Dawn Wood's

solo atlantic challenge 2019

DAY 4 (6)

Dawn goes overboard

14th January 2019

Up and on the oars at 06.30 again as usual; feeling cold and demoralised. All that hard work and I’m now further back than yesterday lunchtime. 

No point feeling sorry for myself, get on with it. Hunched up and head down I begin the familiar movements legs, arms, arms legs driving the oars through the water with each push of the legs. It’s not even a head wind yet, that beauty is for later!! 

I look up at my wind vein which is all I ever seem to look at. It tells me everything I need to know about the weather! I have a similar weather prediction device at work in the rear yard – we call it the windy tree! 

This morning I decided to play some music through my speaker via an iPod lent to me. I don’t know what’s on it so I put it on shuffle and hope for the best. It really cheers me up, one minute Christmas music then heavy metal then zen whale music!! 

Then something amazing happens, this morning’s sunrise seems to be like a solar panel for my motivation. Once the sun is fully in the sky I feel invincible, combined with a cheesy 80’s power rock ballad on high volume I am on top of the world. Nothing can stop me!!! I am enjoying every minute of this row today no matter what direction the wind takes. 

I have a few aches and pains by now, but nothing that a good stretch won’t sort out. My hands are intact and generally all together I am in pretty good shape. 

As usual I set myself small goals through the day with small treats. Today’s treat is to go for a swim and clean the bottom of the boat!!! Oh no, I have been dreading this part! 

At 3pm armed with goggles a go pro and a scraper I get myself ready to take the plunge. I have a good scout round the boat checking for any unwanted visitors, the coast looks clear so in I go. 

It’s blooming freezing. Head under and have another look round. There is nothing but blue as far as you can see, so I crack on scrubbing the bottom. I want to get this over and done with as soon as possible. Every time my safety line touches my leg I shout “what the hell was that?!” And put my head back under for another look. I kept talking to myself and laughing at how stupid I must sound. Soon as humanly possible I was back on the boat getting dried and ready for some more rowing. 

After a couple of hours rowing guess what I see? Yes a shark!!! It only looked about 5ft long but big enough to take your leg off. Everything else I have seen out here I gasp with excitement, the sight of a shark made me stop and gulp! I hope I never have to get back in that water. 

Throughout the day the wind has gradually tracked round all the points of the compass, starting south then west (my head wind) then north by sunset. Hopefully overnight it will come round to the north east where I should be able to start making up some ground. 

At 9pm I was writing this blog inside my cabin when I heard what sounded like heavy breathing coming from outside. As I went out I could see the moonlight shimmering off the backs of two dolphin as they surfaced to breathe. WOW!! It’s an absolutely magical moment. There is no noise from wind or waves just the sound of dolphin which have a reassuringly human quality to the noise they make, like when you come up for breath after diving in the sea on holiday. I could see one of them swim under the boat silhouetted by the moonlight. Amazing moment. 

Maybe it’s a sign of good things to come over the following weeks. 

  1. Daniel Owen on January 15, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Honestly Dawn, I doff my cap to you. Wow, just wow.

    Keep cracking on, your attitude is breath taking. I look forward to reading your blogs and check all the time to see progress. I’m getting addicted to the progress chart!!

    Go dawny go!!

  2. Gary Wilson on January 15, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Keep going Dawn. It is fantastic reading your blogs, I can only imagine the memories you are making. Every morning I get up and the first thing I do is look at your position on the maps and the wind direction. Hang in there and God’s speed.

  3. Simon Turner on January 15, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    My children told me about a lady that come into their school to talk about rowing… yes it was dawn and all they talk about was the two buckets… one for wee and poo and one for food… They’re worried she gets them mixed up…

    Keep going my kids are tracking the progress

  4. Maddog on January 15, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Wow Dawny you are amazing and yes I remember the tree from my days on the section… Keep up that dynamic spirit as it will see you through, sending prayers for a speedy safe passage x

  5. Kaytie James on January 16, 2019 at 7:51 am

    Morning Dawn! All at team ROK are really enjoying reading your blogs and tracking your progress! Keep them coming! Keep rowing! Keep singing! ?‍♀️?‍♀️???

  6. Sheila Shuker on January 16, 2019 at 9:51 am

    What compelling reading ,so exciting,can’t wait for next up date,I wish you a healthy body etc,may the winds be with you,and not the shark!

  7. Philip Manning on January 16, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Hello Dawn,
    Back on shift this week again at the marina, following your progress each day.How proud we all are of you Keep up the good work .You are amazing.
    Phil Manning

  8. Alan Tuck on January 16, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Hi Dawn , Love your blog, and keep it going your doing great Kidder !!!!!!

  9. Kevin Stubbs on January 17, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Ahoy Dawn!
    it’s great to see you’ve got wind (a topic rarely mentioned in normal life)
    You’ve done well to keep pointing the right way with the wrong wind, still writing a great blog is no mean feat aswell, great reading.
    – so as Hans Solo said, “may the force be with you” for the rest of the trip!

    Kevin & the Elettra Crew

  10. Dan on January 18, 2019 at 11:26 am

    Keep going Dawn, doing amazingly well

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