We have been crossing the Atlantic Ocean as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge for almost two weeks now, and what an eventful few days it has been! The race began with fantastic weather, and at one point we were lying in second position, which is a huge achievement - we were ecstatically happy! But unfortunately this was not to last. No sooner had we settled into life on the ocean waves and a storm hit - and what a storm it was...
It started on the Sunday, the waves were getting bigger and we found that rowing was just a wasted effort - we were going nowhere! We decided to set up our para-anchor to stop us from slipping back to La Gomera and had a rest. Little did we know that this 'rest' would continue for the best part of three days. The storm appeared to get worse; the waves came crashing down on us. We tried a couple of times to start rowing again but our mission was fruitless. Every time we tried, we just drifted back to shore.
Our morale took a serious dip. According to our tracking device (which you can view here) we ended up going back on ourselves and cancelling out a lot of the hard work that we put into the race initially. It was so frustrating - all we could do was sit back and wait for the storm to pass. The fact that we are doing this challenge for three amazing charities was one of the only things that kept us going.
The storm lasted for three days. We were both squeezed into our small cabin, checking our chart plotter and mapping out routes. We had to be prepared in the event that the boat capsized, so we had our life jackets on. The boat was very rocky but we rode out the storm and when we woke on Wednesday morning we were relieved that the storm was moving away from us. We were relieved to hear that team Atlantic Splash, whose boat started taking on water and had to be rescued during the storm, were airlifted to safety. It's a stark reminder to us all of the risks we face during this challenge. Atlantic Splash are now trying to raise enough money to recover and rescue their boat to enable them to restart the race.
We're in constant contact with Stokey Woodall, our chart-plotter and weather chap. He's assured us that this is the worst weather we'll see throughout our voyage so by surviving this, we've hopefully survived the worst. From the 16 December, the trade winds will be in our favour, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that they can help us to make up for lost time.
We have also experienced a couple of technical difficulties. We had issues with one of the seats before we left and now we have a different problem, it keeps coming off the back of its runner. This is fixable though, so we're hoping to be able to do this ourselves. What we can't fix is our autopilot, which appears to have stopped working. We're speaking to a few people about this but if we can't get it fixed it's not the end of the world, as we can use our foot-steer instead.
Right now, we're on course and rowing our hearts out to Antigua. It feels great to be rowing again. Keep your fingers crossed that we reach those trade winds soon. You can check our progress over on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge website http://www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com and to find out more about our campaign please visit http://www.atlanticrow2013.com and our Virgin money giving page.
Follow Dan Howie on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AtlanticRow2013