I just had the pleasure of talking with five fearless English girls. I was in the relative safety of my living room. I say relative because sometimes my Boston terrier, Winston Churchill, can get rather rowdy. The Fearless Five were in the deepest darkest reaches of the Atlantic Ocean, rowing their way into the record books.
Julia, Debbie, Katie, Kate and Helen are the brave souls embarking on this epic journey. Their goal is to break two world records. As I write they are well on their way to becoming the first all female team of 5 to row any ocean. And their attempt to be the fastest all female team to cross the Atlantic Ocean is inching towards the record books as well.
The girls row two hours on and two hours off. The Guardian, which is the name of their boat, is seven meters long and will be there home for just over 40 days and 3,000 miles. Or in plain old English, a long time. They are attempting to raise one million pounds for charity to eradicate the scourge of human trafficking around the world. The route they are rowing retraces the shipping lanes of the old slave trade.
The Fearless Five are part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, which is recognized as the world's toughest rowing race and four out of the five girls have no sailing experience. None. Thought I should add this little tidbit, just to insert some more gravitas into the epic nature of their undertaking.
The trials and tribulations they have endured are truly epic. It seems that crossing the Atlantic is predictably fraught with challenges. They have had to contend with extreme heat, massive waves, powerful storms, boredom, sea sickness and loneliness.
Their beloved Guardian has not faired so well either. Their automatic steering malfunctioned within the first few days. This meant they have had to steer manually across the whole Atlantic Ocean. Not good. Their water desalinator broke down. They have been using a plastic pump to make their own drinking water. Again. Not particularly good. The only mechanical thing they have left is their GPS. If this fails I hoped that one of them knew how to navigate using the stars. None of them did...
One more thing to frighten the daylights out of you: they don't have a back up team. So. If the shit hits the proverbial fan, they are in a serious pickle.
Many may read this and think why have they done this to themselves. Well, in adversity there are priceless lessons to be learnt. I have always found that adventures are not simply external journeys. They are in fact predominately internal ones. The greatest adventures happen within our hearts. They change us. They mold us. They make us into the best we can be. They push us out of our comfort zones and into a new reality. A reality where we realize anything is possible. Successfully rowing across the Atlantic Ocean is a perfect example of the famous mantra: impossible is nothing.
I was tremendously impressed by the courage, boldness and shear magnitude of will these 5 girls have showed. Life experiences are fuel for the soul, you see. And the adventure of crossing the Atlantic Ocean I am sure will shape their lives.
For more information or to donate, please visit www.rowforfreedom.com