The final boat in the Great Pacific Race has finished! This morning at at 07:54 local time, Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour rowed over the finish line of the Great Pacific Race.
It was an early start for those of us here in Waikiki. The members of the Great Pacific Race Committee were at the Waikiki Yacht Club before dawn and headed out toward the finish line a few minutes after sunrise. It was important to Mick and Sparky that they finish in daylight and although they had slowed their pace a bit over the previous 24 hours, the current and strong wind pushed them quickly toward the finish. What had been anticipated as a 09:00 finish had jumped earlier by a couple of hours.
The family and friends boat reached Bojangles first at about a 1/2 nm from the finish line. Natalie Harper was the first to spot Bojangles on the horizon, even though she had to lift her head from a bucket to pinpoint them on the horizon. A known sufferer of sea sickness, the thought of seeing Mick and Sparky cross the line outweighed the knowledge of this temporary debilitating illness. She was rewarded with the sight of Mick who had made the effort to have shower and shave a couple of days earlier.
Sparky was at the oars and despite his painful back and knee it was stunning to see him stay on the oars from the moment that we saw them, until they reached the shores at Waikiki. At 07:54 am they triumphantly rowed over the finish line stretching between Diamond Head Lighthouse and the red Diamond Head Buoy. From the second we saw them, they both had smiles on their faces, were in good spirits, and even brought Rocky (their stuffed penguin mascot) out to greet those of us on the escort boats.
The morning skies were a bit overcast after a strong dose of rain overnight and there was a strong wind blowing along the Molokai Channel. After they crossed the finish line, they had about 3 1/2 nm to row in order to reach the Waikiki Yacht Club. When the team was about 2/3 of the way there, the sun broke through the clouds. Sparky turned his face, which is now covered in a handsome Shakespearean beard, to bask in the morning sun. Eyes closed – still rowing – soaking in the sun, living in the glorious moment.
There were also several flags displayed aboard Bojangles. It was hard to miss the remnants of a tattered and worn Union Jack that waved in the wind. This flag seemed like a symbol of the journey these two former Royal Marines had just taken across the Pacific – worn and battered but still flying proudly and carrying on no matter the conditions.
When they reached the shore they were greeted by friends from around the world and members of the Royal Marines as we’ll as the US Marine Corps. There were representatives from their sponsors Dragon Coin and the amazing staff from the Ala Moana Hotel by Mantra, Friends from Monterey, CA and the Coach House in Brighton, UK made the journey to meet them. Other ocean rowers from the Great Pacific Race were there as well.
It was a glorious morning. As is standard practice after stepping off Bojangles, Mick and Sparky sat down to enjoy their first hot meal on land. For Mick this was steak and eggs and for Sparky his plate was filled with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Shortly after they were seated the interviews and stories began.
By early afternoon it was time to shower and take a well earned rest. Tomorrow we will catch up more with Mick and Sparky and hear more of their incredible adventures across the Pacific in the Great Pacific Race
GREAT PACIFIC RACE STANDINGS as of 19:00 (7 pm) PDT
1 Uniting Nations Row/ Isabel: FINISHED – 49 Days, 23 Hours, 15 Minutes
2 Pacific Terrific/ Danielle: FINISHED – 62 Days, 18 Hours, 36 Minutes
3 Cockleshell Pacific Endeavour / Bojangles: FINISHED – 82 Days, 16 Hours, 54 Minutes
Team Attack Poverty/ Anne: RETIRED
Team Ripple Effect/ Ripple Effect: RETIRED