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2077 miles. Two men. One boat.
Mark de Rond and Anton Wright will row the entire length of the Amazon River in September and October 2013.

Being the first is not enough

  • 2 SEP 2013
  • By Anton Wright

a settlement in the Peruvian Amazonas

So Mark has been here for almost a week now and I know I am feeling much better at least. We have shared the burden of the boat and also discussed our feelings about loved ones at home. We both miss everyone desperately but we aren't throwing the towel in just yet, don't worry. We have also talked about the blogs and tweets. I still haven't managed to get Mark to play with the tweets yet but I will, and we need to finetune the equipment so we can tweet from the river, but again that isn't a big problem either. But what should we write about in the blogs? What should we cover, who should say what when and how? We've decided we should just say what we want; it doesn't matter if a subject or topic is covered twice and it doesn't matter if we repeat ourselves either because we are just sharing our individual experiences, and I think maybe that is what you want to hear more.

I'm very aware as well that we are different people and therefore the information you get will differ, both in its content and delivery. Mark is an academic and this instantly strikes fear into me. He has written a number of books (one of which I have to read on the boat and torture him with) and therefore his work is always going to be much superior. However he has given me the greatest compliment: he loves my writing style and is amazed at how quickly I can write. Apparently my style is very verbatim, which I had to get him to explain was very natural, and with the way that I write people will be able to hear my northern accent when they read it (what accent).

So what have we been doing? Lots of talking, lots of planning. It's now the 2nd of September and we were planning to be cruising past Iquitos right now through a ticker tape parade, but we are sat by the pool and the boat is still in Lima. Now we are planning how we can recoup some time and distance. The flights home can be changed but we both have many commitments that we don't want to miss; Mark has teaching and I want to get back to my precious boat club before the students realise they don't need me. I said to Mark that when I do things like this all I want is to go home and be with my family in my home, safe and warm; however when I have that, all I want is to be out somewhere else doing something different and pushing my limitations. He just said that's the way we are, get used to it; it's going to be a curse that we have. I understand: I long so much to sail across another ocean, having only sailed once and that was across the Atlantic (give or take losing a mast and a stop in Cape Verde). I hated it; the lack of exercise, the blank horizon, the same company, and the nudist 70 year old captain, Jay. But now in hindsight I see that it was a different experience, one that I want to repeat; maybe with more than 14 hours' notice though.

Less of all this though, what progress with the boat? Well after being promised it would start its journey last Friday we have word it may start today. We have a delivery address next to the start point and we have all the equipment that is on the boat (unless it gets stolen en route). We have started to make lists of kit we still need to collect and my five days of work to be done on the boat is now reduced to a simple checklist:

1) does it float?
2) can we go yet?

It turns out that being the first is not enough and now we intend to be the fastest too. We are going to row this like a race and finish before our flights home. Patti (who is becoming our mother hen / race manager) took us into the jungle over the weekend and we had loads of time to talk away from distractions and upsetting emails. We talked lots, took advice, and now we have an idea, a new plan, a great plan. One that will make a big difference, one that we will tell you later ...