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March 03-10 11-31  April 01-30  May 01- June 30

Read Simon’s twice-weekly diary on http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/oceanrow03/news/  

News from the route

April 30

Still feeling under the weather, morale is low today, the first time I've felt like this on the trip. It could be the antibiotics I'm taking for my sore throat.

It's hard work rowing against the current and I'm trying to head south, it kills your boat speed.

The weather has been a mixture of sun and showers today with little wind.


April 29

Feeling under the weather today, I'm running a temperature and have a sore throat.

The sun's been hot all day, it's caught my shoulders and back. The batteries are charging and I've had the water maker working.

I've rowed nearly all day and it's good to be moving south again.

The big Marlin has been entertaining me all day, chasing the other fish around the boat. I could do with some of his energy.


April 28

I lost power during the night, the batteries are completely drained. No sun for the last 4 days and the solar panels have gone to sleep.

The storm has passed, the skies are clear and the sun is strong, the batteries are charging again.

I've been rowing all day, it's good to be back on deck. I've cooked two meals along with my favourite cup of tea. It makes you feel good.

Tonight I've decided to change the rowing positions so hopefully with a little less blade in the water, I will have more leverage to pull the boat through the water more quickly to try to counter the current.

The big Marlin's back today chasing all the small fish around the boat, he's hit the rudder twice.


April 27

The weather's a little better today but it's still overcast. I need a break in the clouds and a little sunlight would be nice to charge my batteries. I'm on the emergency battery at the moment.

I've had a shark attacking my rudder, its succeeded in breaking one of the rudder lines. I've done a temporary repair leaning out of the hatch in the rear of the cabin. I don't fancy going overboard and joining him in the sea!


April 26

There's still no let up in the storm, with huge waves attacking me from all sides. This morning a huge wave broke over the boat, pushing it deep into the water. I thought I was in a submarine, but thankfully she came up. Quite scary hey!

The weather router told me this afternoon that I'm over the worst and the weather will be more favourable tomorrow.


April 25

The storm is still raging. I've pulled in the sea anchor because I feel it's safer to let the boat run with the storm. It's blowing 24 knots from the south pushing me further north past 16° latitude. It's going to be difficult to get back on track, I will need the winds and currents to help me.

I've had little or no sleep in the last 36 hours and it's impossible to cook any hot food or hot drinks - I do miss my cuppa!


April 24

For the last 36 hours I 've been on the sea anchor being pushed north.

There's a huge rolling sea breaking over the rear of the boat, pushing it into the water, then we pop back up like a cork.

No sleep last night, just trying to be alert and keep the bow into the waves. I spoke to the weather router last night and was told there's another 2 days of this storm before it blows itself out.


April 23

The storm is still lashing the boat. I'm on the sea anchor but the wind is so strong I'm still going north. The seas are huge, waves breaking over the boat. I'ts impossible to come out of the cabin.


April 22

Another storm with winds from the south blowing me north. I'm on the sea anchor to ride it out.

I've had the biggest Marlin following me today, over 8 foot long! It's been chasing the small fish and they tend to hide around the boat. It's bumped into the hull twice trying to catch them, it's quite scary.


April 21

No wind, a calm sea, I feel as if I'm in a blue oasis. The sun's scorching down, all the batteries are fully charged and everything on the boat is just fine.

I'm watching a group of tuna dance and play. It's just incredible to watch the wildlife out here.


April 20

Another hot day, the sea is quite calm, there's a rolling swell to the east. The sea birds are back today, it's fascinating to watch them fish. The sea is alive witih small fish of all colours and sizes. 3 sharks have also appeared. One constantly rubbing the bottom of the boat. I managed to get a good photo of him.


April 19

A clear sky, it's really hot today, 36 degrees plus. It's energy sapping rowing in this heat. I am still being pushed north, at this rate I'll miss Reunion.

There's a huge marlin with me today leaping out of the water and chasing smaller fish.


April 18

The southerly wind has returned pushing me north again. There's a rolling sea with a cross swell. It's making the steering work overtime. There's the occasional heavy rain so it's out with soap for a refreshing shower.


April 17

Still moving east at good speed. The sea birds have returned today, it's fascinating to watch them dive into the water and catch fish. Not alot else happening, just keep rowing.


April 16

Best day so far, a 14 knot wind and strong currents taking me east. It's been clear skies all day but the batteries are still not fully charged.

The sunset last night was something else and the moon was just stunning.


April 15

A good day, calmer seas with little wind, a day to check over the boat, charge batteries, run the watermaker and fill all the empty containers.

I'm tracking south again, the steering's working OK now the batteries are over 50% charged.

I should pick up more mileage today than yesterday.


April 14

Another storm behind me, the wind speed has dropped but the seas are still rough with occasional waves breaking over the boat.

I was having breakfast this morning (the first hot meal for 2 days), there was a splash behind me, I looked round and there was a shark with his nose up to the boat. I could have touched him if I wanted to but decided to take a photo instead.

