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Atlantic West - East Solo
2016
Stein HOFF, Norway
 
Blog
Page 4
Day 56  •  Day 60
 

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Day 10  •  Day 15  •  Day 20  
Day 25  •  Day 30 

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Day 51   Day 55 Day 65  •  Day 70
 
Day 75  •  Day 80
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Saturday, 9th July
Day 56.
From Diana Hoff

Meeting with Canadian coastguard.
I have just had an email from the chief officer on board "Cygnus" with a picture of " Fox II ". Not great quality, and no sign of Stein, but here it is.

They also took a video which they will send me when they return to land in two weeks time. She frightened me a little by telling me that his Internet was gone, but that is obviously not right as Stein's latest post is after their meeting. I suppose he told her about the telephone and she has misunderstood, thank goodness!
Some of you may not have seen that there is one more rower doing a W-E crossing of the North Atlantic, he left Nova Scotia on June 15th, a shorter route than Stein ( but more than long enough!). His name is Laval St Germain, a 44 year old pilot and adventurer, mountaineer, ultramarathoner, extreme cyclist and skier. He passed Stein a couple of days ago, not surprising that a fit 44 year old will be a bit stronger than a fit 70 year old. He also has a light, state of the art boat, by the same designer as the one the five girls are rowing. You can see his progress on 
oceanrowing.com   and there is a nice interview with him on his web-site lavalstgermain.com
The girls are doing well, just over half-way, will not be a new record time, but a great achievement to be the first women team to row this route!
I had to laugh at Stein's post, the "wandering" about his body will have to wait a while, I was of course wondering about it! I was also impressed by a pedicure on his hands!
Diana

Got another photo from the coast-guard ship, this time with Stein in it. The quality is hardly worth posting, but since it is my first glimpse of him since 15th May, here it is!
Diana

Saturday 9th July
Day 56

Elisabeth's birthday!

Happy birthday to my first-born child, Elisabeth! Gratulerer med dagen! She was born in Drammen sykehus in 1972. Diana and I lived in Sande, just to the S, but Drammen was our local hospital and Diana gave birth in the same department where she worked. I now work part-time at the Outpatient Cardiology Clinic a short distance from where i saw Elisabeth take her first breath. She has always been a source of great joy and her parents are totally unbiased when we claim she is the best daughter in the World! (And she is a rower! I coached her and three girlfriends for several years back in Kristiansand.)

It was definitely warmer here yesterday afternoon, but not last night. I kept warm, however, in my Venom 225 sleeping bag (not been used since the Inca Trail 4 years ago), I had two layers of wool on as usual last night+had to add balaclava and jacket in early morning. Socks were not necessary, a small victory for me with my bothersome Reynauld's phenomenon ("likfingre"). 
The cover I put back on the quilt 2 days ago is again damp and some places quite wet from condensation lying close to the hull and only works as a spacer. Again need good sun and warmer water to dry it properly.
The strongish ESE winds have not come yet. 
It is in fact light fog, completely still and calm right now, a luxury in a way, and only 18 nm to deep and soon also warmer water. 
So I will get out and row for the nearest edge at 120 degrees. 
Tonight I might be back on the SA and having a go at fishing, maybe? Three days on SA and a real set-back may be in store for us. We are 1680 nm from Hugh Town, Isles of Scilly, 1670 nm from Bishop Rock. Just 220 nm till we are half-way by my calculation (2900 nm totally).
I am at least mentally prepared for the SA probability...
Hope you all have a nice week-end, especially you and your boys, Elisabeth!

From Diana Hoff
Bjørn has just phoned me from the Atlantic. He and Catherine managed to find my husband solorower Stein Hoff with the help of AIS and have had a chat to him. Bjørn told me that Stein was very happy to see them and was in good spirits, able to row today after a couple of days of very rough weather. Bjørn had measured a wind speed of 47 knots in this period, so it is really rough out there! This is the second time Bjørn has found Stein in a rowing boat, the first time was in 1997, when Stein and Arvid Bentsen were taking part in the first trans-Atlantic rowing regatta, and Bjørn was sailing over. Amazing that he has done this twice! Stein rowed out from New York 4 weeks ago, and Bjørn sailed out one week ago, no doubt what is the more efficient boat!
Thank you, Bjørn, for visiting him, that would have cheered him up no end to see an old friend, he said to Bjørn that it had made his day.

