Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | February 13, 2012

Day 71: Hot Chocolate

R’s colleague Emma has asked the very good question “how do you keep your chocolate un-melted?” This is one which we’d asked Roger the boat’s previous owner. Obviously I could make flippant comments about the refrigerated hatch (actually, Tiny Little famously DID have a small fridge cooler…) but actually, for reasons I don’t entirely understand, because all of our food is stored in hatches under the decks, the chocolate doesn’t seem to melt.

Now, this makes some sense at sea, as most of the hatch volume is below the water line, but don’t forget the boat spent at least 3 weeks being road-trailed through Spain in order to get to the start in the Canary Islands, when the hull clearly wasn’t sat in the water, yet the chocolate bars clearly haven’t been melted and reformed.

Having said all this, not all of our chocolate bars have survived as Mrs Nestle intended. This is because the choc bars are part of our daily snack packs (also containing cereal bars, peanuts, recovery powders to go in our water etc) which we vacuum packed – excellent for minimizing the size of each pack (and we only JUST squeezed all of the food in, so this was a prudent move) – but it has squashed any bar that has a soft content e.g. Mars bars and Double Deckers, so although unmelted, these are a right mess and spread all over the inside of their wrappers. Mini Cheddars are now somewhat stale too. Oh, those burgers and chips in Port St Charles marina are going to be FAB!

By the way, for any followers who think that we might be able to SEE the various other ocean rowing boats closing in on Barbados, the horizon is about 2nm away, so we can’t. Yachts are a tiny bit easier because of their high masts, but you lose the hull really quickly in the swell.

Can people like Lisa (Janice), Cath (Miss Twiggy), Charlie Rossiter (Atlantic Calling) keep sending us updates on where they are – whether they’re ahead or behind us each day?

Wildlife count has been pathetic again – greatest interest was H seeing a “Barbie” sailfish (R saw one yesterday) – the pink and purple ones.

22 chapters of Harry Potter 7 out of 37 listened to.

Today started with lively conditions, but right now it’s fairly calm (=slow). SO hard to predict what mileage we can manage each day, even now! Forecast a bit calmer tomorrow and then up again for Weds & Thurs.

Helen – sorry for letting a “Barnardos” slip into yesterday’s blog – I endlessly do this typo, and usually manage to correct them. It IS only 1 adjacent letter different from Barnados!

Hodgsons – can’t believe you have burnt your house – really sorry to hear this but hope insurance company is looking after you and it’s better than it was once you eventually get back in there.

Rachel K – wow – fab – looking forward to seeing you in Barbados (not Barnardos) on 22nd. Are you coming on your own? Email me on the land team gmail account that’s on the Contact page of the website with details of exactly when you’re arriving and where staying, and I’ll contact you once we’re there. Note that H’s mobile doesn’t work abroad and R might not turn his on so he doesn’t have to pay for 3 months’ messages being delivered abroad! And thanks for the pps – we did spend 10 mins before the 2nd message came in wondering who was coming out!

Martin R – even H, who is legendary for remembering trivia, is dead impressed you remember the name of that hotel we all stayed at 9 years ago!

Linda – great to hear from you – will try VERY hard NOT to bore people about ocean rowing as dinner conversations for ever more. Please do stop us if I ever do bore any of you…

Sayeeds – great to hear from you and thank you for your kind words! Martha, your presents got to you with the help of a very kind albatross called Dan… glad you liked them!

Talking of which, hope all concerned enjoyed Sunday lunch in Tonbridge. We thought of you at the time and drooled at the idea of home-made blackcurrant ice cream…

Great to hear from supporters of other teams – several FTA ones today (those whose OARS has least died down!) we really love it that you’ve joined in!

Antony – wow, 26 days under the North Atlantic in an experimental submarine with 1940s technology – our trip is SO SAFE in comparison!

Lydia – THANK YOU for that most fascinating (though not really unexpected) info about the make up of the GB 4-.

Mandy – we have no idea what the difference between a buffalo and a bison is. Does it involve mozzarella?

Cath – haha re ice breaker.

Mel – sorry, I keep forgetting to thank you for your so-reliable and welcome daily contribs. What are fieldfares – birds, rodents, urban versions of a show that Kirtsy Alsopp might display competitive knitting at?

Dave and Wendy Morten – Thank you!

Heff – hope you found your first day with your new beans enjoyable and that they will be a pleasure to count.

Horse – hope the reshuffle has a positive impact on you. 😉

Also thanks to Simon G-M for message.

Charleses – you need to send us that last batch pronto, I think (hope!), if we’re to get them all before we finish!

COMING SOON: the final episode in the saga of The Atlantic plc – find out what happened when market research consultants are brought in to the company…


  1. H and R – I must have said that Tiny Little is a good friend of my parents, and used to live next door to them (before they moved!). Small world! Big bloke! His weight change was amazing. Go well! Matthew T

  2. Great – you’re now approaching Glasgow on your way to the Talisker distillery so should be on the Strathclyde course soon. After that it’s a short row up Loch Lomond etc etc.

    Unless I’ve missed something there hasn’t been any advice about your soft feet. Very simple. Before you chuck it soak your feet in the bucket making sure of course that it’s only pee that’s in there. You have to do this several times but it works. Boxers used to do it to harden there hands.

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