Well, today I got the best birthday presents ever! Not only did we just cross the 1000 mile (to go) mark, but we also crossed 140 degrees west, so we only have 17 left. We are celebrating between rowing blocks, every few hours Sami treats me to another surprise, songs sung by friends and birthday wishes he collected prior to our departure, raw treats and pictures of Teddy. It feels like we are beginning the (long) home stretch, a truly exciting feeling! More exciting than that is our upcoming cleaning day (tomorrow) in which I'm going to air out our mattress and sleepingbags, disinfect the cabin and wash my hair! I can't wait! The mattress is beginning to look like a monkey, as so much of my hair has whittled into the fabric. Not appealing at all. The weather continues to play against us, with zero wind, and any wind that does come, coming from the side, we are making a lot less progress than we'd like, but you can't control these things, so we continue to focus on what we are putting in, not what we are getting out (I guess that applies to everything but the bathroom, we are very focused on outcomes on that front). The skies and sea are beautiful in this weather, one light and the other dark sapphire blue that glitters under the oars and in a trail where the boat has traveled. Occasionally a stormy cloud will pass overhead and the winds will suddenly pick up while we are beneath it, these moments are bliss as the days are increasingly hot and sweaty. Several birds show up each day and we search for them if we haven't seen them by the afternoon. One, a giant brown bird with racing stripes on the wings, has a wing span we think might be 5-6ft. He moves like a fighter pilot and we don't invite him to the boat. We also saw what we thought were hummingbirds...turns out that they were flying fish! Every day now I'm on the defense for the little ones, who like to fly straight at me! I scream and duck if they make it over the deck, which always makes Sami panic. Much time is spent hypothesizing about what a certain friend or relative is doing at the moment, and with each day more detail is added to the description. We are dedicated to our new plan, which includes more time on the oars for the remainder of days, even still, I think we might make markedly less progress for the foreseeable future. We don't fantasize about the finish, but celebrate each days completion, and they pass so fast now. It feels as though (I at least) am walking a fine line between up and down now that we are in our 5th week out here. I've had more moments of missing friends, especially after reading notes or hearing their voices than during the first few weeks. More often than not, for both of us, reading the daily mail ends with tears and silent introspection. We chat about more personal and serious issues and these discussions are punctuated by periods of silence or with us listening to our own music or books. We are not annoyed with each other, but are giving each other the space to overcome the little mental battles- fatigue, loneliness, pain. Health wise, I'm feeling like a stronger rower, with much less pain in my joints and hands, but I'm certainly getting warn down and have had more days that im sick. Sami's back is definitely a concern now and he's stretching it a lot more. I'm hoping he's not in too much pain, I don't think he tells me how bad it is. Hope you all are enjoying the summer and the nice weather! Here's a pic of me as I listen to the birthday messages and eat a raw almond treat.