Here is the film which Bjørn took of Stein when they met in the Atlantic.

https://www.facebook.com/bjorn.harald.jordan/videos/1144566918939860/

Day 56, evening


Shortly after my report went off this morning, the wind came up from E as forecast. Light first, steadily increasing during the 4 hours I spent at the oars. Rowing into the wind means gearing down, taking shorter strokes and alternating the load between back/arms and legs. Made me warm, all right, but the wind was cold and I ended up with a half towel as scarf and the sou'wester down my neck. A pod of dolphins cheered me up with a brief visit, but the main thing that kept me going was a discovery yesterday of audio files I did not think I had with me. It was maybe 10 years ago that NRK freed lots of old Radio Theatre productions. I copied all the Henrik Ibsen ones they produced in the 1950's, but never listened to them. But there they were, among old music files from 10-15 years ago! So yesterday I enjoyed two of Ibsen's famous dramas: "The Master Builder" and "A People's Enemy". Both excellent. Today about 2/3 of "Peer Gynt". This was a very demanding production completely unabridged, a narrator even reading Ibsen's instructions for each new scene as well as all of Grieg's original music. I am saving the rest and the other plays for other, demanding rows.
When I put out the SA there was a glimmer of sun, so with the canopy up I put the damp quilt&cover over the ropes underneath and stretched the sheet across the black life-raft. Two hours later while copying pictures to the laptop I suddenly became aware of fog and drizzle. Too late... So now the bedclothes are damper than ever and up in the front waiting for real sun. Sleeping bag will do fine.
Good news from Diana today saying she already received pictures from the Canadian Coast Guard ship I met yesterday. I hope it's out so you understand I am not just sitting in Long Island making up this log! She says it looks like I have masts and people may suspect I put up sails. The "masts" are a broomstick with a radar reflector and a PVC tube with a light on top, both fastened to port side stanchions...

Sunday 10th July
Day 57

8 weeks since departure!
A long time that seems to be going quickly, at least for me.

I fear I am repeating myself, but it cannot be helped, as here we are again, behind the SA and being tossed about in strong wind from E and rough seas from all over. Or so it seems in here. Cold night, they say 6 C in Saint Johns, where they are accustomed to E wind bringing in even colder air... But I was warm enough with all my layers and the sleeping bag, but very interrupted sleep with the noise and the movement.
A highlight yesterday was my afternoon snack enjoying a tin of King Oscar "torskelever" (cod's liver) in oil. After I put out the SA it was still calm enough to do some more inventory, and finding in the P5 hold 18 different tins of various fishy content, I decided to indulge. Oil and all. With knekkebrød and tea. 
This morning I paid the price, the oil tastes great (at least to me brought up on cod-liver oil) but is probably also a laxative... So I had a minor accident this morning and a lot of extra work as a result. 
My morning bucket business had to be moved inside a long time ago due to all the cold and bad weather. I did not think at first that both the bucket and I would fit on the bench, below the roof, but we do. So the same, tiny area is a combined living room, bedroom, bathroom, office, kitchen, workshop and - toilet. 
In the middle of the mess, when fresh air was in demand, a small spray managed to sneak in for a peek. I did not swear, I was close, I laughed instead!
But it all got mopped up and cleaned up eventually, no damage done, needed to change underwear, anyway.
So it was a late, but as tasty a breakfast as always. "Tummy heater" got the radio going and among the world disasters I heard a proud commentator saying that Scottish Andy Murrey is in the Wimbledon final against a Canadian. 
Many Canadians will be clued to their screens today, hoping for a sensation. Sorry folks, but I have to root for you, Andy!
Have a nice Sunday!

