Margaret Bowling

Prepping the boat in Melbourne

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I arrived in Melbourne on Thursday to be greeted by Ben grinning from ear to ear. Although we’ve been corresponding for a long time it was the first time we’d met face to face. Likewise, Clark and I haven’t met yet so roll on Wednesday when his merry face makes it’s way through those airport doors. He keeps calling us (20 times a day because there is so much to do) and his voice increases in pitch as he gets more and more excited. I knew enough about these guys to know that this was guaranteed to be one fun trip and I wasn’t wrong. As my friend pointed out one can put up with pretty much anything if you have the right team. But oh boy is there a lot of work to do before departure on Thursday. Ben and I are still fitting out the boat, we’ve been sorting out jobs for our support team, calling in favours from friends and strangers and working at a million miles an hour. So basically normal pre-expedition schenanigans!

Unfortunately Pete has laryngitis so has had to drop out which is really disappointing. Although I have to say that, after a chat with our weather genius Ben Keitch in Switzerland last night, I realise that not having fixed rendezvous points on some of the islands going to make it a bit easier to avoid ending up half mangled on a rock as I watch my last protein bar get swiftly  sucked away by a roaring tide. I know the Bass is dangerous as all hell but chatting through it with Ben really bought those dangers home. And taking two people who are pretty new to ocean rowing means we can’t afford to take the same risks I would if it were my boat and I was with a really experienced crew. I’m sure we’ll see plenty of action no matter what route we take though. This is one of the most notorious stretches of water in the world.

Just wanted to send a massive shout out to Pat Langley and the guys at Zhik for kitting us out with so much amazing gear to keep us warm and dry. They helped me on my first row and it’s great to have them back onboard.

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