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31 August

STEIN HOFF: news from the route
Saturday, 31st. August day 22
Ladies on board!

12GMT pos.: N2849 W1932. Temp 25/22, barometer1037. Near gale/gale from NE, rough sea,100% cloud, only a glimpse of sun occasionally. 667 n.miles to way-point 3 52 n.miles past 24 hours – equals the record!
The cloud formations in the stratosphere which I described gave a correct forecast. The wind increased in the evening, but it was fine to row, good speed. Gave up an hour after sun-set, was tired and it was difficult to judge the waves. Wind and sea increased during the night. Little sleep, lots of noise and rolling, constant crashing of seas into the sides. Kept the main-hatch closed, peeped out occasionally and was pleased to observe that there was good progress in the right direction.

This morning it was wet everywhere, but not much in the cock-pit. It was possible to row, but turning the boat on course after being hit sideways by a wave took some time and was tiring. I listened to the rest of "Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy" and admired author Douglas Adams’ rich fantasy. And the miles roll by even though I have hardly seen such a turbulent sea. The waves can break into one side, then into the other a few seconds later, with no change in course!
A tiny flying-fish landed right beside me. Hardly bigger than an insect – these baby fish learn to fly early! I wanted to take a picture, but that treatment would probably have killed it, so I picked it up by a fin/wing and slipped it back to its family. Later I saw a school/flock of fairly big flying-fish on a long flight. The sun was low, and the their bodies shined like silver. A lovely sight!

The night passed holding on and listening to NRK night radio, and in the early morning to BBC World Service. In the morning I listened to a CD of opera favourites, including the famous pearl-fisher’s duet by Bizet. But the tenor this morning is not as good as Jussi Bjørling from the 1950s ! His version on my "Stein’s favourites" gives me goose-pimples!

During the night I fancied a jelly-man which Diana had given me in the birthday packet. Discovered to my amazement that they were jelly-ladies, not men! Without me knowing, emancipation has reached Nidar’s sweet factory ! I have taken a photo of four of these shapely, sweet. little ladies on my pillow! I have also taken a picture of an important piece of equipment on board, the Iridium satellite telephone. I will take pictures of other equipment during the next few days. Maybe my mascot Star II or one of the jelly-ladies will act as guide. As I write this at 1830 GMT, the weather is better, just a moderate breeze from NE and kinder sea. I can see that there are three directions of the wave tops, N,NE and ENE. No wonder it rolls….I am looking forward to trade-wind conditions, if they exist this year.

Normal Faria in Barbados asked me if I know if Alain Bombard is still alive. This question I have to pass on, especially if there is anybody from France. 50 years ago he made an amazing voyage over the Atlantic in a Zodiac dinghy. He wanted to show that with correct knowledge one can survive on what nature provides. He lived on fish and plankton, collected rain-water, and he also drank small amounts of sea.water. He was skin and bones when he arrived, but survived.

Normal also asks if I recommend drinking salt-water, in my case the answer is no. I do use a little, though, when I cook rice and bake bread, and have occasionally in the tropics taken a little well-diluted. (to replace salt loss in sweat). In Barbados, some of the inhabitants have a tradition of drinking a little salt.-water daily. They can be seen with bottles on the beach in the morning.

Continued good week-end from Stein.


Friday,30th.August day 21
New way-point

12 GMT pos.: N2928 W1851 Temp 25/22. Barometer 1045. NE breeze, small seas, waves crossing form N and NE, 6/8 clouds, 13 n.miles to way-point 2, 32 n.miles last 24 hours, 719 n.miles to way-point 3.

Rather grey and dreary this morning, more sun and better charging later in the day. The wind has freshened so we make better speed when I am rowing – and still in the right direction. I can hardly believe my luck so far!Before lunch, the clouds were high with mares tails, and I waited for wind, maybe more than I wanted, but now they have disappeared, and it looks quite stable again.
There is a slight mist, especially to the east, and although I should be able to see Mount Teide on Tenerife, (Spain’s highest mountain over 4000m) there is no sign of it. With the east wind, there comes some sand and dust form Sahara, which reduces the visibility. I have now taken the course to the next way-point which is at N 2000 W 2700. That is 719 miles from here, while I have gone 732 miles in a straight line from Lisbon. So I am more than half-way to the trade-winds . After that there is a good chance of stable wind and current going with me to Guyana. But lots can happen. It is an El nino year again, just 5 years since the last, and that means more unstable conditions as the Atlantic is colder than usual. One small advantage is that there is less chance of tropical storms and hurricanes.

 I had a calm day and a fine birthday yesterday Had a snooze after dinner, then rowed after sun-set in the most beautiful starry heaven so far. Our galaxy – the milky-way – was right over me at 23 GMT, a sparkling pathfinder. At the same time I listened to Elisabeth and Hugh’s present "Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy"! This is a series which was on BBC radio; fantastic, intelligent rubbish from an imaginary future. Amazing sound-effects, which I could enjoy in stereo after repairing the loud-speaker yesterday. After supper, I sat in the front row at Star Atlantic Cinema and really enjoyed "Shrek". It was an evening for being a kid again!

Back to ordinary living today, began with stretching out to Django Reinhardt, then ¾ hour’s rowing to famous violin concertos before breakfast. Looking for sardines, I found more water in the aft locker on port-side. The big splash a couple of days ago had also sneaked in here. I had not screwed on the locker top hard enough. Two packets of apricots had to be offered to Neptune and my friend under the boat. All the other lockers are fortunately dry. I have put grease in the seals, tightened all the locker tops and moved the perishables to safer places. I am starting to get some empty spaces as I eat my way through the food stores.

The most exciting observation today is some driftwood and a couple of mackerel terns. Not even a little sea-turtle!

I wish everybody a good week.end, and thanks for many greetings and birthday wishes on E-mail and in the guest-book. I have been offered examination for my tinnitus by the ENT department in Kristiansand, this has already been looked at by Arne Skeie before I left. My hearing is excellent and there is no suspicion of anything serious.

As regards use of water, I use about 4-5 litres a day for drinking and cooking.

Greetings, Stein.


"HAPPY BIRTHDAY Stein, good courage and good wind. 
We know all together, what we live in that moment. GOOD LUCK -

Dear Emmanuel,
Thank you so much for your greetings and birthday wishes. I also wish you all the best for the rest of your row across the Northern Atlantic, and admire you for taking on such a tough challenge. I hope the winds will keep westerly so that you can get across to Europe quickly.
Best wishes from your fellow rower,
Stein (Hoff).

Thursday, 29th. August day 20
Birthday at sea!

1245GMT pos.:N2944 W1815 Temp 24/21, barometer 1037 (was 1021 last night). Light breeze form ENE, light/moderate sea, 1/8 cloud, 45 n.miles to way-point 2. 43 n. miles past 25 hours.

