Blog

Welcome to my blog, where I share all the stories from my L2L expedition as I row, cycle and kayak a continuous loop of the planet. I hope you'll enjoy experiencing the highs (and lows!) of my journey so far and the adventures ahead on my way back to Tower Bridge. You can also have a listen to my Phonecasts recorded en route.

Atlantic phonecasts begin

Atlantic Phonecasts begin.

Due to a few technical issues they have been slightly delayed so catch up on two phonecasts by clicking on the links below…

day 3 of here row here. She is happy to have avoided sea sickness thus far and enjoying cold pizza!

Heading North for now but Sarah has enjoyed fly-bys from the Canadian military and chats form scallop boats

Enjoy!

Team L2L

 

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Birthdays!

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.

Cold and foggy stuff recently

Cold and foggy stuff recently

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.

Tastes even better when your 30!

Tastes even better when your 30!

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.

An aerial shot taken yesterday by a flyover

An aerial shot taken yesterday by a flyover

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….

The last avocado!

The last avocado!

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

If you would like to donate to my charities please  follow the link here :)

Posted in Blog | 15 Comments

Seven in, 80 out

Hello from the ocean – this is your rower calling… day 8 of the Atlantic and all is well. Day 8 I tell you, I think someone is playing tricks with days and dates because the days are flying by. This is by far the easiest settling in period of any of my rows so far – things feel surprisingly normal and happily free from the crippling nausea that I usually endure thanks to some additional meds from Doctor Dave on the Cape. The lack of fish feeding means I have been eating normally and have been in good shape to row as fast as possible away from land.

A beautiful day to launch

A beautiful day to launch

The weather scene has been set – it is going to be a changeable crossing with lots of cold and lots of wet… I’ve spent already 3 days cabin bound – either tied to a lobster pot or hanging off the sea anchor in adverse wind. This is has offered some great sleeping potential – much needed as the current rocks and sways Happy Socks is tiring and the adrenaline of my final week on land meant that I needed to play catch up even before that first row-through-the-night on leaving land.

I hope that the next few months follow up these days of wildlife too; I have seen wales and dolphins everyday and had 10s of birds wheeling and cruising by to survey Happy Socks or paddle patiently as though waiting for a guest appearance from something or someone.

Friends drove all the way from Quebec to say good-bye and to look after Lucy after I had gone, super special

Friends drove all the way from Quebec to say good-bye and to look after Lucy after I had gone, super special

It is reassuring and surprising to feel so at home out here so soon, land a distant memory of someone long ago. Launch day was magic and loud in energy and people. I grinned as I took it all in and soaked up the atmosphere of Chatham wishing me a fond farewell from the beach add the sun shone bright overhead. Having Lucy by my side until the last possible moment of pushing away from the dock made it all the more magic. I grinned and waved at the escort boats as they played around me and friends shouted to me, always returning to Lucy’s boat to soak up every last glimpse of her. I cried and cried when her boat turned to go, disappearing into a blip of white wake, which morphed into the land. I was alone.

The last goodbye before boarding

The last goodbye before boarding

And yet the beach turnout had just shown that I was not at all alone in spirit.

The best send off crowd a rower could ask for

The best send off crowd a rower could ask for

Thank you everyone who has journeyed and is journeying home with me. I am grateful.

From Happy Socks and me x

P.s Thanks to Jen Stello (Cape Photographs), Chris Seafurt (Mooncusser Films), Carol Penfield, Alan Cohen and Team Ryders Cove, Chatham Bars Inn, John Dickson, Mylene and Marysol, Team Allen, Chatham Coastguard, Chatham Harbour Master, for all their help in making Launch Day brilliant.

Posted in Blog | 9 Comments

And… She’s away

Sarah could not have asked for a better send off today. The people of Chatham really did her proud. There must have been 150 or more people down at the beach today, school children with fantastic signs, her Chatham family, friends and well wishers. Two friends even drove all the way down from Quebec last night to see her off this morning. Super special.

