Oceans Project: Rowing for Education


I have to admit, that I’ve never slept in a hammock before. I’ve sat in one sure, but never spent more than an hour or so in one. I’ve a lot to learn! Finding a good spot, putting it up, staying dry, getting a good night’s sleep, and not falling out. This time next year, I’m sure to be an expert ENOpian and feeling rather smug about my hammock prowess.

On the 28th May 2014, I set out from my home town of Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, England on a quest to become the first person in the world, to row solo around the coast of Great Britain. My boat will be 23 foot long, 6 foot wide, weigh 700kg, and be entirely powered by little old me and my flabby muscles. Back in 2001, I was paralysed for 18 months, when I developed Guillain Barre during a stint working in the urban and rural slums of India, and after that I lost trust in my body, to undertake any more physical adventures. This expedition, over 13 weeks, is sure to be a mighty challenge, physically and psychologically, especially as I’ve only been learning to row since January 2013.

But the journey is much bigger than me, and I’m about to take technology to the limits. Throughout my journey, I’ll be sharing 3D film footage, blog posts, photos, podcasts, and twitter feeds live in real time, with over 17,000 students worldwide, thanks to a purpose built Frog online platform, and Skype in the Classroom sessions. The idea is to bring the outdoors to life, for students who would otherwise have no access to any form of education, or have never seen the sea before. Even the physiology data I collect on myself as part of my PhD at Roehampton University, will be uploaded to the platform,giving students the learn more about STEM subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths.

But before that, the boat will be on display to 200,00 visitors at the re-launch of the Olympic Stadium in March and April as part of Technopop London, and that will be my first time testing out the hammocks and learning more about the history and design of the hammock. The event is free of charge and visitors are welcomed.

In the meantime, my work mainly involves fundraising, boat building, and a training regime, but I’m itching to escape to my hammock during the journey. Until then….happy weekend.