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Pacific challenge
Map of the pacific challenge The rowers in their boat
LOG 1: 17 May
LOG 2: 22 May
LOG 3: 5 June
LOG 4: 26 June
LOG 5: 10 July
LOG 6: 25 July
LOG 7: 16 August
LOG 8: 18 September

The boat
Only another 5,000 miles...

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Voyage of endurance
Royal Marine commandos Dom Mee and Tim Welford are looking for adventure – and they hope to find it by rowing 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean. BBC News Online will be following their progress and talking to them regularly, asking them some of the questions you e-mail to us.

The marines set out from Choshi in Japan on 5 May and they hope to arrive in San Francisco bay after a 120 day crossing, setting a new record.

The west to east route across the north Pacific is notoriously hazardous. Kenneth Crutchlow, director of the Ocean Rowing Society, says: "This is the most difficult route of all because of the currents, the winds and the severe weather conditions."

The existing solo record for a northern west to east crossing is 133 days, and was achieved by Frenchman Gerard d’Aboville in 1991.

Tim and Dom are making the crossing in "Crackers" a 23ft plywood boat that Tim used to cross the Atlantic. "No boat is unsinkable," says Dom, "but this is a very safe boat."

Daily routine

Although they plan to make the crossing in four months, it could take longer and the two marines have enough food on board for 180 days at sea. Each day they will have to eat about 6,000 calories each and they plan to supplement their diet with fish.

Tim and Dom say their military training will be crucial in helping them to remain psychologically focused during the crossing. "We’ve been marines for 14 years and we’ve seen some crazy stuff together," says Tim. "The sense of humour that being a marine teaches you, it just keeps you going."

The two plan to get into a routine of rowing for three hours and then sleeping for three hours in alternate shifts, with one person always keeping the boat moving.

Sharks and storms

The marines can expect to endure cramps, stiffness, pressure sores and exhaustion during their journey.

As well as the bad weather and 50ft seas there will also be dangerous marine life for company.

"We know there are some huge sharks out in the north Pacific," says Dom. "We’ve got some simulated explosives which we have used in a battle exercise. If we have to, we’ll use those... and drop them over the side, just to scare them, but not to hurt them," says Dom.

"But failing that, it will be ‘Royal Marine style’ knives over the side."

BBC News Online will be talking to Tim and Dom at regular intervals in the following weeks.

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