Good morning! I'm writing late on the 24th, but you won't see this post until tomorrow, and by that time we will have passed the 500 MTG mark. Wow, we are almost home! Attached you can see our 'countdown wall' where we track our bigger goals and collect junk and reminders of home. In the past few days we were convinced that the boat was moving slower, it felt heavy and compared to earlier days, we seemed to be having a harder time rowing. During the first few hours if rowing today we came up with several reasons why that might be the case, including weight/balance difference in the boat (which we corrected by shifting ballast water from the bow to the aft) and the potential sea life growth, like barnacles and seaweed) on the bottom of the boat like we had heard so much about from other rowers. My mind thought of the tire that floated by several days ago, resting on a platform of green tentacles made from sea vegetation that fanned out over the waves. If that was what the bottom of our boat looked like, we would be in for a long final stretch. I thought and thought about the growth on the bottom of the boat and by lunch time I was really aggravated with it. "Damn it", I thought, "that sea weed was really slowing us down! How were we going to row in this heat with all that drag!?" Even thought the waves were still on the large size, for my taste, and even though we had been marveling at schools of large yellow tailed fish that have been following our boat (perhaps as a result of us feeding them salmon and nuts every day), I knew I had to go in to check on the bottom of the boat or I would not have a moments peace. I got the goggles and jumped in, clutching the rope tied to the side of the boat with Sami hovering overhead ready to scoop me out. My head went under. "Anything there?" Asked Sami. "Not a thing". I sat down back at my oars and turned on my audiobook. Soon I fell into the now familiar rhythm of rowing, matching Sami's stroke unconsciously and observing my surroundings. I notice my legs. They are hairy and I hate the feel of slathering sunscreen on over hair, it might be the thing I hate most about being out here. You see, I've got a thing against hair, I guess it's a good thing I married a triathlete. Up to my knees. As I pull forward on my seat, my knees came apart, revealing the white patch of sunscreen on their inside that has been driving me crazy trying to remove. Every night I scrub and scrub this patch,trying to get the white zinc off my skin. Once I'm in the cabin I see it again and try scraping it off frantically with wet-wipes. I spend a lot of time thinking about the sunscreen when I'm in bed, hot and uncomfortable. I notice, as I drag the oars back, that my knees float back together. That's funny, I think and watch again. It occurs to me then that the sunscreen I've been desperately trying to rid myself of is actually a tan line from my knees being pressed together as I row. Hmmmm, ok, I'm starting to get it. I think about how many other worries that have likely disturbed my peace, needlessly. I mean, I'm literally spending limited time worrying about non issues when I could just relax. It isn't that you learn lessons out here, i mean, new ones. The thing about rowing an ocean is that you have the time and space to really think about and dissect the meaning of life's ironies as they happen, which takes an incredible amount of discipline to do in the real world. Out here there is literally nothing more interesting or pressing to do. Not a single thing. Sami's golden rule of travel #527: no lanyard, no deck. Everything here is tied down so it won't get washed off deck, but because we have so little space, everything is crammed in next to some thing else. This is ok in the beginning, but the more you use something, the more tangled up it gets. Eventually, the items you use most, like say the bucket, are tied and tangled into 5 or 6 different unrelated items. When you desperately pull if out just in the nick of time, you likely swear as the bleach bottle, Toiletries bags, sunscreen and flares come crashing out with Itami d right into your way. See you soon.