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Thato’s Daily Atlantic Blog!

And they’re done!!! See below for Thato’s day by day account.

Day 43

We rowed 85 miles
We had the fastest conditions today that we haven’t had in the longest of time

Land ahoy
Since then we haven’t been able to contain our excitement
Did not sleep a wink between my sessions

So surreal
We got to the island at about 21:30 with some 3 miles to go until we were in port st Charles

But then we were blown off course
We then tried everything in our power to turn into the island but were blown further out to sea

We deployed the sea anchor to add some drag to our blowing off speed
The boat was doing 3 knots away from the island

We called in the Barbados coast guards to tow us in
We lit flares,shown our lights and eventually they could spot is and made their way to us

There has never been a dull moment on this voyage

Thank for reading
Do the right thing support our cause by donating on the ubunye website

I can smell apples
We are 3 miles away from eating the apples and burgers for the others

Day 41

We rowed 73 miles
Wet and wild

Lots and lots I mean lots of flying fish everywhere
Uneventful as was cold and rainy
Everyone grumpy from being wet and cold

Day 42 where you at?

Day 40

Wet wet wet
We rowed 73 miles

We are having loads of fun
Last minute go pro interviews
Wardrobes changes mainly from me
Pics being taken more often during the sessions

General happiness and an element of sadness that we are about to leave our simple living

We are a mere 101 miles to go to get to our destination
We are so stoked for that

Tomorrow is my last blog entry thus I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for following us and reading my blog
A reminder that this expedition is for the Ubunye Foundation
Please support our cause on the ubunyechallenge.com website
Any little contribution will go a long way and have huge impact to the beneficiaries of this charity

We also added Bulamahlo Orphanage as part of the beneficiaries for money raised in thus expedition

Thank you in advance

Bless

Day 39

We rowed 80 miles
Wettest day by far
We reached nice speeds at some parts of the day
We saw 5,8 knots
Really quick conditions during the first part of the day
But sort of slowed down in the late afternoon

We are just over 220 to go to get to BArbados
We are excited to be so close

Day 40
Hope you have fun times in store for us

Day 38

We rowed 75 miles
Wet and full of rogues and growlers
Ninja rowing in extreme full swing

Catching a crab is painful because you get to smash your hands against the deck gunnel or worse against your quads
It’s a painful affair

Before this voyage I did not consider myself the type to bruise easily
But the Dalmatian bruises on my legs prove otherwise

We continue to see flying fish
But today we saw a lot more Portuguese man of wars in pink
In purple and yellow sails
Looks like an accessory Barbie would have you know

Really cute looking creatures but Lord have mercy on you should you get stung

We await you day 39
Bring us closer to the freshness of apples

Day 37

We rowed 75 miles
Woza BArbados

Less rain and more mini swells
Rogues also in limited supply which was a pleasant experience for me

Crew in cheerful moods as we slowly eat away on our miles

We have already put our food orders through to the chef in BArbados

Looking forward to good things
I am looking forward to a bed with clean sheets

My current bunk had two yoga like mats on the cabin floor and a sleeping bag
My dry bag is my pillow

Look forward to being dry too
My feet are peeling off like there is no tomorrow

Day 38 where you at?
Bring us some fast winds

Food: apple
Song: don’t stop believing.

Day 37 Early Edition

We are below 500 miles!
Stuart did a little dance for us this morning when we saw 499 our knot meter
Happy days

Jamie gave us boiled sweets to celebrate

Day 36

Another 70 miler
Mini swells
No wind
A slight current
Another tough one

Less than 510 to go to reach our destination
I bet if we stood on our tippy toes we would see the palm trees

Day 37
You better be fast!

