The Nuts and Bolts of THON
February 3, 2017
All in a Day’s Work
February 10, 2017

Photo courtesy Ben Duffy, Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

Well, here we are. Finishing up the penultimate 40s of the row before the big push across the 50s (longitude). The 30s, despite the association with our name, really pushed our patience. The word “dead zone” became synonymous with our locations. While others enjoyed the nice sweep that is particular to the trade winds, John and I fought our way from being pushed back to Africa at times. Since moving into the 40s, things have changed and we’ve done a decent job moving along with really no storms to speak of.

Weather Update
It’s been fairly seamless, but we just got word we should expect less-than-ideal conditions for a few days. Weather descriptions included the dreaded “calm and clear” phrase, so we may try to go two up and push home as we touch into the 50s.

Latest Happenings
As we are a few weeks to landing, one would assume that the adventure would be winding down. But, as fate would have it, the Atlantic shan’t go without a few more punches. We’ve recently come to a head with a reoccurring power issue. Much of last week, we were hovering around 5-10% of our last batteries’ standard capacity.

As a result, we had been running primarily dark and only really charging our satellite phone. No water maker. No cabin lights, No iPad. No navigation light. Completely dark. We began to prep the boat for the worst when we decided to switch back to a previous battery that had unexpectedly died earlier in the row and — bingo! — we have full power now. The battery appears to be holding a charge unlike its brethren. This is quite the relief as rowing into Antigua dark would have been an adventure unto itself.

The longer the journey, the more important supply rationing becomes. John and I have begun to more severely ration food, snacks, baby wipes, etc. Most of what we brought is quickly being depleted! In just a few days, we will be finished with breakfast food. A dark day indeed! John is primarily responsible for keeping the cookies away from me. He can’t be trusted at this point. I will take them all, given the opportunity. The seas are an unforgiving place, haven’t you heard?

One of our bigger concerns is that we’ve exhausted our supply of AAA batteries used for headlamps. The backlight to our compass is out, so we’ve been using headlamps to light up the compass to navigate at night. With the depletion of batteries, we now have to get a bit more clever, which is something I have been particularly enjoying. Figured we can MacGyver a solution using a signal mirror, iPad back light, and duct tape. A solution that is still requiring some persuasion with my boat mate.

Body transformation
As you may have seen from our social feeds, our bodies have been changing quite a bit. Our chests, arms, and stomachs are all but deflated at this point with the majority of muscle isolated to the back and shoulders. Weight loss has been fairly significant despite a daily 4,000-5,000 calorie diet, but it’s a calorie out/in type of thing out here. Quite frankly, I’m interested to see how much I’ve lost when we finally land. Don’t think I’ve been this thin in a very long time. Saying that, we intentionally beefed up expecting this, so we are still in fighting shape!

Well, that’s it for now. Sorry for the delay and cross your fingers for us that the next few weeks run smoothly. One of us will check in before then. Cheers, and stay classy.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Mom!!

— Kurt Schwartz

32º North rows for The Samfund, a unique foundation that provides much-needed financial support for young adult cancer survivors. Please visit their Flipgive fundraising page to donate directly or to Shop & Support The Samfund.

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