Day 57, evening


Not a day so far that I will remember with nostalgia! Very rough and windy until a couple of hours ago, than as wind calmed a bit the drizzle took over. I do not want to bring wet clothes back into this cabin, so it's been an all indoor day till now, 1,5 hrs before sunset. No sign of the sun, but reasonable charging all the same. I have done a couple of small jobs in here, extra hooks on the wall, fastened leads, repaired glasses. Meanwhile drifting slowly W...
I listened to another play by Ibsen, but a modern production given me as a soundbook by a friend from Sandefjord gymnas school days: "Keiser og gallier". Thank you, Sverre! And watched the dramatic end of "Titanic". What an amazing production by James Cameron! Titanic struck ice-berg not too far from here. In fact, the official limit for ice-bergs in July is S of me according to Admiralty Charts! Harbo & Samuelsen came close to one S of my position a little further E in 1896. But thanks to global warning, the chance now is very small. 
I do not just listen to Ibsen and watch quality films, I enjoyed "Impeccable Me" as much a few days ago!
Diana says Andy Murray won at Wimbledon: Congratulations to Scots everywhere and sorry for you, good Canadians!
There is now hope of wind going SW tomorrow night instead of Tuesday... I cannot wait!

Monday 11th July
Day 58


Fog, moderate wind and waves from E like last night, drizzle to and fro. Restless, long night with a sore back, but some midriff and leg exercises and a good breakfast helped and feel fine right now here I sit and sway with the motions of my boat. Still on SA.
When I wipe the dew off the hatch I see two Fulmar gulls, "krykkje" or "havhest" in Norwegian (Rissa tridactyla). They are pretty birds and when they swim around their head looks a bit like that of a white-headed horse. (Havhest meaning "sea horse".) And they talk and shout to each other occasionally, unlike the common, brown gulls, which I never hear a sound from, so that gives me a feeling of company! They often lie on the water just behind the boat, probably sheltering.
I listened to CBC news again this morning, World report and local news. Canadian prime minister is in Kiev, sounds like the sieze fire is holding in Ukraine. Good news, Tatiana & Teddy in ORS! (The Ocean Rowing Society is run by mother in England and son in Ukraine with generous help from Tom in California: good morning to you three especially!)
Not such good news from Syria and South Sudan... Canada took in 21.000 Syrian refugees last year! 
Also heard interview with the Canadian finalist in Wimbledon, beaten by Andy Murrey in straight sets, he is still pleased. He is only 25. Boys' division was, however, won by a Canadian! I expect Diana's nephew in Oakville knows him, good morning to you Craig and the whole family, too!
If the drizzle takes a break I plan to try a little fishing. I was given a jig hook by Anders, a young follower of my trip in Drammen. (He is son and grandson of rowers, hopefully a future rower himself!) Must see if there are any fish left on the Grand Banks. Tomorrow I hope to be away from these enormous, cold, foggy shallows and to never return! 
(Well, maybe on a much bigger boat. There is a cruise ship in Saint Johns just now in 8 C, 30 k wind and rain. Their next stop is Greenland.)

Day 58, evening

When the drizzle stopped, I did try fishing for nearly 1 hour. Both with the jig hook I was given by Anders and a "harpe"-a Norwegian line with many lures-usually good for mackerels. I had increasing attention from gulls, they obviously knew what I was trying to do, but with no result... Then it started raining in earnest! I got inside again where zinkept warm and mopped condensation as best I could, received two nice mails, read i-book. About 4 pm the wind became less and veered to SSE. Weather info from Diana says SW from 8 pm UTC, that is 5 pm her, so I pulled in the SA and got rowing.
To row was almost impossible at first as there were still big swells from E, also the wind remained from SSE- not W at all. Thick fog as well, cold hands, soon cold feet. Miserable, in fact! 
Anyway, I tried various ways to get the boat to go more E, but had to give up. She's now going more or less N, but occasionally a bit to E. But if the wind really veers to SW or W the boat should be ready...
Time to hit the sleeping bag. 
Do hope for more favourable conditions tomorrow: SW or W wind and some sunshine - please!

