Atlantic Calling Arrives in Barbados
Earthwatch’s Lloyd Figgins celebrating with his rowing partner David Whiddon.
Today at approximately 8 p.m. EST, Earthwatch staff member Lloyd Figgins and his rowing partner David Whiddon became the first pair of modern-day independent rowers to row nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean from Agadir, Morocco, to Port St. Charles, Barbados.
In their boat, Atlantic Calling, they are also now the 20th pair to have rowed across the Atlantic from east to west as part of an independent challenge.
Watch an interview with Lloyd Figgins on BBC News.
The intrepid duo completed the crossing in 60 days and 17 hours, conquering what has been billed as one of the most grueling endurance challenges on the planet. As well as raising funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), along the way they collected data for Earthwatch about the marine wildlife that they encountered. They were rewarded with some awe-inspiring moments: a sighting of 10 rare pygmy killer whales, being surrounded by a pod of up to 150 dolphins for several hours, and being trailed by a three-meter thresher shark!
Their 3,300-nautical-mile journey wasn’t all plain rowing. The rowers had to contend with treacherous storms, seven-meter waves, a crack in the boat’s hull, three near-collisions with tankers, and visits from curious sharks. In addition, hallucinations and sleep deprivation were a recurrent challenge throughout their journey as the rowers worked on a two hour on/two hour off rowing shift pattern. Neither of the rowers slept for more than an hour and a half at a time for the duration of the challenge.
Lloyd, who is global head of field safety at Earthwatch, said, “It has been a remarkable, once in a lifetime experience. The challenge has been incredibly tough at times but thoroughly rewarding. We were pleased to contribute to scientific knowledge by collecting data for Earthwatch on the way, and we have dedicated this row to all the RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers and crew past and present.”
Find out more at atlanticcalling.com.