Virgin Global Row Update: Another Frustrating Week for Olly

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Opening up the Virgin Global Row webpage is always a bit of a scary prospect. I click on the link and hold my breath until the Google map loads up displaying Olly’s position and the path he has taken to get there. Early on, over the course of the first few days, that was a nice progressive line, showing him, and his row boat the Flying Carrot, making good progress through the Southern Ocean, starting off from Hobart in Tasmania. But a few days in, the high winds and crashing waves picked up, and Olly was simply rowing to try to not lose ground.

Checking the British adventurer’s progress today, and it looks like it has, once again, been a very frustrating week for him. The weather continues to make headway difficult, and he has once again given ground, despite dropping the heaviest sea anchor he has onboard. The end result is that Olly has been in a virtual holding pattern for the past two weeks, while he waits for the winds to give way. Despite all that, he’s holding on to his sense of humor. When it was suggested that he sacrifice a little of his whiskey supply to the sea gods in an attempt to appease them, he replied: “steady on methinks, things are’nt thhat bad yet! Perhaps peanuts – got loads of them….”

Today’s update gives us a little insight into why he loves the sea so much. After rowing some, and making a bit of progress, he ran into the first signs of life he’s seen in some time in form of a pod of killer whales swimming by. The giant mammals passed within 150 yards of the boat and gave a little spark to the day, which Olly suggests may have been a new personal record for negative mileage in one day. Hang in there mate!

For those who haven’t been following the Global Row, it is the attempt by Olly Hicks to circumnavigate around Antarctica in the Southern Ocean. When he set out, Olly expected the trip to take roughly 500 days or so, but progress has been slow to say the least. The journey has never been successfully completed before, as there are few opportunities to rescue someone in the remote and treacherous waters below the 50th parallel.

Kraig Becker

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