Atlantic Calling arrives in Barbados
18 February 2012. Today at approximately 1am GMT, Earthwatch staff member Lloyd Figgins and his rowing partner David Whiddon became the first pair of modern day independent rowers to row non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean from Agadir, Morocco to Port St. Charles, Barbados.
In their boat, Atlantic Calling, they are also now the 20th pair to have rowed across the Atlantic east to west as part of an independent challenge.*
Watch an interview with Lloyd Figgins on BBC News
The intrepid duo completed the crossing in 60 days and 17 hours, conquering what has been billed as one of the most gruelling and challenging endurance challenges on the planet. As well as raising funds for the RNLI, along the way they have collected data for Earthwatch about the marine wildlife that they have encountered. They were rewarded with some awe-inspiring moments: a sighting of 10 rare pygmy killer whales, being surrounded by a pod of up to 150 dolphins for several hours, and being trailed by a three metre thresher shark!
Nigel Winser from Earthwatch says, “We are all extremely proud of what Lloyd and David have accomplished. In addition to the physical and psychological achievement, they have a valuable record of sightings of marine species that adds to our knowledge of our changing oceans. Try to get to one of their lectures if you can. They have a great story to tell future adventurers and scientists.”
Caribbean calling! The Atlantic Calling boat arrives in Barbados
Their 3,300 nautical mile journey hasn’t all been plain rowing. The rowers have had to contend with treacherous storms, seven-metre waves, a crack in the boat’s hull, three near-collisions with tankers and visits from curious sharks. In addition, hallucinations and sleep deprivation have been a recurrent challenge throughout their journey as the rowers worked on a two hour on/ two hour off rowing shift pattern. Neither of the rowers slept for more than an hour and a half at a time for the duration of the challenge.
Lloyd, who is Global Head of Field Safety at Earthwatch said, “It has been a remarkable, once in a lifetime experience. The challenge has been incredibly tough at times but thoroughly rewarding. We have been fortunate that many people have given up their time to help us prepare for this crossing and we can’t thank them enough. We were pleased to contribute to scientific knowledge by collecting data for Earthwatch on the way, and we have dedicated this row to all the RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers and crew past and present.”
Find out more at atlanticcalling.com.
Earthwatch's Lloyd Figgins celebrating with his rowing partner David Whiddon
*statistics from oceanrowing.com
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