MAURITIUS – Ricardo reports…

Hello everyone. Trust you are all well. Exciting times hey? Just when it was looking easy and smooth, about a week ago I informed Sarah that her last few days at sea would be everything but romantic. She has built a unique relationship with the Ocean and with Nature, a love affair if you will, with all the emotions, fears and thrills of teenage love. Up and down she went, so far for 123 days. Amazing highs, devastating lows. As she approaches Paradise Island, (my new name for Mauritius…) she will be thinking of family, friends, crunchy lettuce and soapy bath tubs. There are only around 80 miles to go now and in my mind, these are about to be the most stressful of all. I expect Sarah will soon be feeling the same. Arrivals can be tough on spirit as you quickly go from solo mode to crowds and tv reporters. Sarah, however, has Nature playing it’s last dose of intensity, as if saying it’s final good-bye to one of it’s conquered children. As a solo sailor I have learnt that the Ocean is aware of me. I only make it because the Oceans lets me through. I get the clear as a bell feeling that if I were to arrogantly “just get the job done” and go for a sail, the Ocean would not be too impressed and not take care of me like it always has. I am concerned about Sarah, I won’t hide it. The wind was strong all night with huge heavy rain clouds, gusts of many more knots of wind than we need right now. I am sitting here in my luxurious balcony straw sofa, overlooking the outdoor jacuzzi and the lush green vegetation of this intense place. I haven’t really slept since Thursday morning and I don’t think I can really un-plu until I see Sarah eating a salad. I can see the white sandy beach and the outer reefs with big waves breaking. I know those waves will increase further in the next few hours. The trees ruffle their leaves as the warm breeze accelerates past. Nature is alive and putting on its best for the grande finale. But Sarah could do without. She is not comfortable anymore and fear is settling in again. I can tell by the tone of her messages. “Crap” is her nice way of saying “I’m scared and don’t want these big waves to flip me!”. Most of her e-mails in the past 24h had plenty of “Crap” in them… Once she closes to 10 miles to go, the waves will increase further, get closer together and become steeper. This is what happens when a charging ocean swell goes from 4500 metres depth to 200 metres in only a few miles. Things must be timed for a day time arrival. This is the only way it will be safe for her.  Any boat that goes out to welcome her would need to keep a good distance in order to be safe. Sarah will be hidden by big waves and hard to spot in the middle of it all. This morning we have informed shipping of her position. Once she passes those outer reefs things settle, the waves disappear and the strong wind will help her in faster. For now, all she can do is rest and row. It will take so much energy and commitment to row the right course. Nature is testing her, showing her an easy way out. If Sarah were to row with the elements she would go faster and smoother and not have to row so hard. But she would be blown north of Paradise and out into open ocean again. This is not an option. She must row with the waves at an akward angle but with these big seas her oars will miss the water enough times to hurt her body and her soul. She must give it her best in every swing anyway, as each time she does catch some water she must pull, and pull hard, as that simple gesture, one after the other is what will bring her in.

Now would be a good time to light a candle and say a little prayer. I know many of you already have.

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24 Responses to MAURITIUS – Ricardo reports…

  1. Spike says:

    your input has been most significant in getting Sarah to aim at the right bit of ocean at the right time to get within striking range of ‘Paradise Island’. I’m glad you are now on-site to oversee the last few miles of hazard with a clear understanding of the ocean’s habits. Your rational blog is timely to paint a picture of the last days. With that understanding and experience, Nature can be overcome, but not tamed.
    There are times at sea when one becomes ‘religiously inclined’ and my interpretation of that is “in awe of Nature”. Fingers crossed for a safe conclusion.

  2. Chris n Trev says:

    We are both saying a prayer for Sarah’s safe and happy return, and that the waves will be kind to her as she deserves.

    ia sure it will give sarah confidence to know you are there to guide her in.

    We will have fingers and toes crossed.

    Love to Sarah

    Chris and Trev

  3. Jill & Stan Lewis says:

    Thank you Ricardo.I have been trying to envisage what it is like and you have certainly painted a sobering picture. We are of course doing everything we can to help you both. Keep strong, Jill and Stan.

  4. Jane Spence says:

    hi Sarah.
    We’re all pulling with you through these last hurdles and so glad Ricardo now there – your lighthouse and watchman!

    Go well, best Jane

  5. Janet says:

    Hi Sarah
    best of luck for your final approach hope you have a brilliant recovery in Mauritius, your determination and high spirits have been a huge inspiration to all, hope the currents are kinder to you than they were off the Australian coast and off course you have a happy and safe landing


  6. Donald says:

    Good thinking Ricardo. The aproach must be in daylight with a reasonably rested lady at the oars. Pray God she makes a gap in the reefs into calm waters and has the company of safety craft to guide her. My fingers will be crossed until she is ashore.

