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Messages from onboard Celtic Crossing

Messages from Celtic Crossing - courtesy of Kate Merlino


16 August 2000

Hi everyone,

As you have now read in the press release that went out today, our voyage is over and we are heading back to St. John's, Newfoundland. I don't think I can put into words the feelings that are spinning in this head of mine. Roy is disappointed, but knows this is the decision that had to be made. Don't know if you all realize what the weather really has been like out here. We have had no luck since Day 2. The strong easterly winds that we experienced prevented us from not only gaining no miles, but losing as well. Last Thursday was the last night we had a successful row. In fact, I still recall rowing during the dark cold night, but loving every minute of it as I listened to Janus Joplin on my Walkman, because we had finally gotten passed the Labrador current and into the Gulf Stream. This current would have taken us all the way to Ireland. Unfortunately, a few hours later, the winds were changing, the rain came pouring down, and before we knew it an easterly wind was on its way. We couldn't believe it. We had no choice but to put the sea anchor out to prevent us from drifting west. For days we sat and waited. We could not call because the phone battery needed to be recharged, but this could not be done as the rain prevented us from using the generator to recharge the batteries. By Saturday, we heard of the hurricane from Louise Kearney who has been giving us weather updates everyday. We had no choice at this time but to turn back. We did not want to inform anyone as our decision was not final until today. I can't believe it. Although I know Roy is making the correct decision, the disappointment is almost unbearable. To achieve a goal one sets for oneself, for me, is the most incredible feeling. I actually had tears of joy in my eyes as I would row with the thought of achieving this challenge. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen. I can recall a similar experience, and that is when I trained for the Boston-to-New York Aids Ride. I trained for 5 months to cycle from Boston to New York in 3 days. On the first day only 20 miles in, I tore the pcl of my knee. I was never so devastated.

I never imagined so many people would be following us along as we attempted to row to Ireland. The response of emails we received has been tremendous. I cannot thank everyone enough for all the support and prayers you have given us. I have to say I think that is definitely a huge part of the disappointment, the idea that it is over for all of you as well. I know you have all enjoyed following us along. Well, I have to say to many of you who will not be surprised, that this is not the end. Our journey will continue. We have many thoughts of definitely attempting again next year. In fact, we are even considering another voyage even earlier, stay tuned.

I would like everyone to know that if it were not for our sponsor, Great Spirits, we would not be where we are today. I thank you both, Mark Andrews and Roseann Sessa, for all your support in making this a dream come true. Great Spirits markets an Irish liqueur, Celtic Crossing, that is how we got the name for the boat. Anyway, it is an absolute must try. I am not a liquor drinker and I love it. And I cannot forget Alice. Alice, thank you for organizing the communication installation. Without this I know we'd have a lot of worriers out there. The email communication has been fabulous. And also thank you Kate for all the work you've done regarding publicity. The NY times article was great!

Well, I will be heading for New York shortly. I am so looking forward to seeing my family and friends!!!! Can't wait for our McSorley's outing, girls! Marilou, so looking forward to our dinner, spinach and wine. Thanks Al for the hurricane. Grace deli real soon for a huge delicious hero and a happy hour beer. Oh, and I am so excited for NY Pizza!!! And yes, I can still go to Boston for the Yankee game. Sorry Pat but I saved the extra ticket just in case I made it home in time. Besides, you really don't want to sit next to 12 New Yorkers as we root our team to a win. Looking so forward to seeing you all - Kev, Connie, Billy, Helen, Carol, Mom, Dad, Kathleen, Bruce, and of course my two nephews, James and Nathaniel. Hey Carol, I'll be home to celebrate your 21st Birthday!!!!! Melissa, please tell Alicia sorry can't make her wedding but will be thinking of her and Eddie on their special day.

I will give everyone a call when I get home. Looking forward to seeing you all. Sorry the excitement is over for now, but it is just temporary. Oh and Ro, can't forget, thank you so much for keeping me up to date on the Yanks. I still can't believe they got Jose Canseco. Something tells me I'm not going to recognize the team when I get home.

PS: I hear there is an article in the Daily News. Check it out.
Bye for now,
Colleen and Roy

Situation   August 08.

Hi everyone,
First, sorry could not email the past couple of days but this computer decided to take a vacation. Thank goodness it's working now.
Thank you for all the happy birthday wishes. I am now officially 30 years of age. I had a marvelous day! It was sunny skies, warm with westerly winds. Roy did most of the rowing Sunday, decided to give me a few hours and enjoy sitting in the sun. We saw again about 15 dolphins swim around the boat performing flips in the air. I think they knew it was my b'day and put a little show for me. I even had a birthday cake supplied by Linda Hennenbury of Quidi Vidi before our departure.. The day was very peaceful especially at night, unlike Friday evening.
Friday was the first day we were able to put in some serious miles, about 70. But what a stormy night it was. About 7:30pm the sky was dimming while the barometric pressure slowly dropped. We knew something was brewing. The winds became strong in every direction. After a while we found ourselves just trying to remain on course. By about 10:00 with no moonlight, no stars, and the thick fog rolling in, there was virtually no visibility. We shifted rowing by the hour. For about 4 hours as we rowed waves crashed on the deck in every direction. Then the rain poured down. Yes we were tired, wet, and very cold. When we slept, didn't even remove the wet clothing, just passed right out in the bunk. But by Sat morning it was just another day and Fri was soon forgotten about.
It is now Tues and it is raining - YUK! But at least we are getting the westerly winds we need to get us across the labrador current into the gulf stream. Attached are two pictures. You may have to scroll down to see the full picture. Hey Alice, he's smiling too! Thanks again for all the birthday wishes - a birthday always to remember.
Colleen and Roy

Situation at 12:50 August 04.

Thank you so much Ro for keeping everyone in touch with our progress. It's so wonderful to hear the support we have behind us. Good article from the Telegram, thanks for the email. Yes you can post our coordinates and add whomever to the email list. Our present position Fri Aug 4 1250 is N48 degrees 47 minutes, W51 degrees 59 minutes. We finally got some westerlies. Yahoo! I just hope it stays this way for while.
Thanks!     Colleen and Roy

Situation at 17:00 August 02.

Hello from celtic crossing!  High seas have died but we are still against the winds and currents, NE.  Very difficult to gain ground. Present position Aug 2 1700 hrs: N48 degrees 26 minutes, W52 degrees 29 minutes. Pictures sent are of the high seas winds up to 60mph,  Roy rowing, Colleen rowing, and Roy removing the sea anchor after two days in the ocean. 

Situation at 12:30 August 01.

Departure went well with SW wind. From then on the elements have done everything in their power to prevent us from heading in an easternly direction. The winds have been SE, NE, E, N. The weather is following a pattern and a NW is forcasted for tomorrow Aug 2, at which time we will make all posible speed towards the gulf stream. The past two days have been spent in high seas, very cold weather. All 3 of us are in good shape. It must be said sitting next to a real fire in Ireland with a celtic crossing is an attractive incentive. That's all for now. Will send some photographs soon.
Colleen and Roy