2,000 miles! Boom!

23 Jan

It’s official, the crew has passed the 2,000 miles this morning! Aodhán just rang and sounded good. The weather is improving, he doesn’t have any blisters on neither hands nor feet miraculously and he’s enjoying the great team effort.

His Irish skin is getting a beating though, especially in the afternoon when the temperature is continually in the high thirties and as a result he has developed a painful heat rash on both legs.

He told me that they are now around 10 nautical miles behind on the World Record scheme, but on the scale of 2,000 miles this is something they should be able to overcome when the improved weather conditions remain.

Some of you who listened to his Heart FM interview were surprised with Aodhán asking me if I was on my way to work. It still amazes me how he takes my lunch breaks at work into consideration to time his call. It’s mad that he’s able to place himself in my shoes while being at the middle of the Atlantic and never having slept for more than 2 hrs in one go.

He thanks everyone for their great support and was happy to hear that the Girl’s Night In fundraiser went well last Saturday. Please click here if you still want to donate to his charity, or click here if you want to sponsor a few of his strokes.

Bad weather and high spirits

22 Jan

After yesterday’s longer blog post, today’s one is going to be a bit shorter. The weather conditions haven’t improved and the guys are facing a real challenge in speeding up the boat. Check out the Live Updates to see where they are at.

Everyone is doing well though and spirits are still good. They have only dropped behind on the World Record scheme by a few miles. The heat is increasing and the exhaustion is setting on, but the humour is still on board.

Hurricane mayhem and flying fish

21 Jan

Atlantic Odyssey has started Day 20 today at 1 pm. After three days of great weather conditions and great rowing mileage, the crew faced the knock on effects of a hurricane which was active in the North Atlantic yesterday. They are still ahead of the World Record, but only with a minimal few nautical miles. The next days are going to be really important for the crew’s progress.

Aodhán wrote the following: We had a horrible day yesterday – a hurricane in the North Atlantic messed up our wind pattern and we hit a mid ocean current going the wrong way so our speed dropped massively. At the start of today we are only 5 miles ahead of world record pace and its going to probably be a very close and difficult call, which is starting to get to everyone.

I am having trouble with the 7 til 9am shift – the last of the dark ones each night – can’t seem to wake my body up. The 3 til 5pm shift is incredidly hot – around 35 degrees or more and I find that hard too. After the afternoon shift we practically rest in an oven of a cabin before going back out to the grill – not getting burned but feeling drained.

Have got hit in the head by a couple of whopper flying fish alright – lightens the mood watching the other guys trying to grab the bloody thing to throw back in the sea. They stink by the way. Will have my revenge in Barbados – flying fish sandwich is a speciality.

Getting some amazing views of the milky way at the moment as there is not much moonlight time. Right well I better get back to business. Love to all.

For the last 2 weeks I’ve been sick, exhausted, blistered, burnt, battered and bruised by my boat and the Atlantic Ocean! I’ve passed my crisis point of questioning myself as to the reasons for me being here for a 4th year running and I had struggled to come up with the right answer until today!

The boat just took off, the weather was perfect, the crew (a tightly bonded group of men who I can now call friends) were all smiles and the energy here is almost electric! And it was while pushing myself as hard as ever today that it came to me; I do this every year because I truly love it and to do something you love as a part of your working life is a total privilege!

It’s a shame there is only 2 weeks of it left before I go back to the normal part of my life (as a gas engineer)!!

Keeping at it!

20 Jan

The crew is making great progress and have steadily increased their speed and the distance they are covering each day. Check the Live Updates to see for yourself. Simon recorded the 24th pod cast, in which he talks about his bodily deterioration, starting to dream about Barbados and lifted spirits due to the improved weather conditions. Listen to Simon here:

http://embed.ipadio.com/embed/v1/embed-352×200.swf?callInView=98821&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=123593

Keep on at it guys and take good care of yourselves!

Neck-and-neck

20 Jan

Atlantic Odyssey vs World Record: 1-0. So far, so good. Just having passed the half way mark, the crew has realized they have to do the same thing one more time: many 2hr shifts of battling exhaustion, waves and heat. Mark wrote in his blog that Ian fell asleep last night while rowing. Luckily there are enough caffeine tablets on board to get the guys through the night shifts.

With the weather conditions looking good for the next 10 days and after gaining 10 miles on the World Record today, the World Record is a more than realistic aim. Matt said the following this afternoon on the radio (14:50), “we are still head of the world record pace!  The crew are burning 12000 calories a day and eating about 6000, you can see it on the lads now, serious weight loss, the beards are up, the sun tans are on and the legs are getting really skinny, everyone is exhausted”.

Luckily they’ve also got a wicked sense of humour on board, tons of support and beautiful nature surrounding them.

And Aodhán is not only rowing rowing this enormous distance to break a World Record, he’s also hoping to raise funds and awareness for girls’ education in developing countries. Please donate HERE and do it NOW!

  • An educated girl is less likely to marry and to have children whilst she is still a child.
  • An educated girl is more likely to be literate, healthy and survive into adulthood, as are her children.
  • An educated girl is more likely to reinvest her income back into her family, community and country.