Tuesday 12th July
Day 59


Dense fog again this morning, but the sea has moderated and we've been rolling along quite gently at about 30 degrees, straight for our finish is 67 (1679 nm acc. to my estimate). Wind is a gentle about 10 k from S, maybe a hint of backing more to W - please! But I should be able to do about 60 when I row. I slept quite well with the steadier motion, because it is as cold as ever - 7-8 C, maybe? And condensation is a real problem. Gas lighter will not work, radio and iPad needs tummy heating before I put it on, rivulets off the hull in the morning, This Woodvale type boat built in 2009 has no insulation in addition to its sandwich type hull. A thin layer of insulation glued to inside hull in the cabin would have made a huge difference. I wonder how the 5 women and the other single-handler in their brand new Rannoch boats experience it? Thicker sandwich hull may make the difference.
Another reason for good sleep could have been the wine with my "Mediterranean pasta with chicken" last night. My hands and feet were so cold that MO (ship's doctor) ordered it for medicinal reasons!
Best news of the morning so far: right now the sun is peeping through! Days since I saw it like this! The charger monitor shot up and I am off to row. I was within 18 nm of deep water 3 days ago, but rowing NW it is now 40-45 nm. May not be out until tomorrow and then, how long before less fog, warmer air and water?
Every day is a day nearer the Finish!

Day 59, evening


Sun was peeping out when I wrote this morning, but that did not last long. Soon back to fog with varying visibility, the best about 1 nm. So the little clothes-washing I did was almost as wet when I put them in the front tonight. Wind and waves increased from SSW, in late afternoon veering more W and less strong. It would have been summed up as a day of awful weather had it not been for good progress! Should cross the 200 m line during the night and tomorrow get out into the Atlantic proper again.
After all those big seas there is still a lot of being tossed about, and getting inside and getting the stove going and making supper was tricky. Probably 10 C when I got inside, not having used the stove since breakfast. So you can imagine how humid it got initially.
My bum is sore from a full day on that little seat and the rocking in here does not help. A couple of fingers are also sore as a couple of calluses did fissure in spite of my prophylactic manicure the other day. (I think I wrote pedicure by mistake!) Should have shaved down the thick skin earlier.
Another boat encounter this afternoon. A supply ship "Maersk Dispatcher" came out of the fog heading straight for me and gave me a toot. The waves were huge, but I got the oars stoved and got inside to talk on the VHF: I was just inside the 1 nm distance to an oil platform! Then I saw it almost hidden behind the ship. But the officer was very friendly, I was already on my way out of the no go sector. So I asked the usual about a possible picture for my FB page. He should try, he said, so as I rowed away the ship came quite close. After a wave and a friendly toot they headed back to their platform. 
In fact there are two here, I could just make out the other one. Explains the helicopters earlier today.
Diana says even stronger winds tomorrow, from W! Sounds good, but could be another hard day's work. Day 60 tomorrow - and I'm expecting post!
One large pod of dolphins chasing fish today.

Wednesday 13th July
Day 60


Foggy, cold morning yet again, light W wind, still rolling quite a bit from swells at different angles, but it's not raining. I cannot claim to have slept well due to rolling about with the motion, but I am feeling good! Bum and fingers are better, back is fine. My arms and shoulders have not given any problems. Wind is supposed to freshen a lot, but will stay W or NW. That's fine, I'd like to meander further S if possible.
The mail has arrived, probably delivered by the morning male mail - whale again! It's from Finn, my grandson in London (8 in 2 days!). He hopes I have not run out of ketchup yet! Picture of a ketchup-bottle lawyer in court :"All I'll say is, my information is from a reliable sauce..."! Inside a drawing of me in Fox II and "Dear morfar, don't capsize! You're the best! Love, Finn xxx"
Well, dear Finn, hope you do not mind a proud grandfather publicising your card. Thank you, very, very much! Hope your and Soren's new bedrooms are fine and finished!
Finn has reasons for mentioning capsize. His mother, my daughter Elisabeth, capsized while rowing from Tenerife to Barbados after about 400 nm in 1999. She had enough of ocean rowing after that narrow escape, but it prompted Diana to do it instead! 
I feel pretty certain I am past halfway in time now. In 180 nm also in distance. Ahead should me more SW and W winds as a result of the Azores high pressure build-up in summer. So I can start to think more clearly about what will happen after arriving in Hugh Town. There is a very exciting suggestion from my sponsor "Ripley's Believe It or not"! I will dream and write more about that tonight.
Still fog. Wet-weather gear damp and ready. 
Ps Lots of names on Diana's list of greetings yesterday, including from friends in Pitcairn Islands - a remote, beautiful and fascinating place inhabited by 60 (!) or so people. Diana and I were there for 3 months 2,5 years ago, our 3rd visit. If at all possible, we'll be back once more!

