They've done it! A week ago, Mel and Annie completed their row across the Atlantic and, after some much deserved relaxation and celebration, they sent us their final blog.
Monday 29th March - Hello from ANTIGUA!
As I’m sure you’re all aware we came in last Monday to an absolutely fantastic reception. After so long at sea it was almost quite overwhelming - the last 24hrs at sea have been amazing. We had been gunning for a 60 mile day for well over a month – I know we've been writing about it in blogs - and then on the last day we managed a 60 miler. It’s ironic and almost a bit sad it didn’t happen earlier but it was just great that we did get to experience some decent weather behind us on the last day, although it was kind of tinged with a bit of sadness as we were enjoying it so much.
In the last week, coming up to the end, it was one long hard slog putting in the extra hours to get the record and trying to focus on finishing. But the closer to the finish you got the more you wanted to savour what you were doing. With the weather behind us we were regularly making 3 knots with just one of us on the blades - how it should have been for the last month.
Mel and Annie at sea
As the sun came up on the last morning I said to Annie as she came out from the cabin, “You know what? I could just do this forever”. In many ways we just didn’t want to finish as the weather had turned so perfect.
But coming in and actually going over the line – what an event!
The girls coming into shore
WoodVale were out there on their ‘rib’ and our friends Barry and Lil were out on theirs too. Although we didn’t see them all until half a mile from the finish, they were there and in quite big seas, so it was good to see some familiar faces. Some big foghorns blared out as we made it over the line and then Barry and Lil passed us some Champagne so as we crossed the line we could celebrate which was amazing actually – a moment to log in our memories for ever.
Mel gets a champagne soaking
Then we had to row into the harbour and the Atlantic wasn’t letting us go without a final blast: we had some big waves hitting us side on and we were rowing into a really strong headwind – really strong. We were at maximum power to make any headway – quite hard after 77 days at sea.
When we got into the harbour though all the moored boats had people on them clapping and sounding their horns and a restaurant we went past had everyone lined up clapping us in too. Annie turned to me and asked if this was all for us. And I just said yes of course it is. After 77 days at sea when all you’ve seen is each other it was quite overwhelming to see so many people and for them to be clapping you like that.
We carried on rowing up to the pontoon and there were even more familiar faces – brilliant to see and amazing that they included many other rowers. They were mostly boys of course who had lost 2 stone in weight and grown beards - we couldn’t recognise half of them which was quite funny.
Annie celebrates with some champagne
For our first steps onto land we had to be careful as the land felt very wobbly – even just standing was quite difficult – even more so after some champagne. We had amazing reunions with family and the other rowers too actually and it was nice to see we had all got in safely: there was a lot of emotion there at the arrival which was fantastic. Half an hour later “Reason Why” came in who we had been battling over the last few hours of the race. “Spirit of Montenaro” had overtaken us and we were absolutely determined that “Reason Why” weren’t going to pass us. It was amazing that we managed to hold them off and beat them in but it was very good to see them so close after us – literally just minutes after we got to the pontoon they were there, so double celebrations - and they are from Bristol too so more special.
Then our first meal was laid on for us which was lovely. They gave us burgers which I wolfed down – proper food at long last.
All in all a very good celebration of what we’ve achieved: Antigua put on a great display, as did the rest of the rowers and as did our friends and family who were here to see us in.
One last thing I’d like to say is a big thank you to everyone who has followed us, supported us and hve been sending messages of good luck and encouragement. Just knowing you were all there meant a lot in the middle of the ocean all alone. We were quite happy out there but it meant a huge amount knowing there were so many following us. To each and every one of you who sent a message, we read them all and appreciated them all – your support meant everything to us and we hope you’ve enjoyed following the blog. Thank you again for helping make our dream come true and being part of our dream. The enormity of what we have achieved is just starting to sink in I think. The fact we missed the record doesn’t matter any more we have rowed an ocean and we’re really happy with that and we really can’t think of any down days. We have to say we almost enjoyed every single moment of it. So thank you all again and goodbye.
Mel & Annie