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Pacific challenge
THE JOURNEY THE ROWERS THE BOAT
Map of the pacific challenge xxx
INTRO
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



xxx
Half way there!

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Log 7: Thursday 16 August
Listen to Domís live audio webcast with BBC News
Online shortly after the two rowers passed the half
way point.

Tim Welford and Dom Mee passed the mid point in their mammoth journey across the Pacific Ocean at 1750 BST on 15 August. The two have already rowed nearly 4,000 miles and have been at sea for more than 100 days.

You can find out lots more information about the voyage and rowers by clicking on the tabs above the map which charts their journey.

Reaching the middle of the Pacific has given them both a real boost, Dom told BBC News Online.

"We are delighted weíve got to the half way point - the rowing has been hard over the past couple of days - but we are feeling buoyant at the moment.

We didnít really celebrate - but we both decided we wanted to remember the British rower Peter Bird who died out here back in 1996. So we had a quiet ceremony together - we laid some flowers on the water and we had a tin of Guinness between the two of us and just remembered Peter really. It was an important thing for us to do for one of the best ocean rowers who has ever lived. [Peter Bird died while attempting to row solo across the North Pacific.]

San Francisco - here we come

We are looking at an arrival in San Francisco in mid October - thatís when we are hoping to make landfall. At the moment there are a lot of high systems around us which can be harmful as well as helpful to us.

The next leg is hopefully going to be pretty direct because we are through the storm belt as such. We hope to maintain a high northerly course and then start to drop down with the northerly gales that come off the American coast - so we should, hopefully, be a bit more direct.

When we said 120 days [original estimate for the journey] we were actually just planning like when you drive up the motorway and you say it is going to take you two hours - but you end up getting delayed. The main goal we are looking for is the unsupported title, which has been the main focus of the row.

We started rationing our food about a month and a half ago so we have enough left over for about 200 days. So that means we have got another 100 days worth of food. But it is going to be a bit grim towards the end of it. I think we have got 80 days worth of good food and then we start filling on the emergency bad stuff.

Tuna off the menu

We are probably not going to catch any more tuna because of the gas situation. The thing is that when we catch tunas we use a lot of gas when we cook it. So our tuna days may be over - unfortunately. We have only got a certain amount of gas and we need to conserve it.

Iím not really tempted to go for raw fish - I did have a little bit when I was in Japan to just to taste the local board of fare - but it is not my cup of tea. We wouldnít rule anything out, though.

If we were at that sort of stage where we had no gas and no food, then I would be prepared to say I would be on sushi - but not until then!"

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED:

Q: Barry Donaldson from the UK wants to know whatís the largest sea creature you have seen so far?

A: The biggest whale we have seen was definitely the last one we saw - it was absolutely massive - it was about 100 ft - maybe a little bit bigger. I saw the whale and went out onto the bows and it swam literally right below my feet - right underneath the boat. I was watching the whole time actually holding my breath - it was absolutely huge and the power as it surged and went into another dive was absolutely incredible.

It was either a grey or blue whale but I am not a whale expert. What we have done is we have taken photographs of all the whales and all the marine wildlife we have seen and we have taken positions of them and so when we get back we will reporting all our findings to the marine mammal monitoring agencies.

When you see a creature that big swim within literally a foot away from you, it is a very incredible experience. I canít even try to explain with words how it felt. I was just in awe and probably apprehensive as well. With a flick of its tail it could have smashed us to smithereens. But the whales do tend to be very gentle. Any time we have been near them, they have been curious - they have come and had a look and then they will swim underneath the boat and they are huge sizes but they have not knocked into the boat once or caused us any problems. They have just graced us with their presence and we've seen how amazing they are.

Q: David Lawrie from the United States asks whether you have seen any sort of pollution - or rubbish floating in the water?

A: We see quite a lot of flotsam floating around. Normally I would say the majority of the rubbish we see is probably discarded from bigger ships - just general flotsam of spice pots and things like that. We do get to see some quite large article - normally timber which we presume gets swept over the deck of timber ships that come out of Alaska. Today we saw a huge big tree trunk floating in the sea. Now I presume thatís come from the land and it has been drawn out by the currents. But as far as oil and other pollutions of that sort - no, it is just general rubbish that we see.

Q: Mark Alley from the United States is curious about how bright the nightime sky appears as you have got no lights to obscure your view. Do the stars jump out at you?

A: Yeah definitely. You get to see all the stars. We can't at the moment because we are stuck in a fog bank and have been for the last few weeks. But yes, the stars at night at sea are the best you can ever see - there is no doubt about that and they do literally leap out at you. You donít really realise how many stars are up there until you are at sea at night - it is a beautiful spectacle - that is one of the good things about being out here.

Q: Joe Phillips from the United States wants to know: If you could start this all over again, is there anything that you would have done differently or anything you would have brought along that would have made your trip a bit easier?

A: If I had to do this again, I wouldnít do it! But no, I donít think so. There are a few little niceties maybe on board that we would like - maybe a DVD player - that would be quite nice to watch some films to give us something to do during the storms when we are locked in the back. But apart from that I donít think there is anything we would want to change really. I think everything has worked well. Tim and I have got on really well - we are pretty happy - no regrets - itís been good.

Q: Jonathan Bensley from Australia asks: Whoís the toughest opponent - the drill instructors at Lympstone [Lympstone is the training for Royal Marines in Devon, UK] or the Pacific Ocean?

A: I think they are both as fearsome as each other. Obviously Tim and I - we are now at instructor level. I donít think I am as fierce as the Pacific Ocean but I suppose when I walked through the gates at the age of 17 and had a look at these big marines shouting - it seemed pretty fearsome at the time. But the North Pacific is savage place and a very volatile and violent environment. I suppose they are both as fearsome as each other in a different context.

Q: Your training must have help to prepare you for some of things that you have been encountering over the past three months or so?

A: Yeah. The training has been great - not only our training - but what we have actually used during the past 14 years as commandos in a unit. It makes us relax a little bit. We donít get too stressed out about when things start going particularly violent with the weather. We tend to take it on the chin. We have both got the attitude of whatever happens we will overcome it. There is no point panicking about things.

We think we can sort out most things that come along and thatís the way we look at it. So we donít really get stressed and that is very much the Royal Marines training. When we have been away in operational war time - when the bullets start flying - then you canít lose your head. You have keep smart, you have to keep alert and you have got to watch each otherís back. We have just taken that sort of attitude on this voyage too.

Messages of support: Rebecca Fields-Arden from New York says you are both heroes and she wishes she was travelling with you. Azam Jamil from Pakistan wishes you Godís speed and a safe arrival in the United States. Ramon Espinosa from the US wishes you success and says he knows you will make it because you are both Marines and the Pacific Cruising Association gives you a big thumbs up. Finally Carl A. Mac Queen from Canada wishes you all the best and says you are both very brave.

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