While you are anxiously weighing the pros and cons of each New Year’s Eve party invitation, 22-year-old Kate Richardson of Ireland is having a very different experience of the final week of 2011. She is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with four friends, in a 21-foot boat.
The five lady crew is rowing 3,000 miles, from the Canary Islands to Barbados. They are hoping to break a world record and become the first all-female crew to make the long voyage in less than 52 days. And they’re doing this for a good cause—to raise awareness and money for human trafficking.
So far, they’ve already been on the high seas for 17 days.
“Nothing can quite prepare you for the vastness of the ocean and we’re rowing in darkness for more than 14 hours a day,” Richardson told her local newspaper.
“We’ve been getting 30 to 40-foot waves at times and that’s particularly petrifying at night when you can’t really see anything but just hear the roar coming closer and closer.”
And there have been more hardships for this crew. Apparently, right before setting sail, the boat’s skipper backed out of the almost two month trip. They’ve also experienced many a leak and bout with seasickness. Oh, and did I mention that they’re not talking to their families during the voyage? Nope, they’re only doing occasional interview with the press.
“We decided not to be in direct contact with [home] while at sea in case it got too emotional but I’d love to say hello to my mum and dad and my sister Kerry,” Richardson said. “Although life at sea has its challenges, we’ve taken this on by choice. I’m very mindful of the plight of the many victims of human trafficking who are living in constant fear and misery through no fault of their own. If what we’re doing can help raise awareness of this growing worldwide problem then the effort will certainly have been well worthwhile.”
Here’s hoping she still feels that way on day 50.