ROW YOU BASTARDS, ROW!
UPDATE FROM EXPEDITION MANAGER DAVE FIELD AT DONKEY HQ:
Back in 1977 when Colin Quincy became the first man to row across the Tasman Sea, he scrawled across his boat a scribbled note to himself where he could see it as he rowed through his toughest times… It read: “Row You Bastard, Row!” and it was that same message that he sent to Axe and Charlie late last year when we went to meet him. Now is the time that brings those words to mind for Axe and Charlie…
The word is the guys are safe but doing it very tough right now. Gone are the high speeds they were loving as they exited the Java Sea … and as they entered the Bali Sea last night they got hit smack in the mouth with some of the hardest conditions they’ve experienced so far on the journey… The winds shifted and together with the currents Simpson’s Donkey was swept north away from Bali (see the map pictured), making Axe even consider trying for Lombok instead of Bali. But that’s not possible because they need to get to Bali to complete the immigration clearances for leaving Indonesia, so now they’ve since corrected their course by aiming SImpson’s Donkey in a more southerly direction, aiming 230-degrees and rowing with one oar against the wind to achieve an actual course of 160-degrees!
So as you can imagine, rowing under such conditions is extremely tough-going for the guys, as they make only about 1-2 knots in some very rough beam seas – that’s when the waves are coming at them from the sides, making it extremely hard to (a) keep on track and (b) row! Added to that, the currents are getting stronger the closer they get to Bali. Before they left Bawean, Axe talked about this happening, that with the Bali Sea, they’d hit the Indonesian through-flow current (ITF) for the first time and was preparing for all eventualities. The biggest problem with this is that the current moving through the Lombok Strait at the moment (which they are approaching) is moving at 8 knots which is a speed of about 4 metres a second… far to strong for Axe and Charlie to row against…
So now the challenge is to get across the Bali Sea and get closer to the coast so they are as far away from the centre of the Lombok Strait current where it’s strongest… but not too close… because the winds are currently coming in off the water very strongly and will threaten to blow the guys ashore which is obviously an expedition-threatening possibility.
So with all that said… Keep sending your words of encouragement – we’re passing them on to the guys daily and they really help – and right now is when they need them the most!
Row you Bastards, Row!
Keep up to date with where the guys are:-