Day 60, evening

.
Very bad weather, unfortunately, difficult to write lying to SA since 7 pm (10 UTC). 35-40 k from NW and huge seas. Lots of banging and sprays and boat tossing around me. Pretty hellish, actually. Forecast said calming down, it did the opposite. Wind picked up first coupled with cold rain in the morning. I did 5,5 hrs, then just drifted with anxiety until the sea anchor was finally set. No sun, fog first half.
But anyway, more tomorrow. No damage, no salt water inside, but a lot of wet gear, incl. survival suit. But managed to make supper and with soothing music trying to dominate all the noise. Strange drift, so current probably part of why such nasty waves, but wind still much stronger than forecast.
Saw several pilot whales close today!

Thursday 14th July
Day 61


A much happier crew this morning on "Fox II"! In fact, had you visited my yesterday at 7 pm and today at 7 am you would think it a different world - yesterday a boat crewed by a psychiatric patient, today by his doctor! Four Fulmars swimming around and quacking to me, makes me feel less alone. 
I'm still on SA, explanation being the morning temp, I guess 5-7 C, ~10 inside. So I really needed a heat-up and breakfast before donning wet wet-weather gear. Overcast, no fog or rain yet. I rowed for 3 hours y'day in 25-30 k NW and rain, covered my shoes with oilskin trousers and wore gloves with outside canvas mitts, balaclava, cap and hood+Goretex top & bottom. It worked well. But later when I just sat kneeling steering through the gale hoping for a lull it was with the SeaWind survival suit, balaclava & sou'wester+neprene gloves and mitts. Neoprene does not keep my Reynauld-affected hands warm, unfortunately.
There was some entertainment y'day when 6 pilot-whales showed up. They are also called black-fish, they seem to be ink black all over. Blunt nose, length about 4 m. They were chasing fish in an organised way up and down waves with lots of sea-birds wheeling around picking up morsels.
I have now another supporter in New York: Judy Kearney in Network Brokers was may agent for receiving my boat. She had a lot of work with the forms for the authorities not fitting this cargo and me not getting it right initially. She does not want a fee, thank you very much, Judy, hope to say so in person later this year!
On the other hand, "Ripley's Believe It or Not" have been with me since the start. It is a large concept created by the original cartoonist Ripley in late 1800s. Many museums. They collect unbelievable items & stories. Edward Meyer flew up from Orlando for my send-off to declare my project fitting and if successful, there will be exhibits & talk in their London, England, museum. May want the whole boat. Inspirational!
And Happy National Day, France!

Day 61 evening.


The end of such a nice day! Still quite cold, but sun nearly all day, moderate to slight seas and light wind first from NW, now from SW. All my wet weather gear is dry. Quilt and sheet need a few more hours, maybe tomorrow? On Saint Johns local news this morning they said it was getting warmer tomorrow, Friday, and even better for the weekend. They (and I!) deserve it. Also heard "moose warning"! Moose is similar to the elk we have at home, and y'day one had been seen in several streets in town! Makes me almost feel at home. 
Being the French National Day: There is an island community between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland which still is French: Saint Pierre & Miquelon. One for the geography freaks!
Lots of greetings and some questions: 
Mads wonders why I do not use a drogue behind the boat in strong, following wind like yesterday. Reason is I am scared of lines getting caught on the rudder and damaging it. In conditions when it would be employed, it would be impossible to get to the rudder via the stern hatch. It gets sprayed and even covered by seas in bad, following weather.
On how I like the food: 
The freeze-dried/dehydrated meals actually taste surprisingly good. I can have 3 daily. In addition Diana has made me Day Packs containing large bag of cereal, piece of her fruit cake, 2-3 of her energy bars, a chocolate, a mini cheese and 3 bags of tea, one being herbal type for supper. 
One of the types of energy bars has gone mouldy, it turns up in every 3rd pack or so and goes straight to the fish. All the rest is excellent. In addition I have some raisins and apricots daily, mainly rehydrated in the morning cereal, two pieces of Wasa crisp bread as well as a handful of potato crisps daily. Then there is a hold with many extras, like eggs, various small tins of seafood, raisins, rice, peanut butter...
And I grow sprouts. This morning I very much enjoyed the morning knekkebrød with kaviar and mong beans/alpha-alpha sprouts.
Good night from "Fox II"!

