Update from Alex: Day 34

Dear followers,

You have all stuck with us this long through thick and thin and for that J are and I are grateful. It’s been a massive rollercoaster of speeds which has had huge direct impacts on our moods and no doubt some of you guys also... we hope you have enjoyed following our journey and you can soon return to you buzz feeds of daily mail online when this is all over!

Since we have had a lot of time in our heads and running out of things to think about, i wondered last night if I were to write a book what would I title it?? A question which was submitted to me internally at work prior to leaving. Think I said ‘no idea, can I let you know in 3000 miles?!’ 

I think she thought that was actually my title! Could be?... thoughts? 

‘3 crossings, X number of days at sea and still no idea what to call this’ - leave a comment if any of you have any thoughts / suggestions.

We have been at sea for over a month now. What does this mean?

  • One would never have thought you’d hear me say this, but my ‘beard’ is better than Jamie’s! My previous rows, all have had strong beards, so much so that last Atlantic I shaved before arrival! Never fear, both keeping it for arrival and I have Dan (head of Marine at RKh) saying I pull it off in a good way although a tad Freddy mercury... Dan, I’ll leave you to provide the razor day one in the office! (Safe to say I think you will actually be ok and it won’t leave Barbados!)

  • We have eaten the majority of the food we properly like. Although we are not complaining about the remainder we have left at all. 

  • We have enough snack packs up until the last day. Phew.  Literally for us both, a choc bar is such a highlight and snack pack management is crucial out here! David Gordon (J’s Dad) - can’t thank you enough for being so OTT with the extra choc you brought to Gran Canaria (30 kg worth). We actually think we could have done with more! Reimbursement is Imminent.

  • Dodgy tan lines

  • Weight loss. Can see j’s ribs and I haven’t told J about my secret choc bar stash so no change my end!

  • Spotify only lasts 30 days without internet connection. Also changing the date on my devices did not trick it! So we are now without downloaded playlists. Thank you for those who might have sent over suggested playlists or made them for us on board.

You will be pleased to hear that I had pre empted Spotify failing and we now have a iPod each with J’s iTunes library on it. I know, who has an iTunes library still these days?! Well thankfully J has his from his Manchester uni days and it’s safe to say he was (not anymore) much cooler than me back then. I’m sat out of deck scrolling through artists looking for an hour long album thinking who the hell are half these people. Granted I wasn’t as ‘in’ to the house and hip hop scene back then. I am now though ! 

It’s been quite fun, ‘who you listening too?’ As we come out on deck. Which is then usually reciprocated by the other rower for their shift. 

I must take some credit for finding the daft punk Alive 2007 deluxe edition album, the mashup up album they did, which is a great listen for an hour on the oars. I think it’s going to to be my first album each first night shift until the finish ! 

It has live crowd screaming in the background of the album and one track in particular, someone screams ‘woohoo’. I stop rowing and turn around thinking j has looked at the plotter and our speeds, when he is in fact sleeping... freaked me out a little. And it still does when I know it’s coming! 

He had done the same thing when I told him the next morning....! 

What is the essential ingredient to an ocean rower / row

2:2 degrees from university and preferably in Geography. All those I have rowed an ocean with (Brits anyway) have read Geo and got Desmond’s! 

Although didn’t sparkle study anthropology at Bristol and didn’t you get a third ?! 

It’s safe to say that my Manchester geography studies were somewhat wasted on me. Apart from a decent dissertation, which I got a high 2.1 in, no further intellect was added. Probably should have gone to the lectures! 

For what it’s worth, I was 0.2% off a 2.1 grade whatever that is. 55 / 60?! 

I got my results in Australia before setting off my the Indian Ocean row. I milked an email with all the good excuses and I was scared for my life pre trip etc.... 

‘Dear Alex,

Please send email using your Manchester university email address’

Right well this is going to end well I thought when getting a response like that. Not sure I saw eye to eye with Manchester academics! Copy and paste and it was a no. 

Screw you, I’ll go and break 3 world records instead....

With all this in mind, I am however grateful for my time at Manchester and quite frankly I might not be writing this blog now if I hadn’t gone and Jamie Sparks hadn’t opened this world up to me and I had the opportunity to take it. Cheers princess Sparkle! 

I also wouldn’t have found my 2.2 numpty pulling on the oars as I type! People obviously have to be stupid enough to say yes in the first place! 

It was also the Indian Ocean row that landed me in front of Dominic Collins via a friend and how i ended up working for the marine team at RKH and Dominic now being the culprit to why I am here this time... funny how these things come about. 

In my interview with the RKH marine directors, ‘what did you get at uni?’

Here we go, the failing question all grads like us fail! ‘I got a 2:2 but would rather refer to it as a sportsman 2.1.

‘Ah so did I’ he responded and we swiftly moved on from that topic. Think it was you Nick (Demomt)?

Hope you have enjoyed my life story!


Yesterday (Saturday) finished my ‘midday’ shift at 2000 and proceed to the second seat to make some food, where we have generally been preparing meals most the trip, expecting the cabin door to open and J to emerge. He doesn’t like sleeping in the day like I do usually.

2003 comes about and no Jamie. I brave the commute to the cabin and find him fast asleep with his phone and our garmin on his chest from texting Åmber I assume. 

Shake his leg calling his name. Dead to the world! Flick him in the willy, still nothing. Again. Ah that got your attention didn’t it ! As he stirs very disorientated.

‘Rise and shine and please can you pass me the sat phone so I can call Angus’

He proceeds to reach for one of our remote controls and remove the lanyard on it as if this is what i have asked for.

‘What the F are you doing ?!.... SAT PHONE you chump !

As he gets on the oars I say to him if he can’t hold 3.4 knots let me know and I’ll come out and do a stint with him (it was patchy at the time and we are officially record chasing now).

20 minutes pass and he shouts to me ‘wait Alex I’ve just woken up and working out what’s going on, did you say 4.4knots or 3.4?’

‘3.4 like it’s been for the last couples of days’ I reply

‘Ah I’ve been knackering myself for 4.4 knots’

‘I noticed, keep up the good work!’  

Time of sending Sunday 3 March 2100 with 336 nm to go. 299 by 8am would be Dreamy.

Families have begun to fly and flying soon and after a particularly tough 6-8 hours this morning (lots of shouting at the ocean as squalls came through),we have good weather and forecast from tomorrow am to be in favour until the end.

We must avoid thinking about the end too much, difficult I know, as this can Cause the body to begin to shut down and heal or start hurting etc. J has sore nuts again and is on strong pain killers to get him through the final days. Am holding up ok and hopefully can cling on until dry land for my body to heal. 

We haven’t had more than 2 hours off (hour and a half sleep) at a time, rowed a minimum of 12 hours a day for the past 3,000 miles. The rollercoaster of pain and exhaustion isn’t over yet as we are soon to let our bodies stop. This has its highs and its lows of course! 

Alex out.