My first week – After so many delays Tue the 7th seemed perfect with a moderate Southerly wind favouring us. Once out of Cape Town harbour we rowed westerly to get as far offshore as possible. Then things went pear-shaped; the weather swung to a strong South Westerly. This was not good at all as both of us needed to row consistently to avoid running ashore on Robben Island. Once we had missed Robben we continued rowing together to avoid Dassen Island. By 21.30 we had rowed non-stop for over 11 hours. Then the shifts began. One of us rowed for 1 ½ hrs while the other rested, on and on and on.
When asked what one of my greatest fears would be, I said ‘being hit by a ship’. It would be game-over, both for the expedition as well as for us! Well, for the last four nights we have had to take evasive actions from fishing boats and ships. Last night (Fri) was the closest call. We received an AIS warning that we were on a collision course. When we checked the vessels details on AIS it came up as a 1, 000 foot tanker with a width of 200 feet!
These guys cannot alter course easily. We got on the radio and spoke to the duty officer on the bridge. We informed this monolith of a vessel, moving at us at 24 knots, that we had limited manouverability as we were two men in a rowing boat with wind and swell not in our favour. He asked us to ‘stand by’. Well, those two or three minutes were probably the longest of my life! He came back on Channel 16 and told us to hold our course (their navigation gear being more sophisticated than ours, he could access more detail). We watched in the wind as she thundered past us a few hundred meters away.
Wayne and I are making a great team. Not only is he strong in body and mind but also subscribes to the #DOTChallenge concept and really wants to make a difference to our Earth. PLEASE get on the free DOT Challenge app and pull with us to make a difference to our only home. Also, please ‘like’ and ‘share’ the DOT – Do One Thing FB page. For more info, please go to our website at www.dotchallenge.org and http://bit.ly/DOTChallenge