Thursday 31st December
Wednesday 30th December

I’m on the plane at the moment heading home, we left at noon on the 31st, we’ve just passed back over the international date line so it’s now the 30th again. We get home about 4pm on the 31st.

It’s strange watching the route that took me 7 months to row unravel at 500 miles an hour, not quite sure how I feel about it, makes the journey seem a little futile.  It will however be nice to get home, the next bed I lay my weary bones in will be my own. That’s also a little strange, realising its been 7 months since I did so.

It also looks like the winter has started properly in Ontario, big snow storms over the last few days, the cold will be a real shock to the system.  As well as struggling to run in general, I’ll be struggling to run in -25° conditions.  At least it will give me something to moan about.  I ran again with Georgie this morning and did no better than yesterday, I need to be patient I guess but as most of you know that’s not my strong suit.

I’m starting to feel the fatigue set in properly and I suspect it’s more to do with traveling than the row.  I’m glad we did the hop to Sydney and had time to recover before the long haul home, it knocked about 4/5 hours off the journey time.  I’m still eating 24 hours a day as well, I will need to get on a 3 meals a day plan when I get home but I’ve been pretty relaxed about pigging out up until know.

I wanted to use this blog to do my thank you’s to all involved so here goes:

Tony Humphreys – Tony as many of you will know is my shore support, he sent me the weather and current information daily, adjusted my routing when necessary and was on call 24 hours a day.  While I rowed the 7500nm as a solo rower there is no way this journey could have been successful without Tony, it was really a team effort.  His ocean routing knowledge, attention to detail and calm nature have all been crucial in the success of the venture.  His most important role though was to put up with my moaning, when I was in the middle of what I saw as a crisis he was always calm, always pointed out it could be worse and reminded me things would change. I think we’ve achieved something special as a team and he should be incredibly proud. Tony’s qualifications: 1st Class Bachelor of Science degree in Maritime Studies. RYA/DoT Ocean Yachtmaster qualified. In excess of 20,000 miles sailing experience. Worked for Sir Chay Blyth as Operations Manager at The Challenge Business, where he was responsible for organising numerous adventure sailing voyages, corporate sailing tours and trans-ocean deliveries, as well as working on many sailing events such as the ARC – the largest trans-ocean sailing event in the world. Anyone interested can contact Tony at oceanpursuits.co.uk

A lot of comments have been made about my ability to push hard and keep going day after day, my mental approach and physical endurance, I put a lot of this down to this guy:

Grumpy Mike – I first met Mike when I was in my early 20’s.  I had started running but knew nothing about training properly, had no concept of what it was to be an athlete as opposed to being a recreational runner.  A friend introduced me to Mike’s group and I tagged along.  I was nowhere near good enough to be in the group but Mike never said a dickiebird.  He let me stick with the group and over time I started to slowly improve.  He taught me the key things you need to be a true athlete (regardless of the standard you reach), consistency, quality, hard work and persistence.  By my mid 20’s I was training twice a day, running a great collection of fartlek’s, hill and speed sessions in the winter and track in the summer.  This is where the base and fortitude to prepare for the trip comes from.  Mike has been an athlete all his life but also given most of his life to athletics in various ways, he’s coached club runners to national and Olympic athletes, been a stalwart of Hallamshire Harriers, been chairman when nobody else would be, he’s on the Sheffield Sports Development Committee and done all this over the years without expecting anything in return. I thank Mike sincerely for the athletic skills he’s taught me but I value much more his friendship.   I believe in life you only have a very small number of true friends and I would count Mike in that group.

Des & Penny: Des came out to shepherd me through the reef in New Mist, a Catermeran he built himself, this was a two day commitment.  Little did I know, Des missed an annual Boxing Day party that he normally hosts. I can’t thank him enough for his support.

Gemma Gould  (City Council): Gemma helped connect Cheryl to local resources and also helped solve a boat insurance issue with the marina.

Australian Border Force: Joline was a great help and actually came to the dock to check me in to Australia which was incredible.

Marlin Marina:  The marina accommodated the boat and were incredibly understanding about the disruption we cause.

Peter Thoren (Cairns Rowing Club): Peter is the President of the Cairns Rowing Club and is also member of the City Council.  Peter rallied groups from Cairns Rowing Club, he got WIN News involved and publicised my arrival all over Cairns.

Cairns Yacht Club – Patricia: Patricia was a great help to Cheryl preparing for my arrival, she went way beyond the extra mile to help in any way possible.

Brett –  Brett is a friend of Des’s and kindly ferried Cheryl and the girls out to meet me before the final 3 miles, he then brought out the press so they could get footage of me arriving from the water. I didn’t realise but I believe just like Des he also had family commitments that had to be re arranged.

The most important thank you of all has to go to Cheryl and the girls – Firstly for allowing me to take on the trip, I sometimes wish they had objected but all three were incredibly supportive. I’m proud they all coped with day to day life without me, Georgie settled into University, a massive life change, with unbelievable ease. Libby went out and found a job, now balances work and school and has been accepted to 3 UK universities. Cheryl has been a tower of strength, taking on my work load and carrying it out without a hitch, all while keeping the house and family running. She also was there whenever I need to gripe to someone who would tell me straight to get on with it.

I think there’s probably a couple more blogs in the story then its back to normal life again. We have added some images and video to the gallery so check them out if you’re interesred, there will be more in time.

I’ll post again possibly on Sunday.

But that’s it for today, Happy New Year.

John

Out