Friday 15th July
Day 62


Happy Wedding Anniversary to Diana and myself - 48 fantastic years together!

And Happy 8 years Birthday to my grandson Finn in London - a lively, cheerful, fit and happy young boy with everything possible going for him. Have a super day, Finn!

It was a calm night except I did not sleep well due to dampness seeping up from what little is left of my mattress as some plastic slipped off! Wind has picked up from S and is now moderately strong with waves building and starting to slap starboard side. And again we are being pushed further N than planned... (Sums up the entire trip up to now.)
Much warmer today, lovely sunrise, hidden now behind 3/4 overcast sky. 
Lovely card and glass of filled olives from Diana this morning. I plan to have some with wine tonight! Sorry I am away for so long, Diana, it will be the last time! And we will have more fun together for many more years, I hope. Have a nice day with Martin and his family in Høvåg!
And to everybody: here is that blessed Friday again! Many of you starting holiday today, drive carefully! Good summer everybody and thanks for lots and lots of greetings, especially from our very good friends, the Goddard family in Barbados!

Day 62, evening


That anniversary toast will have to wait till conditions improve again, but I have just enjoyed the filled olives with the rest of the tuna from yesterday, sprouts and knekkebrød (crisp bread). Mmm! 
Blå Bands "Oriental Chicken with Cous-cous" is being rehydrated. It is one of the bags inherited from the previous owners, "best before April 4 2016" - still tastes great.
Today started with good rowing and speed, but got gradually rougher with the steep, irregular, breaking seas I know only too well. I managed two sessions of 2 hours and at noon was about to get inside for my second break when a sea broke right over my shoes and soaked them and my thick woollen socks. That did it! A trivial thing elsewhere, but in a humid cabin where everything is damp and no prospect of rinsing and drying I decided just to drift for a while. And discovered that we drifted in a better direction than when I rowed and tried to avoid spray. It felt a bit like I was cheating, but it certainly was the safest thing to do and all the knocks and splashes later supported my decision. It got a little calmer one hour ago, so I crawled out with wet-weather gear on, but barefoot, secured everything, gathered sprouts from the front (they grow in a clever, circular, shelved, plastic dish), collected day packs, bags of dehydrated food and water and prepared for a similar day tomorrow. Wind is supposed to peak 26 k in early morning. Normally no problem, but the sea state is what matters, Sea anchor can be put out very quickly, barefoot, if necessary.
Been thinking a lot about when Diana and I got married 48 years ago in Glasgow University Chapel. All the old folks are gone now, but some of you were there: my cousin and best man and fellow rower and student in Glasgow: Geir, Diana's two brides-maids Sandra & Liz and flower-girl Linda (thanks for seeing me off in NY!), Anne-Marie from Sandefjord and many members of GUBC and GULBC. Thanks again for that guard of honour with the oars!

Correction!
Having pushed "Send" I realised a mistake in "Day 62, evening": The pretty little flower-girl with a couple of front teeth missing 15th July, 1968, was Diana's niece Jane Fenwick - not Linda. And it was Jane who came to NY! (As did Linda - Diana's sister.) 
Also when I write that the old folks are gone, I was thinking of our parents and their siblings. But two who were married to Diana's aunts and uncles are still going strong and following my snail pace voyage across the North Atlantic: Donald in Lincoln and Margareth in Leicester. Best wishes to you, your children and grand-children from "Fox II"!
The moon is shining, but the wind has picked up again...

Saturday 16th July
Day 63


It is late, nearly 8 am my time, I fell asleep while warming up the iPad inside my top. It was another uncomfortable, damp night and still very rough. All routine actions this morning was in slow motion, in between the sudden jerks and spins. No salt water in here, drips and rivulets of condensation as usual. Air temp outside is not too cold, but the sea and the hull are. Dense fog, strongish wind (F6) from SSW and rough seas. Not going out there yet! 
But I repeat, I am fine and coping, boat is drifting nicely in rightish direction and I do hope you who read this are fine and coping, too.
1499 nm to Bishop Rocks, about 10 more to Hugh Town, so it looks like we're half-way tomorrow!
Have a nice week-end, family, friends, followers - and thanks again for lots of greetings!

