After yet another, and very serious, super tanker near-collision at 04.00 this morning (see pic), I rowed the @Leopard.TV in contemplative silence as the stars waned and the grey dawn began lighting the eastern horizon.

To be honest, I was a touch teary from the extreme exhaustion of adrenalin depletion, physical wear and tear and weeks of accumulative sleep depravation. Emotional melt down, to put it mildly. It’s as if all of the many incidences and near-death events of the past weeks hit me in that early dawn.

I felt particularly stupid when the magnitude of what I was attempting truly hit me!

You see, I have never crossed an ocean before, save in an airplane. I have dived under it and surfed on it but not crossed it. And how do I attempt my first ocean crossing? In a man powered row boat! Insane (but then again, my surname is Malherbe, with the emphasis on the ‘Mal’).

What I had never, neither could have anticipated, was her sheer size! When one travels across a country or continent in or on a vehicle, you are permanently entertained by beautiful vistas of mountains, other traffic,villages; constant change. Here, in the seemingly endless vastness that is the mighty Atlantic Ocean, there is nothing, day after day, night after night, week after week . The horizon stretches in every direction with no life for the eyes, save for those brief moments when I dive into the vastness and perhaps see a fish. “Life”! Such a small thing as seeing a few fish restores my senses with an injection of exhilaration and wonder! But, for the rest, nothing, nothing, nothing.

So when the possibility of death approaches, sometimes slowly, like a ship, or suddenly, like being turned upside down at night by a wave in a storm, the fear is real, tangible, scary. There is little if any chance of rescue out here and that adds to the lonely vastness that I find myself in.

Then, as always, I find snippets of time to remind myself of the ‘Why’ behind the fear and occasional doubt. For, as Steven Covey says in his book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, “Begin with the end in mind”. I will only embark on a journey, and complete it, if the ‘Why’ overrides my ego. This is how I will get to Rio.