Day 35

We rowed 70 miles
The cheeky rogues were on form last night knocking me off my seat a couple of times

I don’t mind all of that but it’s getting soaked that I have a problem with
I mean ain’t nobody got time for that

A rather uneventful day onboard Avalon
Crew conversations on deck and in cabin are around what food peeps are going to eat when we arrive in Barbados
I just want me some apples

No big swells to ride
Hardly any wind
Was actually a tough day

We await you day 36
We hope for quick conditions

Day 34

We rowed 72 miles today
Heavy rains still experienced
The heaviest yet was last night
It was really bad
Had to feel my way up the slide as the drops were too hard on my eyes

Wet weather not good for our posterior blisters
Had to see the Doc yesterday for some drugs
But he wanted to first have a look
I told him I’d think about it

This is a dichotomy
To drop the shorts or live with the pain
Those are the two questions

Flying fish on deck again this morning

Feel like an apple
Song: Joy

Day 33

We rowed 75 miles
Rainy but was not too heavy
Wet weather means you need to change your kit at least three times in a night
Leven seriously needs to invest in a tumble dryer for Avalon
We can’t dry anything in the cabin

Lots of flying fish about
Cute little oakies the size of a Beatle
Some get washed in deck and some fly in to check out the activity on deck
Most hurt themselves badly
No one touches them so it’s kinda my job to chuck them back to sea

Some of our body parts are in bad shape
Have done mini video explaining what happens and how it feels to sit down and stand up every two hours

A few days to go
No food fantasies
Have not charged my iPod in days so no song

But I would do with an ice cold coca cola

Day 34 we await you and hope for swells to ride

Day 32

We rowed 80 miles
No record (sigh)

It’s raining a lot and skip wore his waterproof kilt today he had everyone in stitches

We rowing hard and counting down each mile towards our destination
Conditions are hostile with rain hauling wind and current against us
But still we dig deep and row a solid 12 hour each day

The best part of my day is finishing off a session and going to sleep
Sleep deprivation is at its highest on board Avalon
I was woken up 40 minutes before my shift
Jamie keeps waking me up thinking that I am Caetano
Ten minutes is no longer sufficient for getting ready we are on 15 minutes now

No song
Food:Apples

Day 31

We rowed 70 miles today and our current against us was at 2 knots
Impressive rowing from crew to get the 70 miles says the skip

We had Dolphins coming to say howsit in the evening
At first I thought it was our love bite shark coming for my oar
But it was the majestic sea creatures Dolphins
Always a pleasure to see these guys
So special

I got nailed once again by a couple of rogues
Getting pretty good at holding onto my seat and oars

We look forward to tomorrow
With a 25 knot wind gusting at 30 knots
Big seas and huge swells
Captain reminds us to stay low when we change shifts

Awesome adventure!
Loving it!

Day 30

We rowed 80 miles
Current still against us

Got hit by 7 rogue waves all in one night
Skipper has renamed my seat from
Stroke to Soak

We wait for her big guns this weekend

It’s the weekend baby!

Day 31 come duze…

Song: Don’t stop believing
Food: Apples

Day 29

We rowed 81 miles today
We had yet another rainy day
But today I had the stamina to wash my mug
I lost the lid to the atlantic in the process but managed to make a nice cup of tea

We saw a yatch
Massive one at that; they were not on the AIS system so we couldn’t radio in to say howsit
We did wave and I think in return we got dirty looks
We are dirty but really nice people

The swells are building nicely
Ofcourse only the stroke seat gets nailed by all the possible waves that can nail us
I get nailed atleast twice during a two hour session
Fun and games
Ninja rowing on in full swing

Tomorrow we reach below the 1000 miles mark
Yeeeeeeeeeha!

We wait in anticipation for day 30
Down with this current and up with the trades!

Song: Joy
Food:back to apples

Day 28

We rowed 74 miles
Still in the trades with some confused currents
Rowed in the rain for 5 of my six sessions today
All I wanted was ouma rusks and some hot chocolate
Well we do have hot chocolate but too much admin to make it

First one has to pump water out of a jerry can into the jet boil jug
Then find a safe spot in the cabin to light up the boil
Find your mug and wash it…
Too much admin so I curled up in my bunk after each session to warm up and thought of hot chocolate

We are back to ninja rowing
Too funny!

