Update: Paddler 3/4 of the Way Across Atlantic Ocean

Chris Bertish holds a knife in his mouth after having a run-in with a Great White Shark on his Trans-Atlantic SUP crossing. Photo: Chris Bertish

Update: Paddler 3/4 of the Way Across Atlantic Ocean

Chris Bertish is currently 3,000 kilometers into his 4,000 kilometer journey across the Atlantic Ocean. He’s been on the water for 70 days, taken an estimated 1,404,000 paddle strokes and lost 17 pounds. Thanks to technology, Bertish is able to infrequently send out updates when the weather permits. Here’s his latest Captain’s Log entry. Forgive the spelling: he’s on a standup paddleboard in the middle of the ocean.

Captain s Log Friday the 10th Feb 17′

“The story of a Sea Pirate, A trembling ImpiFish, the greatest Milestone & the not so friendly visitor from the deep! “

Today is the perfect day to achieve this monumental mental, Milestone for me.. Just hitting 44degrees West, with 1000NM to go.. Is incredible!

For the first time in almost 3 weeks, the wind is in the 15knt range, the sea state has calmed down a lot & the son was even out with blue skies for the sunrise this morning and the forecast is light for the next 3 days! It’s simply Incredible!

No one will actually comprehend what that means to me, after what I have been working through over the last 18days.. But all I can say is that today is a huge milestone and I feel strong and good that I’m going all the way!!!!!

It’s all going to epic from today onwards and I’m going to really be able to start enjoying the last part of the journey…which I will! Stoked!

I guess on my last post, I by mistake tempted fate by saying I had pretty much had everything in this trip & then some!
Well, not exactly, until a couple hours after my last Captain’s Log post….

I had posted a couple hours before, been on shift paddling, went for 30second swim to wash off and jumped back on deck to set up the water maker to make my daily 5litres of water for the day..

Sitting on deck, holding the steering system lines to steer while the water maker was on, so I could switch the autopilot off, as the water maker only works when the batteries are powered up and no other main systems are drawing significant power, which I have only worked out over the last couple weeks.. Definitely not in the manual!!! Haha

I was watching my little precious water bottle slowly, slowly get filled drip by precious drip, watching protectively like mother hen looking after her chicks & I had a weird premonition and glanced up for just a second as something caught me eye, just off my port shoulder, something dark disturbing the water moving at speed directly towards the stern of the ImpiFish, I instantly stood up, holding the side of the craft with one hand, just in time to see a Avery large dark shape heading right at the stern, at speed! It all happened so quickly, as it got to the point of impact it, veered aggressively to the left and I knew then instantly exactly what it was..

I could see her clearly, big dark, fat, yet a sleek hunting machine.. She swished violently to beer around again and came at the craft to my side, close enough I could have reached down and touch her.. She went right underneath me and out there other side, swished again vigorously as if to come back for the second round, but then turned again and swam off into the deep blue… I turned on my Go Pro quick to capture her as she came back again, but obviously she was camera shy and never returned…and I was left a bit shaken, stoked and adrenalized with my knife still at the ready in my hand, which I wasn’t able to put down for the next 20minutes or so… Hahaha funny that!

Great whites generally also follow these migration routes between Africa and the Caribbean, so it’s not surprising to actually see one, just not such a close encounter & she was fairly big.. 15ft, so only 4ft smaller than us and almost as wide as the ImpiFish..which is pretty daunting, when you are alone in the middle of the Ocean, with a fish like that looking at taking a piece out of you… I rekon, as it was daylight she was coming from deep as adipose attack, but at the last moment realized it wasn’t what she through my it might be initially and at the last second changed her mind… Good thing for me, I’m not complaining, as my rudder I don’t think would have taken a direct hit from a shark that size…
Another epic experience and amazing encounter and more great stories for an epic voyage so far.. stoked!

What can I say , I haven’t been swimming a lot since!

So after this, I had my Knife in hand and when I was filming with the Go Pro, I had my knife in my mouth, so I’m now officially a TransAtlantic Sea Pirate…”Arrrrggh Cpt, Davey Jones, you beware.. Cpt. crazy CrisB CrabStick and the ImpiFish are coming for you and the Black Pearl!”

Milestones & the Sup Crossing stats so far:

So today is a massive milestone for me mentally..as of 2pm today I will hit the 1000NM mark, remaining on my trip…

That’s huge, I have covered just over 3000NM and have only 1000NM to go!
Less then 25days..at the current average speed of 40NM p/day and three quarters of the way through my journey..Epic!

