Today a great adventure was completed. John Beeden, 53, a self described scrawny old Yorkshireman, completed a solo row across the Pacific Ocean, from San Francisco to Cairnes, Australia. He averaged 15 hours a day rowing for 209 days! He is the first person to have completed this amazing feat.
I am housebound today, suffering a small setback in my fight against a persistent virus. This has afforded me ample time to get plugged into his blog which he wrote daily to document his journey.
It is so fascinating, so enlightening, and so challenging. I cannot attest to his being a Christian, as he says nothing about God. His description of the feat, day by day, is something like the Apostle Paul went through in his life — overcoming every challenge with his eye on the final goal — finishing his race with joy and the ministry he had been given. (Acts 20:24)
I have begun writing my second book. The heart of the message will be the lessons to be learned from Paul’s vision in Acts 20:24 — to finish his race with joy. (Please be praying for me as I write this book over the next few months.)
In reading John Beeden’s blog, there is rich motivational material for the one who wishes to be victorious in his/her walk with the Lord.
Let me give you a flavor of John Beeden’s journey. This entry is from September 3, 2015. This was at the halfway point of his journey — 3529 miles completed, 3549 miles to go.
For those of you who find your life challenging, at times not knowing if you can continue on, please read on!
I’ve not got long, so this will be brief, just an update, hopefully we can get back to normal soon.
Left you last night after an incredibly tough day fighting to get east and south. Finished rowing at 05:00 can’t remember what time I started, I think it was about 20 hours before. I needed 19.5nm south to get to 4°n (the target) and I still needed 17 miles of east. Chances of escaping this weather were slim but never gave up hope. I did my chores, cleaned the boat, cleaned me, answered some work and personal emails by which time it was 07:00. My intention was to get a bit of sleep and be at the oars for 12:00. Para anchor was in, taking me east as planned but ticking slightly north, not a lot to do but hope it changed or was fractional.
Then got the weather from Tony, same old, but there was a second text saying the northerly current we were trying to avoid had vanished from the current model. WHAT? I’ve just spent one of the toughest days of the trip rowing into the weather, my fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, back, are all screaming with pain and now I could just have run west with the swell!! Tough mental test no doubt about it. The good news is I no longer need to go east, still got 19.5nm to get south and the weather is all from the south. There is some 15 knot south wind in the forecast and the chance of rowing into that is zero…
I’ve gone east overnight but also 1.5nm north. That’s two hours of rowing added to the day. I’d decided to do four, five hour sessions with one hour breaks, this means deploying the para anchor less times, which means saving time. Target one, 5nm, with drift in our favour this would have been down to 13, but it’s not it’s 16. Set off, when you’re tired it’s easy to loose track of time, I was 25 minutes late for some reason however I’m rowing till sun up anyway. Incredibly tough, the headwind is light but shifting, making it difficult to keep course and the swell is cutting right across me. I make my 5nm in 5 hours just. Para anchor in, drifting south brilliant, check on the other adventure and then have 30 minutes sleep.
Next target 5nm in five hours, so down to 11nm to go. First mile much the same, second mile, everything is calming down, the swell, wind everything. I get the feeling this is a big change, the current is still strong but in patches and is holding me back. I make 5.5nm in five hours.
It’s much calmer now, session three, same target but I know I can do better. I’m working hard and it’s screaming hot but I’m doing better. I start to realise if I push hard (I’m sculling by this time) and stay out 6 hours I can get to 4 North. Best laid plans? I’m writing this now because two massive squalls passed either side of me, squashing the wind between them and a big swell from the south appeared from nowhere. The para anchor is in and we are ticking south. Since I started writing this, it’s calmed enough to row again. I have 6nm to go and then I can rest…
So I’m down to 2.9 miles to go, had the weather and we’ve decided I should rest now and row if the weather gets here, I say that because at the moment there is nothing. It’s flat calm, no wind, no cloud nothing.
So that’s it for today. With little or no sleep, I’m exhausted, but at least I’m out of the ECC. I will see what challenges lay ahead because I’m sure this is not over yet. I’ve got about 60nm to the top edge of the equatorial current that will take me west. If it stays calm and I can scull, two days, but it can’t be that simple can it?
That’s got to be it for now, I need sleep, I will catch up with all the messages over the next few days, but I appreciate them all greatly.
Wow, isn’t that something? It sounds like the Christian life for so many of us. To me it is so challenging. I am challenged to be better, to get up earlier, to work harder, and to never give up. Keep on keeping on.
I recommend you spend a little time reading his blog at his website here.
May you be encouraged as well. Never give up. Never, never, never give up. The Christian life is full of head winds, squalls, cross currents and even a few sharks along the way. But it will be all worth it in the end.
Out (this is how John signed off each of his daily emails)