  7. Rosemary Hamp, City Beach, WA. says:

    Good Luck Sarah! We’re all thinking of you and praying for you and Dippers to make it through the reefs plus a safe landing on the beach!
    Rosemary, Horst, Danielle and Ben.

  8. Anita says:

    Sarah, we are all thinking of you and sending you ‘good luck’ and ‘safe rowing’ vibes as you embark on this last challenging part of your journey. Here’s a great big email hug, in anticipation of the hugs we will be giving you when you arrive home safely.
    Lots of love, Anita

  9. Jill OHalloran says:

    3 candles are alight…one for power and strength, one for God’s light to guide you to the finale, one for the power of love to lift you high…. and place you in exactly the right spot!

  10. Currin says:

    Hi Sarah,

    We are with You, here in Dunedin. Your tenacity will see you through the final dash. I am locating chocolate and drinks for your safe arrival. Cheers to you,


  11. amin says:

    hi..sarah…..good luck..from singapore

  12. Douglas Piercy says:

    Thanks Ricardo, I’ll say one for Sarah too. She’s fantastic! Douglas.

  13. Barry Bear Gumbert says:

    Sarah: Ricardo asked us to light candles for you. I’ve been doing so on Regular Unitarian Sundays, but today is a Buddhist day, but no service due to a conference in Las Vegas (Buddhists in Las Vegas????)

    So I’m lighting a candle at home for you…Ouch! My finger decided to offer itself as a burnt offering. That will keep you safe as you glide gently over the reefs.

    One last lyric from RUSH I think Dawkins would approve….


    There are those who think that life has nothing left to chance take,
    A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance.

    A planet of playthings,
    We dance on the strings
    Of powers we cannot perceive
    “The stars aren’t aligned,
    Or the gods are maligned…”
    Blame is better to give than receive.

    You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
    You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
    I will choose a path that’s clear
    I will choose freewill.

    There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand,
    The cards were stacked against them; they weren’t born in Lotusland.

    All preordained
    A prisoner in chains
    A victim of venomous fate.
    Kicked in the face,
    You can’t pray for a place
    In heaven’s unearthly estate.


    Each of us
    A cell of awareness
    Imperfect and incomplete.
    Genetic blends
    With uncertain ends
    On a fortune hunt that’s far too fleet.


  14. ian says:

    hi ricardo/sarah,thanks for the reality check!i know that everyone who has followed and supported sarahs amazing effort will be willing her safely home,she is a tremendous athlete and by now will be well vversed in how capricious the ocean can be but she has a great little boat and the earnest hopes of hundreds behind her for a good outcome so…….
    regards ian

  15. Richard B says:

    Accepting that I know nothing about these things, Ricardo’s timely update just makes me think “Bring out Bob”! Better to lay up till the weather blows over rather than risk missing the target due to fatigue from fighting the elements.

  16. Sarah, We are all praying for you and trust that it won’t be long now until your Mum’s arms are around you – Aled Jones played a song for you this morning!! That has to be good news!!
    Love Gillian

  17. Terry Bradley says:

    Hi SARAH & folks
    thjs lady has so much will & determination that she will be able to do this hurdle with confindence & spirit ,lets all urge her on to her goal .TAKE CARE SARAH Diuppers will take you to PARADISE . HOPE WE CAN HEAR OR SEE SOME OF THE LANDING for the WEST AUSSIE,S CHERRIO I,LL BE WAITING TO YOUR SUCCSESS !!!!!!!!!!!

  18. John Skevington says:

    Hello Sarah

    Be carefull.
    You are SOOO close.
    Perhaps you should put out the sea anchor, and wait for calm weather.
    You don’t want anything to go wrong.
    Best of luck for a successful completion.



  19. Trust me, I'm a Doctor says:

    Dear Sarah

    The London Triathlon is just drawing to a close here in Docklands.

    Remember, yours is also a three-stage event:

    Leaving Oz was technical, and took two shots, but you got away in excellent form the second time.
    Crossing the Ocean was endurance, and you have dug deep to drag yourself all that way in world record time.
    You are now in transition to stage three, another highly technical phase. It’s short, and you may have to dash for it, but it isn’t necessarily a sprint finish.

    Clear head, strong heart!

    All the best, from
    Doctor Quack

  20. Anne L. says:

    Hello from France, Sarah !!!!
    I’ve read your dispatches since your departure
    I cross my fingers and my toes for YOU now,
    You are a great woman…

  21. Bryan says:

    Hi Sarah!
    I just heard your voice on Mauritian TV !
    We know you are tired but …
    … I think you should now take it to the limit ! 🙂
    We are as excited as you are for you to reach our shores SAFE & SOUND!
    Take Care & See You later!

  22. Chris says:

    Stay safe & give it all you’ve got Sarah.
    Such a great woman & special person we’re so looking forward to meeting.
    Thinking of you loads

  23. tracey mason says:

    a lit candle and a prayer coming your way. Every good luck for your final part of your historic journey

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