We await day 29

Song: Royal
Food: Now on vit C I want me an orange

Day 27

We rowed 75 miles today
Still in the trades but a current against us for parts of the day
We are counting down for this weekend for some big weather where we hope to take the 24 hour record

Crew determined
And one more weekend on board and the next one we in Barbados

Rowed in the rain today for one session and it reminded me of my days on the Kowie River with RURC -been here before

Song: all the single ladies
Food: You know it

Day 26

We rowed 83 miles
It was my first really tough day
My body has had a beating of note
But my mind is too stubborn you see
So had a self talk to ‘man the f up’ of which I am and digging really deep
No marine life came to visit bar a dead flying fish I found on deck at the early hours of this morning
I threw him back into the ocean
A fish with wings looks pretty odd

Tomorrow is day 27
We look forward to awesome miles

Song: Joy
Food Fantasy:Apples

Day 25

We rowed 85 miles today
The trades are upon us

A great white collided quite badly with our rudder
Being Valentine’s Day we thought he was giving Avalon a love bite

He was pretty disappointed at how hard Avalon is
It was pretty awesome to see his belly as he turned to run away but chilling at the same time
They are not as smart as Dolphins so we thought he would come back and this time go for the oars
He didn’t- thank goodness

Buster dreamt he was eaten by a tiger shark

These are the days of our lives

Song:Lean on me
Food:apples please

Day 23

We rowed 60 miles
Another tough day on the oars

We saw a flying fish being chased by a wahoo
Awesome to see they looked like rabbits hopping from point to point

We wanted to swim again but was too tired to even bother asking for permission

Tomorrow is day 24 also Friday the 13th we are expecting fair trades and some ghost stories for our night time row hopefully

Song: don’t stop believing
Food:you know it

Day 22

We rowed the lowest miles today
Clocked in only 30 miles
Today was by far the hardest the crew pushed themselves and it was a bit of an ouch when we found out how low of an output our efforts were

We also swam in the middle of the ATLANTIC today!!!
No words can describe the experience
I was on shark watch and if any shark had tried his luck
I would have stabbed him in the face with my shaving razor
Julie got to wash her hair
And Cae and I tried to touch the sea bed
It is now 6 km deep!
Jamie and I swam under the boat twice,AMAZING!
I had a dorado swim between my legs and a clown fish negative look alike swam around my hands
The swim was magical!

We do the swim again in Barbados!
We wait for day 23

Bring on the trade winds baby!

Song: a whole new world
Food Fantasy:apples please!

Day 21

We rowed 50 miles today
Just keeping on

We had a rather eventful day today
We had two naughty dorado hooligans biting our radar and when approached by the Skipper they fled the scene

We have a lot of goose barnacles under our boat suppose the delinquents were after that

Then we had a ship 29 degrees off our bearing
They radioed us in because our navigation lights were dim
They wished us well in our voyage
They were headed to Barbados too
They were doing 11,9 knots

I believe Stuart owes Leven a drink.some bet on ships that he lost

We look forward to day 22
Today also marks exactly three weeks at sea for our crew

We look forward to seeing Palm trees in a few days time

Song:don’t worry be happy
Food fantasy:freshness of an apple
Can I get an amen on fresh apples please

Day 20

We rowed 60 miles again
Team pushing on and digging deep

Heat is a killer during the day and we all look forward to the evening and night sessions when it’s much cooler

I must say that the sleep deprivation is getting to us
That ten minute call is no longer sufficient
We all need about 5 calls like Thato ten minutes,8 minutes Thato,5 minutes Thato and so forth until we make it out of the bunk also known as the coffin…

This is by far the most challenging expedition for me yet
But I am loving all the experiences and learning so much about myself
It’s great,almost like finishing school

Life’s good man

Tomorrow is day 21,bring on the winds baby!