Even thought the wind has eased, there was still a lot of rolling and noise during the night, didn’t get a great sleep. Lovely dawn at 8 GMT, checked the E-mail and got several good wishes – today is my birthday! And for the first time in my life, I have a birthday on my own. I had a swim, checked the hull, and found company in the form of a shiny fish about 6-7cms long. He was very interested in me, and even without stripes, behaved just like a pilot-fish. Despite the name, they have no guiding function, just opportunistic parasites. But that’s OK by me, I believe in re-cycling! It will be interesting to see if he keeps me company and how quickly he grows. I have had an aquarium since I was a kid, and this will be like watching a fish grow in the aquarium. Well, almost…

Amazingly, there were already new rows of barnacles which had formed since I scrubbed the hull a few days ago, so I had to get going again. This gave my little companion a luxury meal, more than he could manage. Just after I had washed my hair and rinsed with fresh water, the telephone rang and Anders and Erik sang Happy Birthday to me! Thank-you, boys! They gave me
the phone number to a journalist in Aftenposten (Norway.s main news-paper). To go with an interview, I have tried to send pictures with better quality than usual, so exciting to see if they are good enough. Before this photo-session, I had to open some presents, accompanied by a glass of wine. There were lots of fun things to open from Diana, my mother Eli, my three
children and their partners, Rigmor, Berit and Arvid. Now I have new types of nuts, chocolate and sweets, port-wine, cheese, CD books and music, playing-cards, words of wisdom, balloons with hearts and birthday-cards. Thanks so much everybody. And thanks to those others who have sent me a greeting by E-mail or in the guest-book.

Other activities today have been soldering leads to the loud-speaker on deck, and making 15 litres of water. I took plenty of time over dinner and am having a bit of a rest-day. I have just had a couple of rowing sessions of a little over an hour so far. The sun has charged both the PC and the batteries, so I am considering a visit to Star Atlantic Cinema this evening. I have a number of DVD films which Diana has chosen and which I have not seen any of yet.

On the cassette player today, I have heard "Midshipman Hornblower" by C.S Forester, I know the stories from earlier reading and TV series. On the CD player I have listened to a self-composed collection of favourites, incl. "What a beautiful world", "Imagine", "Crazy", "Beautiful Barbados", Caro Mio Bambino", a CD to make me feel happy! The bread I baked last night was
even better than the first one. I gave it 10 minutes more cooking as the first was a little soft. While the pressure cooker bubbled, I rowed past a fairly big turtle. Otherwise no exciting observations. Apart from my fish of course. I’ll have to give him a suitable name. First I will find out if he is a faithful type.

Happy greetings from the birthday boy to all my followers,


Wednesday, 28th. August day 19
Big splash!

12 GMT pos.N3008 W1742. Temp 22/22, barometer 1034. Fresh breeze/near gale from ENE(F5-F6), moderate to rough sea, 1/8 cloud. 88 n.miles to way-point 2. 44 n.miles past 24 hours. No new record, but good going all the same!

The day began brutally at 4 a.m. with a huge crash and splashing of water. Some drops also came over the edge of the hatch into the cabin. A new record for the amount of water on the deck and in the cock-pit. I had to get out and open the scuppers. There are two on each side which are kept shut with a thin elastic rope. When there is a lot of water, the elastic stretches and the water runs out, but then they close and the water runs out very slowly. 
There was only 3-4 cms water in the cock-pit, but it took half an hour to bale out and dry up. When I crept back in, the heap of wet clothes was doubled, I was cold and had very clean feet….The rest of the night I had the main hatch closed ! I comforted myself by listening to Billy Connelly’s "In words and Music" on CD. It certainly helps to laugh a bit! And then I got a bit more sleep. Later the seas have been "kinder". The big splash had managed to mysteriously get into places it had no right to be, and I spent an hour inspecting and drying. 

Otherwise I have washed clothes. I am now operating with two sets of rowing gear, and one set of bed-clothes. There is also a towel and a cushion-cover which need washed when they get too salty. Outer clothes are no longer necessary. If I am cold I only need to row for five minutes or creep into the bunk. 

I have played the birthday song for Anne Holst Torgersen. Diana is having dinner with her and Finn now, and I send my congratulations. And I am rehearsing "Happy Birthday to me". This is my last day as a 56 year-old ! With the beard which is slowly growing I look 10 years older…(not sure that Diana will be thrilled…)

I have been interviewed by NRK today and found out that my home-page has 400 visits daily. In addition there are many following on the Ocean Rowing Society’s site. This is good to hear! I enjoy sharing the experiences, and as long as I can keep salt-water away from PC, cameras and satellite telephone, I guarantee that I will continue. 

It became a beautiful, starry filled night as I expected. Even a little phosphorescence. But I became so tired that I gave up a couple of hours after sun-set. Today the conditions are much better, and I am pleased. After the pre-dinner row, just before writing, I stood up in the middle of the rolling deck and surveyed my "kingdom". It is wild and beautiful here, and I had an amazing sense of freedom and of experiencing something very special. And that was before the little glass of red wine!

Today I managed to eat my cod in sour cream without the addition of red wine. A new bread is now rising. The boat is drifting forwards at 1 knot as I sit here. In two days I will be at the next way-point, safely to the west of the Canary Islands. I think and hope I will be anyway!
A sea-turtle is the day’s observation. I’ll keep a better look-out tomorrow. And I will celebrate my birthday from morning to evening. How? That’s tomorrow’s report.



Tuesday 27th. August day 18
Good speed!

12 GMT pos. N3024 W1645 temp 25/22, barometer 1034. Fresh breeze to ear-gale (F5-F6) from ENE. Rough sea, 50% cloud, 132 n.miles to way-point 2 . 52 n. miles past 24 hours – a record!

Last night it blew up again, difficult to row. As long as it was dusk and I could see the waves I got good speed. But it became totally black later, the boat was thrown sideways a few times and after a huge splash at 11 p.m. I gave up. I had a safety line on, but didn’t feel in any danger. On the cassette player I had some of Richard Hermann’s (he was a foreign correspondent in GB) bizarre murder stories. He had got the material for these well-written, macabre stories from Scotland Yard’s archives. As I sat in the dark with crashing and splashing all around me, it became a bit spooky, and I put off the rest until tomorrow!

The bad weather continued throughout the night and this morning, it wasn’t easy to sleep, but with Kiri Te Kanawa’s beautiful voice, the cabin felt snug and safe. She is partly Maori from New Zealand, and she reminds me of the good time we spent in Gisborne, where Robert was born in 1980. The rowing this morning was a repeat of yesterday, maybe a little easier. The waves were regular, about 3-4 metres, a few a bit higher I think. They were also steep, but my light, small boat rides over them like a nut-shell and is so stable that she is nowhere near rolling round even when the waves hit sideways. When the waves come from aft, the speed can go up to 6-7 knots, the record today was 8.9 knots!

This afternoon it has been easier (shouldn’t have said that, just now a wave splashed right over the cabin! Good that the hatches are shut!) But bread-baking and water-making have been postponed. There is plenty of food and drink anyway. I am making good progress and feel in a good mood. There are a couple of small islands north of the Canaries, but these are now safely behind me.

Another turtle observed, and 2 small flying fish landed on deck this morning, so small that I stepped on them, only 2-3cms, but soon there will be more! Still an occasional plastic bottle in the water, and today I passed a large piece of plywood.

On the CD I am now ready for the second part of "Kidnapped". by Robert .L .Stevenson, very well read. Then 3-4 more hours of rowing. There are now only a few clouds, so with the help of Venus and the stars there might be good conditions after sun-set.

Maybe we can manage 53 miles until tomorrow?



