One woman's quest to conquer the ocean
12:44

One woman's quest to conquer the ocean

Culture
[BLANK_AUDIO] A strange sense of peace at this point. And I don't know what it means. It means that I've come to terms with my imminent demise. Whether I've decided to live or maybe I'm just running out of oxygen in here, I don't know. But, something that's okay about this and I just wanted to make a note of it. In case that it's okay that I die, I don't know [BLANK_AUDIO] Hey. [MUSIC] So behind me is the Amercian Pearl which is a rowboat that I built with the help of friends. And I've been rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] So I wrote 12 hours a day I would be at the office when the sun came up. And I would be at the office when the sun went down and I would take about a five minute break each hour and I was pretty, Pretty serious about that time if I took a six minute break one hour I took a four minute break the next hour because that time as pretty fast and I only had enough food for 100 days and if I stopped rolling, I was going to run out of food.It"s time for breakfast Im hungry. A lot of things that can put up with being hungry snack among them. Mm. Yum. [MUSIC] One day when I was rowing along, I heard what sounded like a wave approaching. And I was like what is that cuz the ocean wasn't rough that day. And it turned out that there was a sort of calvary charge of dolphins lining up behind the boat. [MUSIC] Because the boat shaded the surface of In the water, fish would gather under the hull. And at first it was small fish and the fish got bigger and bigger and bigger. And it was great entertainment to watch the dolphin fishing. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] I was eight days from shore when my boat capsize for the first time and salt water got into my electronic communications equipment. And salt water and technology really doesn't mix very well. July the 2nd At about 7:30 AM and I have been in the cabin for day and a half now. I still think it's a pretty good theory if you can leave the North Carolina and get into the Goldstream Now Benjamin Franklin identified the Gulf Stream and identified it as a warm water current that moves toward Europe. And if you could sail in the Gulf Stream, I think it would be a really fast trip. The challenge was I lost communications and when I lost communications, I'd lost the ability to track the Gulf Stream. The temperature of the water has dropped significantly. It is now. 70.5 which proves definitively that I am no longer in the Gulf Stream. To the north and south of the Gulf Stream. Of course water you know nature abhors a vacuum. So once you're out of the Gulf Stream the boat's going circling in eddies or it's going the wrong way. You can have a great day one day rode 35 miles with a positive energy and some tailwinds and everything. And then if you get a negative Betty when you go to sleep you're back where you were or even farther back. That's yours. About 6am. It's now it's 530 and I've made a whopping 12 miles of progress and if road probably 10 or 11 hours. I'm gonna do another hour after dinner. But it's a little depressing to work that hard and. And get, in the grand scheme of things, not very far. [NOISE] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] So in 1998 it was probably the worst hurricane season on record. Take my word for it, these waves are just a little too big to be putting oars out in. I can put oars out in them, I'm not just not too sure wouldn't have enough of a blade enough left when I tried to bring them back in. She had GPS on the boat so we could watch the plot on map. And we knew exactly where she was in the ocean, but we couldn't get a hold of her. Nobody here could communicate with her because the radios had gone down. Put the oars out. And either break the oar or I'd dislocate my shoulder, or I'd hurt my elbow or break my wrist or something Things stupid. I was hit by Hurricane Bonnie which gave me just a couple of bad days. Last night I had what was without a doubt my roughest night on the water. I slept in my life vest absolutely convinced that the next wave is gonna come through the [UNKNOWN] and right into the cabin. Kind of like watching a car wreck when you can't do anything about it. After twelve days of storm, I get to row for four hours with the flagging wind, and I'm not very happy right now, as happy as I was this morning. I am unhappy now. So we watched the storm basically chase her down And went up the coast and then basically clobbered. We're not going any where today again and I'll be out of food and refreshments beforw I get any where. And then I was hit by a hurricane Danielle and that was a direct hit and the centre if the eye passed within, Miles of my position. September the 5th, dawn, I'm in by far the most violent storm I've been in, so far. The winds. Are well in excess of 40 know, I guess probably 50 knots Everybody kinda figured she would hit the perp sooner once the winds got really bad because I'm sure that the first day or two was kind of more of a gradual buildup. Until it finally really caught her with the big waves and stuff. Two capsizes, the last capsize I took the rib off the top of my ceiling with my back. So It's [INAUDIBLE]. I wanted to set off my distress beacon, but I couldn't bring myself to do it because it was too dangerous to ask someone else to come out and get me. I had chosen to go on the ocean in a row boat and I had to take responsibility for that. They cut my tether, cut the sea anchor. They're both gone. The sea anchor that was on the boat, the storm anchor was gone. I've broken my rib on the top of my boat. So that's that I tried to get to the perf to set it off but quite frankly I don't think there is anybody else out here. I got myself into this and I'm gonna live or I'm gonna die on the whim of nature, and that's that? But I have no right to risk the lives of other people to come and get me out of this one. Quite frankly, I don't think they'd ever be able to find this little boat. It's so far under water right now the only part that's showing pretty much is the cabin. So, [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] The next night, a hurricane named Earl passed well north of my position, but it triggered a number of rogue waves and the boat capsized. And I looked out and thought, the waves aren't nearly as big The winds aren't nearly as strong. I think it's safe enough to ask for help. And I triggered my distress beacon about 4:00 in the morning cuz I knew by the time anyone would reach me it would be daylight. And an RAF plane flew over to make sure there was someone or something to rescue. [MUSIC] It was not a dramatic rescue Captain Morrison circled the boat around me several times to bring the waves down to a manageable level before they threw out a cargo ladder and I just climbed up. [MUSIC] Hey. Hi. Hey. [UNKNOWN] [LAUGH] [INAUDIBLE] And I got beat up some storms before that but not too many and I only flipped three times over Danielle and when Danielle hit, eleven times in one day. I glossed over how badly I was injured because I, I felt like I deserved it at some level. And I probably had some broken ribs and big gaps in my muscles. I remember my left quadriceps was just there was just a hole in it and it took years for the sort of gaps in muscles to fill in. Where I'd been hit by this part of the boat or that part of the boat. There are some mornings that I get up and I think hurricanes are bad for you. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] Even now when I am on the whatever shore of the United States looking at the ocean What was I thinking? That's a big ocean. But then the experiences that I've had on the ocean that were just amazing. The stars and the sea turtles and the jelly fish and the birds with [INAUDIBLE] were really extra ordinary and that sense of solitude and what you can learn from it was really heartening. [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO]

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