Arklow - County Wicklow. What a friendly town. Already this morning, a gentleman helped me carry everyone's washing to the laundrette. And an elderly lady just tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was wanting to charge my phone. I replied “yes", wondering where conversation might be going. Pointing to the double wall plug, she said, "well you've got the wrong switch on!"
For those who wonder if rowing around Britain is hard, I thought a quick run-through of typical 24hrs might be interesting. Starting point… any time!
Tap, tap on condensation-streaked cabin hatch. "Ten minutes, Lesley"
Open eyes. Remember where I am. Before moving, work out what I might need to do to get ready for the shift, fill water bottles (inside and/or deck bottle), empty celebrated Uriwell, brush teeth, eat, find hat (Laurence-of-Arabia or woolly), sunglasses, sun cream, foul weather gear or shorts, safety harness, head torch, snacks, fresh bandages on foot blisters, locate rowing palm grips, Stugeron.
Hope that's everything… move!
Dress (don't ever undress really), apply sun cream, shoes on (pong!), open cabin hatch (timing all-important - has to be done when Laura is at front-stops). Deep breath. Assess conditions of water, weather and crew. Stow water bottle/s.
On the word Laura crosses blades, adjusts foot plates, jumps up. I jump on seat - quick check I have everything. Laura attaches safety line to my harness. Then row.
Row, row, cross blades, drink, row, row, cross blades, wipe sweat away, shed layers or apply. Water, row.
After one hour 50 mins, tap on cabin door and give Laura 10 min warning (chaps only need five mins!). Laura shouts "coming out", extra lean forward. Cross blades, adjust footplates, stand up, step forward. Detach safety line and clip Laura on. Grab bucket - use it. Face away from Laura for onesies: face Laura for twosies. Try to not topple off bucket or let it fall over (or, more alarmingy, let it crumple under me). Re-apply clothes as quickly as poss - not easy. Wash out bucket. Sit back down in same space (with rowing partner). Light jetboil. Furtle around in lockers for food. Not sure what I feel like ... what time is it? 3am. Not chicken tikka, that's for sure! Ask who else wants what. Everyone wants something different. Fill water bottles for myself and everyone. Prepare food sachets, try to not spill contents. Pour boiled water into food sachets CAREFULLY. Leave ten mins. Eat. Blah!
Stand, somehow make way to cabin, coordinating stepping over Laura's blade handles. Fall (mostly) into cabin or enter cabin in coordinated fashion (rare). Collapse.
Collect thoughts: is everything charged; what do I need for next session; what do I need to do before sleeping? Oh no! Only 90 mins left.
Must take more photos/GoPro footage! Next time. Open eyes, realise have drifted off.
Shout from deck, "can you shift port/starboard”… to balance the boat.
Decide I can't be bothered to undress, cover myself with sleeping bag - if it's there. What's that poking into my shoulder? Oh I don't care. Oh, yes… set alarm for next shift.
Tap, tap, "Ten minutes Lesley!"
Repeat another five times.