In the picture, the homeless, religiously conservative lady is my lovely wife and rowing partner. I love Meredith's frugality but this foul weather gear has now broken into number of pieces that no amount of duct tape will save. There's a reason why offshore sailor's spend $2000 on their kit while Meredith's came together under $49.95. This am she carefully crafted a new pair of "dry shoes" made out of a trashbag and more duct tape. Crafty lady!
Our quest to pass 125 degrees west (at which point we believe we won't be pushed back to east anymore) continues and we are just about to cross 124 west, so abt 50 nmiles to go and hopefully done by Monday night. Yesterday the winds were calmish but turned more against us; just a short break from oars and I saw GPS coordinates start ticking back towards east. Stressful. But we both put in abt 16hrs of rowing. Waves are now picking up again but wind direction should remain only partially headwind for another 48hrs which is our "now or never" moment to escape the mainland for Hawaii! We've already seen a few random north-east waves traveling to Hi direction and we've named them Maitai's. Each Maitai gets a huge cheer from one of us. We pray that Maitai's become very frequent in the next two weeks.
Suffering was interrupted by a couple of nature wonders: as I was rowing and blasting our deck hifi system (one of two speakers still working!) and as soon as Lenny Kravitz changed to Classical, a whale elegantly glided to the surface. If I was religious I'd say it was a Sign, but now I just think whales don't dig Lenny, more Beethoven. Another one was my first experience w phosphorescence at night. 3AM and everyt time I dipped the oars into the Pacific, I saw bright stardust circles form in the water. It was a magical moment, like a scene from a Disney movie.
Waves are now small enough that all fear and anxiety about building size MR. Flusher waves is gone (for now). Instead, I have a new reason to stress about. Our radar detector seems to go off typically at dark. And we've burnt our two navigation lights, our identification system (AIS) also stopped working, as well as our chart plotter and boat GPS and autopilot (I have a lot of fancy monitors and gadgets, none of which talk to each other anymore, making them useless. I will try to fix later after we cross 125w). So we are left with binoculars, VHF radio and radar detector to avoid collisions. When the radar detector beeps more frequently, a ship is approaching. There's nothing more nerve cracking than a beep that gets more and more frequent and it's pitch dark (apart from our head lamp "navigation light"). For some reason boats won't respond to our radio calls either. I'm guessing "row boat Roosevelt" sounds like a practical joke out in the pacific. We might start calling us "US customs and border protection Roosevelt" to get better response rate to our calls. Or just "the naked row boat Roosevelt" and have Meredith make all the calls.
This is our 11th day at sea. I can't believe it. We are both starting to get used to living in the floating, wet dog house. Surprisingly our bodies are holding on well the 12-16hr of daily rowing. People tell me the drug of choice for ocean rowers is pain killers, but I haven't even taken an ibuprofen yet. Our no sugar and very limited carbs diet seems to be working well too. We only eat 2-3 times per 24hrs, aren't really hungry, don't crave gels/bars/sugar and feel solid strong all day. We typically have our gourmet lunch at 1pm which for me is dehydrated beef (50% fat, 50% protein), some dehydrated broccoli, olives, 2yr aged Parmesan cheese cubes and water (no boil). Variety? I mix them in different order each day... My favorite (and only) snack is salted macadamia nuts vacuum packed with pure apple chips (apple chips by Bare - thx Brad!). They accidentally formed a crispy bar like form in our packing, which is fantastic! I'm guessing I eat about 5000kcal day and probably burning 7000-8000kcal now. Might need to eat more once the unnecessary fat starts to run out.
Most ocean rowers in pairs follow a 2on 2off schedule 24x7 so that someone is always rowing and each gets 12h/day of oar time. We had a more complicated sleep & row schedule planned, but have come to realize that A) every switch has a huge transaction cost in time, cleaning, clothes, messing up cabin, etc. especially I'm bad weather B) we are fit enough to operate up to 10hrs at a steady work rate without major breaks C) sleep and hormonal recovery works much better with a "long" sleep period, vs 6 short sleeps per day D) we would miss a major life experience if we rowed and slept solo for two months while both on the same (divorce)boat We think the fastest, healthiest and most fun plan for us is to row 12-16hrs per day non-stop (lunch in between) together from 5am-9pm and then sleep (and anchor/row/drift w drogue) a minimum of 5hr sleep each night ... weather and cargo ships permitting. This seems to work well, we feel great, make strong progress and enjoy the experience.
Divorce-o-meter is still low, but maybe up to 1 now. We are occasionally getting a bit edgy as the body shows it's first signs of fatigue and aches start to appear...
PS we are so grateful for all the comments and mental support. It is really inspiring for us and gives us lots to think about each day. And if we can inspire someone else in the process, that's a bonus!