Monday, 26th.August day 17 Bad weather, good progress.
12 GMT pos.: N3053 N1556 Temp 23/22, barometer 1036. Total cloud-cover, near-gale from ENE, rough sea. 219 n.miles to way-point 2, 42 n.miles past 24 hours – good!
As I had forecast the wind blew up during the night, although a day later than I expected. After sun-set yesterday, the westerly sky was blood-red, as if in flames. The old saying that "a red sky at night is a sailor’s delight" is not always my experience. I slept badly, thrown about here and there, eventually put up the lee-board. When I looked out I heard that there was a lot of banging and splashing from the waves, and bumping from the storage lockers around the boat, but no danger. There was very little splashing into the cock-pit, so I was pleased. The boat is keeping a good course on the whole, so what more can I ask for? But my back ached, so I took a Celebra and eventually got a couple of hours of sleep
It was just possible to do an hour’s rowing before breakfast, but when the waves push the boat side-on, it can be an effort to get it in the right direction again with the oars. The rudder helps surprisingly well, so there was some rowing and some steering. The sea was unusually rough and untidy, probably due to current in opposite direction to the wind. A few waves were real monsters. But when I managed to get the boat in the right direction before a wave hit, I got a few seconds of high speed as the boat rushed down – a roller-coaster!

The movements don’t make me directly sea-sick, but slightly queasy and dizzy. Then it helps to eat and drink a little, but twice I have had to take refuge in the bunk and let the boat look after herself. That has gone fine, and now in the evening, the bad weather has begun to settle, and the trip’s first real rain has taken over.

I had meant to bake bread today, but have just kept things simple. Then the freeze-dried bags of food are super. Just boil some water, pour up to the line, and five minutes later the meal is ready. Throw in a few potato crisps or crushed crisp-bread. Chicken for lunch, cod for dinner. I opened a new carton of red-wine.
 Using a glass with a stem can be a balancing act. The first half went fine (see picture), but the second tipped into my dinner. I ate it up anyway, and have discovered a new meal – cod with sour-cream and red-wine! During my rowing I have been taken to Limerick in Ireland and Frank McCourt’s childhood in great poverty. "Angela’s ashes", a Pulizer prize winner. I can understand why it won a prize. It was the author himself who was reading – and singing here and there. This tragic and funny trip down memory lane is an experience to be recommended.

Lots of birds and 2 small turtles observed today. Now the rain has stopped, but the wind has freshened. But no problem, as the wind, the sea, the boat and me are all going the same way!



Sunday, 25th. August day 16,
Scrubbing the hull. More dolphins.

12 GMT position. N3113 W1510 Temp 25/22, barometer1035. 50% clouds. 228 n.miles to WP2, 40 n.miles past 24 hours - good! NE breeze, moderate sea, about 1 metre.Yesterday I registered a little current with me and made reasonable speed without having to work too hard. But a change in the sky made me a little nervous. During the day I had seen mostly trade-wind
clouds, but then cane another type with fringes and mare’s tails high up. This is a sign of wind. Today the formations were even more spectacular, but all I got was a nice NE breeze, with slightly higher waves and more movement in the boat. It was also very clear. I could see the top of ships very far away and up above the lines behind large planes. The big metal birds could also be seen like shining arrows between the clouds. I counted 6 at the same time. I wonder how many planes leave and arrive at the Canary Islands daily?

In the cool moon-light I did another late session last night, and felt I deserved to lie in my bunk a little this morning. I read some of my 500-mile present from Elisabeth, the book "Man and boy" by Tony Parsons (a British best-seller) and listened to BBC World news. Rowed an hour before breakfast (music: Evert Taube’s summer songs), found out that dried fruit tasted good with my morning cereal and followd this with shaving, nail-cutting, deoderant and Armani’s "eau pour homme". Got to keep up one’s

More rowing, then lunch which consisted of rice, onion and sardines. Another hours rowing listening to Jules Verne’s "Around the world in 80 days": very well produced, I think this was Diana’s favourite when she rowed. She listened to it about 10 times! Then I had a job to do which I wasn’t looking forward to. On with socks (to avoid blisters), fins and mask and jumped into the sea, with the boat lying side-on to the waves. That might not have been necessary, but I didn’t want to see the boat drifting off without me! It took almost an hour to scrub off all the growth, which would have developed into goose-necked barnacles, every sailor’s problem. The calcium foot had not yet got a good hold, so I managed to get rid of it all without taking off the anti-fouling. The hull now looks like new, but the rolling made the job unpleasant (should have done it yesterday!) and in addition to blue thighs and arms, I was cold, dizzy and felt a bit sick when I got back onto the deck.

I adjusted the rudder and got onto course, washed myself and tidied up, took the towel around my head like a turban and crept into the bunk! Half an hour later, I was a new man, and finished another important job: there has been a problem charging the PC. It goes on 19 volts, not 12 like everything else here. At the most the transformer takes 5 amps., a lot of current. There were two weak points which I have removed, and the leads have been soldered together and also directly to the boat’s electrical
system. .

There was little wild-life to see today, but yesterday evening, I was entertained by three groups of dolphins, each of about 10 animals. The funniest was a young one which hopped high into the air and fell down on his back. I whistled and splashed with the oars, trying to get their attention, but they didn’t come nearer than about 100 metres, so no pictures this time. Maybe they were following a school of fish as they all swam in the same direction. Still no pilot-fish, the turtles kept their little escort service for themselves. I live in hope!

Greetings, Stein.

P:S: with this speed I will be near La Palma in 6 days, a week ahead of schedule. But lots can happen. Can this weather last? Lots of high clouds tonight again, so watch this space!


Saturday, 24th.August day 15
500 nautical miles!

12 GMT position: N3132 W1428. Temp 27/22, barometer 1048. Light breeze from
NE, calm sea, 1/8 cloud. 268 n.miles to WP2, 34 n.miles past 24 hours.

This is a day I have referred to in interviews before I left. "I will be glad when two weeks are over and I am well on the way, and boat, equipment body and soul are all functioning well". And now two weeks have gone, I am fine and am very pleased. Today I have gone over 500 miles from Lisbon, and shall open a present from Elisabeth. I’ll do that at sun-set, the most beautiful time of day. I finished the wine at lunch, and don’t intend to open another carton for a couple of days, but I will light a little candle in the cock-pit, and think about my loved ones.
I enjoy all the greetings in the guest-book. Several members of the Jacob family in Kristiansand and the Goddard family in Barbados have sent me a greeting, so I must thank them specially. It was also fun to hear from Inge, fishing at Udvaar at the same time that I was listening to folk-song from the same area. And to Carlos and family in Lisbon: fine if I can inspire you to take unusual challenges. To Svein and Gwynn; thanks for CDs with Grapelli and Reinhardt. Great music! I’m not sure what music is best to row to, depends on my mood and the weather. Songs by Krag and Halvorsen were very good for the morning, and later I have had the Beatles take me on a nostalgic trip to my youth. One of the very good things about this trip is the time to listen to both music and books.

After an almost unbearable heat yesterday, I slept an hour late in the evening, then rowed three hours in the moon-light. I laughed my way through 4 of Frankie Howard’s BBC radio-shows on the cassette player, followed by a biography of Iris Murdoch, one of Diana’s favourite authors. The rowing conditions got a lot better yesterday evening, and I registered both a
light following wind and current. I got to bed at 1 a.m. and slept for 6 hours, the best sleep so far with not much rolling, and less dampness. Today there was less dew than usual on the deck – hope this keeps up!

