We’ve lamented the fact that there aren’t a lot of expeditions or adventurers to follow right now, as most are only now emerging from lockdown and international travel remains challenging. But one journey that we have been keeping tabs on is the attempt by paraplegic rower Angela Madsen to cross the Pacific from California to Hawaii. A veteran of four previous ocean crossings, this is Madsen’s first solo journey, and while she is slowly but surely making her way west, it has been far from easy thus far.
As of today, Madsen has now been at sea for 49 days, which means she’s nearing the halfway point of her journey. When she set out, she estimated that it would take approximately 90 days to travel across the Pacific to Hawaii, although she brought enough food and supplies for about 100 days or so. But while the clock continues to countdown, and the days are slipping away, the number of miles that she is covering aren’t going so smoothly. According to her tracker, she has now covered 869 nautical miles (1000 miles/1609 km). That’s nothing to sneeze at of course, but that still leaves her with 1644 nautical miles (1891 miles/3043 km) to go before she is done. That means that something is going to have to radically change in order for her to make up for lost time.
The biggest hurdle that Madsen has faced on her voyage so far is high winds and strong currents. Those two elements have worked together to slow her down dramatically, making it difficult to earn nearly every mile. At times, the conditions have been so bad that Angela has had to deploy her sea anchor on numerous occasions just to avoid losing ground. A sea anchor loos a bit like a parachute that is tossed in the ocean and is designed to hold the boat in place. Without it, she would most likely have given up some of the miles that she has covered, leaving her even further from the finish line.
The hope is that eventually the winds and currents will turn in her favor and help propel her along towards Hawaii. If conditions improve, there is a chance that she could still make up the ground and arrive on schedule. Madsen is more than capable of completing this row, she just needs Mother Nature to cooperate with her some. We’ll continue to keep an eye on her progress in the days ahead. Stay tuned for future updates.
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