Yesterday, we flew out to Antigua.
It was only as we took off that I could truly begin to allow myself to think that this huge chapter in all our lives is beginning to draw to an end. I suspect that it is the first chapter in a long book of incredible achievements for Luke. For me it has also proved to be a bit of a 'life-changer' in several ways. I suspect I am not alone in this.
We have all been on this journey with the boys thanks to the technology that has brought to us their incredible blogs, moving phone calls and radio interviews. They have given us a new understanding of human endurance along with glimpses of a lost wild world that most of us will never experience.
On the flight over yesterday I spent several hours looking out of the window with our strong binoculars at the vast Atlantic Ocean 35,000 feet below us. I saw only one ship in all that time but I thought I saw rowing boats and yachts several times! Of course it wasn't boats at all, just huge patches of white water on the top of the big waves which faded after a few seconds if you kept watching. The thought of Luke and Jamie down there being thrown around in their tiny boat by those huge swells was difficult; I am very glad I didn't have this experience before they left.
As we were in customs we had a call from Luke on the satellite phone. He sounded really well and excited to see us and to finish the row. But he also feels a sense of sadness that this huge adventure is coming to an end.
The house we are staying in here is at the top of a hill exposed to the elements on all sides (but not bobbing around in the sea like the boys!). Just being here, smelling and hearing the sea and the wind is somehow making the boys' experience more real to me. And of course the thought that with every hour, they are about 2.5 nautical miles closer to us is helping too.
And now it is 5.30am in Antigua and I am sitting on the terrace looking at the moon, (Luke said that if ever I was missing him I should look at the moon and know that he would probably be looking at it too - he didn't know there would be 90% cloud cover for 50% of the row!) the stars, the clouds and the sky. The sky, which is now going from dark purple to yellow and palest lilac. The wind is strong and gusty, noisy too. I can see dark patches on the water of the bay down the hill where it is gusting. I am wrapped up in a soft quilt because it is pretty cool. This is beautiful. The boys have watched the sun rise and set every morning and every night for 49 days now. From what Luke has said, it is clearly incredibly uplifting for them even at the lowest points in their row. How often do any of us take time to watch the sun come up?
This adventure has touched so many thousands of people. As the end approaches and the boys get closer to us, I feel that I am also getting a little bit closer to them on some aspects of their experience, albeit wrapped in a soft duvet with a glass of cool orange juice at my side!
I have had to cope with a huge level of stress and worry over the past few weeks, something that anyone who has had a brush with breast cancer wants to avoid. I have had to find ways of coping - meditation is the newest addition to my armoury. It is something I think I will keep doing thanks to a brilliant app on my phone; Headspace which makes it accessible, easy and interesting. But there have been many times when meditation has not been enough. Particularly at the beginning, when it was really tough for the boys. Instead I just had to refuse to look at their blogs and accounts of the storms, capsizes, rescues and 40 foot waves.
I think that it has been difficult for us to convey to the boys and for the boys to comprehend just how many people have been moved and affected by their efforts; after all they have been in a tiny boat with virtually no communication and only sea, sky, sun, stars, moon and the odd ship or whale to look at for 49 days. When they come ashore and we show them the Facebook pages, the comments on the blogs, the hundreds of emails and letters, the enormity of what they have done will surely hit home.
You can follow Jamie and Luke on Twitter @2boysinaboat or on their website 2 Boys in a Boat. You can also watch their progress on this race tracker. The 2 Boys in a Boat team would like to say a huge thank you to their supporters including Duracell, WeSEE.com, Reed.co.uk, Buzzacott and Sidley Austin
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