Ten days have now passed since we stepped off “Hope” onto the pontoon at La Balise marina in Mauritius. The wobbly legs and “drunken” walking has now subsided and we are both now starting to make a good recovery, not least thanks to the pampering we have received at the lovely Trou aux Biches Beachcomber resort.
Hope, our home for the previous 56 days, was loaded onto the container today and sets sail for the UK tomorrow. The row already seems so long ago, almost as if it never happened. As our time in Mauritius comes to an end, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on our experience and share with you a couple more stories from our incredible adventure.
As you could probably see from the live video, we both lost a bit of weight during the row. Unless you had seen the above before and after photo, you might be forgiven for thinking Jack hadn’t actually lost any weight and might therefore be to blame for my slightly more extreme weight loss! During the first month on board, I struggled to force down the freeze-dried food, but managed to convince myself that I was in fact eating enough calories. Just before the halfway mark I took a “selfie” and got a bit of a shock. I looked completely emaciated. This probably explained the distinct lack of energy and regular low mood I had been experiencing in the recent days. We had stashed some “mass gainer” (basically a very high calorie milkshake) in the bowels of the boat, which we decided might be a good way of getting in some easy calories. In addition to this, Jack took on the parent role: examining all my meals and rating me out of 10 on how much I had eaten. Anything less than an “8” meant another 3 more mouthfuls before a repeat examination. I felt like a small child with mealtimes resembling the classic choo choo train needing to enter the tunnel…
I’m pleased to say that Jack’s parenting skills worked a treat – the skinny guy you saw step off the boat in Mauritius was a definite improvement to how I’d been at the halfway mark!
One of the decisions we made quite early on – was to have all our meals cold. While this may seem slightly eccentric and it could easily have contributed to my poor relationship with food, there was a reason behind this madness. To have our meal warm, at the end of a shift we would have had to have got out the jetboil, to boil water (while rocking around and trying not to burn ourselves), add to the food, before waiting 10 minutes for the rehydration process followed by another 5-10 minutes for it to cool down enough to eat it. Add a further 10 minutes to eat the meal and you’re looking at losing at least 30 minutes of the precious 2-hour break. We therefore decided to opt for sleep. Our routine therefore consisted of adding cold water to the meals halfway through our rowing shift (cold water meant a significantly longer rehydration time) so the meal was ready to eat as soon as we let go of the oars.
Although we had a very successful trip, there are naturally several things we would have done differently. Firstly, there was definitely no need to have taken quite so much gas to cook with. Secondly, I would have made sure certain items were slightly closer to hand. For one, hunting for peanut butter was the absolute bane of my life – it was so deep inside the cabin hatches that you had to get most of your upper body inside to have any chance of finding it. Luckily the weight loss helped with this little challenge. If the peanut butter hadn’t been quite such a treat, I would have long before given up wasting my sleep time hunting for it! Thirdly, I think I would have faired better having more lower calorie meals as opposed to 3 x 1000kcal – a massive challenge to get down in one sitting! Finally, we brought way too many warm clothes – although I think we were lucky with the weather (at least from a temperature perspective). The fleeces, woolly hats and gloves didn’t even make it out of the bag thanks to the sweltering heat we experienced for almost the entire crossing!
We are over the moon to announce that in the 10 days since completing the row, we have raised over £25,000, taking the total to £85,000. A fantastic achievement and a phenomenal amount of money to support the incredible work that MSF carry out worldwide. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated; we have been completely overwhelmed by the generosity shown.
Thanks must go to our headline sponsors for making the row a reality: CCube Solutions, Brickendon, Epic and Karma Group. Their support has enabled us to raise a vast amount of money for MSF and we are so grateful.
We’d also like to thank Pledgit for hosting our fundraising and generously matching the first £4,000 we raised. We have been looked after incredibly well and would highly recommend the service to anyone planning future fundraising initiatives.
We will be sending out a “save the date” shortly for a dinner in London, where we intend to do a presentation and show a short film of our challenge. We will keep you updated on the website.
Ted and Jack