It is 3.30 am on the morning of Day 14 and I have just woken up from sea-weird dreams, strangely awake for this still dark hour. Outside is thick white with fog and wet and cool as ever. My cabin isn’t too different – just a little warmer and probably about as damp. Happy Socks is currently being pulled in current in various directions. Nova Scotia lies just 60 nm to the North and it’s coast reaches out on a NE run beyond. If I allow us to follow that coastline as the wind would currently have us do, then I would be sure to end up on the notorious and treacherous Grand Banks, famed for shallow, rough, fogged-in seas. So, for now the goal is to limit northing.
Yesterday that meant just an hour of useful Eastward rowing before the SW wind got up too strong for me to make progress across it and I set the sea anchor from the stern. For the uninitiated, this is essentially a parachute on the end of a long line – the drag stabilizes the boat into the waves and reduces wind drift.
Yesterday was also my 30th birthday and so the ‘day off’ was easily filled with phone calls home, presents and cards, birthday cake and a G & T. My friends and family did me proud with balloons and banners and a birthday badge – my cabin is very colourful and balloony right now, though the cards only stayed out a short while as the cold damp air turned them flaccid fairly quickly.
The Canadian Aerial Surveillance plane Patrol 104 roared low overhead in the morning sun as I layered up to row and we chatted on the radio as they looped past a few times. I was glad to see them after their first fly past the other day. I mentioned my birthday and invited them for cake. Ten minutes later they returned with their pals in another plane (this one a festive bright red) and the two did a few fly pasts together. It was very exciting and I was touched by the gesture. It feels ood to know I am being watched over.
The only thing lacking from this journey so far has been a proper deck wash – for me, you understand, as the deck itself is continually sloshed and dumped on by waves. For me to get naked on deck is going to require a lot more sunshine than I have seen out here yet so for now hooray for wet wipes (especially biodegradable cotton by Natracare) and that old chestnut about hair cleaning itself….
Hooray for birthdays too. Thanks everyone who has played a part in my life these last 30 years. I feel lucky to be alive and rockin’ out another year celebration on a wee boat on a big ocean.
Until next time,
Sarah and Happy Socks x
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Love, love, love the aerial shot!! How many can say they received that for their 30th?! (And just say NO to the Grand Banks!)
~Gigi in Va. Beach
I have studied the photos carefully.
(1) The windmill is being turned by an electric motor, as there is no wind on the waves.
(2) The young lady in the photo is 18 years old, has bunked off from school and is sitting on a crate of white cider in the park by the pond.
(3) The aerial shot is a photo of the Albabug stuck to the frosted glass of a down-market poundshop window; for there is no wake from the oars or boat.
(4) The avocado is a picture of smoking Wedgewood Benn that you and your mates have just nicked from Tate Modern when on your recent school trip.
Analysis: the whole thing is a NASA/Hollywood fake just like the moon trips.
Conclusion: you are to have fame thrust upon you.
Advice: have a very Happy Birthday mi’ duck from all of us in the East Midlands.
Hey – well done.
Happy Birthday and what a place to spend it.
I hope the wind comes good
All the Very Best from wet and windy Shetland.
Many Happy Returns!
Wet wipes … what a wimp. Get stripped and do a deck wash.
I hope the weather brings some westerlies for you soon. Keep up the chocolate ration.
Hi Sara, keep up the good work! I can’t seem to track you on AIS anymore. Is that system down again?last report was May 16. Great stuff this adventure!
At very unusual moments I find myself stopping ….and thinking of you being out there, …..as I go about my normal day. You….are not alone, Sarah.
A belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you Sarah!
You have now joined the ranks of the other thirty-year olds from your school year!
Stick to the wet wipes – you are NOT a wimp!!!!
Happy birthday Sarah!
HAPPY 30TH BIRTHDAY SARAH!
It seems a short time ago you brought your boat on a school visit – and now you are on the final leg home…What a journey. Slowly but surely you’re edging your way back towards a whole new adventure. Savour all this last leg brings your way and think of the things you’ve done and seen: more in 30 years that most do in lifetimes. Thanks for letting armchair adventurers share, imagine and dream…albeit safely! And here’s to a safe row home, a happy life and a heaps of health and humour.
A very Happy birthday for yesterday Sarah. What a unique way to celebrate being 30. Never to be forgotten eh!
Many happy returns Sarah. Love that G&T in a tin!
A slightly belated happy birthday to an amazing woman from the Long Island Paddlers!
Happy Birthday Sarah!
You are an inspiration,role model and modern day explorer/hero. The world is a much better/more interesting/ dynamic place because of you and your incredible adventures.
You are loved and admired. Onwards!
A belated very happy birthday Sarah from South Derbyshire.
As a scallop fisherman, I spent 30 plus years on Georges Bank. It is nasty place with plenty of fog and big swells this time of the year. You will be better off when you come off the bank, and hit deeper water. Wish you well across the ocean !
Thank you Einar very much for your advice to Sarah.
There is so much care and authority when it comes from a good brave gentleman like you.
You endorse such a bond not just with Sarah but all who have experienced the fearsome boiling waters of tidal shallows.
Thank you again.
Gaia….is watching you. She tested you earlier in your trip.
You passed, so she will now take care of you.
GAIA…a belief that the planet is a living entity in itself. There is just as much possibility of this being ‘science’, as with anything else. Go with confidence, Sarah.