Monday, February 16, 2009


Big day today as I passed the technical half-way point and am now closer to the finish line in Antigua than I am to the start way back in La Gomera! No champagne just yet, though, as I want to wait till 40W, where I'll really feel like I've turned the page and will literally turn my big map over to the side with Antigua on it. In other news, winds were good again today, and my mileage will probably end up close to yesterday's pace which was in the high 40's, I believe. I'm planning to make some bold predictions and set some personal challenges after crossing 40W, so stay tuned for that!

Below are a couple pictures for your enjoyment. The first, of me looking out of the hatch, is a good example of how I spend a lot of time when I'm not rowing -- sitting indian-style with my head near the door for fresh air, with a stove, food, and water in front of me while cooking/eating. It's always a fun game to see how little or how much I can leave the hatch open to balance my need for fresh air with the risk of a wave jumping into the cabin with me and soaking everything. With both hatches closed (the safest option) the cabin will be absolutely stifling and after ten minutes I'll be dripping with sweat. My approach is generally to leave them closed and open one for a few seconds every 4-5 minutes while listening for oncoming waves. Sometimes this works, other times I get splashed. I'm pretty sure my skills are improving though...

The second shot is a long overdue picture of my hands, which are still in great shape considering the amount of rowing I'm doing. One small painful spot on each, and that's been about normal for the trip so far. Rather than blisters, a bigger hand-related problem is that it's becoming increasingly difficult and painful to bend my fingers in the morning, despite my most creative stretching/massage regimen on my hands and forearms. Eventually I'm able to work this out and have so far always been able to grip the oars by the start of my morning shift -- on the bright side, this is better than "the claw" problem that other rowers have had, where they can't straighten their fingers...

More rowing tomorrow, and I hope to cross 40W tomorrow night some time. Oh, yeah, and the first picture above is your Day 47 installment of BEARD WATCH -- enjoy!

Thanks to all who have supported this expedition and important research at Yale Cancer Center with a donation to Row for Hope. If you haven't donated, or if you would consider donating again, it would be much appreciated. To donate online use the link in the upper right-hand corner of this page or visit



Pete said...

congrats on the halfway point, paul! i hear the atlantic actually slopes downward on the second half, so it's all downhill from here on!

Wild Bill said...


I am curious as to why you don't have an upright of some type with one of those "radar bouncing" balls attached ?
Wouldn't one have helped to ward off the large sea-going vessels then via alerting to them of your presence on their radar screen ?
While over-all round in shape, they have no outer 'skin', but are constructed of many discs on many geometric planes , it seems.

I hope your sores get better soom for you.

Oh, and by the way, your "pin-up girl" seen in photos of your cabinin your earlier blogs looks 'smokin-hot' in the pictures in the Sports Illustrated issue, including some painted on "swimsuits" done on her. {sizzling !!}

Wild Bill aka 'fishnwilly"

Zack Bloom said...

How the hell did you take a picture of both your hands? That might be as, if not more impressive than an ocean row! Keep up the amazing job bud!

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul,

Great to hear how awesome you're doing! The kids and adults are in FL doing 3 a day rowing practices. Pales in comparison but I'll remind them how easy they have it!

RE:Sores. Can you fashion a "hemmorhoid" pillow to sit on with holes cut for your sores? I'd hate to see infections really endanger things. Hope the massage roller's doing its job. Does it help your forearms? The tendon sheaths for bending fingers are between the heel of your hand and halfway down the forearm. Sounds like they are clamping down.

I'm sure you're trying everything possible! We miss you around here and are glad you're trekking on! Over halfway! That's amazing!

Keep the faith....


Anonymous said...

Dear Paul,

Grandma and Grandpa here, writing to you with Joy's big help. It seems kind of bland to say we're praying again but it's more important to us, and hopefully to you, than even the best news of the New York Yankees might be. They manufacture their own news, and certainly so are you. Any rate, good night on Monday the 16th. If you have a choice, keep well rather than wet.

Melissa M said...


Those hands put my half marathon blisters to shame haha. I am with Zack on how impressive the two hand pic is - haha.

Sent you the latest and greated eric church lyrics today. I listened to the song 50 times today. You will love it. The CD comes out on 3-24 so I plan to bring it to you at the finish line!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully you're watching out for the end of the earth from that cabin opening. Remember, after much discussion and debate on the Norwegian Magesty we came to the conclusion that the world is indeed flat.

As for the guess is your problem started by absorbing one too many ass slaps back in the day at this place they call MacArthur Park or "The Post"...

Keep up the good work.


K-Rock and #1 Wild Bill said...

Hi Buddy - All the Tomics here today. Allie & John are here & Libby - this is Feb vacation week - for everybody but me - and Lib says she is working from home. Anyhow, we talk alot about you and what more we can do to help. These discussions do take place over wine, beer, etc. Definitely thinking of you - options for The Spread are also being discussed. We are on the edge of our seats waiting for that half-way point - we are so proud of you! Give yourself all the props you need to get there and beyond! xxoo-

Anonymous said...


What an incredible milestone. Congrats!


Anonymous said...

Glad your half way home, should be back just about in time for some golf weather. Keep going and be safe.


AmyGrant said...

Do you know how many girls are beyond jealous of the amount of calories you're able to eat and still lose weight!!!! Congrats on the big milestone! Counting down the days! :-)

Bill R. said...

Hi Paul,

When you get real warm think of
The Snow Row open water race on Feb 28th in Boston Harbor. Only 4 miles but water temp about 38 degrees!

I'll report your half way point milestone to the guys as I'm sure they will all be asking.

Freakin amazing job your doing.

Have a great row home!

Allison Kelley said...

Looking pretty burly there, Mr. Ridley. Also a bit red....but I guess thats a given : )

Be safe, row hard, and see you on the other side!


ΞЯІПП said...

congrats on the halfway point!!!!!