A greeting which pleased me very much was form a school class, grade 4, Ormaasen School, Øvre Eiker. The teacher Line had enjoyed our children’s book about sailing round the World with Red Admiral, and now the class are going to follow my rowing experiences.

Nature has not been too exciting today, partly because I have rigged up my shelter from the sun, and I don’t see so much. Just a few birds and another flying fish which jumped up and sailed away from me. So now I start the day by looking round the deck to see if there are any fish which have misjudged and landed on deck during the night. If I had a lantern on, this would attract fish, but that needs current and I also don’t want to attract attention. I prefer to keep looking out, and use my radar-detector and my senses. Big ships can be heard from a good distance, especially when there is not much wind like today. Yesterday it was in fact so quiet that I could only hear a weak, high-frequency sound – my own tinnitus!

Continued week-end greetings from Stein.


Friday, 23rd. August day 14
Going backwards!

12 GMT position: N3150 W1355, 302 to WP2, just 26 n.miles the past 24 hours. Temp 25/22, barometer 1048 (!). Calm, contrary current!
Lovely evening yesterday, lovely sun-set and moon-rise, just enough clouds on the horizon to give colour and a fine pattern. But barely any wind from north. Heavy rowing, but finished Aldous Huxley’s frightening and thought-provoking vision of the future, then enjoyed Paul Theroux’s "The Great Railway Bazaar". This American author is new to me, but his description of a 3-minth long train journey from London to Japan via Istanbul, then back to Moscow in 1973 is really a pleasure.

Here I don’t feel like I am on a train! Two days ago I was enjoying current helping me along, but now it is doing the reverse. I began lunch at 300 miles from way-point 2, but half-way through I was back at 301 miles! It is also burning hot. I have put up a tent of mattresses and bed-clothes in the front of the boat to shade a little. Here in the cabin it is 30 degrees, almost like the south of Norway recently!
I was listening to Bajan (Barbadian) music with calypso, reggae, steel-band and the suitable melody "Hot, hot hot"!
The potatoes are beginning to smell, had to throw two away, and the last four were boiled for lunch. Half of them were eaten with vacuum-packed/crushed crisp-bread and Norwegian salmon fillets (thanks to Svein Ove Ask!). With a little margarine and spices and a glass of red-wine, it was a really tasty meal. Finished with Diana’s fruit-cake and newly-made water (made 10 litres today). I am now full.

Four ships this morning – a new record. All going north-east, probably to the Mediterranean. Have lots of good pictures I would like to show, but I will make a small choice. I got advice from Martin yesterday to only send one picture at a time, so I don’t lose so much if the transmission breaks down. With this letter was a little poem on behalf of Hedda ( nearly 6 months old ) which touched me.

My fafa (grandpa) is over the ocean, my fafa is over the sea,

My fafa is over the ocean, oh bring back my fafa to me!

Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my fafa to me, to me.

Bring back, bring back, Oh bring back my fafa to me!

The original with My Bonnie is over the ocean was the first song I learned in English, a long time before I could read or understand what the words meant. My parents were very proud when with newly washed and combed hair, I sang for their guests…
Diana is going to Oslo and Lillehammer at the week-end to look after Hedda while Camilla and Martin take part in Birkebeineren, a tough cycle race: good luck to all four! And what will I be doing do you think?

I shall row!

A calm and windless greeting from Stein.


Thursday, 22nd. August day 13
Flying fish and loving turtles.

Position at 12 GMT: N3210 W1333. Temp 27/22, barometer 1044 (highest yet). Light breeze from N and Nü, sun,warm! A few low clouds. 328 n.miles to WP2, have done 36 n.miles past 24 hours.
Long, calm night, started the day with Stephan Grapelli and "These foolish things remind me of you" and missed my Diana…( she is smiling at me from a little photo above my bunk!). I observed that wind and current had given me no free miles during the night and that it was going to be a slow day. Valerie in Portugal asked if I have a self-steering device, the answer is unfortunately no, but I manage to adjust the rudder so that I drift in more or less the right direction, give or take 15 degrees.

After breakfast I had to take back my comments about flying-fish yesterday: a good-sized specimen took to his wings right beside the boat and flew about 70-80 metres! He helped get speed by hitting a couple of wave-tops – it looked like fun! There are also more birds about and probably more nourishment in the sea.

 I swam before lunch and confirmed this by there being poorer visibility but I also got some depressing news; even after only 12 days, there are lots of small "warts" on the hull and along the water-line on port side (towards the sun): this is the first sign of goose-necked barnacles. These are pretty and taste good when big, but will slow me down considerably. They are actually a type of cray-fish which have had a wrong development and behave like an algae. The problem for the boat is the foot with calcium which is difficult to get rid of. I rubbed some off with my hands, but next time I swim I will take fins and a brush. Two strokes of the best self-polishing anti-fouling was not good enough. Maybe I’m going too slowly for it to be self-polishing?

The next small annoyance was that my 4-day old bread was covered in mould This was trimmed off, the bread cut into slices and fried with egg and spices. Voila! French toast! After this it was really hot, not a breath of wind. I crept into the cabin and had a nap, awoke to a sharp knock on the hull! My shock was at once replaced with enthusiasm and I quickly got the camera out, for behind the boat were two turtles who seemed to be in love. At least they behaved like it. The male kept coming up to the rudder and knocking it , then turned round to his girl as if to say "look how brave I am" and then they gave each other a hug and took a little pirouette. I think she then praised him as he then came and did it again! I saw that she had a defect in her shell over the back right flipper, probably a shark bite. Each had 4-5 small, striped pilot-fish , the largest not more than about 5 cms, so now I hope some will stay with me. Here there is lots of good rubbish to share!
Dinner just now was Real Turmat’s chicken curry. I made it simple and just had some potato crisps, water and a glass of wine with it. I opened a new carton of wine yesterday, didn’t manage to drink up the first before it became vinegar.

Last night I finally got Norway on the radio, so now I can get the news. It takes too long to get this on the inter-net as it take such a long time to down-load. The guest-book goes faster as there are no pictures.

I must go rowing again! Hope this gets sent a bit quicker than yesterday. I sent pictures earlier which got through first time, maybe there is too much traffic in the evenings. That might explain my problems. Anyway, I have had a less active day at the oars, but am in good spirits and feeling fit. No tablets except the ones to stop acid the last couple of days.
The sphincter muscle between stomach and gullet finds the diet here on Star Atlantic 11 a bit much too handle….and there are no need for sleeping tablets!

Best wishes, Stein.
P.S. made 10 litres water today and 5 litres yesterday with no problems, speed exactly 5 l. /min: just according to the recipe!


Wednesday, 21st. August day 12
12 GMT position: N3235 W1301. Sunshine after a cloudy morning. Barometer 1030, temp 23/21, light breeze from NNE, moderate sea. 364 n.m. to WP2. I have done 51 n.miles during the past 24 hours, seems too much, hope I have worked it out right. Anyway, I am more than 400 n.miles from Lisbon!
All the jobs on board go slower than on land. The surroundings are in constant motion, I have to hold on and watch where I step or sit, and there is little room, with the storage space full to the limit. Finding things can be a tiring process, especially if they are in the small spaces under the mattress at the back of the boat….only in the galley are things easy to reach by stretching a little. But here I have to be careful not to burn myself (the cooker is in the cock-pit between my legs), or lose precious water with all the movement. When I boil water, I first pour some into a small container before I can pour it into the kettle.

