Audio: Ollie battles across Southern Ocean

IT is an adventure of a lifetime and one that Suffolk adventurer Oliver Hicks hopes he will successfully complete.

IT is an adventure of a lifetime and one that Suffolk adventurer Oliver Hicks hopes he will successfully complete.

The 27-year-old from Thorpeness is now 1,100 miles into his solo rowing trip around the world and despite being thrown off course a few times by harsh weather conditions, his spirit is still high.

Speaking from his boat phone, the explorer said that e-mails from family and friends keep him going though news of the bad weather over here and the economic crisis has kept any real homesick feelings at bay for now.

Mr Hicks is just a couple months into his 18,000 mile trip, which is estimated to take between 18 and 22 months.


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He left Tasmania at the end of January and is now about 480 miles off the west coast of New Zealand. As he got caught in bad current vortex not far off the coast of Tasmania, it has taken a while to get back on course.

He said: “Your life on the boat is dictated by the weather. You just have to take it day by day. We have got to get as close to New Zealand as possible and then decide what to do then. Maybe we will stop in NZ but I don't really want to do that.

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“We have to think of a contingency plan though because we are coming up to being in the remotest parts of the ocean in the depths of winter so that is not good.

“It is pretty good conditions at the moment. It has felt like quite a long time already because it has been slow progress. It has taken much longer than I anticipated. It is very frustrating.”

Coping with life alone at sea 24/7 is not something that one can easily prepare for but Mr Hicks says e-mails from family and friends keeps him going.

He said: “The isolation is fine. I have got e-mail and a phone. I check with the shore manager to get ice reports and I download my own weather reports everyday. I only use the phone about once a week but I get a lot of e-mails every day.”

Mr Hicks' longboat, called the Flying Carrot, was specially made from carbon fibre in Devon and fitted out in Suffolk.

The idea for the record attempt was forged during a four-month voyage from America to Britain in 2005 when he became the first person to row solo across the Atlantic and the youngest person to row any ocean alone.

Part of the reason for the voyage is to raise money for the charity Hope and Homes for Children. To donate visit www.justgiving.com/virginglobalrow

To see how he is getting on, visit www.virginglobalrow.com

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