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LOG 1: 17 May
LOG 2: 22 May
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LOG 4: 26 June
LOG 5: 10 July
LOG 6: 25 July
LOG 7: 16 August
LOG 8: 18 September

A large turtle passes by

Rise and shine for Dom

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Log 5: Tuesday 10 July
Tim chats to BBC News Online about how he and Dom
cope with the isolation

Marine commandos Tim Welford and Dom Mee have been at sea in a 23ft boat for more than two months. When not rowing they occupy themselves by listening to the radio and learning about Zen Buddhism. Tim gives BBC News Online an update of their odyssey.

Tim and Dom are filing regular reports to BBC News Online as they attempt to row 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean.

"Dom has managed to burn his leg on the stove but it has started to heal very nicely - so that is not a major problem. Mentally we are still pretty much with it. On the whole, as a pair of rowers, we are all right.

We did have one session last week when we had very rough weather but because it was coming from the southwest we were able to row with it. It was some of the roughest weather we have had, but it was quite exciting surfing the boat up and down some big old seas that were like mountains around us. The waves that day were 35ft to 40ft high.

When we were dropped in a trough, we could look up and see a vertical wall of water. But as it came underneath us, it lifted us up gently to the top, and surfed us over the very top of it - so it wasnít like being hit by massive waves. Because we are so small we are like a cork and we can ride them fairly well.

During the storm I threw the line over and within about three minutes there was a tuna on the end of the line which we ate that night.

Bad weather forecast

We have had a good rowing over the past two days, pushing up northwards. But we have just heard the weather forecast for the next four or five days is all easterly and north-easterly which is very bad.

This means we will have to resort to the sea anchor again to hopefully hold as much position as possible. If there are any days with light easterly winds, we will try to row into it to hold our position. But we donít want to go south and we donít want to go west, so we will do what we can and fight against it.

We want to get to 43 - 44 degrees north so we enter a massive sub-tropical high weather system that sets in the Pacific every year, pretty much in the same place. If we can enter it at that sort of height on the globe it will, once we get into it properly, give us south-westerlies and then north-westerlies to push us down towards the correct bit of America. So it is a very important weather system that we get into so that is why we are heading north.

Book worms

Right now we have just had our evening meal and there is a beautiful sunset on the horizon.

We both brought about four or five books each but wish we had brought a few more. I am back on Richard Bransonís autobiography for the second time. We have got some Wilbur Smith books and we have both read Don Quixote.

Dom has got a few books on Zen and meditation and stuff too - he is going into the spiritual way of dealing with the problems at sea. But I havenít got into that sort of stuff. He burns his incense sticks and practises Zen - well fine - but I sit out and make things out of parts of the boat, to stop me getting bored when we canít row.

I have also been trying to catch up with the British Lions matches. We have been catching up on a bit of BBC World Service on the news there but Aussie radio has been good because they talk quite a lot about sport and have given good reports the following day of the British Lions matches. The big one for me is the Third Test, the British Lions match against the Australians next Saturday."


Q: Deiniol Heywood from the UK asks: Have you come across any other ships and how do you keep out of the way of the big ones like the tankers?

A: Yes, we did. Two days ago a large container ship was bearing down on us - it had obviously picked us up on its radar and it came at us from about 20 miles out. They came very close. We called them on the radio and they were headed for Taiwan. We had a good chat with the skipper and they asked us if we needed rescuing and we said 'no, we are ok' and then they shot off. It can get very lonely - even though we are together - so just seeing other ships makes you realise that there other people in the world.

We have a device on board which is a radio enhancer and makes our radar signal on their radar screens look like a much bigger vessel than we are. So there is very, very little chance of them hitting us. If we think they are coming close, we will hail them on VHF radio or we can fly white flares into the sky so they definitely know that we are in the way and they must take a course to get out of our way.

Q: Aaron Kfir from Canada is interested in what you do during really bad weather - and asks do you ever get rolled over?

Because we have a very large sea anchor, it keeps the back of the boat facing the rough weather and the waves. So we donít roll over. The only way that could happen is if we get caught without the sea anchor down, and we get caught sideways on. We are very careful to avoid that, obviously. But in the bad weather we spend most of the time cooped up in the back cabin.

Q: Glen Farmer from the US wants to know if you experience "runner's high" from having your brains flooded with endorphins due to your extreme physical activity?

A: I think the highs we get are when we are surfing the waves and excitement like that. But because it is endurance and on a day when we are rowing, we are both rowing about 12 hours a day, I donít think we get anything like he is describing - it is more just simply exhaustion.

Q: Caroline from Switzerland says you are heroes and she is wishing you good spirits for the journey ahead. But she wants to know how you deal with not being able to walk much? Do you have seats like those in rowing shells that move on wheels so you actually use your legs more than you do use your arms?

A: Well firstly thank you for calling us heroes Caroline - and, of course, you are right! Yes we do have sliding seats in the boat - so it is just like a normal scull - we do use our legs a lot. It is pretty much an all-over work out.

Q: Lynn Gascoyne says some of the Polynesians were able to navigate by using wave and current patterns in addition to star positions. Do you ever think about this while you are rowing?

A: Yes we do. We are very interested in history and the way the old sea mariners used to navigate. We do have sextants if the GPS systems did go wrong, so we are able to navigate using the star systems, but not in any way like the Polynesians used to. Certainly the ancient mariners were very skilful in their methods of navigation and it is all down to machines these days.

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