Today was one of the few days where I relished in my decision to wear clothes. Let me take a step back…
First: no, I’m not an exhibitionist, but salt has a way of making any fabric rough. With rowing and moving my entire body all day, chafing can be prevented by not wearing anything. So, I was rowing along and over my shoulder … a boat.
Not a sail-boat or a freighter; I’m not really sure what kind of boat it was, but as long as it’s not a big ship I’m generally safe. As it came nearer, I was struggling to decide whether to grab a gift or a weapon, so I stuck with the camera instead. The initial excitement was replaced slightly by fear when I spotted 10 tanned men on the boat.
After a greeting, I realised there was a language barrier between us, but I could understand “Venezuela” and they “Guyana”. One man asked “Problem?” and I shook my head. A few minutes of awkward stares followed as we realised that was all we could do, so I kept rowing. After 30 or 40 yards, I noticed a couple of dolphins swam by, either curious about our encounter or my own personal oceanic bodyguards.
A few hours passed, and there it was again: the same boat. All sorts of thoughts ran through my head, thinking they were back after thoroughly devising a plan of attack. You never know!
Caught off-guard the first time, I scrambled for any tools, flares and the EPIRB. As they came near I realised it was a different boat, yet still a fishing boat from Venezuela. We had the same “Guyana … Venezuela” exchange and I only understood the repeated “loca, loca, loca”.
Although I hadn’t seen humans in over two months, they seemed much more interested in me than I was in them. One man was either having a heart attack or trying to flirt with me by pounding on his heart.
They think I’m the crazy one?!
From Katie: In January, I embarked on a solo row across the Atlantic Ocean! After 2,500 miles and 70-100 days alone at sea, I will become the youngest person ever to row an ocean solo and the first American to row from Africa to South America. But this row is about something much more important: safe drinking water. Unsafe drinking water is the leading cause of sickness, disease and death worldwide ― but it's a problem that, working together, we can solve. To join me in helping the billion people around the world who lack access to safe drinking water, click here.