Hagrid passing the half way mark

18 Jan

The crew passed the half way mark today! And after yesterday’s interview Aodhán sent an email and rang today. He feels much better and things are going well luckily. There is a good atmosphere on board and conditions have improved. This is what he wrote:

Just got myself on the computer for the first time in a few days. The messages of support have been amazing – its probably the only time on the trip that I feel emotional – the rest of the time its all business. Was cool to chat on radio and was worried as only 90 mins before I was suffering from massive sleep deprivation delirium and could barely say my own name. Cool about Chris – those poor kids in Canada are in for a tough time (I wouldn’t do it:-)…..

Just at the moment we got off the phone the sun came up on the horizon and a pod of about 6 or 8 dolphins gave us a dawn escort for about half an hour – was amazing. Starting to feel the calorie deficit now and am constantly hungry – a bit of weight is really disappearing now – so in 2 weeks I will prob be a lightweight ( a trim 90 kgs maybe) haha. The crew here call me Hagrid as my nickname – the giant from Harry Potter – funny!

We are neck and neck with the World Record at the moment – will need to put in a really hard week to try and get ourselves ahead of it. The 30 days plan won’t happen – we needed good weather for the whole trip to pull it off but we just didn’t get it – think its a massive testament to the crew that we have gone so fast without much weather assistance – need some luck for the last two weeks now!

The moon’s phase means that we have no light at night time at the moment – which makes it difficult when the waves are big but on moments like last night with calm seas you can see the whole milky way – its spectacular!

This boat is made of tough stuff – we had what they call a knock down 2days ago in the morning during my shift – thats when the boat is knocked to 90 degrees or more into the water (a capsize would be 180 degrees so upside down) – we were all fine – some of the lads asleep found themselves on the ceiling for a moment – we lost one of our water jerry cans which is a pain as I now have to refil the one we have left over and over again.

Most importantly – thank you all for your support, I’ve read everything I got sent and it is of great help here in the middle of nowhere!

Radio interview with Aodhán

17 Jan

Aodhán is feeling really tired and that’s what he told the two radio DJs at Heart FM this morning during his live radio début. They directly told him of all the support back home in Dublin and tweets sent to them by Aodhán’s dad John for support. I luckily had a chance to suprise him and perk him up during the interview. It was great talking to Aodhán and bizarre to be sharing some of my soppy feelings with randomers here in the UK. Aodhán also spoke about many little technical issues that were continually being solved by skipper Matt. Please click HERE to listen to the radio interview yourself. John, Anna and Roisin have been able to listen to the broadcast by logging in with a UK post code. John – can you leave a comment to explain how you did that?

Also very interesting was Mark’s 20th pod cast, in which he has to admit they have had a very rough night and were blown into the wrong direction. They are now officially not ahead of World Record pace any longer, but some good trade winds can turn this around again. Go Atlantic Odyssey Go!! We believe in you all. Click on the following link to listen to the 20th pod cast: http://embed.ipadio.com/embed/v1/embed-352×200.swf?callInView=97667&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=122337.

Rockin’ the rollercoaster Atlantic!

16 Jan

Two weeks into the adventure some things have changed and others remained the same. The trade winds have really kicked in, which is visible on the Live Updates, but the ocean is not becoming any calmer. Check out this photo which shows the height of the swells the guys are rowing on – impressive:

Mark spoke about the trade winds, the extra speed, the exhaustion and aiming for the World Records in the 19th pod cast, have a listen yourself: http://embed.ipadio.com/embed/v1/embed-352×200.swf?callInView=97574&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=122232.

Call from Aodhán: he’s buzzing

15 Jan

Aodhán just called and it was great to hear his voice and learn more about how he’s experiencing the whole expedition. The last few days have been tough on him, but this morning he woke up buzzing and with renewed energy. The sea was a bit mad last night with 3metre swells, but the East to West trade winds have finally kicked in and are predicted to stay around for a week. Aodhán said he was really happy with this, as the rowing has become a bit easier which is good. They are aiming to row 100 nautical miles a day.

Aodhán said he’s been keeping a log of everything that happens on a waterproof notebook his sister Roisin gave him for Christmas. Each day is a roller coaster of highs and lows. Some shifts are seriously tough and some fly by while he’s staring at the wide oceans and living in the moment.  And last but not least, thank you all for your great support, it makes the difference when the rowing and conditions are tough!

Check out the Live Updates to see that the pace really picked up and to see where exactly they have crossed the position where last year’s World Record holders passed as well, but Atlantic Odyssey is faster.

Also, make sure to listen to Matt about confused seas, broken laptops, high spirits and strong winds: http://embed.ipadio.com/embed/v1/embed-352×200.swf?callInView=97428&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=122080.

1,000 miles! Boom!

14 Jan

To start this Saturday’s message: the crew has passed the 1,000 mile mark!! And rowing over 1,000 miles has never looked this great:

Listening to Mark’s latest pod cast, it’s clear that the guys did have a bout of trade winds to back them up last night. Wahoo! But unfortunately today’s conditions weren’t that amazing. The forecasts are good and those winds are really needed for the crew to consolidate their fast pace. They are still on course to break the World Record after all, so let’s just  all believe the forecasts for a change.

Mark also spoke of the highs and lows the crew are experiencing: the beautiful night skies filled with stars, seeing some of nature’s intriguing wild life, the magic of being in a big empty space alone with your thoughts and seeing sunsets on endless horizons. Not bad hey? You’d think…..but then on the other hand he did add that everyone is on dialy pain killers and cooking in the heat. Click here to listen to Mark yourself: http://embed.ipadio.com/embed/v1/embed-352×200.swf?callInView=97264&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=121899

 

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