Day Sixty-Two of Indian Ocean Row
After a week of sun, which has been a really nice change from wearing full wet weather gear, last night saw the winds increase and with it the wave size. The good news was that it was all in the right direction, the bad news was that the waves were pretty violent so each wave made it feel as if you’d survived a car crash.
Heading to the midnight shift, james and I crawled on to deck as we heard and felt the waves throughout our sleep period. Straight away the boat felt different, almost as if it had been repacked to be top heavy, almost every wave whistles over our heads and we had to pull the breaker line to stop ourselves falling in. We were connected by our life jackets’ safety clips to the boat and falling overboard wasn’t a nice prospect. We plowed on, struggling to get a full stroke of the oars before the oars were ripped from our hands by an angry wave. The oars were washed away and we were left soaking wet and battered. At 12:30 am there was a momentary lull in the onslaught but before we could get up we heard the familiar and increasing roar of an approaching wall of water. The roar continued longer and louder than usual before BAMMM it smashed down on the boat. We surged forward as if we were being catapulted, the speed read 16.5 knots before the whole boat and us were fully engulfed in water and we could no longer see anything. Seconds later the water cleared and the boat was miraculously upright.
We checked that each was ok before carrying on with the rowing, however, after 30 minutes we decided that the situation was not getting any better and was actually slowing progress down. The boat was flying towards Mauritius at a great rate of speed and us sitting at oars was having no effect on that speed. All that was happening was that we risked breaking the oars or them being snapped away by an angry ocean. We tied up the oars and heading into the cabin as we left the boat adrift until daylight. By morning, the sea had calmed down so things got back to “normal”.
We are now on the approach to Mauritius and are giving ourselves an ambitious target of 10 days to make land, hoping to arrive on the 14th. It may be a little later than that but it’s good to have a target especially as that means we are in single figures tomorrow. Despite a heavy night, morale is extremely high as we are all very excited about showers, food, tv and family.