Thanks for all the support!!

13 Jan

First things first, all the comments are amazing! They are all being sent to Aodhán as text messages to his sat phone and as emails to their communal email address. Aodhán gets a chance to check his email once every three days and his texts around once a day – all depending on how he feels, how the ocean behaves and how it generally goes. Everytime his parents, sister and I get a chance to chat to him he always says how good it is to get all this support. Thank you all!

Good news, when you check Atlantic Odyssey’s live updates at the moment it is clear that the speed is increasing. Which potentially means that the elusive trade winds have started to kick in. YAY! Fingers crossed this is the right analysis.

Today is the twelfth day and for the crew the days seem to merge into one another. It is so monotones that Ian thinks he’s seeing bats fly, plays cheese alphabet games with Mark and the crew gets insanely excited about air planes flying over. Please listen to Ian’s & Mark’s pod cast to hear more:×200.swf?callInView=97132&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=121751.

Also check out the comments which friends, family, MPs and Alumni officers are posting below each post and click HERE for a wee article on Aodhán on the alumni website of NUI Maynooth where he studied.

10 days done – it’s time for those trade winds!

12 Jan

10 days have been rowed and amazingly the crew is still on course to break the World Record, although conditions are less than ideal.  Well done guys! It was great to listen to giddy Ian and Simon joking away this morning on Heart FM. Matt wrote up a strong summary of their experiences so far:

“Just thought I’d do a quick round up of week 1 – the words of the week were seasickness, knackered, routine, pain & hunger! It sounds like hell, I know, but the smiles that were aboard Sara G told a different story!

Simon stroking, Aodhán as the power house and Matt in the bow seat

The crew is split in to 2 teams of 3.  In my team is Simon (who is in the stroke seat), Aodhán in the middle and I’m in the bow.  We have a great mix of humour between us and the nights are filled with caffeine induced laughter – Simon is the super quick wit of the group keeping not only Aodhán and myself laughing but the rest of the boat too!

By the end of week 1 the crew are settled and it now seems normal for life to be existing in this way. The days are blending into one another now and that’s a great sign that we have more to give as a crew in the coming weeks”.

It’s great news that the team is functioning so well and are set up for wonders, even if conditions are not ideal. Matt explained things further in his 15th pod cast:×200.swf?callInView=96737&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=121346. Stokey, Atlantic Odyssey’s weather master mind, is predicting the trade winds to start benefiting the boat by tomorrow morning. Mark wrote on his blog in the Independent that the trade winds should start earlier rather than later to keep the dream alive. So supporters, you better force those weather gods into action!

Tale of the nightly rudder fix…

11 Jan

Rudder oh rudder, why did you stop functioning in the middle of last night?

Ian setting up the rudder before departure in Morocco

Last night, just at the end of Ian, Mark and Yaacov’s 2hr shift, the steering cable snapped. Luckily it happened in quiet seas. It still took over an hour to fix the cable as there was little light, but luckily the rudder is in full swing again. Simon and Aodhán helped Matt, while the guys added another hour onto their shift, holding the weight of the boat against the power of the ocean. As the radio interviewer said: “No job too large for Captain Matt”! Well done guys! Click HERE to listen to skipper Matt explaining what happened.

Good news is that the guys are still ahead of the current World Record scheme and are expecting to benefit from the trade winds very soon. Mark wrote that in 8 days the crew has rowed over 700 miles gaining 50 miles on the current World Record holders. To read his blog post in The Independent please click HERE.

Go Atlantic Odyssey Go!! Keep up the pace!

Phone call from Aodhán

10 Jan

Aodhán just rang and we had a chance to talk about a lot of different things. He just finished a two hour shift and was looking forward to some food & rest. He sounded very good and said that he feels that way too. He is delighted that the crew is still on course to break the Atlantic World Record, especially taking into account the weather conditions they faced their first week.

He is lucky that he has not been sea sick, does not have many blisters yet and is managing to almost eat his full daily ration of food to fuel all the exercise. His knee is on the mend and he is taking anti inflammatory medicines to keep his muscles going. He is enjoying being in the Mid Atlantic and is happy that it will only take them another day or so before they will reach the trade winds and will be able to really take up their speed.

He wants to thank you all big time for leaving comments on this blog, as it is greatly supporting him. He especially liked the reminder of a World Record as result for all their efforts. He is currently really enjoying rowing with a full moon and under a blanket of stars, or when the ocean is less wild and the boat runs quite smoothly.

Please listen to skipper Matt who left the following podcast this morning, in which he discussed minor technical difficulties and the importance of those wanted trade winds:×200.swf?callInView=96353&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=120930

Please click HERE to listen to Ian via Heart FM this morning, getting emotional chatting to his daughter and talking about highs and lows.

More than a week on the wide waters

9 Jan

It´s official, Atlantic Odyssey has been under way for more than a week now! Congrats lads! And even better: they are still on course to smash the current World Record into iny tiny little pieces!

Aodhán spoke to his mum last Saturday and told her that he’s feeling good. This is something that can be said of Simon as well who was bubbling of energy and positivity during his radio interview this morning. Please click HERE to listen in. It makes sense that he was feeling so up beat, as he left his Moroccan belly, seasickness and seriously rough waves behind him for now.

