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                 The ORS Int. is the official adjudicator of ocean rowing records for Guinness World Records

 


Greetings from Stein (directly, for a change!)
Well, here I am in Cara Inn, Georgetown, Saturday morning, Nov. 16th, a day and a half after arriving on terra firma v firm land. Or so they say, the first hours the ground felt unstable, but it-s getting more normal all the time! And I am a very, very happy person, trying not to get too bigheaded, for never have I had so much positive attention from so many in my entire life!! So before any more details: Thank you Diana and the rest of my family, thank you supporters and sponsors headed by Pfizer Neuroscience, Commanders Derrick Erskine and John Flores and the rest of the Guyana Coast Guard, Hon. Minister Manzoor Nadir, permanent secretary Sonya Roopnauth and staff in the Dept. of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Captain Cleo da Silva, Sidney van Batenburg-Stafford (Staffy), fellow Norwegian Magnus Saxegaard, Gavin O-Brien and the Cara Inn Hotel staff, to mention a few. And all you friends old and new that have supported, greeted and encouraged me throughout my project. So finally I have managed to sit down at a PC and write a few word directly. First of all let me say how happy I am. I have completed the Atlantic row more or less as planned, had to change my course here and there a little, have had a few scary moments out at sea, but the boat, equipment and I have functioned well. The PC problem and getting water on the video camera was a shame,
towards the end I could not get the VHF radio to work when I needed it most. But really, the essential equipment all functioned extremely well v the water-maker (PUR v now renamed KATADYN), the GPS (Garmin 76S with it-s little map: superb, especially toward the end), the food lasted and tasted good all the way (DryTech-s freeze died foods: excellent, Diana-s provisioning: excellent), the Iridium satellite phone kept me in touch with family and Diana and Elisabeth could relay my reports. The last day became the worst of the whole trip, but arriving on the steps of tiny Parika up the Essequibo River was one of the best moments of my life.
From hell to heaven, as they say- I suppose I did not have a realistic enough picture of the coastal and river navigation on approaching. I consider myself unashamedly an experienced sailor and navigator, have sailed a little in the mouth Amazon, but the problems on approaching still took me unawares. First the problem of being pushed toward the shore on Wednesday night as the wind backed from ESE to NE and from a safe 15-20 n. miles off the coast I was amazingly quickly only 8-9 miles off in
water 15 m deep. It was not possible to see the low land, waves were getting steeper at almost 90 degrees to my starboard side. In short, a sailor-s worst scenario! I marked a new way-point off the headland just E of Georgetown, 22.3 n.miles to safety ahead. So without any sleep I set off rowing about 2 hrs after sunset and rowed in a very apprehensive state for 2 to 3 hrs before I felt I was coping and gradually crawling away from that treacherous coast. No need to call for help! Off the headland in about 8 m water (!) just after sunrise I had about an hour-s rest and a good breakfast, then at low tide I headed for the dredged shipping channel. I was only about 4 miles off the entrance when I was carried sideways by wind and current going straight W. I rowed as hard as I could to no avail. The water was brown, the visibility zero. Clusters of fishing poles or stakes stuck in the water singly or in clusters, the depth was now only 1-2 meters! The sea-anchor was useless, it only picked up mud. Terrifying! VHF did not work, I took a new course between the piles, heading for the coast just W of Georgetown. Could I find a buoy or something else to tie onto there? About 3 scary hours passed, but the tide was rising and the danger of hitting something was getting less. Then the tension broke, as the Coast Guard ship at last found me and could give me advice: Head up the next river, the Essequibo, to safety in the small township of Parika. We shouted to each other ?That-s not on my map, where is it? ?Just around the corner. Well, that may be the case in a strong motor vessel, but it took me several hours. However, the dangers were past and I was much happier. Next challenge, could I make it up unassisted? It was extremely hard, but I did manage, and having finally reached the steps at Parika against the flow of the river and the turned tide, there was no way I could now crawl into my cabin
and say I am not really arriving until tomorrow! I knew Diana would be disappointed, but there was no choice and I stepped  exhausted and gingerly on the steps.
A big crowd had gathered and they greeted med like a hero! It felt absolutely wonderful. I had rowed for nearly 20 hours with little rest, no proper food since my cereal breakfast, only snacks of chocolate, nuts and raisins, and not nearly enough to drink. (Later I realized I had not passed any urine for 10 hours!) Once I got ashore, I experienced an amazing helpfulness from the local people.
Captain Cleo da Silva managed to find a suitable trailer and in the dark he and his helpers got Star Atlantic safely on it and up on land. Staffy, with me as passenger, towed it the 2 hours to Georgetown, driving very slowly due to the state of the road the first few miles. I chatted with Staffy, ate some more of Diana-s parcels of fruit cake and drank lots of water on the way. Behind came Magnus, the only Norwegian living in Guyana, with flashing lights alerting traffic and keeping an eye on the boat. Once it was parked inside the ground of the Cara Inn Hotel, I could stagger to a wonderful room with a normal WC and a shower, have a shave and change clothes (I was still in the same clothes that I had worn for the past 24 hours!). When I got back to the reception there was Diana and mum Eli and Kenneth Crutchlow of the Ocean Rowing Society who had just arrived! Hugs and kisses! Soon we were sitting in ordinary chairs, easting ordinary food, then a bed that stands still. And more - Thank you everybody. I will write more soon. Pictures from the last half of the row being transmitted today or tomorrow.
Greetings and gratitude from Stein
(Trans-Atlantic Solo Rower!)

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