The day was progressing with choppy but favourable conditions. A quiet and overcast morning with Josh and Si at the oars and Arron and Darren getting some well-deserved rest. Josh and Si were chatting, but also with one ear plugged into some tunes to help the hour shift pass by, when a strange beeping sound was heard. It took a while to register and then Josh said, “is that the AIS?”. They turned to look over their shoulders and saw US navy ship 112 bearing down on a collision course! Code red!

A few panicked shouts to rouse Darren and Arron, who got on the radio and switched on the Echomax, which makes the boat appear 100ft long on radar. Finding a small rowing boat all the way out there came as a surprise to the navy boys, They were very nice and offered them assistance – and were a little bemused when informed they we were rowing to Hawaii.

The ship came close enough for our boys to clearly see (and wave to) crew on deck. It was a strangely emotional moment having only seen about 4 other ships on this trip and they were all miles away. To see people for the first time in 28 days was awesome – even if for only a minute or two before they powered on towards the US.

It was great to see and know the US Navy are out here and checking in on our chaps. They had a brief conversation to thank them for their service, and with any luck, they might see another before reaching Hawaii.

Last night was another long, tough one with conditions becoming more challenging when you’d normally expect them to settle. For Si, it brought the sharp reality that he’s not out of the woods yet. Having had several good days with the shoulder, he was confident that trickier conditions could be handled. However, the ocean seems to know exactly what to do to play to your weaknesses, and Si’s night was spent with intermittent rowing, lots of stretching and a lot of frustration.

From a food perspective, many of you will know the Expedition Foods packs they are using, combined with daily snack pack to get their calorie intake as high as possible. Everyone’s hunger has waxed and waned throughout this journey. At the beginning they could barely eat, which is highly unusual. They had opted for 800 calorie meals as anything larger seemed too daunting to eat. Gradually this has adjusted and now those meals are despatched quickly with a little sadness when it ends and a wish that they’d maybe grabbed a few 1000 calorie packs.

Most meals have been pretty good except for the hottest Korma known to mankind, the crazy abundance of chilli con carne and the provisions of scrambled egg kindly provided by Darren Baker that everyone refuses to touch even if an emergency was to occur. These have been assigned to their own locker with a biohazard label on the lid.

You will see the weight loss when they land, but it’s very visible on everyone already. This is comforting as no one wants the accolade of “only person to ever put on weight rowing an ocean”!

Team in good spirits, but all a little homesick.

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