Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 85: Guest Post (Updated)

Just posted the following "tweet" for those following Paul on Twitter:

"Day 86 has begun. Paul is up, rowing, and pointed STRAIGHT for English Harbour. Unimaginable just a day ago! Only 101.6 miles to Antigua!" Hurrah!!!

(To get brief, frequent updates via Twitter, visit the panel to the right.)

One of the commenters asked, "Can you explain why it would not be good if Paul were to land in Guadeloupe or another island?"

Several reasons:
+ The windward coasts of most of the islands of Guadeloupe provide few if any safe places to land an ocean rowboat. Paul's ocean rowing mentor, Simon Chalk, warned us that if Paul were to come within 30 miles of the eastern coast of Guadeloupe a recovery boat should already be on the way to catch him.
+ The plan is to ship Liv back to the states from Antigua. Landing elsewhere would create a host of logistical problems.
+ A dozen or so of Paul's friends and family have come to Antigua to see him land and give him a big welcome, and Paul is very anxious to "give them their money's worth." The group would either miss his landing or have to find a way to island-hop on short notice.

Thanks for asking!


It's Paul's dad again; Paul's sat phone minutes are almost depleted (and so is he), so he's asked me to pinch-hit tonight. We're working to reload the phone, so expect to hear from The Man himself tomorrow.

It's been quite a day, both here in Antigua and out in Liv. For the first half of the day, it appeared that Paul was locked in a combination of winds and currents that would take him away from Antigua and toward the French islands of Guadeloupe (straight into the tiny island of Marie-Galante, to be exact). Here on land, we met with Jonathan Cornelius, of Antigua Barbuda Search and Rescue (ABSAR), to look at possible recovery scenarios. Jonathan was wonderful, providing the perfect mixture of calm presence, knowledge of local waters, and up-to-the-minute computerized wind/current data.

When we met with Jonathan at 10 A.M. local time (and EDT), Paul was still being pushed inexorably S by the winds, so we discussed what measures to take if he had to land in the vicinity of Guadeloupe. But Jonathan predicted that Liv would soon hit a healthy north-tending current, and that Paul would be able to use that current to overcome the winds from the NE and begin making a turn to the NW (and toward Antigua). And he was right!

Beginning at 2 PM (6 PM GMT), Paul began to turn toward the WNW, gaining N ever so slightly. Five hours later, he had made up 3 miles to the N. It doesn't sound like much, but after losing so much mileage to the S, it was wonderful!

As you can imagine, this turn (of events) has transformed the mood here in Antigua and on board Liv. Paul is now on sea anchor for the night, and the current is still taking him NW. A little free mileage (in the right direction) while he sleeps will be very welcome!

As of 8 PM local time, here are the stats: Paul has gone 47.4 statute miles in the last 24 hours; in the process, he's reduced the distance to English Harbour by 43.1 miles. Liv is now 107 statute miles from English Harbour (32.2 miles S and 102.2 miles E of his destination). We are cautiously ecstatic!!!

On behalf of Paul, thanks for all of your comments, prayers and support, especially during these last several days. It's meant the world to him (and us)!



Leslie said...

What good news! The gods are looking over you. You'll make it and be so happy!

You've been doing a terrific job Paul. Keep up the spirits and we look forward to seeing you on local land!

Anonymous said...

Prayers and more prayers ... for Paul on Liv his team on land. The news sounds good. Will look forward to reading of a safe "landing" in Antigua.

Be well. Be safe. Row hard ... God Speed!

Anonymous said...

Coming from your bullpen catcher.
As always, things sound better coming from Mr. R. Great report we heard from him. Not much left man. Think of it this way: if you were in a car, (and on land), you could finish without even stopping to use the bathroom. So pretend its a relaxed trip in the MR2, just like Mr. R pretended not to see that keg of Grolsch 7 years ago.
Hang in their buddy.

Anonymous said...

Paul's Dad,
This is all good news! It looks like things are goind to turn around in Paul's favor. I've been following Paul for many weeks and am now biting my nails and praying for Paul's safe land fall.

For spectators like me can you explain why it would not be good if Paul were to land in Guadeloupe or another island?