Bun things are really going fine. The worst/most tiring job aboard is writing (curled up or half-lying) reports on the PC, processing photos, and then having to wait ages to get it sent through inter-nett! Yesterday I used two hours! Even after half an hour doing the photos earlier in the day.

The problem is that the satellite connection seems unstable, and twice during the sending of my report and pictures I was cut off. Grrr! A report like this takes 8 – 10 minutes at 1.50 US dollars/min. And for each time I get through, there have been at least 10 unsuccessful efforts even though the PC says "You are logged on"!! I gave up, phoned Diana to explain the delay, crept out and got on rowing. Tried again an hour later with 2 instead of 4 pictures and it worked at last. I wonder if this is a usual problem with Iridium? Whether it is or not, they ought to give me a good rebate!
Otherwise not much to complain about or report. I saw two ships yesterday, one the day before, none for 2 days before that. But in the evening there are lots of planes – probably en route to Madeira or the Canaries. Not much life in the sea, just a little turtle this morning. I’m looking forwards to the company of dolphin fish (same as dorado or yellow mackerel) and flying-fish, but that probably will not be until south of the Canaries. I also wonder of course how long I will be lucky with the weather – which means no contrary winds. Although, maybe I could do with a day now and again without rowing, just hanging onto the sea-anchor. I think it would be good for the body. This morning I tried some morning gymnastics/dancing on deck to loosen up stiff back and muscles. I had the Swedish Swing Quartet high on the 4 loud-speakers: Stompin’ at the Savoy, Lady be good, and so on. Great music! It certainly lifted my spirits.
But in the afternoon it took some self-discipline to do the 21/2 hours row I had planned after lunch. There wasn’t much strength for the last 30 minutes, mainly steering with the oars. The old fishermen of Hidra insist that they could sleep while they rowed their catch to the fish-market in Flekkefjord in the old days. I’m working on that!
I got into inter-nett easily today, and enjoyed the nice greetings in the guest-book. Sorry I haven’t answered all individually. Diana also sends over some E-mails and other greeting every day. Occasionally I write in the guest-book. I can also answer questions there, especially form younger readers.

Today’s book was Aldous Huxley’s "Brave New World", many years since I read it. Diluted my impressions from time to time with the Swedish swing and Andrea Botcelli.


P.S: I really did play "Michael, row the boat ashore" yesterday. I’ll enlarge the repertoire tonight!


Tuesday 20th. August day 11 Tired
12 GMT position: N3302 W1210. Sun, light cloud, temperature air/water: 24/21.Light breeze from NNE! 414 n. miles to the first way-point.
Yesterday was the finest day so far even though it was a bit slow-going with no help from wind or current. During the rowing I enjoyed "The Bridges of Madison County". The moving love-story gave me a lump in my throat several times. The book is much better than the film, at least this production with excellent reading by the author Robert James Walker and good actors in the different roles. Almost like radio-theatre, but no other effects except a little music.

After a 30 minute nap I had two hours of moon-light rowing last night, with Dostovjevski’s "Crime and Punishment" on the cassette-player. The 150 year-old story is a classic, and unfortunately just as relevant today. I turned off just before I knew that the murder was coming, and had it after breakfast instead!

But during the morning I felt in miserable shape. The breakfast row was alright, but I had some pain in the right side of my back and right hip when I used any exertion. So I did a job that I had put off which needed to be done.

The digital Nikon camera COOLPIX5000 has a rechargeable battery, but I hadn’t managed to get a 12-volt charger before I left. However the current for charging the video camera is the same, 8.4 volts. So I opened the Nikon charger (designed for alternating current) and soldered on a "branch" from the video-charger. This job should normally have taken about half an hour, but even in relatively calm sea and little wind, there is so much rolling that it took 2 hours! And I had a headache and felt exhausted…tried to row a little, but instead took a Celebra and went for a short sleep, then played with the puzzle from Robert.

I called my Mother last night, she is back at her summer-house on Veierland and Robert is staying with her for a few days before he returns to summer-job and studies in Coventry. He had given me a little, heavy present in Lisbon and I was now told to open it right away. It is a mechanical puzzle where a type of key has to be taken out of a lock. Seems impossible at first. In 1997, Arvid and I had a similar present which we didn’t manage during the entire trip, so Robert probably thought this would take me 100 days, but I can tell him that it took 10 minutes!
After the second sleep and more food (I have 2 freeze-dried meals daily from Real Tur-mat), I felt absolutely fine again. There were also better conditions, and it was easy to get the boat going at 3 knots which is my aim. And with a light following wind and trade-wind looking clouds – like rows of lumps of cotton-wool reminiscent of Barbados – it went fine for over 2 hours. That was the time it took to listen twice to the cassette with movement from trumpet concertos by Hayden, Telemann, Hertel, Mozart and Hummel. As I write I should have been at autumn’s first rehearsal of our amateur orchestra, Agder orkesterforening, where we have once played Hayden’s famous trumpet concerto in E-minor. Diana will be there, playing viola, my instrument is the clarinet. But I will get out my recorder this evening and at least give a rendition of "Michael, row the boat ashore"!
I might even have an audience. During lunch I discovered a 5-6 mm long worm. It looked really healthy. I don’t usually kill anything that doesn’t bother me, but I have to admit that I threw it to the crabs. There is no room for stowaways, I am after all on a solo-row!

Greetings from one who is alone, but not lonely!


Monday, 19th.August day 10 Fresh bread, shaving and turtles
Position 12 GMT: N3329 W1140. 451 n.miles to way-point 2. (About 340 miles from Lisbon in a straight line). Nearly windless, long, gentle rollers from north-west, 25 degrees in the air, 22 in the sea. Barometer 1030, 2/8 cloud-cover.

This is the third day with little wind and mainly fine weather, but it is the best day so far for several reasons. The annoying waves from west have disappeared so that I can now take the right course. (I have changed my way-point from the first near Madeira to the second near La Palma.) Lovely sun-set yesterday, then almost full-moon. Baked bread in the pressure cooker. That was finished at 11 p.m. but it was still fine to row even though it was going slowly, and I planned a night session with "The Bridges of Madison County", laid down for a rest and woke up at 3 a.m! Then it had clouded over and was pitch-black so I went back to sleep. Took a session before breakfast surrounded by low, black clouds with a "skirt" under which looked

as if there was lots of rain, but all that came was a light breeze form west and light rain for 20 minutes. Not even enough to collect water or have a shower.

The fresh bread for breakfast was irresistible. With salmon paste and slices of cucumber (second last cucumber, then only potatoes and onions left of the fresh food), two cups of tea and some fruit and nut mixture, I was ready for a good effort at the oars. But first I had a partial shave. Which part of my face has been shaved will be revealed in the photos I’ll be sending home. But to avoid speculation , I can tell you that as I don’t drink coffee, smoke a pipe or chew tobacco, how else am I to look like a old sea- dog?

It was very hot rowing in the middle of the day. But the clear, glassy sea can be exciting. There is nearly always something to see, if nothing else there is a fascinating play of light down into the deep. Unfortunately there are also often signs of human rubbish – I’ll see plastic and isopore bits perhaps a couple of times an hour in these conditions.

