Day 11 Report: 1200 UTC Monday 24 December
Row4Ocean – World Record Attempt to row 2305nm in under 27 Days. Africa to South America. Port of Departure: Dakar, Senegal, Africa – Port of Arrival: Paramaribo, Suriname, South America.
Team: Patrick Bol, Lewis Knollman,Andrew Ruinoff, Matt Wilds.
On Christmas Eve at 1200 UTC the Row4Ocean team was 800 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean in their quest to break multiple Atlantic rowing records and raise awareness from plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.
“The weather has somewhat changed in the last day or so: less wind, flatter seas and cloud cover,” commented Nick Legatta from Supertramp. “Year of Zayed has used this to their advantage by taking a more direct westerly route. The wind is due to pick up over the next few days, and speed their progress to the finish line. We have seen the boys fishing off-watch, especially Matt (Wilds) and Andrew (Ruinoff). Matt got a huge Mahi Mahi on the line, one of the biggest I have ever seen, but the big bull got away, so I guess it will be freeze-dried dining for Christmas Day for the team.”
The wildlife safari has been amazing as Nick Leggatt continues: “Last night it was very calm, we were about 50 metres from “Year of Zayed” when we saw Pilot Whales surfacing between us, they were so close we could hear them breathing, at sunrise we saw a large number of them.”
“Unfortunately one encounter with wildlife has left rower Matt Wilds with more soreness to go with his sore back and hands. “Matt had his hand over the side of the boat and it got wrapped by a Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish. He is okay but it was painful for a while. We should be able to cheer them up though; we have lots of messages from their families to give them for Christmas.”
Nick Leggatt also reported that the team have seen several large container ships in the last few days: “We are in one of the busiest shipping routes between Africa and South America, just yesterday three ships were close by, Year of Zayed was in contact with them over the VHF, and two of th ships kindly altered course to give them some sea room – very hospitable.”
Row4Ocean is raising awareness of plastic pollution in our oceans. According to reports, 8 billion kilos of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year, that’s a staggering 22,000,000 kilos of plastic every day; 900,000 kilos of plastic per hour; the equivalent of 60 container loads each weighing 15 tons. No wonder our beaches are covered in plastic debris. The problem will be with us for generations. Over the course of time the sun breaks down plastic into micro plastics. Fish and other marine life end up with plastic in their digestive system, which eventually makes it into the human food chain.