*Newsflash* The END is near!
02/06/08-9PM by Debbie, RowofLife Land Support from Antigua
8:44PM Antigua time-20 miles to FINISH! After a very tough day of rowing and our team felt like the 33 miles they had to the finish would take days, the end is near. Woodvale estimates that the RowofLife Boat should arrive at 7am Antigua time (11am UK, 3am California time) just shy of the 69th day on the water.
I have CCF’s card with money for beer and dinner for the team. My batteries for the camcorder and camera are charged. I have the big tripod; but am looking for the little one. The day I have been waiting for nearly 69 days is about to happen. It is 11 pm here and they are due in at 7 for now. But we are neck and neck with JW and they have been rowing just a bit quicker all day. They were at 18.6 miles to go at 8:43PM tonight. I will continue to get text messages all night as to progress for RowofLife, Jaydubyoo (JW), and Ocean Summit (who is about 5 hours behind us.)
All three of the support teams have been supportive of each other. If there was any way we could come in all together if would be fantastic. Bill and Hillary Jordan-White had dinner tonight with Papa Festor and me. It was our last supper without our rowers. We wonder what we will do without our dots to watch, but alas there will still be 8 boats on the water, after the three of us come in. The boat behind Ocean Summit is C2, with Ian and Andy; they have nearly 300 miles left to go! Angela and I will be in Antigua until the 15th of Feb. and hope to, like the boats in front of us, still be able to greet the next boats coming in. We would love to be able to see at least C2 (we had beer with them in La Gomera), Atlantic Jack (whom we battled in the middle of the race), Pygram (“Franck’s people”-the French Boat). If conditions stay good we may even get to see Silver Cloud (the Atlantic Angels), Barbara Ivy (Olympic athletes from the UK), 1 Charmed Life (A solo boat! His parents arrived today and were very nice). Even then, Dream Maker, the Nautical Nurses (who we were battling at the beginning of the race) and Spirit of Fernie (the second solo boat in the race), will still be on the water. Fernie has 516 miles to go.
I have met some incredible people both rowers, families, innocent bystanders caught up in my excitement (or whom I chased down to ask if they spoke French). Orlando from Go Commando (http://www.rowcommando.com/ ) was so kind and helped me figure out where to call and how to build a cradle to ship the boat home. He has really just been an overall amazingly kind soul, both in La Gomera and here in Antigua. He was the first to run up to the point with flares to welcome the boats and be back in time to see the teams get off the boat. He was hoping to see the RowofLife boat in, but he has been here since day 56 and his flight left at 2100 today. The families have been incredible to each other. I hope that some take up our offer to come to California and visit. Go Commando, Komale, Mission Atlantic, Ocean Summit, and JW, when the weather is raining and cold in the UK, come to the States; the exchange rate is fantastic, you know. The family from New Zealand who offered to take us out on their yacht if they were still here when our boat arrived (they also left today). And the Antiguan’s who took the RowofLife postcards from me and were gracious, even if they didn’t want them. So many good people from all over the world.
There is a whole giant group of people from our own Southern California community, whom I met after Angela’s departure, who have never even met Angela, but have done so much to make this story a success. BOY ABOUT TOWN!!!!! There is absolutely NO WAY I could have done this without you and Ruben and Sageweb! Boy you made the story known, even when no one wanted to hear it. You believed in someone you don’t even know, and worked on the team, as if she were your best friend. You are an amazing promoter and hilarious! I cannot wait for Angela to meet you all. The welcome home party will be a success because of you! Boy, you are a genuine and kind soul! Not to mention a heck of a blogger/newsletter writer extraordinaire. Everyone should read BOYABOUTTOWN Blog on a regular basis and subscribe to his newsletter, if for nothing else other than free entertainment. http://mysite.verizon.net/resyuj29/fabulousboyabouttown/
Papa and Betty Madsen for being the Florida arm of the RowofLife PR department. Julie at the UPS store on Redondo and 7th in Long Beach. John Nunn and CCF for keeping the messages of encouragement coming in for all 68 days. Susannah Rosenblatt of the LA Times, Mary Ann of the Grunion, Ella at the LN, Melissa Bray (from New Zealand) of worldrowing.com, Primes for having the welcome home party. Anita Coyoli (Ukes for Troops) for arranging the airport arrival and things military. I am sure I am missing a ton of folks, but my head will be clearer in a couple of days when I have been released from DOT rehab. OH! Did I mention BOY ABOUT TOWN! Thanks all of you and those who I will remember in the middle of the night, long after this has been posted.
PS: We will be starting a pool on how long it will take Angela’s bum to be normal again. More to follow in my next blog, after the legal team (Tiffany, this means you) has researched the legality of it all.
Debbie in rehab in Antigua (good thing no one at work reads this-they think I am on Holiday)