I arrived in Monterey less than 12 hours before Team Aurora’s row across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii. Most teams are in their boats, putting things away, doing TV interviews, and ensuring everything is ready.
It's very windy on the Pacific coast today, and the clouds look heavy and grey. From what I understand, the race will continue, with the first departure at 7 am tomorrow. It's pretty exciting to see all the crews preparing. You can feel the tension and nervous excitement in the air.
I spoke to Sophie from Team Aurora and asked what it felt like the day before departure. She said it is a very real feeling. All the preparation prior to this, the training, from picking up the boat, packing the boat, and preparing it for the crossing. Checking and rechecking every system. Then the sea trials, getting on the ocean. Making sure all the systems work.
Weeks were spent here after the boat arrived by shipping container to ensure everything worked and nothing was broken or damaged after being sent from the UK.
Team Aurora is important to me as one of the rowers was my instructor at Sea School last month, where I learned some of the skills needed to row an ocean. Dawn Wood was my teacher. She has rowed many oceans and now teaches the Ocean Sea Class that I took. This course included First Aid at Sea, Radio Communication, Sea Survival, and Navigation.
I have been reading about ocean rowers for over ten years. I have always wanted to do it, but I didn’t feel it was possible considering my current age. You need to be flexible, and you need to have upper body strength. Overall fitness is also a benefit for ocean rowing. I am 62 and possess none of those accoutrements.
I took the course and gave everything a go. I passed the first aid and radio procedures. I barely passed the navigation and would need further training there. I could not pull myself into the life raft due to poor upper body strength and being overweight. So I have much to work on before I can give it another go.
62 is the new...
So what can you do at 62? A lot! I plan to work on my mobility first. So I have started working with Stott Pilates Studio called Zee Pilates. Within this organization, I will work with a physio and Osteopath to ensure I do this training in a carefully planned manner. At the same time, I am riding my bike and swimming during the week—all lower-risk exercises except for cycling, which is risky on the road.
Its all about Me
Preparing for this event will take at least a couple to three years. I am looking forward to this challenge as I have read about it for many years. It is something I have always wanted to do. Despite all the naysayers laughing at me for having such a crazy far-off goal, this is not for them.
It is for me.