I had an encore of yesterday’s turtles today. The first came just before I started to write. It was close up, about a metre long like the others. This one was put on film. When I threw a piece of paper in the water earlier, a fish came and inspected it just behind the boat. I saw a fin stick up out of the water, not sure if it was from its tail or back. Might have been a Marlin/sword-fish. Any sharks out here are not dangerous, and while dinner was warming. I had another refreshing swim. My diving mask was on, not to miss anything exciting. The boat hardly moved, just gently swayed, I swam about 50 metres in front and looked back at my rocking home. She looked like an exotic sea-bird, the oars over the sides like colourful wings. She looked really friendly and inviting, and I was happy to climb on board again.

After a rinse with a few decilitres of fresh water, the rice and onions were ready. With a box of Portuguese mussels, the rest of the salmon paste, a little dried herbs and Tabasco sauce and voila! Dinner was served and tasted great!

Full-up, contented and newly-shaven greetings from Star Atlantic 11 and Stein.


Sunday 18th.August day 9 Summer weather and turtles.
12 GMT position N3352 W 1135 Light breeze from NW, 1 metre or less waves, barometer 1030, 25 degrees in the air, 21 in the sea. Lovely morning after a good sleep, more stable boat. Rowed for an hour and enjoyed the morning before breakfast. After another 2 1/4 hours rowing I was sweaty and it was unbelievably good with a swim and a wash before lunch. Still no life round the boat, but earlier I t saw a large sea-turtle with it’s front flippers out of the water, about 30 metres from the boat – it looked as if it was sun-bathing! This evening I have seen an even bigger one. While the first one had a relatively flat shell, this one had a large hump which stuck out of the water as it swam slowly towards me. I stopped rowing, got out the camera, but then he was gone. Otherwise I have seen several birds, incl. storm-petrels and sooty terns. I have also run the water-maker in the calm weather with strong sunshine: result was 12 litres in a little over 2 hours – great!
Last night the sun did the opposite of earlier, shone for an hour before sun-set, then disappeared behind the clouds. But the moon came out instead an hour later, and every time it came out from the clouds, I could feel the reflected warmth of the sun on my back!

After Arne NÔss’s philosophy of life on the cassette player, I listened to "The English Patient" by Michael Ondaatje. I have seen the film a long time ago. Excellent both as film and book, but at midnight I had no more energy. I opened two presents after supper. In the card from Rigmor was some money and a wish to sponsor some wine for the trip. Many thanks! Sorry I didn’t open the card in Lisbon…just at the moment the shops are shut for the week-end…. we’ll use it in Georgetown or FlekkerÜy, Rigmor!

From Camilla and Martin there was a packet with "open when you need energy". I was a bit shocked at first to find a box with three cigars! They know my attitude to smoking! But then I had to laugh, chocolate cigars! In the photo you can see me having a smoke, and a cup of tea. On the cup, which I also got from Martin, you can see why the dinosaurs died out: they began to smoke!

Continued good wishes for the week-end from Stein.


Saturday, 17th.August Day 8
12GMT position: N3416 W1111 Wind strength 3-4 from NNW, moderate sea, barometer 1030, 23 degrees, 20 in the sea, light cloud, weak sun.

One week gone and still going strong! It has in fact gone better than expected, so no complaints although I have of course some wishes, mainly for more wind in the right direction. If these conditions carry on, I will end up in the middle of the Canary Islands. Well, I suppose that will give a little more excitement, so why not? The course I have now is a compromise between the conditions and my strength.

I didn’t sleep so well last night, it was damp and bumpy, but I was in my bunk for 7 hours after a hard session last night, over 3 hours rowing. There was another fine sun-set after a cloudy day. Venus, the moon and the stars out again. I had a new book by Wilbur Smith on the cassette-player "Power of the Sword", excellently read, and that helped too. By a lucky chance it was a continuation of the last one I read (the Burning Shore), I had just picked it at random. This morning I listened to philosophy by Arne NÔss. That suited me fine as I usually listen to the morning philosophy programme on the radio on Saturdays. I think a bit about the existential questions out here.

Looking for my breakfast cereal, I got an unpleasant surprise in the aft locker under deck on starboard side. Most of the stuff was wet. The locker was about a third full of sea-water! The explanation was that the rubber seal from the round hatch was lying down among the dried fruit and tins of food.. it must have fallen off at some time or another. It took an hour and a half to tidy up: emptying, drying, throwing away paper and re-packing. At the same time, I’m trying to avoid spray into the locker, and holding on with one hand because of the rolling. But at the end there were only a couple of packets of apricots that had to be thrown away. The packets of mashed potato, soup, cocoa, a large bag of dried bananas and several packets of prunes were as intact as before. But now I have about 40 different boxes of sardines with no labels!

After this job and a late breakfast, I had some aches here and there and seemed to lack energy when I began to row. Arne NÔss kept me going for a couple of hours almost to lunch. I tool a Celebra tablet for muscle-pains and a Nexium tbl. which I take every other day top avoid heart-burn. Then it was time for the first swim of the journey. The sun was shining, I let the boat drift sideways and had a refreshing dip. Swam round and under the boat with the diving-mask, everything looked fine, but there were no fish to be seen. The sea seemed very blue and "clean" and amazingly clear, a sign of little plankton and nourishment – explains why there has been so little life around the past few days. I am looking forward to getting some pilot fish from a passing whale or large fish. These little fish can follow for days or weeks, and live on the growth under the boat and the rubbish I throw out.

And at last I washed my hair. Then a big lunch and 15 minutes sleep and I was almost like new!

The planned bread-baking and shaving can wait until tomorrow. but tonight I shall celebrate one week at sea with a little red-wine, a candle and if I’m not wrong a packet or two to open. I look forward to that!

Greetings, Stein.


Friday, 16th. August day 7
12 GMT position: N3456 W1046, 333 n.miles to the first way-point. Temperature is 24 degrees C, 20 in the water, barometer1033, 6/8 cloudy. A long night’s rest again, but it is too hot with the quilt, and too cold without, tonight I’ll try just the cover!

A bit calmer this morning, but it freshened and I didn’t get a swim today either. I did get a proper wash thought for the first time, just hair left to do. My hygiene is more or less restored!

When I rowed last night, I thought "it is good that the neighbours can’t see me now." I was rowing dressed in sun-glasses, gloves and my worn wedding-ring! It was surprisingly warm and damp yesterday even without sun, I was sweating and remembered the title of Rob Hamil’s book "The naked rower". It was he and Phil Stubbs who won the regatta across the Atlantic in 1997. During the second regatta last year, many had learned that a little nakedness is the best treatment for one’s rear-end. I have also tried the Donald Duck version with the same out-fit plus a white T-shirt!

Yesterday evening was really magic with a red sun-set between the clouds and the horizon. Then the sky cleared and out came a half moon and lots of stars.

The North star was easier to see than my compass as I sat in the bow. More entertainment was hardly needed, but I had a CD book in addition, Wilbur Smith’s "Burning Shores".

After three hours of rowing, the muscles between my shoulder blades protested. Since I only deserve listening to books as I row, I had to wait until this morning for the end of the book. A romantic, tough and exciting story from 1917-18 in France and South Africa. Lots of fantasy I suppose, but a really good yarn!

Today I finally got the water-maker to work, but it took 3 hours to make 10 litres. The side-waves cause problems with air getting in. I obviously need to do this on calm days with sunshine for the electricity. I put up an extra solar –panel today, which only gives 0.9 amps., but everything helps. Now there is more to trip on, on the deck.

