Update from Alex: Day 13, February 10th

Dear supporters,

Firstly I would like to thank the kind lady at mail a sail for assisting me the other day for trouble shooting sending the first blog now sent a week or so ago. 

At first, I couldn’t get the combination of kit to dial up and and receive any emails. Brilliant I thought, after all this me saying we would have email this crossing for blogs etc and I’d fallen at the first hurdle. Thankfully I knew it did work as Angus and Jamie had sent one in the dock the night before leaving. 

In order to communicate via this means, we a few moving parts. Write email on iPad and q in outbox. Plug in a red box (actually called a red box) which creates a WiFi signal to our iPad (not tinder compatible), turn sat phone on and connect to our cabin antenna (satellite signal doesn’t get through our carbon shell). Allow red box to beep and plug sat phone into red box via usb to create the dial up modem. A final boring,step which I learnt on my phone call, open emails, and allow iPad to send and receive. 

I completed all these steps whilst on the phone to London office and the lady telling me it might not work when on a call. Well the dial up worked and were cut off. Thank you sorry I never called back (Satellite minutes are spenny, about £1 a minute.)

Wow what a boring start to a blog, but tough I’ve written it now. What is does go to show is how apart from rowing, sleeping, eating and basic hygiene necessities (bottoms and meat and 2 veg), the steps or requirements of completing tasks outside of these descriptions are sometimes somewhat the last thing you want to do. 

For example last night around midnight, Jamie asks if I know where the roller blade wheels are for our seats. Of course I did but also involved me rolling over, opening a dry hatch and rummaging through multiple zip lock bags to find the one in question. This was a task that needed to be handled at the time and not the morning, otherwise  it would have been an even more unpleasant night shift than I usually find them. But having just woken up from 90 minutes of sleep and body aching from a hard days rowing, it was the last thing I wanted to do.

Naturally, there are also jobs I consider I will do, and get round to them a few days later, if at all. I know my daily essential additional jobs and I have now built these into my daily grind on storm. 
Change auto helm every 4 hours or so.
Clean solar panels daily 
Constantly monitor battery levels 
Scan AIS for other ships (we have spoken to a number of ships now and some have come quite close to us and altered course for us. One was particularly friendly over the radio, spoke English and on way to Antigua. Knew exactly what we were and doing. Wished us well.)
Charge phones, headphones etc to last the night. (The headphones we have decide to tell you about 45 mins before they die that they are low. Happened to me this morning early into my last night shift. I knew bleak times were to come when they cut off. It’s more the annoyance of them telling me they are low though... I’m low too if you cut out on me !
Tend to my blistered feet. (It wouldn’t be a row for me without nailed feet. Both currently wrapped in tape).

I write this on the Sunday of day 13. We have had some pleasing speeds and now have under 2000 miles to row. A mental milestone for me and half way is next in 500 miles or so time and one would hope c. a week of rowing. A distance of this scale needs to be broken down into chunks or you’re doomed. Although strange to still think we are still rowing away from closest form of civilisation etc. Half way is going to be a big mental milestone.

We have been working hard and adding an extra hour of rowing into our day. This reduces time spent in the cabin to recover in the day and have the sun beat down on you. Being Sunday today, we are only going to do an extra 30 mins each. We are both pretty sore and lacking quite a lot of sleep.

We have just finished running our water maker for the day, while J is on the oars and monitoring no over flow, I lay in the cabin writing this and monitoring our battery levels as we run an energy intensive bit of kit.

I think J is keen on the idea of his wildlife adventures out on the Atlantic, so I will save recent wildlife to him. 

We are slowly coming to the end (I think) of what has been us in the middle of sand blown off the Sahara dessert, given the easterly winds we have been having. At first I thought it was a weather system coming thought which we never got. Instead, we are in a very fine particles sand storm. We can see it settling on our spare blades and more importantly to monitor, our solar panels.

Rowing in the day remains faster when we get a bit more breeze, and dropping in the night time when rowing becomes a bit heavier and the struggle kicks in. My Dad Wrote a Porno keeps us mildly entertained and the odd lol can be heard from the cabin on deck at times. My final night shift I tend to put on some more known tunes and sing along to keep myself awake. Good thing no one can hear me.

I have just finished Jason Fox’s audio book talking about his coming to terms of PTSD and chronic burnout. You are a true hero and I started listening to him when it was light and heavy and I thought a dude like that would have been through a lot more than the tough times we are facing out here. The book ends with tales of his Atlantic row.... mate, it sounded f-ing horrendous what you guys did! Not saying I want what you had, but wouldn’t mind a big storm right now to send us that little bit further! Kudos 

That’s enough waffle for now.... I’ll think of something else to rabble on about over the next few days.... these blogs sound a lot better when I write them in my head when trying to kill time.... it gets pretty dam boring out on deck on your own!

Hugs and kisses. 

Alex