It’s heartwarming to see how many of our crews this year are rowing to raise money for causes that they passionately believe in, and none more so than Daryl Farmer, rowing solo as Rowing4Reefs. Daryl is rowing for two causes, one global, one personal – the Earthrace Conservation Organisation, specifically focusing on their marine conservation programmes, and the Peter Andre Foundation, which funds buses that tour the UK, allowing members of the public to talk to cancer awareness nurses about prevention, screening, and early detection.
Daryl, a 39-year-old from Sussex who maintains ponds and aquariums for a living, has a very personal reason for wanting to promote cancer awareness. In 2012 he lost his mother to kidney cancer after her condition was misdiagnosed, despite the fact that she had recovered from breast cancer just 6 months earlier.
But why the Peter Andre Foundation specifically? Serendipity played a part. On the first Mother’s Day after losing his mother, he was in an aquatic supplies shop when the Australian star just happened to walk in. They got talking, Daryl ended up installing his fish tank for him, and the two became friends. So when Peter subsequently set up his foundation in memory of his brother, Daryl’s choice of charity was clear.
Daryl has an impressive track record of endurance events, having competed in the Marathon des Sables, the Jungle Marathon, and numerous other marathons and ultra-marathons, all to raise funds for the oceans.
The first seeds of the idea to transition from land to sea came when he watched the documentary about British celebrities Ben Fogle and James Cracknell rowing the Atlantic in 2005. In 2009, at the Marathon des Sables, he met Charlie Pitcher, which helped him decide to row solo. He came along to New Ocean Wave’s introductory day in Twickenham in summer 2012, and 6 months after that he signed up for the race.
During his voyage he will be assisting in microplastics research, in association with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, collecting samples of seawater for later analysis.
Keeping him company will be his volleyball Wilson, a là Castaway, to which his partner Sabine has added her own handprint and that of her daughter, 10-year-old Elli. Daryl will, of course, be staying in touch with his family en route, but is also looking forward to the solitude, with his music, audiobooks and podcasts for company.
He is somewhat apprehensive about the challenges of adapting to a new environment, getting away from the coast, and seasickness, expecting the first couple of weeks to be quite intense.
On his website Daryl says that he believes in karma, fate, and honesty, and these factors have certainly played a part in his preparations for this race – not just the serendipity of meeting Peter Andre, but also in his choice of boat.
It was on that day in Twickenham two years ago that he first met Bojangles, the boat that Race Director and Chris Martin rowed across the North Pacific in 2009. It was love at first sight. She’s a big old boat, but it was her solidity and seaworthiness that attracted him. Now she is his, and tomorrow she arrives in Monterey for final preparations. No doubt their relationship will be put to the test on occasions during their upcoming voyage, but hopefully the romance will last all the way to Hawaii.
Link To Rowing 4 Reefs Crew Page (which has further links on it to Daryl’s site and his charities)