The panel is lying up on the canopy over the cock-pit, but the lead is hanging down on port side.

The clothes I washed yesterday are drying at last, but not quickly. It must be very damp in the air here 1.5 metres over the sea.

The wind has veered a little more northerly and I can keep the right course some of the time. But these bothersome waves keep hitting me on the side when I least expect it. Must be from some bad weather far out in the Atlantic.

The last banana and pear went into my breakfast cereal today. Now I have to study the storage-list to get out some dried fruit (including bananas from Trudy Smyth in Barbados) for tomorrow. I have begun to take food-supplements in the form of C-vitamins and omega-3 cod liver oil – good stuff! A vitamin/mineral tablet will soon be added.

I can finish by telling that I surprised those at my place of work Omnia with a telephone in the lunch break and shouted "it’s Friiiiday"! Dr Stein Olsson who is my locum in my medical practice, is now also officially my locum for the "it’s Friiiiiday" shout!

Have a good week-end. Stein.

P.S. from Diana – Stein asked me to say a few words about the last evening in Lisbon. (actually this was meant to come yesterday, but after losing my translation and this postscript on the pc, I wasn’t feeling like doing it again at 11 p.m.!)

We arranged a farewell dinner for Stein in the nautical club beside the marina where Star Atlantic 11 was lying, overlooking the discoverers monument. Our guests included Stein’s 86 year old mum, out three children and their partners, and our little grand-daughter. We were honoured to have Kenneth Crutchlow, the president of the Ocean Rowing Society, and his wife Tatiana. Kenneth is Mr Ocean Rowing himself and gives a sense of occasion to any gathering of ocean rowers. Arvid Bentsen, the other Norwegian ocean rower had come with wife Berit and two friends from Kristiansand, and otherwise there were some old sailing friends and rowers. Last but not least, our data man and photographer Erik from Kristiansand, he has designed Stein’s brochure and home-page. We had a typical Portuguese meal with sea-food and lots of wine, so everybody was in good spirits to listen to Diana wishing Stein a good trip, Stein telling a bit about his project, and Kenneth also wishing him well on behalf of the Ocean Rowing Society.

An old friend Don, from USA whom we haven’t seen for over 20 years, had come from the Azores with his 52 foot catamaran. He and his wife Susan kindly invited everybody present to come on board the next morning for a sail down the Tagus with Stein. Everybody said yes, thanks. Then it was back to Star Atlantic 11 for the very last packing and organising. Too late for second thoughts now! D.


Thursday, 15th. August day 6
Position at 12 GMT is N 3539 W1029, 369 miles to the first way-point which is south of Madeira at N3144 W1611. For those who are interested in how I plan the trip, I have 5 way-points, chosen to avoid land, islands and traffic. The second is west of the Canary islands, the third is north-west of Cape Verde islands , the fourth is just north of the border between Guyana and Surinam, and the fifth is at the entrance of the Demerara river, Georgetown. These of course can be changed if the conditions cause me problems.

After a long session at the PC last night, and forgetting to turn off the CD, I had used a lot of electricity, but I managed to get a phone-call to Diana late in the evening. She thought that it is unnecessary masochism to row in the middle of the night, so I got into my bunk from mid-night until 7 a.m. – what luxury! Thanks for the good advice, Diana!

The wind increased during the night, with lots of rolling and splashing, if I had been up there would have been even more wet clothes. I looked out for ships a few times, and felt that I had had almost enough sleep by morning. It kept on blowing freshly during the morning, but now at 2 p.m. it is less, and it should be easier to row my course. I may have to get south of Madeira before I get rid of these miserable side waves which slow me down considerably.

No exciting observations today, just a few terns, and a storm petrel, otherwise just slate-grey waves, white tops and low cloud. But the sun has been peeping through the past 2-3 hours, and it is a relief to see 3-4 amps of current going from the solar panels to the batteries. I may try the water-maker again today. My first two efforts with it have been unsuccessful due to frothy waves causing an air-block in the machine. I have only managed to get 1 litre in an hour, instead of 4-5.

I have just finished listening to the book on Billy Connelly, what an interesting character! I might get the Walkman out, and listen to some cassettes from Diana’s trip, uses less electricity.

I would like to thank those who helped me during the last few days in Portugal. especially Joao Filipe of Nauti-Rent who arranged for Star Atlantic to be safely stored and put into the water, and got TV and newspaper journalists to come along. Also thanks to Rolf Hauge of the sports-shop Proffen in Kristiansand. He has given me clothes from Nike and Maxim energy bars and sports-drink. He also supported Arvid and me in the 1997 regatta.

Finally: health is excellent. A little soreness in my left shoulder disappeared after a few minutes rowing this morning.

Happy greetings from the Atlantic and Stein.


14th. August day 5
I am going to report my position more systematically at 12 GMT daily, which is the same as Portuguese time at the moment.My position at 12 GMT today was N3615 W1018 with 399 miles to the first way-point .Light breeze from NW, 1-2 metre swell, 20 degrees, cloudy, barometer 1031.

Heavy rowing due to side waves, rolls 10-20 degrees each way almost all the time, also while I am lying here on my back trying to write this. The boat feels best when I am rowing and it has some speed. Rowed nearly 3 hours before the observations and lunch. I have put some clothes to soak in Biotex, Hung up others to dry, and for the first time put on night-clothes to sleep instead of my rowing gear, which I have had on so far to get it to dry.

Long, good rowing session last night. I felt in top form, like a kid on an exciting journey! I suppose that is what I am…I remember how I dreamed about expeditions when I was small, drew boats that could take me both over and under water.(but they were much bigger than this little craft). As I rowed, I listened to a CD with Roger Whittaker, his many ballads about love and sailing/travelling were just what I needed. He finished up with "Sloop John B", one of my favourites at Vidar Jacob’s spinning session on friday after work. I’ll miss you and the others at the cycling this autumn, Vidar!

Two ships spotted yesterday, and one this morning, but the visibility is poor, so there are probably more nearby on their way between the Mediterranean and America.Two black pilot whales, about 3-4 metres long, rolled slowly past me this morning, also saw some sea-swallows with a web-like pattern on their heads.

My health is better than I feared it might be. I have only taken a tablet (Celebra 400mg) for muscle strains on Saturday and Sunday, and some for heartburn (Nexium 20mg) the first few days. Now I feel I am in control and and am really enjoying myself! Well, I must admit that a rowing session in the middle of the night is quite tough, especially when there are some aches and pains here and there, and the bed at last feels warm….The pain I do have is in my left upper arm (the largest waves have been from starboard, so more strain on this side), lower part of my neck, small of the back and surprisingly behind my right knee. The blisters on my hands sting a bit, otherwise I am fine, and have no reason for complaints!

Apart from music, I have listened to my first CD book, a biography about the comedian Billy Connelly from Glasgow. It is written by his wife, psychiatrist and TV personality Pamela Stephensen. I’m a great fan of Billy’s straight-forward, satirical humour, and I know many of the places he grew up in from my student days in Glasgow.

Ocean Rowing Society has found out that my row is "only " 3200 n.miles. That would be fine, but I am not going to row in a straight line from Lisbon to Georgetown. Time will show how long it will be.