Just over three weeks and counting…

As of the Friday the 10th Feb I have:
Been at sea, alone for 67 days, as of today
I have crossed/ paddled over 3x Time Zones
I have averaged paddling 74km every day for the last 67 days straight! Think about that for a second or two…
I have now paddled a total of 4910km, since I left Agadir, Morroco on the 6th Dec 16.
I have 1020nm, 1200sm, 1930kn left to go to the finish in Antigua, Carribean!
26 days from Antigua at 40nm per day
23days 3 hours from Antigua at 45nm per day
30nm, 35sm, 56km per day ave in straight line
39nm, 45sm, 74km ave per day paddled – getting bigger!
Ave speed over the entire journey- 1.5knts – and getting faster!

We have Raised over R5.5million for Charity so far! Signature of Hope/ Operation Smile & The Lunchbox Fund
Enough to build 1.5 Schools
Feed almost a million children
Pay for hundreds of operations
Raised awareness for the 2Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town and integrated the project updates into the educational program

Total Paddle Strokes, after 65days- 1, 404 000 strokes paddled to date, at an average stroke rate- 36 strokes per minute (as per my Garmin Fenix Watch) at an average of 10hours paddled p/day.

Total Strokes -65days = 1million 404 thousand strokes

I have 1000NM remaining to the finish in Antigua, at Old English Harbor, Leeward Islands of the Caribbean

-Lost/ overboard so far the trip on this trip so far:
1x Hats
1x sun Glasses
1x Hatches
Many Baby wipes- oh shit!
1x Bucket
1x tube of Island Tribe.
1x water bottle
Eaten 1x 40kg of food
1x 8L bag of Rubbish for 65 days
Avg intake of 6litres water hydration a day and 1x coffee
I have lost min 8kg-2 sizes
10kg of mixed nuts eaten
5kg Enduren hydration mix used
5kg of Race food
R280 000 loan taken against my house, to pay into the project to make it happen, as we were still short at the end of 16′, before starting. What ever it takes!

Remaining:
Extra water allowance daily for washing and basic sanitary? Still zero!
Sanity- small traces
Sense of humor-very little, but building daily, as I get closer to Antigua
Stress levels -decreasing daily after storms and hectic weather have subsided
System problems- under control, but a constant struggle daily. I have learned to deal with them and manage them daily
SystemChallenges- 2x Autohelm Rams now failed
1x Steering systems failed
1x Water maker constantly needing bleeding
Leaks- 5x leaks but now repaired to best of my ability and monitored, some daily, some weekly
Still have all paddles! 3x paddles (Stoked! )
Emergency water still available -40Litres
Clean clothes- none
72kg of me remaining, after loosing 8kg
200grms of paddling calluses on my hands
2x tubes Island Tribe remaining
26x rations packs remaining
Hopefully enough food to get me through the next 25 days..It’s going to be tight, but good incentive to paddle faster!
1x Torn shoulder muscle
1x Strained finger tendon
1x Damaged Rotator cuff – now needing surgery when I finish
Multiple holes in my hands
Multiple holes in my knee and leg

Positive Results
I am now 3/4 of the way through this epic journey!
Multiple Drogue systems made- with lines and bridals systems implemented.
Multiple new steering systems made
Inspiring hundreds of thousands of people into believing in what’s humanly possible! And re-looking at and possible redefining there own limits and challenges in life
Give insights into the daily hardships, challenges and special moments along the epic journey through the Captains Log
Re defining the limits of the sport
Redefining the limits of solo human endurance
Pioneering something that no one on earth has ever been done before
Change perception of what’s possible!
Helping change the lives of millions of little kids in South Africa, through this project. operations/ food and education.

Today and this log is all about Stats as the weather has been tough, so it’s shorter and more compact.

The weather is finally looking lighter and more manageable over the weekend, so I’ll be able to be back on it and write properly over the weekend and do an awesome Captains log for Monday/Tues.Yes, Stoked!

Happy Full Moon everyone, have an awesome weekend, get out there and make the magic happen..
What ever you do, make it count..

I know I will be paddling under a full moon tonight & over the weekend, paddling smiles onto little kids faces, in the Atlantic Ocean, 1000NM out from the Caribbean… And that inspires me & gives me power, right there!

Bring it on!

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