Day 19

We rowed 60 miles!
Winds improving

We saw three knots for parts of the day and maintaining 1,7 knots was the order of the rest of the day

Spirits lifted
No hallucinations
My crew call me Mom not sure why but I kinda like it

We are drinking a lot due to the heat
This means more loo breaks and there is only one loo on board so we experienced the queue for the first time yesterday

Valentine day is coming up
Skipper says he has something planned for us

Song of the day is Someone like you
Food Fantasy: hasn’t changed still Apple lots of them now

Tomorrow is day 20 at sea!
Bring on the trade winds!

Day 18

Ouch I think would best describe today
We experienced a staunch head wind four hours into our day and we bled through the day and our top speed was .8 knots and lowest ever saw on this trip was .3

We ended up rowing 40 miles
Leven had even considered the dreaded sea anchor…

Rough man

Song Don’t stop believing
Food Fantasy You know it

Crew moral is consistent determination

Good news received from Stockey
Tomorrow night a ten knot tail is expected
Yay this means the ninja stroke can come out to play
Happy days

Day 17

Absolutely geezus talk about abusing the poor word

Out here, we get to truly experience Gods wondrous works; the beauty, the serenity and at times the hallucinations.
Stuart heard an Alsatian barking (these were his words).
On another voyage, one of Julie’s mates saw a guy swimming alongside their boat

Hallucinations are common in ocean rowing due to the sheer exhaustion crew members experience
But they are also funny to write about
I’ve had audible ones so far
Will tell you on the last day what the voices said…

We await for day 18 in hope of faster conditions

Catch you later

Song:In the still of the night

Day 16

Slow
Humid
Hot
Very difficult to row
Got news from Stockey that this lull will last a further 10 days
Sigh

Record out of our hands
Crew willing and able we just need the winds

Trade winds, where art though?

We rowed 55,5 miles

On the positive we are stronger and fitter and kinda used to the ten minute calls

No funny hallucinations to report at this stage

Oh we saw a great white today for  about 5 minutes
Yikes

Day 15

Buster was fishing again
He caught another dorado but this time a male a foot and a half long
These are really beautiful fish but he let him go

Still lull conditions
Water is heavy
We are essentially moving a boat that weighs a ton and a half

Tough
But digging deep!

We rowed 60 miles
Moral: members still determined
Song Don’t stop believing
Food Fantasy: you know it

Day 14

Two weeks at sea
We are officially sea people!
Lull still around
It was 33 degrees today with absolutely no breeze
Heavy day on the oars man

We managed 60.8 miles

Day 13

We caught a dorado today
The most beautiful looking fish I’d ever seen!wow!

We rowed 72,5 miles
Moral determined
Song Sister Bettina
Food warm apple tart with cream

Day 12

We rowed 65 miles
Song don’t stop believing
Food a bag of apples

Day 11

We got some news from Stockey (super weather specialist)
Bad news am afraid, he said we would be in this lull (low winds, low currents) state for 7 days
As a result of this lull our speed has dropped considerably
We doing up to 2.3 knots with a lowest of .8 knots

Day 9

Quicker than yesterday in the first part of the day then slowed down considerably

Life on board is pretty simple
We row 12 hours per day and this is broken down into two hour shifts
When you have rowed 1 hour 50 minutes you get to call out your partner to replace your position
I think that  10 minute call is the sweetest call ever only if you are the rower… If you are sleeping and you hear your name , not so sweet

So once you come off a rowing shift you get to damage a ration pack filled with high protein and fatty foods
You get a selection of puddings breakfasts and main meals and in each pack there is also an assortment of snacks from nuts,raisins, fudge cake and wait for it 7 chocolate bars that you get to smash all in one day!what a pleasure!