Best wishes from Stein and Star Atlantic 11


Tuesday, 13th August day 4
Yesterday began with rather frightening conditions where all I could do was creep around and dry up water, but ended with quite good rowing conditions in the evening. I rowed 3 ╫ hours until my late dinner at half past eleven, then 2 hours more from 3 o’clock in the morning. Still a lot of spray and sudden movements, but when the boat races down a wave at express speed, it is great fun!

Sometimes when a wall of water towers up behind the boat, and I can manage to control the steering, she surfs down the wave for a few seconds at 5-6 knots – I have even seen 8 on the GPS. Then a loud "Yeehaaa!" is called for. Better than a roller coaster any time! But it is tiring and I will be glad when the conditions are more normal. There is a fresh wind from NNW, the waves early in the afternoon are 2-3 metres and there are less splashes onto the deck. I have still a supply of wet clothes, but the pile of damp ones is smaller! My pillow is also less damp.

When i got up during the night it took me about an hour to get ready to go out! Just finding a pair of woollen socks took an incredibly long time! Damp, cold skin, lying on my back, tiny place, PC, camera, VHF, leads, drying clothes and other things to avoid. Then I put on neoprene socks (the only shoes aboard are soaking), trousers, 2 tops, gloves. Otherwise I found out that happiness is a dry rear-end! I found a dry pair of pants and a towel that I laid on the rowing-seat and which stayed dry for 2 hours – first time since my departure!

Dinner last night was a party meal to celebrate my good progress. I opened a carton of red wine and had an aperitif while the potatoes boiled. Some of them were put in the bag of Real Tumat’s cod dinner and were followed by Diana’s fruit-cake and a cup of tea. My little head-light made cooking in the dark kid’s play. I had a fine new moon and a strong planet to keep me company – perhaps Venus? Then the stars of the plough and Cassiopeia appeared. Beautiful.

For breakfast and lunch I had bits of crispbread – the result of vacuum packing, obviously not to be recommended for crispbread. But with margarine on the bigger bits, a tube of caviar, and a spoon to eat it, it tasted good, especially with fried potatoes, Portuguese sardines and tomatoes! I still have some fresh fruit and vegetables, but not for too many days, they don’t like either salt water or rolling about.

I completed the first 100 n.miles during the night, that took 68 hours.

At 1 p.m. Portuguese time, which I think is the same as GMT, my position was N3651 W1007, 430 miles to the first way-point. This morning the temperature was 18 degrees, yesterday 16, Sunday morning 14, so we’re on the way to warmer places! I’m looking forward to a swim, so far the water has been too cold and rough. My personal hygiene is suffering a little in these conditions…

Otherwise it is annoyingly difficult to send and receive reports on the PC, even though the satellite telephone works perfectly. Only 1 of 3-4 tries are successful even though I am connected, and the meter is ticking away. If this goes on I will spend a fortune on my mistakes. Grrr! But think positive, hope this comes through without too much bother!

Best wishes from Stein.

P.s. Body is doing fine, detailed health bulletin tomorrow!


Monday, 12th. August
I have never understood anybody’s desire to look into the future in their horoscope. If I had known about this awful weather I wouldn’t have been in such a good mood on Saturday! Yesterday evening it got really rough, and was just about as bad as the worst Arvid and I had in the 1997 regatta. I was more or less in the cabin for twelve hours, while the sea played with my little boat like a toy ball! Spray has made everything outside damp, and the pile of wet clothes is growing. Some dries on my body and gets recirculated while I row, which is alright when the sun is shining, otherwise not to be recommended. My movements look like slow-motion film, having to hold on and be careful all the time. Going to the toilet is a gymnastic feat and would be good entertainment for any audience. Not much of that today, yesterday I saw a lot of birds and a flock of dolphins, today just a few speckled cape-doves, a type of sea-gull. Otherwise I read the whole guest-book last night (after a lot of messing around with the PC), took Angela’s suggestion and boldly sang as I rowed "Row, row , row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream." Sure, life is not so bad!

I have managed to do some rowing this morning, the wind died a bit, and it went quite well at times, even though the odd wave splashed over me and the deck. But it was tiring, and I have just had another hour’s sleep. I’ve seen no ships since yesterday, when I was in the shipping lanes for some time, first the north-going, then the south-going. At one point I was in between three container ships, from Japan, Holland and Germany, the nearest about 300metres away. I don’t suppose anybody on board saw me between the waves. During the night I had the radar detector on, it gives a little sound and light signal when radar is near, and shows the direction.

At 5 p.m. Norwegian time, my position was N 3726 W0954, 462 miles to the first way-point (form Lisbon 545). Wind from north force 5-6, rough sea with waves from several directions. Barometer 1029, this morning 1018, yesterday 1035.

Sorry no photos today. I am about to row again, that’s my job for the moment!



Sunday, 11th. August and the first report from the Atlantic!
I am very plesaed with how things are going, but there is one practical problem: it is very rough and my little boat is rolling and heaving so that I have to use one hand to hold steady and have only one to write with…so this will be quite short, will give more details later.

Yesterday morning I got on my way at 8.15 a.m. I had slept on board for safety, but Diana was there at 7 a.m. and helped me to the last moment packing and noting where everything is stored, she was also the last on board. I was given some paacjages from her and others to open on the way. Out on the river, the catamaran Gambit and skipper Don were waiting, he ended up with over 20people aboard who had been at the farewell dinner at the naval Club the evening before.

As planned I rowed under the discoverers monument and raised my hat to the many Portugese pioneers. The tide was with me for two hours, but otherwise there was fog, drizzle and Westerly breeze, a contrary wind! The following boat left me after a couple of hours, and I got a lump in my throat when I realised what a long time it will be before I see family and friends again….

When I finally got to Cascais at 2 o’clock , Gambit was there at anchor. The guesta had taken the train back to Lisbon. I ate and rested for a couple of hours, before waving a final goodbye and rowed in a South-west direction. There was some fog and I soon lost sight of land, rowed til half past eleven, then the body couldn’t take any more. I took the oars again at 4.30 a.m. after some breakfast cereal. The wind was now from NW, and the night clear and starry, but it was cold – 14 degrees C.

Later the wind has freshened and the sea is rough. But I can manage to row and am making 3-4 knots, 1-2 of these are from current and wind. Hands and back are a bit sore, but not so bad as expected. Seen some ships, I’ll be glad when I am past the shipping lanes tomorrow. Have been visited by dolphins and sea-birds. I feel that I am on the way!

Position at 17.00 (Portugese time) N3801 W 0937 48n. miles form Lisbon, 497 to the first way-point south of Madeira. Wind is near gale from NW, rough sea, sun, clear sky.

Thanks again to all who have helped me!

Stein, Star Atlantic 11.


Lisbon, 11:00pm Saturday, 10th August.
At 11pm local time , Stein was a few miles South-West of Cascais. It was foggy, not much wind, and he was planning to row for most of the night to get away from the coast. He was tired after rowing into a Westerly breeze for a few hours, but he was in good spirits (Using his Iridium telephone Stein spoke to his wife Diana and she provided ORS this information).
Lisbon, 07:15am Saturday, 10th August.
Stein rowed past Monument to the Discoveries, Belem, officially beginning his Atlantic Ocean crossing. After 6 hours of non-stop rowing, escorted by catamaran “Gambit” with friends and family onboard, Stein tied up to buoy to await favourable tide into the Atlantic.


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