Day 14 Christmas Day

After bringing in Christmas with our cups of tea, it was time to get serious.

We only had 8 miles left to go to the Lanzarote Marina. We just had to get around the headland, along the coast and into the Marina. Sounds easy right? Well let me tell you differently. It was one of the hardest nights both physically and mentally I have ever experienced.

To make any progress in the unfavourable conditions we faced we needed to have 3 rowers at all times, 1 person on watch for the AIS and Navigation and the last man ready to replace one of the rowers. 

We had no means of steering still. With the rudder broken to steer left you pull harder on the right oar and to steer right you pull harder on the left. This is fine on a flat river in a fine boat but on an ocean rowing boat in the middle of the Atlantic with waves and wind constantly pushing you off course it is far from ideal. Each shift takes your entire concentration, staring at the compass. You decide what bearing to row on at the start and then stare at the digital compass, if it drops more than 5 degrees the whole team starts pulling really hard on the right and the opposite if the degrees creep higher. 

So at midnight we set out on our final battle against Mother Nature and our broken rudder. It was a gruelling 7 hour fight. As we approached the Lanzarote Marina from the east, the break water had been extended by several hundred metres which was not shown on our GPS plotter or when we looked earlier on google maps. We would have rowed right into it had we not noticed the second green light at the end of the extension. The original green light marking the end of the old break water which our maps said was the end of the wall was still there so we were headed right for it! Anyway we managed to pull it around and finally into the marina!

We moored up at 0700 on Christmas Day. When we stepped off everyone was staggering as if they were drunk. It turns out it takes a few hours to get your land legs back! 

We then walked into Arrecife in the search of food. But as you can imagine not many places are open at 7am on Christmas Day. There were however a lot of drunk people walking around following what looked like had been a successful Christmas Eve! So we followed the festive party animals as where there is drunk people there is often food and this tactic paid off. We got ourselves a traditional Christmas morning burger and chips! It wasn’t the best of places but in that moment it was the nicest place in the world! 

Though we’d not slept we managed to have a productive day cleaning the boat and arranging things with the marina so we could get Rose lifted out of the water on Boxing Day.

After a busy day of boat admin we went for a really nice Chinese meal. Nothing says Christmas quite like burgers and Chinese! 

Merry Christmas!

~ Duncan @rowingroy