Current looks confused. Maybe lt NE?
18Z: NE 20-25kt
01/00: ENE 20-25, ocnl 25-30
‘Ahh O.K, it’s going to be one of those days out on the ocean,’ my immediate thoughts on reading the daily weather update from Lee, Sarah’s weather router.
It’s always a heart-skipping moment opening them to see what she will face. Although, when I say she, I mean we – because in my mind, we are in this together. I have lived a double life since April 27th, an enthralling mix of ocean and land – all the more exciting as ocean rowing was new to me until I met Sarah.
I am Lucy, Sarah’s girlfriend and in this blog I am going to share some ideas on what it is like living with – and loving – an adventurer who, right now, is on the other side of the world in a tiny boat for months on her own. Well, for a start, it is an adventure for us both, full of ups and downs which we feel intensely. Two and a half months in to the journey and we have laughed and cried together, enjoying the highs and helping each other through the tough bits. I find that being as involved as possible in her life on the waves – knowing what is going on down to the minutest detail and the conditions ahead – and helping her manage admin like emails and social media onshore, is a really good focus and a way of both staying close to her and helping her reach her goals.
We love Iridium
The hardest thing about being apart for so long is that we miss each other deeply. As obvious as it sounds, I soon came to realise that it doesn’t how much I miss Sarah – it is not going to bring her any closer. However, staying in regular contact does help us hugely. We email, text and talk many times during the day via her Iridium sat phone and I easily talk to Sarah for more time in a day than I do anyone on land. That phone has been a life line. We start and finish our days with each other – waking each other up and calling at day’s end in our respective parts of the world. Staying close to each other like this through the ups and the downs, through the deep aches of missing each other, planning future adventures and dreams together, means that we grow stronger and closer every day. We realised recently that we are so in tune to each other’s voice and nuances in it, detecting the slightest change in emotion – we have really learned to listen to each other intently because we don’t have the luxury of reading body language or facial expressions as we would if we were in the same room. We have to articulate everything in words (or lack of them) – happiness, worries, thoughts – and it is very powerful.
Practical and positive
A lot of people associate ocean rowing with massive risk and high drama and worry that Sarah might not come back. It’s true – there are a lot of potential problems, but statistically she is probably safer out there than on land where traffic accidents are the most likely cause of injury. Problems at sea are just slightly more obscure and I have learned that it is best to tame the imagination to these. On a similar theme, I decided early on that there is no point worrying about something until it happens. I tried it for a bit and just chased my mind round in circles, which was no good for either of us. I would rather know the facts – however hard they are – and then accept and deal with them. What will be, will be. I often ask the sea to be a little kinder to her and the wind to turn in her favour but that’s the limit of it. The best thing I can do is be here for her on the end of a phone, any hour of the day or night, to chat or listen, or calm her down or look up some information if she needs it. Whatever I can do to help her across, I will. We learnt quite early on that instead of saying, ‘I wish I was there with you’ or talking about missing each other too often, we would focus on the positive – saying it’s ‘just a short time minus so-and-so days till Canada!.’ Given that we don’t know how long this row will be and when we will see each other next, it feels more positive to focus on days marked off. As she ticks them up on her wall, so I tick them off on mine, marking her position on my chart of the Pacific.
Aching across the miles
I miss Sarah like I have no one else before, every minute of every day my body aches for us to be together – but I keep telling myself that I wouldn’t want her anywhere else. She is so strong, emotionally and physically, and I am so proud of what she is doing. Having set herself this challenge I will support her in any and every way I can, journeying alongside her as best I can from the other side of the world. Perhaps the most powerful thing this journey and distance has given us, besides the strength of our love, is the promise that we will never take each other’s company for granted. For this, we are grateful.