaming for a break but I smell 50 on the horizon, it will be only just as I’m bound to slow a bit but I’m after it for sure. Had a couple of interruptions that I’ll put in any other news but I ended up over 51nm, COG of 230° for 24 hours and all’s well. Tough day at the office though, rain, headwinds ang lots of sculling.

So onwards and westwards. There’s still a good chance I can do this. To answer your question Patrick, because the weather is in charge I’ve no idea if it will get easier or harder, I do know the 50nm a day won’t last forever, today was close. But I’ll work hard every day and see where that gets me. Might be to the “land down under where women glow and men chandler” you never know.

Any other news:

Passed half way today, 3050nm, happy to be there at last, that’s as the crow flys obviously, not seen any crows so confused who worked that out.

I’m 15nm short of going under 3000nm to go, that should fall tomorrow morning.

Next big milestone is end of September, we’ll look at things more closely then.

Passed south of 1° south just before I finished today as well.

Rowed through another big patch of feeding tuna, more impressive in calm water the fish are more easily visible.

Then I had a pod of Dolphins, must have been 50/60 at least, the didn’t seem that happy as the waves weren’t much to surf on. Some in the near distance were shooting out of the water at least 15/20 feet, doing barrel rolls and crashing back on the water to make a huge splash. They were doing it for ages as they disappeared into the distance.

So it was a good day in the end, a tough grind but rewarded with good mileage and some local entertainment.

Last thing, I had a flag changing ceremony to mark half way, USA flag gone, Australian flag now waving, well it would if there was any wind.

That’s it for now.

John

Out.

Notes:

Thanks again for all the new congrats messages, too many to answer but they are massively appreciate.

Brian: Eric Morecambe, I agree a great sketch, my favourite joke of his is as the police car passes the house he pulls back the curtain and says “he won’t sell much ice cream going at that speed” even today when I hear a siren it’s the first thing I think.

Tom: Family life I love it, I had a couple of tough years finding time to run when the kids were small, tough but they come first. The le shark guy was Jim Schekdar (think that’s how you spell it) he did Peru to an island off the coast, so just a trade winds Southern Hemisphere crossing (I say just) and he crashed his boat in the surf.