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.