Press time

Press time

It was a cloudless sky, the sun was blazing out on the water today and the wind was doing useful things. Sarah left on time at 0945 with 8 escort boats; a mix of the Harbour master, Coast guard and friends on on-board and with plenty a of shouting and ‘wooping’ from the beach.

So many lovely people down to see Sarah off

So many lovely people down to see Sarah off

The escorts saw her past the sand bar and turned back and a couple of boats followed her out a little further. Alan the superstar at Ryder’s Cove boatyard let me aboard his boat, (brave man with an emotional woman!).

Friends and media escort Sarah out

Friends and media escort Sarah out

Sarah and I said our final goodbyes bobbing around on the ocean, with the sun dancing off the water. It was amidst tears, and happy laughs and orders of ‘don’t forget to tell Sara I’ve left,’ and ‘don’t forget to eat the humous I made in the fridge’ that I then sat and watched as she rowed away from me, eventually out of sight, blending quietly into the skyline, becoming another dancing, dazzling spark that she is in the seascape.

Last minute sorting of fresh fruit to last a few weeks

Last minute sorting of fresh fruit to last a few weeks

I flew back out Sunday evening to be with Sarah this week. When I tried to explain why I needed to come back out I couldn’t – I just knew I had to be out here. Being the most involved with the expedition at this stage, then I had ever been, it felt really incomplete leaving without seeing her off. We both needed closure on wrapping up this chapter together.

So I sit here now tapping away, eyes filled with tears but they are mostly happy tears, happy she is safely away, happy I could come back out and see her off and happy that she is right where she needs to be right now – and for the next 3 or so months.

and... she's away

and… she’s away

Keep watching Sarah’s movements on her tracker and any charity donations to celebrate the first day of many out on the Atlantic please follow this link.

Here’s to the Atlantic adventure!

Lucy x

And a huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who has helped Sarah along the way and to the wonderful Carol and Colleen who stayed behind to see me off the boat. Superstars.

 

 

Posted in Blog | 14 Comments

T – 11 hrs

Ready and waiting for the row home

Ready and waiting for the row home

It is almost time to go. I am wired and calm all at once, hoping that sleep will come more easily than last night.

The last couple of days of preparation have been full and busy, both with adrenaline and emotions and final tinkerings, sortings and packings.

I have been here before, many times on many different launches. I am happy that everything is as I would like it and need it, and confident that I am as ready as I shall ever be. I am the fittest that I have been for a couple of years. I am calm and excited at once, and ready for the journey home.

The final days have been made all the more brilliant and grounded by having Lucy at my side. When my brain fogged over, she made decisions. When my temper frayed because too much was happening at once, she calmed me down. When my heart raced and things felt too excitable, she held me close and I listened to her breathe.

I am looking forward to getting stuck in to the rowing, to pulling and pushing hard away from land and rowing towards home. I am grateful to everyone who has helped me get this far and to all who will be helping me get home safely and swiftly.

Keep an eye on the tracker for my progress (and ocean knitting!) and stay tuned to this blog and Twitter for updates – a mix of written, pictorial and phone casts. You will be hearing from both me and the team as we head home.

Thank you everyone for being a part of this journey. It is a team effort and I am grateful to all, whatever part they play.

Onwards,

Sarah and Happy Socks x

P.S Departing Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham, 0945 Thursday 14th May from the beachfront. Come along and say cheerio if you are nearby and read this before then!

P.P.S Thanks to all my Chatham team… Alan and team at Ryders Cove Boatyard, Carol and Dave Penfield, the team at Chatham Health and Swim Club, Joyce Hutchings, Amy Latham, Ships Light, Grammy Roz and Bill Coleman, Pleasant Bay Community Boating, Cmdr Bill Burlin, John Dickson and Chatham Bars Inn.

Posted in Blog | 25 Comments