Day 23: wind, oars, fish and sharks

Today has been a funny mixed day. It’s been fantastic to have smaller seas and light winds  – I had a glimpse of what it might be like later on in the journey. A bit of a break from being constantly battered has been really welcome, and it’s been so warm and un-splashy that I rowed for a lot of the day in just my long sleeved top and salopettes, without the waterproof top. However, the wind and waves, though light, seem to have moved round even more so they are headed due east, and even slightly north. Not quite what the forecast said, and really frustrating as I’m now rowing almost directly into the oncoming waves, and making slow progress. Each time I break for something to eat we start moving east or worse.

My GPS repeater at lunchtime
My GPS repeater at lunchtime

Bottom left is the distance to my next waypoint, bottom right is the direction my boat is pointing, top right is the direction it’s actually travelling, and top left is the speed (which was often up to 0.9 or more).

It’s been a struggle to hold on to any of my hard-won miles today, and I can’t deny I’m feeling a bit miffed about this latest set-back.

Progress this afternoon was made worse by the repair on my oar coming apart, so my first task for the morning is to get going with a more drastic repair before I can set off. I think my hacksaw is going to see some action.

Two fishy updates:

1. I checked my water intake tank today, to make sure I’d definitely got all the fish out yesterday. I had, but on closer inspection it looks like they’ve laid eggs on some of the walls and the handle etc. Is this likely? Do fish lay eggs and then leave them? Anyone know anything about this? I’ve cleaned it out as best I can  – hoping I won’t be seeing tiny baby fish in my water anytime soon 🙂

2. Just as I was packing things down on deck at the end of my shift this evening, I noticed a dark shape over the side of the boat. Looking into the water, I saw a small shark, about half a metre long – a baby? It was pretty cute, but I hope it doesn’t have a hungry mummy too close by…

Messages and support

Please keep messages to Elsa coming – and consider attaching them to oar strokes to power Elsa westwards! Just £0.10 each – please support generously, she has a million to take!

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4 thoughts on “Day 23: wind, oars, fish and sharks

  1. Elsa! Your latest bulletin is pretty amazing – as we have come to expect. Still all the frustration of the wind, but it’s great to hear you are experiencing slightly better conditions at last. Not sure about the fish eggs – I hope you get some eggspert guidance on that. (Sorry).
    I am amazed by how you can deal with these smashed oars – please note I am restraining myself from many possible dreadful puns. Oarful, oarsome, etc.
    The things you are seeing – fish, sharks, birds – sound amazing. Are you able to take photos?
    We had a good day in Dublin today – going to see Jo’s rents in Tipperary tmro. Her dad is not well.
    Seeing the Book of Kells today was cool – despite throngs of tourists crowding round.
    Keep up the good work – lots of love, Griselda


  2. Still following, still praying for you, wishing you success at oar repair. Thanks for the wonderful reports.


  3. I’m very glad the sea is calmer for you, and hope the wind settles into a pure westward blow soon! So fun to read about the little fish — anchovies, perhaps? And that they laid eggs must mean they liked your boat! I once had a goldfish that, all solo, laid eggs in its tank. The water might have been warmer inside the boat, triggering a spawning response. Unless there were both males and females, the eggs might not have been fertilized, but good not to take chances on larval fish, or eggs, in the intake. How cool to see a little shark! There are many kinds, and sharks are badly overfished worldwide, so it’s good that there are babies out there. Don’t worry, Mama won’t likely be guarding her little one. Today I must thank all you English types who came to Monterey with the race for expanding my maritime vocabulary. I figured out what a jumper is years ago (a sweater, rather than a dress with shoulder straps that goes over a blouse, as I wore as a child). But after a few encounters on the race site, and now your blog, I’ve had to look up salopettes. I imagined great floppy waterproof mitts, or some kind of strap-on galoshes. Never knew there was a French word the English would use that means what we call “overalls.” Learning every day! Keep on keeping on, Elsa, and bravo for you every minute! –Kate


  4. Your picture reminds me of A level maths problems – if you want to go at 215 degrees and the waves are coming at x degrees with force F and the boat has mass m and velocity v what is z the angle at which the boat should point? Do rowers have calculators to work this out? Our maths teacher taught pilots in WWII and she was very fond of these kinds of questions.


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