The mileage will be low today, I'm using the sea anchor because the batteries are low, not enough power to operate the steering.


April 13

Huge seas today breaking over the boat. It's been impossible to cook any food today or boil a can for a cup of tea. There's been no sun again today, overcast with heavy showers. The batteries are getting low again, so tonight I'll have to use the sea anchor.

I feel very tired today, little sleep and unable to relax with the strong winds and huge seas. The only good point is that the mileage is good for the last 3 days.


April 12

No bumps in the night, hopefully Mr Shark's gone away.

The wind's really picked up, 28-30 knots taking me directly west.

Huge seas breaking over the boat. I tried to cook a meal on my stove, as I switched off the gas and took the saucepan off the stove a large wave broke over the boat. I was soaked to the skin and half the food had gone.

It's all part of the adventure.


April 11

I was woken 4 times last night by a large thud on the hull -it's a large shark that's taken a fancy to the boat.

I've had more problems with the steering this morning. The ram is taking a pounding from the sea and the salt water. I need to find a new position for it on my next boat to protect it from the elements.

The wind has picked up to 20 knots from the East so it's on my stern, that'll improve the mileage today.


April 10

I was waken at about 4.00 this morning by a large thud on the hull. I got up quickly onto the deck but there was nothing about. At first I thought a small yacht had hit me. I checked both sides of the hull for damage but everything was fine.

The steering broke down this morning, one of the terminals on the ram had corroded and broken off.

About 20 sea birds have appeared today and the yellow fin tuna are back, along with lots of colourful small fish, but no sharks.


April 9

It's been a hard day, .07 knots of current against me and no wind, blue skies and baking sun - the mileage will be low.

This morning I had 2 sharks for company, after they disappeared a large tuna appeared and took a fancy to the boat, rubbing himself down each side of the boat, cleaning the barnacles off I hope, or just scratching his back. As I look out of the cabin it's another fabulous sunset.


April 8

The last 24 hours have been something else. Huge seas - difficult to describe - one minute its daylight when you're on top of a wave and darkness when you're at the bottom. But thankfully it's calmed down a little and Cyclone Indigo has gone inland.

All the batteries are fully charged again and at the moment I'm filling all the water containers. It's 4 days since I had the water maker working. There's lots of wildlife around the boat today, fishes of all sizes and all colours. It's like being in an aquarium.


April 6

Things had been going well until today. I'm on a sea anchor now and I've had a pretty appalling day, probably the worst since I've been out here. 

I had the weather with me for three or four days, I was going west and keeping up a decent mileage. Then a huge cyclone, Indigo, came along. I spoke to the weather router tonight and we've decided to stop progress and just hold fire until the weather eases. 
Right now I've got mountainous seas, absolutely huge. The wind is forcing me north, which is something I've been battling with all the time, and if this keeps up I'm going to struggle to make Reunion Island. 
There's nothing I or anyone can do about this. It's just the way it is. 

I've been struggling to charge batteries for the last few days because it's been quite overcast. I got woken up at four o'clock this morning by the boat being pitched and rolled because the steering and navigation equipment had gone off. 
I switched over to the emergency battery and carried on until daylight. Tried to get the main batteries charged but the regulator wouldn't cross so I've still got no power. The steering and navigation are still off, I haven't been able to make water for two days and I'm on the sea anchor. So I'm a bit of sitting duck.

I know I keep coming up with these horror stories and it's not been a good week. But it could be much worse. If I'd left Kalbarri later, I could have been affected by Indigo a lot more. 
It's just the fact that it's one thing after another that's so frustrating. It's like there's a hand in Australia holding me back. Right now I really want to get going.


April 4

Sorry to hear of Andrews departure from the Pacific - Now truly a solo row with no other rowers on any ocean. Not for long though.

It's been a good day onboard, had dinner at the same time as my shore team had breakfast - managed a sat call while they tucked into their greasy spoon and I made do with chicken stew and herb dumplings. Been a fantastic sunset tonight although the wind has dropped again. Thats the third night this has happened, it has also been moving more towards the south today. 

Managed to row just over 11 hours, temperature has dropped off abit, had a light shower. Made mistake of leaving instrument screens on full all night, batteries taken a hammering. Getting better sleep now and millage is becoming more constant - need to look out for cyclone (a big one) North East of my position. Morale good - Spirits high. We recieved over 10,000 hits on BBC website last week - thank you to everyone following the challenge.


April 2 

The sun's back out today, 36°C - too hot to row around midday. The wind has dropped to 6 knots and the sea is quite calm.

I had the water maker on today for the first time in 5 days. It's working well. I was able to fill all the containers as I had started to use some of the emergency containers while I had the problems of the last few days.


April 1 

13.00 - A day to take it easy, making sure the boat is back to 100%. I'm taking in extra food and fluids and catching up on the sleep I've lost over the last 4 days so I feel good and strong for the next big push. 5 days of good weather is promised.


Read Simon’s twice-weekly diary on http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/oceanrow03/news/

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