June Update – Rowing around Vancouver Island
He’s hoping to complete the circumnavigation of Vancouver Island in less than 16.5 days, which is the impressive record that Joe O’Blenis set last year in a kayak. The total distance that he will travel is 1,150 km.
Each morning Colin gets up at 3 am, makes breakfast, packs up camp, and is on the boat by 4 am.He then rows, usually for at least 12 hours.He eats lunch on the boat, stretches on the boat, and doesn’t touch land until the day is over.He breaks up his rowing schedule into 1 hour shifts and takes a 5-10 minute break between each shift.
That is a lot of rowing. Everyday he makes over 20,000 oar strokes. By the end of his row around Vancouver Island he’ll have taken more than a third of a million oar strokes.
Tonight, when we spoke on the Iridium satellite phone, I asked Colin how he was feeling. You may remember that last year he planned on doing this row, but had to postpone it because of issues with his neck. No such problems this time around. The sorest part of his body is his bottom! Not to put his back end on the back burner, because it can be horribly unpleasant as most rowers can attest. But Colin’s managing. He’s made made several seat pads out of closed cell foam, which seem to be helping.
His biggest worry is the weather. Today he had headwinds against him for much of the afternoon. There is a wind warning for tonight and tomorrow, and of course the winds are coming from the wrong direction. This means his progress will slow but the boat is handling the weather well, and he’s not worried about safety. That may change when he rounds the northern tips of the Island and begins travelling on the exposed west coast. One of the most challenging parts is the Brooks Peninsula, a rocky headland that juts out and gets pummelled by big waves.
He’s travelling through some spectacular scenery. He’s seen killer whales and non-killer whales, eagles, seals and sea lions. It’s a beautiful island we live on and he’s becoming intimately familiar with it.