Ocean rowing is unlike most sports. You do not have the screaming fans as with organized sports or the booths with food and refreshments every few miles as with endurance races. And when you reach the fourth, third, halfway mark, you can be certain there is not going to be a welcoming party for you.
For the past couple weeks I have been focusing on 26W, about a fourth of the way to Cayenne. A fourth is not as significant as half, but most people find this first leg to be the most difficult and thus worthy of a small celebration. Once I reached this milestone I wanted to do something like have an extra chocolate bar or two (or three) or perhaps call home on the satellite phone or maybe a dance party. I was rowing along and less than a mile away from 26W when I spotted not one or two, but ten or fifteen dolphins! I dropped my oars, peered around the boat and was almost in disbelief to see so many dolphins surrounding my boat. For twenty minutes they swam around my boat, under my boat, and even jumped out of the water a few times doing flips and tricks – nothing short of amazing. And when they swam away, I began rowing, hoping they might stop by once again and ten minutes later they did just that.
Yes, ocean rowing does not have the rewards that go along with other sports but if I had to decide between that and being visited by over a dozen dolphins? Well, I’ll let you take a guess at that one.