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Tim and Dom
The cabin gets crowded

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Log 4: Tuesday 26 June
After more than 50 days at sea Pacific rowers Tim Welford and Dom Mee have covered about one third of their mammoth 5,000 mile journey. Dom Mee tells BBC News Online about whale watching and listening to The Who.

Leaner and tougher after seven weeks on board their boat, Tim and Dom are now used to their demanding rowing schedule and the disappointment that a change in the wind can bring.

"It's been a series of highs and lows. We had a great rowing stint up until yesterday for about four days. We did some really good mileage but the winds have changed again. There are lots of black clouds around us at the moment and the barometer has dropped slightly. So I think we are going through another depression," says Dom.

"I think it has probably shocked us as to how bad the weather has been constantly. We knew we were going to get some storms but we didn't quite know we were going to exactly as many as we have had. We have pretty much been in a storm every week since we have left."

During bad weather the two cannot row - but at least it has given them some time for a little recreation.

"Tim has been trying his arm with a [fishing] line while we have remained on the sea anchor - just to add some fresh rations to the dried stuff we have got. Today he got lucky and he brought home a huge big tuna - it was about 15lbs. We had it within half an hour of it coming on board. We cooked it up, put it in a frying pan and it was absolutely beautiful," says Dom.

Curious whales

The two also recently kept their cool during a close encounter with three 80ft sperm whales - each nearly four times the length of their boat.

"It was absolutely amazing - they came really close to the boat. Two swam underneath the boat and there was one that hung off and then came in for a closer look at us. Absolutely incredible. Then the boat was also surrounded by about 300 dolphins and we have also seen two grey whales - or that sort of whale - quite large, about 80ft as well.

"We weren't alarmed, we are just in awe of them more than anything else. One of the whales stopped and seemed to be watching the other two - they swam past our boat - we didn't know what we were going to do. I think there was a little bit of apprehension at that point, but I wouldn't say we were fearful because it was just an amazing sight."

Music lovers

One luxury Tim and Dom couldn't do without is music - and the two marines have made sure they have plenty of it to listen to while rowing.

"We have got a personal jukebox system with about 370 hours of music on digital format. We get a bit of a mixture of everything - a bit of my music, a bit of Tim's music. My favourites are Gomez and The Who.

Dom also grudgingly admits to singing along to a few of Dolly Parton's country classics on occasion: "As the time progresses it doesn't seem so harsh on the ears as it first did," he says.

Tim and Dom are both hoping for some clear weather so they still have a chance of making the crossing in their planned 120 days.

"We can't really give an ETA at the moment. I think at the half-way mark we can reassess - crunch some numbers and then we can sort of re-look at whether we are going to make 120 days. The half-way point is basically 172 west of longitude. Where we stand at the moment is we are 21 degrees from there. So in theory we could be 21 days away from it. We are still confident."


Q: Pete Danse, a former Canadian naval officer, asks: "What is the air quality like where you are. Are there any vestiges of pollution at all or is it completely clear - most obvious probably at dawn or dusk?"

A: Well from what we have seen of the ocean, it has been quite clear of pollution. We have seen quite a lot of flotsam, old buoys, old fishing gear that float past the boat every now and then and a few little bits of debris from probably larger craft. But generally the water quality has been quite good. I have not seen any oil slicks or anything like that, which has been good to see.

The air quality - we have had days where we have had a lot of mist and cloud. Generally, I would say, 60% of the time, it is overcast here. There are so many changing weather systems that are happening around us and obviously next month the typhoons start. We have had a typhoon warning early this week of a typhoon that is starting down in the Philippines. But it was quite a way from us so we didnít have anything to worry about. So generally no pollution and the air quality has been pretty good.

Q: Dave Peach from the UK says: "I am also in the marines and have served with Dom. I would just like to know what fancy dress outfit he will be wearing when he finally reaches San Francisco?"

A: Dom: (LOL) I know Peachey very well. Yes, it is one of my things - I do a lot of fancy dress. I love dressing up, so that is where that stems from. I once went to the Boney M concert dressed as Rasputin and they dragged me up on stage for the Ra Ra Rasputin song. But I am constantly doing things like that. I love dressing up and having a laugh - it is great. I have tried to improvise on board - I did a cowboy outfit a while back. I am still keeping my mind open and trying to look for new ideas for when we arrive in San Francisco.

BBC News Online is keeping in regular contact with Tim Welford and Dom Mee while they attempt to row 5,000 miles across the Pacific.

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