FatChanceRow Update July 23

Today marks the start of our sixth week out here! Now, though we are resigned to what happens, we are excitedly counting the days until we land. We had quite a fun day with wind speeds around 15 knots and gusting above 20. Unlike our fist couple of weeks when the winds were also high, we now take them (and the waves) at 45 or 50 degrees, rather than from the side. This makes it much less dangerous (for me especially) and we are getting good enough at predicting waves that we can surf speedily down the big ones if we time it just right- super fun! We have a patent-pending anti-flip system that we use when the waves are higher than 25ft and crashing near the back of the boat; we both quickly scoot all the way forward on our seats and crouch with the oars up and our bodies low over the foot bed in order to weight down the back of the boat so she doesn't flip,as, Unlike me, Roosevelt is not heavier in the backside :). Riding these rodeo waves is funnier than rowing on calm days, it's like mountain biking vs road cycling- the variety and obstacles distract you from the work. The downside is that you are wet all day, and beat up by the end of it. Our legs get absolutely battered by the oar handles when the waves suck the blade in, and our shoulders get pulled in all directions and strained when we hook our arms over the rail (to latch on when the waves break sideways over us). I got my first sunburn today as a result of the constant sea wash, which I'm not happy about. I promised myself that I would have less sun damage by the end of this vs the start. I cover every freckle on my face using a large hat, sunglasses and a bandana, and any body skin exposed is absolutely painted white with chalky sunscreen. Today the hat was soggy and pulling from my head like a parachute in the gusts, all the sunscreen just washed off. Sami vowed to look like an explorer by the end of this, so he has the exact opposite strategy as me and is starting to resemble the Marlboro man. We also saw schools of flying fish today,as big as finches, schools of them would sail over and into waves in tight formation It seemed like you could look in many direction and see them. The smaller ones seem to have a thing for me and I get hit by them all day! They must have some predator sensing to know that Sami, lover of small fish, might open his rather large mouth for an afternoon snack if they came his way. Last, Brownie, the fighter-pilot bird, showed up today with two of his friends. They sped by over and over diving to the waves with wing tips seemingly just above the white caps. I managed, finally, to get them on video (go pro). Here's a picture of one of the more tame waves today. I'm too scared of ruining the iPad, our only connection to you, that I toss it in the cabin whenever a large wave looks like it could splash or crash. Sami's golden rule of travel #547: Always dump downwind. Yes, he is a poet.