Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | January 26, 2012

Day 53: Treats galore!

OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but we had 2 excitements today! The first actually started yesterday when we began to spot small patches of seaweed coming past the boat. This morning a small bit was close enough to grab. It has the proportions of mistletoe in leaf shape, with little round seed pods instead of berries. Everything is mustard coloured. Ocean rowers – anyone know what this is? And how does it get HERE in the middle of nowhere (literally)?

Second, having finished the 5th Harry Potter audio (read by Stephen Fry – voices are brilliant!) a couple of days before we got to 1000nm to go, we promised ourselves that we wouldn’t start the 6th till we were definitely past 1000nm (given we often seem to get pushed back at night). So it wasn’t allowed till we got to 950 to go, and that was this afternoon! Mind you, it’s been such a grey day, H had to turn off the GPS to justify the battery usage of it over the deck speakers, but well worth it (we can tell which way to row from the analogue compass anyway).

Otherwise, on the nature front, only the usual patrols from Storm Petrels and Shearwaters. BUT Chris has sent us some rather promising forecasts for the next 3 days with winds increasing AND from the NE (which will probably translate to E, but it’s better than the southerly ones we’ve been having. ) Flag must have covered all of N, S, E and W at various points today!

Helen C – in answer to Laura’s question (daughter or colleague?) don’t think a whale would eat us – they are clever so know where boats are and wouldn’t accidentally surface under us. And think they eat krill. It was a pilot whale not an orca.

Thanks to Heff and Steph (poetic!) for ensuring Tash knows we can’t make their wedding (and to Tash for getting in touch!).

Good to hear from the Rossiters (we so miss your lovely autohelm now we no longer have the rudder it fits), Beccy S, AJ at LEHBC, Sealys, Heidi (we may have been getting your msgs as there were some anon ones that sounded like you – Victorian chem lab sounds interesting!), Russell Turner and Kate Kelly.

Chris Harris – if you keep on like that you’re risking losing FR status. I suggest you practice the art of “Shut up and row” or you will not be meeting my terms and conditions of service.

Baz – definitely groan! Also liked the blonde ones. The answer to the chocolates and room numbers ones are both 120, but with the chocs, if it takes them 120 mins to eat the chocs, but they’re watching a film, won’t they give up after 90 mins and then never finish the box?

Claire S – you’re going to have to educate us non-Ozzies into what on earth Lamingtons and Damper are that are cooked by toddlers on Australia day! Sounds like some kind of moist rodent?

Andy Devine – The regatta secretary regrets that she will have to present her apologies for absence from the 9 Feb TDR meeting.

Vicky Goodwin – thanks for the offer of £1 for St Mungo’s for every whale sighting. That’s, er, £4 so far, so not too much strain on you student overdraft…

Emma Baker – wow, whales’ pulses go down to 4 beats per min when they dive! Good fact.

Mandy – thanks for Milka chocolate! Beech Boys – thanks for power bars and jokes. Thanks for msg from Tonbridge too.

To those who sent us anagrams (Charlotte and Rog) – sorry, I just can’t do them without writing down and we don’t have enough paper, and I’m lying on back in cabin so pen doesn’t work. You need to give me more clues! Charlotte, I also thought I needed to put those words in a column to make a sentence, and a solution would then be obvious, but I can’t get them to make a sentence, so can you explain what I should do again?

Sheena – you have to remember R is really an engineer not a pure mathematician like you, so he says he doesn’t understand why you all get so excited about primes and therefore doesn’t know how many there are below 1000 and doesn’t entirely care (your shared students need to grab the last chances they can of having you before he gets back!)

Mel – are you singing or drumming at Olympics? I couldn’t do anything on 4 inch heels…

The mixed pairs Atlantic record is 53 days… so we’ve missed that a bit! Just getting there would suit us fine. Please keep sending the messages, they do SO help as we plod along, stroke by stroke.


  1. Hi richard and helena
    Following your progress with envy and so impressed with all your progress to date/greetings from our little bolt hole in oxford – would be great to catch up after all these years richard! Fighting nappies and 3am feeds, feeling inspired amd wishing you all the best over the coming days, andrew and rachel marsden

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