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ExplorersWeb profile: Ocean rower - Andrew Halsey

Part I of III - Starting all over again

Recently a severe storm raged over Northern Europe and Great Britain in particular. People were injured and quite a bit of damage were reported. When Explorersweb contacted the British rower Andrew Halsey he conceded that the winds had been quite strong but, "nothing I haven't seen before."   After being caught all alone in hurricane-strength winds of up to 140 miles an hours in the middle of the Pacific, Andrew is a hard man to impress. He has spent a considerable amount of time in the company of strong winds and is certainly no stranger to it. In fact, he can't wait to get back to it.

Rescue

To cross an ocean by yourself in a rowboat is not something you go into lightly. When at sea there is no telling where the winds and current may take you.  Two and a half years ago Andrew made an attempt to cross the Pacific Ocean solo. He left California in July 1999 and ended up in the middle of hurricane-force storms, after nine months was forced to give up and be rescued off Honolulu, Hawaii.
 
"You couldn't see ten feet in front of you, lots of rain and the noise level is absolutely tremendous".  According to Andrew this was actually the worse weather recorded in this area for the last hundred years.  The stormy weather led his boat "Le Shark Brittany Rose" astray and after 267 days and 7500 miles his supplies ran out. For a while Andrew survived solely on seaweed, shark, and the occasional seabird. 

Thank God for the Koreans

A call was finally made to the American Coast Guard that sent out a Hercules airplane to look for him. They spotted him, and a Korean fishing boat was then able to pick him up. After the rescue he had lost a third of his bodyweight and couldn't eat solid food for 10-11 days, "It was really amazing, I can't say enough of the hospitality of the Koreans."
 
"It was never a question of my not knowing that the weather conditions weren't ideal,” he says, “but sometimes you just have to ride the bullet. ”The weather is not supposed to be perfect.”  He decided that the conditions would be rough, but ultimately not life threatening. Then again there is supposed to be a sense of adventure to it. Andrew had injured a ligament in the knee that delayed his departure for four weeks.
 
Eleven months at sea

Although this was certainly a major setback Andrew was not deterred, he is as determined as ever to make the first solo Pacific row. According to Andrew nobody has actually reached the Australian mainland when crossing the Pacific, the others have stopped when they have reached an island outside the coast or have been picked up at sea. If successful Andrew will become the first disabled person to complete the solo crossing.  Depending on the weather he should reach his destination in seven to eleven months.

Part II off III  Tomorrow read about finding sponsorships and how the idea of rowing came to Andrew in the first place. The story continues.

NA-Explorersweb.com

Pictures courtesy of Oceanrowing.com


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