"The last night at sea?...
5 Jul 2009
After 11 weeks at sea, our concept of time has completely gone to pot! Last night flew by in an instant but every minute seems to last an eternity.
Your weather dances and gift to Neptune has all been worthwhile as the weather is now in our favor and we're moving on a good course towards the finishing line ... with good speed. As the GPS is about to turn on to 49.9 we're ever so hopeful that tonight will be our last night on the great ship Pura Vida.
We've passed away the last few hours playing 'cat and mouse' with cargo ships. At one point last night we could see three different ships on the horizon within 6nm of us. All of them looking enormous. "Sante Isabel" came within 1 nm of us and we just couldn't get over the sheer size of her. What struck us even more however was how she just completely disappeared from sight when we dipped to the bottom of a wave - a reminder of just how big the Indian ocean swell can be!
With another Angel now free of leg hair, the prepearation for land is really now happening ... if you could all say one last little prayer at bed time tonight for us ... we hope tomorrow night we'll be able to settle into a day, clean, warm, bed that doesn't move!"
7 Jul 2009
4 British women, the Ocean Angels, have become the first all female crew to row 3720 miles across the Indian Ocean from Australia to Mauritius. Rowing for 79 days it has been a grueling test of their determination to succeed in the first ever Indian Ocean Rowing Race. They are raising money for Breast Cancer Care, the charity that supports people living with breast cancer.
The foursome is made up of: Fiona Waller, a photographer and cancer survivor (34); Sarah Duff a consumer researcher (25), and Elin Haf Davies a nurse (32) who all rowed the Atlantic in 2007, and also first timer Jo Jackson (28, surveyor) who had never set foot in a rowing boat or been to sea until signing up for this enormous challenge!
The Ocean Angels started their epic journey from Geraldton, Western Australia on 19th April 2009 and have been rowing ever since. They’re the only all female competitors, in what is heralded, as the world's toughest rowing race. The race was won by ‘Bexhill Trust Challenger’ (all male four) on Friday 26th June who took 68 days to complete the race.
On finishing the race Fiona Waller, skipper says:
“I can't believe we've finally made it - the first all female crew to row across the Indian Ocean. To say it's been tough is an understatement but what an adventure. We have seen the best and the worst of the Indian Ocean. I'm really proud of what we've achieved both in terms of our world record and also the money we have raised for Breast Cancer Care. I saw my mother, Elisabeth, go through and eventually die from breast cancer in 2000. I was also diagnosed with cancer just after my 30th birthday so I have seen the impact this disease can have. We'd like to thank all our supporters and sponsors for helping us all the way to the end”.
The girls have had to be totally self sufficient on their 29 foot rowing boat, rowing in pairs for 2 hours and resting for 2 hours all day every day. They ate dehydrated rations and made their water using a solar powered de-salinator - dealing with numerous breakages, power problems, flooding, and steering issues. They have also been pushed backwards at times due to the extreme weather conditions in which they found themselves. Just days from the finish crew member Sarah Duff was thrown from her rowing seat by a rogue wave, injuring her back and her ribs and reducing the crew to three...Despite these set-backs and other physical discomforts such as salt water sores, the Ocean Angels battled on to finish the race and take their place in history.
The 4 girls hope that their supporters will help them raise £50,000 for Breast Cancer Care after their epic voyage. If you want to support the girls donate on their Justgiving website www.justgiving.com/oceanangels. All of the links can be found on our website www.oceanangels.co.uk
Also, you can still put 'your face on the boat' as the girls are planning a huge wall of faces at the fundraiser - celebration they are hosting in October when they get back. Go to http://www2.faceboat.org/ to donate your ‘mugshot’ and your money!
The Ocean Angels would like to thank the luxury 'Merville Beach' resort for ensuring the girls have a good first nights sleep in Mauritius - in a deluxe stonewall, thatched roof cottage set in tropical gardens by the sandy beach. Thank you!
The Indian Ocean Rowing Race is organised by South West based nautical events company, Woodvale Challenge Ltd., te Indian Ocean Rowing Race 2009 is one in a seies of ocean rowing races open to anyone, regardless of age, gender and experience.
Conditions in the Indian Ocean are extreme with frequent swells of over 50ft, hurricane forces winds, unrelenting sun and intense heat, sudden and unpredictable weather changes and dangerous marine life including sharks.
There was a sailing support boat to act as emergency assistance if needed.
Previously no all female team has ever successfully completed a crossing of the Indian Ocean – The Ocean Angels are the first.
Prior to this race, only two unassisted crossings have been made of the Indian Ocean, the first by
Svedland Anders in 1971 and the second by Britain’s Simon Chalk, in 2002.
Of the 10 boats that set out in April, only 5 are still in the race which is testament to the grueling conditions the rowers have had to face.For more info and the girl’s blog please visit www.oceanangels.co.uk, for donations click here.
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