Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Every Dream Coming True at Once


Paul here, and very much on dry land as promised!

There's no way to accurately describe the feeling of stepping out of Liv on Sunday afternoon and having all of the things I'd been dreaming about for the last 88 days handed to me in an instant. It will be impossible to do justice to the experience, but I'll try my best over the next several days, and we'll have lots of pictures and video of the arrival festivities up here for you. I've been swamped with press interviews and welcome activities, and I'm just starting to feel more comfortable on land and getting my schedule sorted out. For a quick glimpse of my schedule, today started with radio interviews with stations in Detroit and Miami/West Palm beach between 8 A.M. and 8:30. Then a break before Fox News (TV) at 11:30 and CNN at 12:30. Incredible! Such great exposure for Row for Hope and the cause!

The welcome I've received here in Antigua has been completely overwhelming, beginning the moment I reached the mouth of English Harbour. After not having seen another human for 87 days, I found myself in the middle of a swarm of dingys loaded with photographers and well-wishers. I could hear the cheers of a crowd on the point marking the entrance to the harbor. The Search and Rescue boat had come out and was spraying a fire-hose rainbow to welcome me to Antigua. A restaurant on the water just inside the harbor off of my starboard side was lined with at least 50 people, all standing and applauding as I rowed by, with "We Are the Champions" blasting in the background. The occupants of the dozens of boats anchored in the harbor were on deck and congratulating me as I rowed by. Then I looked over my right shoulder and saw the crowd at the dock. It was HUGE! I had envisioned being greeted by my friends and family as I got off the boat, but it looked like the whole island had turned out to welcome me. I remember thinking "I didn't think there were this many people on earth!", and yet all were there to see me set foot on dry land.

It's getting late and I have an early interview tomorrow also, so I'll have to write about what it was like to take my first very wobbly steps and how I've spent the last couple of days -- think juicy hamburgers, pizza, steak, ice cream (even for breakfast), wonderful friends and family, constant congratulations from strangers as I walk around town, and incredible hospitality from the Antiguan people.

Thanks so much for all of your support -- sounds like we have a lot of celebrating to do together when I get back to the States, and don't forget that the fundraising push continues as we continue to promote the Row for Hope cause!

Loving LAND!


P.S. We're working on getting some video up so stay tuned. I was recording a shot of myself rowing into the harbor from the boat. Should be a really cool perspective, and I'll get it up on YouTube as soon as I can. There's also a good video from land and the mob scene when I stepped off of the boat.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A Challenge to the Rowing Community

Do you row? Have you rowed? Do you know someone who rows? If so, here's a special challenge to you!

Taking inspiration from Paul Ridley's incredible solo row across the Atlantic, Bob Glendening has generously offered to match all new donations to from members of the rowing community. His generosity also stems from his family's devotion to rowing and its personal experience with cancer. The Glendening Boat House at Colgate was given by the family in 2004 in memory of his mother, who lost her battle with cancer in 2000.

So if you row and you want to show your support for a fellow rower who's crossing the Atlantic solo and unsupported, please consider an online donation to

Please be sure to add "Glendening Challenge" when completing the Gift Information section online at


Anonymous said...

Happy April Fools Day!!! It's no joke you are on dry land. I'm so glad so many turned out for your arrival! So cool. I'm sure I speak for all of us followers that we are anxiously awaiting lots of pictures and cool video!

Lori - Endicott

Anonymous said...

Thank you for letting us share in the experience! AWESOME! Incredible! -- ETS

Anonymous said...

.......SO, SO PROUD.....


Anonymous said...

Will we hear a "Baba-booey" from you during the CNN interview?

Robert P said...

Awesome. I've been checking the google news page regularly and just watched the fox interview. It looks like alot more people are hearing your story :)

Robert P

Anonymous said...

"Hey, I know that guy!" I've said that a lot this week! On Monday, I saw your story on the home page of CNN and AOL. The national coverage you are getting is FANTASTIC!! I am still telling everyone that will listen about you and encouraging everyone to check out your website.

Is the beard still there? Or are you waiting to get home for people to see it in person first?

You would not believe the number of people who packed into the kitchen yesterday to watch your FoxNews interview! To say that we are all incredibly proud of you would be a big understatement.

Thanks for the description you've given so far of your arrival. I cried while reading that... I can only imagine how it was to live it in person.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

- Denise @ GA

Anonymous said...

Job well done. Thanks for supplying a great diversion from the "not so good things" that have been happening in the world over the last few months. I know that I can speak for many of those of us that followed you day by day, in the fact that we became very emotionally involved in your adventure. We were concerned when you had troubles and also felt joy in your success. You have worked hard and earned "Rock Star" status in my book.

Phil M. (Melissa's dad)

P.S. Donation on its way...

Anonymous said...

Congrats Paul.
Hope you realise that u have reached beyond America and several of the blogs testify to that.
Enjoy regaining your land legs.

Anonymous said...

glad to hear that the exposure is there!!! hope you got to chat w/ shepard smith that guy!

glad to hear the reception was fantastic....deserve it!


Matt said...

Well I personally would have told Fox News to shove it (screw those propagandists!), lol... but other than that... congratulations again! I posted your story on a few internet messageboards, and it's truly been inspirational to read your blog of your adventure.
Hope to hear more about it soon!