Crossing the Swell: An Atlantic Journey by Rowboat
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In 2003, Tori and Paul met in Australia when Holmes answered an ad to drive the support vehicle for Gleeson's 2,982.5 miles cycling trek across that country. During their first adventure together, Gleeson fell hard: both off his bike and for the woman driving the car.Once Australia was behind them, it became clear that crossing a continent together was simply not enough. Acting on self-assured determination and an ever-growing sense of adventure, Gleeson and Holmes embraced the dream of rowing a tiny boat across the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean in the 2005/2006 Trans-Atlantic Race.In November 2005, after months of training, Paul and Tori left the Canary Islands to row 4,800 kilometres across the Atlantic. In February 2006, they completed their epic journey after 86 days of huge seas, violent storms, terrifying capsizes, unbearable thirst, bizarre hallucinations and sleep deprivation.Part inspirational adventure story, part travelogue and part romance, Crossing the Swell is an honest and intimate portrayal of what it takes to truly engage in the many adventures that life has to offer.
and events that we wanted to get off the ground for Concern, but there just didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. It felt at times that we were just going around in circles. We were chasing our tails! In June the British and Irish Lions rugby team were touring in New Zealand, and this was my one little escape from the madness of the row. Every Saturday morning during the tour, Daragh, one of my roommates, and I would get up early and go to a pub that had the Sky Sports network on TV,
had ever had to cope with. Sometimes I just broke down. On day 46 I wrote in my diary: Very tired and drained today, ocean is very rough, it seems like this gets harder and harder every single day. Pup [my pet name for Tori] also feeling quite low today. Read Duggan’s letter [Philip Duggan, a close friend] to pick us up; very thoughtful letter with lots of quotes from famous people about persistence and keeping going when things get tough. It did help, but then it seems the ocean senses you are
crashing over the cabin. They were the biggest waves I had ever seen in my life. The sea-anchor line looked as though it was going to snap, such was the pressure of the ever-increasing swell. Every time a new wave rolled aggressively under the boat it was as though the boat jumped to the next wave, leaving tension on the line. Paul called Lin Parker on the support boat and we were relieved to find out that all the other boats were on anchor, so we were not the only ones losing ground. “This must
thinking a lot about life these last few days. As the row stripped away the material needs, I realized that all that was important to me I already had–and probably took for granted. That afternoon I wrote Dad a letter. I was both inspired and surprised by how I was really leaning on the support of my family: my brother, Clayton; mother, Fran; father, Tom, and Auntie Peggy. Dear Dad, Just sitting literally in the middle of the ocean, somewhere between hell and back as you would say. It’s not
brought a tear to Tori’s eye. I was so happy for her. Tori’s dad is a heavy-duty mechanic in the diamond mines in the Arctic. He works two weeks on and two weeks off. He is flown up specially and the entire camp is on a strict rotation schedule–changing this is nearly impossible. We now had a time window to make Antigua. Tori Dad had been such a driving force for me during this trip; I would be so proud to arrive into Antigua and see him standing there. I knew I would feel so honoured to make