Other than not hitting the originally planned target island, this does not take anything away from the amazing accomplishement of crossing the Atlantic in a row boat!

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I was just curious.

Go Paul, you can do it!! We in Michigan are still rooting for you and pray for you every day!! You are almost there!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

i have been following your blog for the past four weeks- I am in love with your journey- my prayers are with you for a safe and fast arrival to Antigua.

be safe- row hard and i hope that you begin to enjoy the sights as you move closer to your desitination-

in gratitude-

Pastor Michele Fischer said...

Mark, Nadine, Paul, Joy,
I am so glad to hear the good news. I was getting worried with the news about the water yesterday-- I will be praying for a strong current to carry you right into the harbor in Antigua- in time to see your friends who have been cheering you on...

Peace and God bless and God speed!

Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine the ecstasy you are going to feel when you can see the tops of buildings, trees, human life over the horizon! WOW! You are so close! Very few have shown the courage, bravery, strength, insight, compassion, mind-over-matter that you have shown in this journey. Take it all in. You are an amazing person. Your feat has me absolutely captivated. Thank you for being an incredible example to many people in this world...many of us strangers whom you may never meet in person, but whose lives you have touched because you wanted to make a difference. Take it all in! Enjoy these last few miles, 'cause that's all that it is, a few miles! Bravo!!!!!!

Sarah - PA

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

For some reason I can't sign on to my Google account so this is coming up anonymous. Anyway, I wrote to a friend who does NGO work in Haiti and he was so impressed with your journey that he invited all 155 of his friends to join your cause.

Keep on rowing! you are almost there and don't let those winds get the better of you. They are just snarly things.
As my father used to say (he taught some Latin)
"Illigitimus non carbarundum"
(Don't let the bastards grind you down!)

Elizabeth Cleary

Anonymous said...

Hey Mark,

Is there anyway you guys could rent a boat and follow Paul in or just fly over him in a plane?

eh said...

A welcome turn of events I'm sure. Quite a remarkable effort. Really. Encouragement and congratulations to everyone. Especially Paul of course.

Anonymous said...

Hiya Paul,

How good is that moment when the GPS ticks over to show only 2 digits ! Less than 100 miles to go. Keep going chap, tha 1st wobble onto dry land is amazing.

To Paul's friends & family, there's a tiny little cafe in English Harbour that does the BEST fruit smoothies, after eating nothing but dried nasty stuff, the taste of a smoothie is just mind blowing.. have one on standby when Paul arrives ( hopefully in the day time )

Cath, Atlantic 07/08

Anonymous said...

Way to go Paul!

Less than 100 statute miles to go and the possibility that this (Friday) may be your last night on Liv. Just think of that long hot shower and nice comfortable bed waiting for you! Oh, and don't forget that whole crew of family and friends that will be waiting to welcome you with open arms, lots of laughter and I'm sure some really great drinks and food.

You've done it! There are no words to express how incredible you are. And based on the postings throughout this extraodinary journey, there are probably more people than you can possibly imagine following you and cheering you on over this very small last leg of your trip in comparison to what you have behind you.

May the winds and current carry you smoothly into English Harbor. You're in my thoughts and prayers constantly.

A Friend of K-Rock

Anonymous said...

Paul, I have been following your journey every day from about day 50, and I am captivated. I hope someone will be capturing your landfall on videocamera and will post it here - I think lots of your fans would love to virtually be there for that moment!

Anonymous said...

Pumped that your almost home. Keep going buddy.


Anonymous said...

Paul, I can't imagine what's going through your head now--row, row, row--but you're so close to your goal and seeing friends and having good food and drinks (water+). Can't wait to read, "Paul has landed safely" but will miss your blog. Thank you for making your journey for the war against cancer!

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul and Mark,

This is Kathie's friend Elaine. This is the first time I've written on the blog, but I've been following your progress almost daily--thinking about you, admiring you, praying for you. I think Kathie would be overwhelmed with your achievement, Paul. I knew her when she was in her early twenties and, while she was adventurous then, I think you've got her beat!

I wish you favorable winds and strong progress toward the finish. I can't wait to hear that you've landed safely on terra firma.

Elaine Brousseau Sawtelle