Before pulling in the sea anchor this morning, we spent a good part of the last 24 hours slowly drifting with the wind and waves in a north-easterly direction. In the wee hours of the night, things let up and we were free from our weather shackles for the time being. As of now we’re about 1,100 nautical miles from Miami, and our longitude has us overlapping the eastern-most Caribbean island… I’ll take any milestone I can.
The shape had hardly time to register in my mind.
When it did it was halfway into the water, and the MASSIVE splash seemed huge even from a half-mile away. It was a humpback, by our best guess… bubble net feeding, circling around the plankton that makes this massive mammal’s food, and making a net of bubbles before diving down and shooting up into the center of the undisturbed water and eating tens of thousands of the tiny animals that sustain the world’s largest animal.
A moment later we felt that thump of the literal tons of whales landing. We were in the middle of nowhere and we were the only humans to see this.
[Greg here in Mission Control – I dug up this early blog that got posted but never went live for some reason. A good look at life on a tiny ocean rowboat reveals the reality of 4 men in a small space. Avert your reading eyes if you don’t believe in the existence of bodily functions.]
I couldn’t believe it. To my profound horror it actually came in through the scupper. Could have been Markus, could have been me. Before we broke sea anchor this morning, both of us had to hot-seat the bucket. Usually the speed of the boat, slow as it may be, is enough to clear us of an incident like this, but not today on sea anchor when the four of us and anything that might be floating was doing so at the same rate. I won’t tell you what I had to do to get rid of it, but thank goodness for hand sanitizer.
Nasty business this ocean rowing. Nasty business. It’s actually a continuous editorial conversation we have with each other about what makes it into the blog and what doesn’t. What’s too gross? What’s too real? What’s not family-friendly enough? Right now I’m feeling pretty candid and don’t really want to sugar coat it.
A few blogs ago I talked about seeing some dead, floating fish on the ocean surface. Since then we’ve seen about five more. All of them seem to be the same fish, and we finally got close enough to take a picture.
They look like they have been bleached by the sun and, save for minimal rot, are uneaten. This is what disturbs me the most.
A dead, uneaten fish floating in the ocean? What causes this?
This blog’s been in the hopper for a while, but if you are just joining us, the long and the short is that we are rowing Dakar to Miami and have about a 1/3 left to go (~1,300 nautical miles). Earlier in the trip we broke two of our six oars, and our power went out for a few hours… Ergo, this blog is dedicated to what happens if more bad luck happens.
Oars: If we break one oar we will try and fix it! If we break two oars we will also try and fix them. We have tools, and at this point several spare bits of oar and rope, and will do our best to make something work with a combination of knots and bracing. I have done it before and have faith I could do it again.