We rowed 81.3 miles
Better than expected as we really hit slow and heavy waters today

No song no food fantasy

Day 8

Quick day!
Trade Winds country
When Skip talks to trade winds he really makes them sound like something you would read on an information board
I really expected to see a turtle at a T junction with a sign that read WELCOME TO THE TRADE WINDS
And him saying to Leven before we make our right turn … “And young man you must keep to the speed limit, you came around that corner at 4 knots slow down”

The crew is determined and is working hard and well together to bank our goal miles everyday.

Food fantasy:Apple
Song:could this be love

Day 7

We are in big seas
Avalon is flying along between 4,6 to 5,2 knots in the first few hours of the day
Leven reckons if the winds persist we may clock up enough miles to take the 24 hour record.
The big seas mean really fast currents which also means difficult to row in
Cae termed me the Matrix rower
More on that later on

Today was great we clocked in 103 miles

By the end of the day I was also nicknamed ninja stroke!

Crew moral tired bodies but determined
No song no food fantasy:tired

Day 6

After a grueling 4 hours chasing the 100 miler yesterday, the body is taking a little strain thus morning. Felt this during my graveyard shift,01:40 to 03:40yikes
I was battling to keep my eyes open.
The rest of the day went fairly fast with good speeds

The other shift saw Dolphins!
So for my first evening shift today I heard dolphins fairly close to our boat. Turns out the sound was from our wind turbine!
I give up on marine life

We rowed an impressive 92 miles today
Food Fantasy: strawberries and cherries
Song: always look on the bright side of life
Crew moral: determined

Day 5

Oh the iPods are coming out

The winds on our side and crew moral lifted.

To give you some perspective, the first few days have been just under traumatic onboard Avalon due to extreme ocean conditions, sea sickness and general adjustment to life on board.
But today was different, I observed crew members doing more than just sleep on their off time.
We had Cae capturing the sunset with his go pro, we had crew members phoning home texting and emailing

On this day we had time to clean up the back cabin.
Today was also the day we broke 100 mile mark
We rowed 104 miles

Happy days
Big achievement!

Food fantasy: Apple
Song: Kuze Kuse

Day 4

Started off heavy with confused currents that slowed us down considerably
But things picked up in the afternoon and we able make up for lost time in the morning

We picked up good speeds for the rest of the day

No sign of marine life but a tanker almost took us out
After some very strong language from our skippers pit they changed course within just 400 meters to our boat
Frightening!

We ended the day having rowed an incredible 95 miles despite the eventful events during our day

Crew moral good

Song of the day Ave Maria Beyoncé version
Food fantasy Kagiso’s homemade burger and chips

Day 3

Beautiful morning
Better and faster conditions
Crew members adjusted now to the conditions
Minimal sea sickness, it’s day 3 and haven’t been sea sick… Happy with that

Moral of Crew mixed

Song of the day could this be love
Food fantasy none
We end up rowing 80 miles for this day

Day 2

Sea sickness prevails
Rough and unstable conditions
The body just adjusting to the grueling 2 hours on and 2 hours off regime, but we plough on in our attempt to break the fastest crossing

In the afternoon things settle down a little and we even get marine visitors. A teenage whale bull came by to say howsit

Later on in the day we saw some courting turtles…

In the evening shift we realize that we have lost our auto helm which means we need steer our boat manually

The news hit the crew hard as we lose two rowers essentially
Grim…but we plough on the resulting miles at the end of the day is 80 miles

Crew moral a bit down

Song of the day None
Food fantasy Apple still

Day 1
We left the port of mogan at approximately 22:38 Tuesday 20 January 2015

Away we rowed out of the marina headed to Barbados

I had the honor of stroking us out and remembered my Dad for a minute; it was his birthday.

We rowed away with no major drama apart from 3 foot waves that just fall ontop of you for no reason. They sneak up on you when you least expect them especially at night time as you cannot see them coming.

We had good but rough conditions.

We were cooking at about 4 knots and by the end of the 24 hours we had covered 98 amazing miles

Crew moral high

Song of the day   Oho Jesu kedumela ho wena
Food fantasy fresh apple