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Adam & Charlie “The Emergensea Duo”

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Hello! We are Adam and Charlie “ the Emergensea Duo”, 2 A&E doctors, and a married couple based in Devon.

We have just become the first married couple in the world to complete the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, a 3000 mile unsupported row across the Atlantic, departing from La Gomera and arriving in Antigua. It took us 51 days rowing in alternate shifts of 2 hours on 2 hours off, battling sleep deprivation, large waves and the occasional shark!

After completing our Masters in Extreme Medicine with the University of Exeter and World Extreme Medicine we both had a desire to undertake an extreme mental and physical challenge. This challenge is so remote- at one point you are closer to humans on the International Space Station than those on land! It is the “World’s toughest” ocean row and with our love of the ocean it was the perfect challenge for us.

With our Emergency Medicine backgrounds it was incredibly important to us that we chose charities that represent saving lives by air land and sea. We chose the Devon Air Ambulance and the RD&E Charity with whom we both have a close working relationship. We also chose two amazing national charities, the RNLI & Mind. We saw first-hand the impact Covid had on many charities with fundraising events being cancelled so it was fantastic to be able to support them.

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The preparations were full-on! We had a number of RYA courses to complete, on-water training to log and strength and conditioning sessions ensuring we were powerful and had good mobility to prevent injuries. We were training 6 days a week in and around our full-time jobs. Mentally it was good preparation as we would get a couple of hours sleep post night shifts and be out on the water training. We also had to run our campaign and fit in as many fundraising events as possible.

The highlights were definitely the wildlife, sunsets and sunrises. One day we saw a pod of Orcas that came right alongside our boat and it was magical. The sunsets on the very flat days with the water like a mirror were incredible and would light the sky up pink. We had two birds that followed us from day 2 until the penultimate day and they became our little friends.

The lowlights were vomiting for the first 3 days and we both really struggled with the cold dehydrated meals. It was also really frustrating to find yourself in a less favourable weather system than your competitors but we tried to maintain a positive outlook throughout.

The hardest day was when we had unpredicted headwinds during the night and we just couldn’t row into it so we had to deploy the para-anchor to prevent us from drifting back as much as possible and try to both squeeze in the stern cabin for 8 hours.

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Crossing the finish line was the most surreal moment, we are still trying to put into words. Just total elation and incredibly overwhelming- going from seeing just two people to a fantastic warm welcome of so many people clapping and cheering and boats honking their horns.

To celebrate, we met family and friends and shared stories and cocktails. Having only got 80 minutes of sleep each for the last 48 hours it wasn’t a late night!

We learnt a lot while completing the row – it was a great time to be able to reflect and we both came away with the feeling that life is about the journey and not the destination.

Also the body and mind are so much stronger than we give them credit for and you can achieve much more than you realise, it’s just having the courage to begin.

We have been back at work but are now preparing to become the first mixed pair to row around GB to continue our fundraising. This will be a different challenge as it is a much more technical row with tidal waters and the world’s busiest shipping areas to navigate through. Mentally it will be tough being able to see land and possibly so close to shore we can make out people eating ice creams on the beach! We will be unsupported so once again have to carry all our food, equipment and supplies and will not be touching land at any point.

The best way to follow us is on our socials, @emergensea_duo on Instagram. We will post frequent updates during our next row including some live videos. For some information about donating or corporate sponsorship you can head to our website: www.emergenseaduo.com