Day 63, evening


Dense, clammy fog all day, and it is still here, but the wind eased and I got rowing again in early afternoon. Still had large, confused seas and occasional splashes, but this also is a bit better. But sometimes it's difficult to hit the right letter on this iPad as we suddenly get thrown about. 
All morning was spent lying down and trying to get comfy. Listened to another old radio play by Henrik Ibsen-"Rosmersholm" - also excellent, bit depressing - and thinking about my wife and family and missing them...
After I finished rowing tonight I dug out the bag of white wine deep in the central storage and had an anniversary toast to Diana and my picture that she had glued on the olive- bottle, accompanied by sprouts and potato crisp: Cheers, and thank you, my Darling! 
Only 30 nm till halfway. Tomorrow night and Monday morning is forecast light SSE wind, so we may get blown back before that mile-stone, but otherwise only good winds forecast for many days ahead! 
Top of my wish list now is, however, sunshine and conditions suitable for drying clothes, especially bed-clothes!

Sunday 17th July
Day 64


9 weeks, 63 days, since that windy morning in Manhattan! Still here, struggling on, but enjoying 75% of it. 25% is an unpleasant struggle against the elements when the fog is heavy, wind and waves have scary dimensions, wet and dampness a constant challenge and the body complains: fingers and bum presently, and occasional giddiness. 
But it is also a huge nature experience, I love it when the sea is regular and blue, sun peeps out, whales and birds and big fish show up. And seeing this fairly simply designed boat perform well is also very satisfying - without that I would be stuck! It's a professionally built improvement on the boats we built ourselves for the 1997 ARR, but when you see the new designs, "Fox II" is also very heavy and old fashioned! The important new features on the Rannoch design e.g. - two of their boats are out here just now - apart from being a lot lighter, is that the bow is the bigger section and catches the wind and they have auto-pilots inside the stern. Imagine the help at night in good tail-wind for a single-handler like I! But Oliver Hicks did this course in a similar boat to mine, I think, in 2005, so there is a valid comparison. How am I doing, Diana?
Best news today: 15 nm till half-way! Light wind from WNW, rolling as we catch the swell still there from days of strong SW winds. My course for the finish is 71, but I will try to get further S, heading for 90-100.
Worst news today: Dense fog yet again! Visibility was down to 1/10 nm, now a little better. Please, I have so much to dry!!!!
Also water must still be very cold. Woke up 2.30 freezing and for the first time had the stove on just to heat up. Noticed it was difficult to light, probable lack of oxygen. Makes me wonder if I am getting high CO-levels in my blood explaining some of that giddiness? But the consommé I made tasted like liquid heaven and I went back to some sort of sleep with warm hands again!
Yes, I will ventilate better when using the stove!

Day 64, evening
Halfway in sunshine!

Started cold and foggy, improved to a lovely day of sun and calm water. Little wind, but we made halfway, ie 1450 nm left, at 6.30 pm. I carried on rowing another 1/2 hr. That is now several hours ago and we are only 3 nm further on, so hardly any wind or current right now.
In between sessions at the oars I have had all the bedding and clothes out, wiped and cleaned puddles of condensation from odd corners or trapped under a bag or a box,
 rinsed lots and dried most. Quilt with cover is back inside, still a bit damp.
For first time in weeks I rowed with shorts for several hours. Saw several ships.
With the still waters I expected to se some whales or other, interesting marine life, but sorry folks, nothing apart from birds...
Supper became an extended affair with first opening halfway cards from Diana and Elisabeth. Thank you for all the kind words! Diana had wrapped up a small bottle of Proseco and her homemade card had pictures of our family at parties or toasting. So when the Pasta Carbonara was ready and one egg fried with olives and sprouts on the side, and the glass raised, I felt I had company!
Ship's clock is being advanced one hour tonight, I will now be on GMT (UTC) - 2 hours (Norway time -4 hrs).
Off to bed. 
Ps Many forwarded messages again, thank you all very, very much! 
And to Marilyn & Don in Arizona; yes, your little angel is still with me and safe!
As is the special necklace lent to me by the descendents of Gabriel "Frank" Samuelsen. I keep it with my passport inside a plastic bag, inside a water-proof bag.

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