Seablog: Room 101

New century. Day 101. Fewer than 800 miles to row now. Thought I’d use the day number to think about what would go in to my Room 101 .i.e the room of nasty things, from George Orwell’s book, ‘1984’.

I have chosen a few things, closely connected with my adventures out here, which I would gladly lock away.

1) Arthritis – All the various painful, debilitating conditions would be locked away forever. No more disintegrating joints, inflammation or chronic pain and horrendous challenges. Whenever I get sore out here, which is now most of the time, I can always put it into perspective by thinking of folks who have to bear pain all day long. Every day. Forever. I’m sore because I’m larking about at being a Rowman Centurion. Different kettle of fish.

2) Marine pollution – Our blue stuff is being turned into a rubbish dump. There is so much out here, either from purposeful dumping or accidental runoff or overboard cases, the latter of which I am guilty with a few items. Plastics are the big baddies – they break down into tiny pellets which get gobbled up by fish and birds, nasty chemicals infiltrate the food chain and I promise you, your fish and chips contain a nice dose of plastic. Yum? Methinks not. In fact one of the whaling countries deemed a certain whale species unsafe to eat not so long ago due to such high levels of mercury in its meat. (Details escape me – I’ve been rowing a while..) In some areas a plankton net haul contains more plastic than plankton – how crazy is that? Then turtles might eat your shopping bags, mistaking them for tasty jelly fish. Albie parents might fly half way round the world foraging and then back to base to feed the chick, perhaps regurgitating a cigarette lighter as part of the feast. Albie chick then dies from a blocked gullet. Sad stuff. The ‘might’ and ‘perhaps’ are in fact truths-it is happening at a crazy rate. We have poisoned the oceans and their wildlife with our rubbish. Some stewards we are. Pff! So if you find yourself near a beach anytime soon, please tidy up.

They are my biggies, to go in Room 101. Then there’s a little box of niggles, though their irksomeness are all part of the adventure…apart from the mush meals. They could be number 3 in the above list! So, in the ‘Niggles Box’ we have :

*The Leeuwin Current & Westerly winds – my passport to dinner with the penguins in my Warm Up Lap
*Salty wet, disintegrating lycra
*Holy waterproof trousers – both pairs holed irreparably. One front, one back!
*Resuscitated cutlery – repairs getting more and more creative each time
*Ships who make my radar alarm bleep in the night but never stop to say hello
*Rower’s bottom and a minced shoulder
*My dear friend the Frustrated Imp

As I said, the ‘Niggles Box’ are all supremely trivial in the grand scheme of things and most really rather funny. Like doing a radio interview in my Warm Up Lap as I was being whisked down to the Deep South, assuring the listeners I was in fact rowing to Mauritius – 3,000 miles in completely the opposite direction. And I’ll laugh about the mush meals just as soon as I eat my first steak. Promise. Getting covered in strawberry protein shake while trying to discard it overboard will never be funny, however. I shall be haunted forever.

Happy to say my Room 101 from my Ocean Row #1 is fairly empty. Though the major beasts within are nasty fiends and deserve all the effort they attract and more to rid them from our world. My friends at Arthritis Care are helping make the former more manageable for sufferers and there are various organisations working to clean up the blue stuff.

From a sunny and happily Westward Day 101,

Outey Toot Toot x

I told you Ricardo would write soon. I’m not envious of your showers by the way – I get dumped on by waves most days and rained on very frequently. Fresh towel? No worries, mate – I washed mine back in May sometime.

Jeremy Christey – Missed call on my phone yestrday – reckon it was the boys.Doh! Was busy rowing… Down South doesn’t sound like a good place to be right now. Send them my hellos.I’ll keep trying the phone.

Robert Telford – Ha! I sat and ate every last one, two or more at a time, while blogging. 35 minutes and they had all disappeared. Would have been quicker, but I was multi-tasking

Steve RPYC – I would never contemplate any adventure without chocolate- would be madness.

Kate Llewellyn – Maybe your Dad was a Rowman too then? Ace. Maybe I was an Aztec, wiith my love of choc.

Diana – No dust, but everything’s caked in salt and spattered with food, talcum powder and various creams.

Mark Powell – Wait for shell to melt? Never!

Marcel – Amy is currently riding horses across Mongolia but is back soon. I’ll email you details….

Anita – Excellent effort from the St Mike’s contingent, well done. Jonny wanted liquorice?! Your lad needs a headcheck!

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8 Responses to Seablog: Room 101

  1. Jenna says:

    Watched your mum and bro on east midlands news yesterday! Was fantastic! The news team were talking about flying out to meet you!!!! Wish I could too, if I make my fortune in the next few weeks, I’ll be there like a shot, with a celebratory bag of minstrels and a bar of soap for you! x x

  2. Currin says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I am in NZ and have been following since Roz S mentioned your great challenge. Celebrated your 100th with Lindt Dark Chilli chocolate and of course later, with NZ Sauvigon Blanc.


  3. Amanda B says:

    Hi – I totally agree with your Room 101 candidates – lock ’em in there and throw away the key! The team here at Arthritis Care celebrated your Day of the Centurions with a Monster Minstrels Munch – thanks for the excuse to eat chocolate! Your mum has the incriminating photos…! Amanda x

  4. lesley says:

    is it possible for someone to put me on your blog list I have subscribed to this an other rowing sites and never hear another thing I became addicted to watching the Indian Ocean rowing race and now they are down to only 2 teams one of whom seams to have been hit by albatross poo which put his blog machine out of order and I am rapidly going into withdrawals so please send me an email so I can feed my addiction before the little men in there white coats come around and lock me up into oblivion H E L P god bless you all Lesley
    Ps if you need permission to give my email address to someone to put me out of my misery please do it

  5. belinda dade says:

    Hi Sarah

    Have just got back from a week in Andalucia so have been catching up on your news. You have had an exciting time! I shall hot-foot it to the village shop in the morning for some Minstrels and eat them all in one sitting and think of you! Lots of love to you and also to your mum and congratulations for passing the 100 day mark.

    Belinda Dade xxxxx

  6. Jem says:

    The FF boys say hello.

    They should be in late saturday evening if you’d like to give them a call. I left a message for you with them should you manage to get therough.


  7. Jonathan K says:

    Keeping on going girl – you’re nearly there

    Enjoying getting the e mails and hearing you on Ratcliffe and Maconie

  8. Fabulous tribute by Ricardo, but loved your riposte!
    Thank you for highlighting two great causes. Global plastic pollution is a real problem and it requires ALL facets of society to solve it. Go to

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