Thar' she blows & half way
15 August 2001 | Just past halfway!
Difficult to decide on a title this week so I've gone for both. We crossed the halfway point at 17:50hrs BST & were exactly 2200 nmiles from both Choshi & San Francisco. When the sun comes up we will crack our can of Guinness to toast the memory of Peter Bird, an ocean rower lost in the North Pacific in 1996 attempting a continent to continent crossing. Our thoughts are with his wife Polly & son Lewis.
The choice of which photo to use was an easy selection though. David Attenborough & Simon King move over, Tim 'n' Dom natural history film team are here. Our collection of wildlife film is growing. We managed to get close to the sealion (we think that's what it was) and film it as well. Apparently his name is Larry and he is a loner from the Aleutians. Or so Al says & Al is our guru on most stuff. The latest whale we have seen was amazing. When it appeared Dom was so excited calling me he was virtually speechless (for those of you that know Dom well, that was 'quite pleasant really', a moment of relative quiet!) The huge beast 30 metres + swam alongside us for 10 minutes, & Dom rowed right up to him. He dived under the bows (the whale, not Dom!!!), re-surfaced, then threw his tail high into the misty sky before sounding back to the deeps.
Progress has been generally good since the dateline but it seems that whenever we approach a milestone, we get held up just before crossing it. The halfway being no different and we have spent two days on the sea anchor less than fifty miles from it during a couple of days of Easterlies but we have held ground well. We are in the middle of a massive fog bank which makes the whole boat damp & soggy. It seems to rain all night as well. Its a bit like Dartmoor in winter....but at sea, miserable. Anyway as long as we are moving east we are happy. Lets face it, as Marines, a bit of cold and wet doesn't bother us.....yeah right! we look like two soggy, bedraggled hampsters. We occasionally get a gap in the fog and some blue skies & 'real' sun which gives us a chance to top up batteries and dry the cabin and damp sleeping gear.
On to other news, thanks to Al & Pete at 7E Communications we were able to send back some stored & live video footage. A world first for such a small vessel without gyro stabilised antennas. There were those that said it couldnt be done but now 'we are the experts'. We then did a live video conference link with the Royal Marines Association, City of London. It was like having 80 guests onboard for a party seeing them on screen as they asked us their questions. Its always good to see big Jim Ellards beaming smile. We have also been interviewed by Tom our 'tame' Mirror reporter. The Mirror are one of our sponsors so rush out and buy it to check out our article on Friday (I guess!). The past few days have been a bit of a media frenzy with other interviews with The Sun, BBC Online (check their web page on the voyage) and Radio 2CR now doing a regular Wednesday link up.
Baz Meacham, that was a quick spin round the world. If you want it to last longer next time I have a slow boat you can borrow! Bob Gabrych Snr, yes I remember you and am in touch with Bob jnr, hope to see him on our arrival and likewise Big Pat Cantrell, good to hear from you mate. Keep an eye on the website (or contact Al Keir on the site). Hope you can make it to the finish too Semper Fi. Yvonne, you've got a lot to answer for! This Dracula thing has got out of hand. Dom spreads garlic puree all over himself before each night-watch & he thinks I'm Renfield!. Higgie, Dom didn't have a clue what you meant. I understood clearly, will try your 'onboard' e-mail. If you have Inmarsat C onboard use that, if poss send us stuff from other lads on board that know us. Anyway, another cracking set of morale messages, has us in tears of laughter and we always look forward to opening the weekly morale-a-gram from Al. Keep em flowing. Hi to all, love to family, happy birthday to mum. Big love to Clare aad xxx & remember, it's all down hill from here.........aaaaaarrrgghhh!!!