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UAE resident joins with others to row the Atlantic Ocean in an effort to raise awareness of the environment – News
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UAE resident joins with others to row the Atlantic Ocean in an effort to raise awareness of the environment – News

The team raised approximately Dh70,000 during their journey, which will be donated to two charities in the UK and UAE.

Published:Tue 25 January 2022, 12:30 PM

Last update:Tue 25 January 2022, 6:52 pm

One UAE resident rowed 3,000 nautical mile across the Atlantic Ocean with two UK-based colleagues. The journey lasted 38 days and 13 mins to raise awareness about ocean plastic pollution.

Team Peninsula, made up of Toby Kendall, Samuel Morris and William Drew from Britain, embarked on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2021. They set off from La Gomera (the second-smallest island in Spains Canaries) on December 12, 2021. The trio arrived at Antigua’s Nelsons Dockyard on January 19, 2021 after a hard row.

The team was able to raise around Dh500,000 through the journey to donate to marine conservation organisations and plastic focused charities.

Morris, speaking from Antigua to Khaleej Times, stated that the primary goal of such a difficult challenge was to raise awareness regarding the ever-increasing amount of plastics in the oceans and the harm it causes.

Morris, a British Chartered Surveyor and resident in the UAE since 13 years, said that the choice of NGOs aimed to address three main areas: river, ocean, and beach clean-ups, education about responsible plastic use at all levels and changing the policies of governments around the globe.

Despite being called the world’s toughest row, it was an opportunity for the three to fulfill their passions for marine conservation, endless pursuit of adventure, and desire to push physical endurance.

Morris, who lost 11kg in the 38-day journey, described it as a magical, surreal experience.

We were able to experience nature in a way that we had never experienced before. We got up close to sharks, whales, sea turtles, and birds. Morris described the stunning sight of the sea glowing at sunrise as something that could only be seen from space.

The team was driven by the desire to make a difference in the environment and to take part in the ultimate test for the mind and body.

Apart from physical strength, the trio had also to overcome a long list mental challenges such as sleep deprivation, stress, and hallucinations.

Two years of preparation

The three athletes, who are no strangers to fitness and sport, began an intense physical and mental training two years before the challenge.

Morris, an ultra-endurance runner, stated that sacrifices are necessary in order to achieve greatness in life.

Morris and his team began their mornings at 5:00am every morning for the past two years. They followed a strict routine that included cardio training in the morning, and weightlifting and gym training in the evening.

Morris noted that you can adapt to physical challenges because it is amazing how the human body can do so much. However, the mind requires great effort to learn how to deal with anxiety, fear, and sleep deprivation while working with two people.

The mental training consisted of the trio meeting online every two weeks to share their fears, hopes, and fears while brainstorming all possible crises that could occur on the boat.

We had to learn about each other’s personalities and share what we liked. We created stress-management strategies and played out scenarios for dealing with arguments on the boat.

He said, “We had to train our mind to identify thoughts and manage them. This was especially important since we were going through mentally stressful situations.”

Tom Kelly, who was part a rowing team that crossed India Ocean unsupported in 2011, designed and supervised the teams’ training regimen.

The trio had to load the boat with enough food and nutrition that it could last for 60 days. To be eligible for the challenge, they had must complete a sea survival training course in addition to spending hours on a boat.


After passing the required boat safety inspections, the trio left La Gomera. They were given divided tasks to row for two hours and then take a break for one hour. Then they returned to La Gomera. Morris explained that each member would row for three hours at night to ensure the best possible speed.

The most difficult parts were the hallucinations resulting from lack of sleep, and the enormous evening waves that reached six meters (19.7ft).

Morris stated that I saw spiders, snakes, and an Airbus A380 flying overhead at my head. However, I realized that these were unreal.


Morris stated that Morris and his team achieved more than they had ever imagined, which led to a stronger bond of friendship.

“We all came together to support a cause that we love. He added that while we were united in our passion for a cause, we also supported one another in overcoming tough obstacles to show ourselves that we can do anything.

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