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20-08-2013
A very proud mum left Puerto Pollensa this week on a special trip to London. Puerto resident Christine Newbury was heading for Buckingham Palace to see her daughter Debra Veal be awarded the MBE in recognition of her achievement in rowing across the Atlantic Ocean . . . all on her own. Debra's feat was indeed a tremendous one. With no other means of propulsion except her hands on the oars she crossed the 3000 miles from Tenerife to Barbados last year battling 30 foot waves and force 8 winds . . . not to mention the sharks . . in a 23 foot plywood boat. The journey took her three and a half months and she had not even planned it that way. It was certainly always going to be an adventure, but originally Debra meant to take up the challenge of crossing the Atlantic with her husband Andrew, an experienced oarsman, but for health reasons he had to be taken off the boat after nine days and so Debra decided to carry on alone. With only two arms rowing instead of four and with very little sleep, it is no wonder the trip took somewhat longer than the expected six weeks! Debra kept a diary on board and has since written a book about her achievement as well as giving talks on how she managed to motivate herself through so many dark nights and even darker moments . . . one of her worst experiences was of nearly being run down by a super-tanker which could not see her tiny boat in the large waves and would not even have felt the impact if it had hit her. She notes that one of her best days was when she found a hoard of sweets she had forgotten were stowed away . . . what a luxury after days and days of beef stew and dumplings!. A daughter to be proud of to be sure and we hope both Christine and Debra have a great day at the Palace and trust Debra will come back to Puerto Pollensa soon to talk about her amazing journey.

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