Even at the very beginning, when we at Ketchup first began discussing the content and design of the OAR website, the row seemed a hugely daunting challenge. But then, it wouldn’t be worth doing if it was easy. It certainly wouldn’t have attracted the massive amount of attention it has – or inspired massive media coverage on both sides of the Atlantic – if it was going to be plain sailing all the way across.
Like all great ideas; rowing across the North Atlantic sounded like a simple enough concept. But anyone with any idea of the effort involved in such a high-risk undertaking would know ahead of time that the enterprise was likely to be fraught with difficulty.
At Ketchup we say it’s fine being wise after the event, but it’s even better to be wise before the event. Since 2010, literally thousands of lethal ice fragments have broken off the Petermann Glacier of North West Greenland and have been blown by strong south easterlies onto the coast of Newfoundland. The sharp-edged ‘bergy bits’ of ice float just beneath the surface of the water and wouldn’t have been visible to the rowers, especially at night. An absolutely terrifying scenario.
For more information on the Peterman Glacier please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0hYScmwHp0&feature=related
Of course, everyone from the designers and writers here at Ketchup, to the rowers themselves and their supporters feel completely deflated, but Andrew ‘Mos’ Morris explains the decision to defer the attempt:
“The risks were simply too high. The responsibility we have to our families, friends, sponsors and supporters to ensure a successful outcome, left us with little choice. To make the decision not to row is hugely disappointing, but we were here to do something inspiring, not something stupid. Bojangles would have been no match for sharp, compacted, several-thousand-year-old ice.”
Was there ever a more graphic or emotive illustration of the damage that climate change is having on our planet? Andrew’s co-rower, Roz Savage takes up the story.
“Given our immovable deadline of reaching London in time for the start of the Olympics, we unfortunately don’t have the option to wait until the ice dissipates, which will take another couple of weeks at least. After much soul searching, it is with regret that we have come to the difficult decision to postpone our row for this year. The chances of hitting ice – and the serious consequences of a punctured hull in freezing North Atlantic waters – meant that the risk to our safety was simply unacceptable.”
Given the general disappointment it seems there is no good news. However, it this situation helps underline the urgent need for positive action to be taken immediately to counter the effects – and stem the causes – of global warming, then all is not lost. Indeed, followers of the OAR effort are urged to check with this website regularly for further updates, explanations and plans for the future.
Thanking everyone for their support and enthusiastic encouragement.