Here’s a photo of Ian, Mark and Yaacov after having taken over from Simon, Aodhán and Matt:

Mark recorded a pod cast this morning before taking to the oars. He described the team waiting for the really wicked trade winds, the good feeling about still being ahead of the World Record scheme, everyone giving it their absolute all, keeping their targets short, Yaacov’s blisters, Aodhán’s & Matt’s injuries to their knees and birds that are following the boat for over three days now:×200.swf?callInView=96117&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=120674

Irish pasty white skin & the mid Atlantic

8 Jan

Good stuff – Aodhán recorded two pod casts, while he and the rest of the crew are currently rowing their 7th day and are still ahead of the World Record pace. Keep up the great work guys!!

Click on the following link to hear Aodhán discuss how it feels to be one week into the row, the 2hr shifts and rowing in the Mid Atlantic:×200.swf?callInView=96035&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=120578

At the end of his first pod cast the sat phone connection went, but luckily he was able to record a second pod cast.

Click on the following link to hear Aodhán discuss his 5 mins sat phone calls, his Irish pasty white skin and the reality of rowing in the now roasting weather:×200.swf?callInView=96036&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=120580

Here’s a photo taken from behind, with Aodhán in a grey t-shirt sporting his big sun hat while rowing. Looking great!!

Email and photo from Aodhán!

7 Jan

While you are all enjoying your weekend, Aodhán is continuing his 2hrs on and 2hrs off routine. It’s his sixth day on Sara G in the middle of the Atlantic and he sent us the following message yesterday:

After 3 days at sea we have finally hit our rhythm – 3 of the lads were suffering badly from sea sickness and skipper Matt was suffering too. Luckily for me it has been fine and I have found my routine quickly. We were a few hours late leaving Tarfaya because of delay with customs officials but was fine in the end. I haven’t really felt nervous and most of the time I am enjoying it.

The first 2 days we were flying but hit some crap water for day 3 and have been battered by the oars. I have to admit I was in bad shape last night and had to take anti inflammatory drugs to stop my muscle spasms but was fine immediately afterwards.

We have hit the deep sea today so the ocean should be more manageable. Food is fine and at the moment it is actually hard to eat all of it. We have seen some nice wildlife like dolphins, albatrosses, storm petrels and turtles. The sea is much bluer here in the deep part since we cleared the Altantic shelf.

Thanks for sending us messages. They do mean a lot.

The following photo of the guys was taken during one of the night shifts (Simon stroking, Aodhán in the middle and skipper Matt in bow):

Listen to Simon’s podcast by clicking on this link:×200.swf?callInView=95867&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=120378

And Mark’s podcast by clicking on this link:×200.swf?callInView=95775&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=120282

Leave your message below this post and we’ll make sure the messages of support will reach Aodhán via email and sat phone!

Rhythm & radio

6 Jan

What a surprise – to pick up your cell and talk directly to Aodhán on the ocean. He sounded good yesterday afternoon, a bit tired, but definitely happy with the improved weather conditions. He said that the night shifts were the difficult ones at the moment, especially when the boat is being bashed around the place and oars are continually hitting your legs. During the day he is starting t0 enjoy being on the boat more and more, as he is less seasick and getting more used to life on Sara G.

Luckily all the guys are getting into a good rowing rhythm and a good rhythm of life on board at the moment. This was being discussed by skipper Matt yesterday afternoon on the radio. You can click HERE to listen to the broadcast (Matt came on air around 15:35).

And it wasn’t only Matt who told the UK how the odyssey was going. Ian called into the Heart FM studio to do his early morning account of the row yesterday as well. Click HERE and you’ll be able to listen directly to Ian describing developments every morning over the weeks to come.

Ian, although tired and standing on deck while the seas were roaring, focused his attention on appealing the public to donate to good causes. He said: “it is easy not to do anything but only takes a minute to help others in need.” Aodhán is raising necessary funds for Plan’s Because I’m A Girl campaign, which enables girls in developing countries to be educated and to actively break the cycle of poverty themselves. Please visit his JustGiving page now and help him reach his target. A little donated by many, impacts many girls in need!

For more inspiration:

Sea turtles, dolphins and changing winds…

5 Jan

The first sea turtles and dolphins have been sighted by the crew!! That must be incredibly exciting for Aodhán.

Unfortunately they have also been battling an eastern wind the last day and their speed has dropped with a knot or so, but they are still rowing along ahead of the 30-day scheme.

Matt, the skipper, just informed us that the weather forecast is looking up though and that the guys are really getting into a good rhythm and are able to eat properly again – so maybe their stomachs are getting used to the ocean waves. Fingers crossed for calm seas and good winds!!

Listen to Mark talk about sea turtles, dolphins and eastern winds here:×200.swf?callInView=95121&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=119603

Listen to Matt talk about getting into a good routine and a good weather forecast here:×200.swf?callInView=95260&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=119748

Seasickness all around

4 Jan

Inevitably the crew is currently suffering from seasickness, as Mark one of the crew members explains in their latest podcast:×200.swf?callInView=94831&channelInView=&phlogId=41329&phonecastId=119298

Luckily the seasickness is not impacting on the progress the guys are making and at the moment they are even touching on 5 knots an hour sometimes, moving faster than expected and ahead of the 30-day scheme.

The pre-departure massive meals, as featured below (crew member Ian on the left and crew member Simon on the right), are probably not a sight for sore eyes yet, with stomachs tied up in knots… Let’s hope that will change soon!

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