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Boiled Eggs, Ghosts And Rough Diamonds

Boiled eggs always seem like a good idea at first, but everyone knows how bad they smell after a few hours, let alone days! Imagine that in the cabin of a small boat miles out at sea...

Alongside some food mishaps,  the Intrepid 232 team also has faced spooky encounters and escapees.

For some background, Intrepid 232 is a team of Jersey mums in their late 50s to early 60s who are trying to beat a world record. 

They want to be the oldest women to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

Alison Smithurt (59), Rosemary Satchwell (55), Julie Brady (60), and Helene Monpetit (56) have a combined age of 232 and make up the team of rowers.

They started their journey seven days ago, on 13 December 2023, and are participating in the Talisker Atlantic Challenge, dubbed the world's toughest row.

The race started in La Gomera, Canary Islands, and will row to the finishing line at Nelson's Dockyard in Antigua, 3,000 miles away.

Nonetheless, Intrepid 232 is taking strides, standing 8th in the Women's Class and 23rd out of 38 teams.

The team is tackling 20 to 60-foot waves, long days of rowing in sub-zero to 35C temperatures and extreme physical difficulties, including salt sores and sleep deprivation.

However, these are not the only challenges the team has faced so far...

Photo Credit: World's Toughest Row

Some of the aforementioned unforeseen challenges include bucket surfing, boiled eggs and ghost ships.

Whilst battling towering waves and northerly winds, the rowers are battling smaller issues on board the Black Squid.


On Day 5 of the challenge, Julie spoke to the team via the satellite phone and told them of a problem. A bad smell.

With no showers onboard the vessel, smells are not unusual for the team, although this was a 'horrible smell'.

As the days went on, the smell only grew stronger and stronger.

When the team had come to the end of its tether they found the offender.

Before the start of the race, the rowers decided it would be a good idea to bring some fresh food to keep energy levels up.

Naturally, they decided to take fruit, including pears and oranges, and some boiled eggs...

The team had not realised that there had been an escapee, which had wedged itself under the cabin mattress and was squashed.

Slowly, the egg started to rot away in the scorching and humid cabin.

After expelling the smushed egg from the Black Squid, the team realised they would have to cohabit with its stinky ghost for a couple more days.

Unfortunately, Intrepid 232 cannot air out the cabin at sea, so they can only hope the smell goes away on its own.

A day prior to the offensive egg ordeal, the women encountered a single white light on the horizon.

Intrepid 232 thought it must be a boat slowly moving towards them.

Naturally, they checked their Automatic Identification System (AIS), but nothing appeared.

They then decided to radio to ask who the mystery vessel was, although there was no answer.

The light continued following the women at the same speed for the rest of the two-hour shift.


After ejecting the sulphurous culprit from the vessel on Day 5, the women were being followed again by the same solitary white light.

This 'phantom ship' seemed to be pursuing them, so Intrepid 232 asked the boat to respond again.

It was then that the mums suddenly realised they were radioing a star!

The tale at sea has been likened to the story of the three wise men at Christmas but with four middle-aged women being chased by a star instead.

Alison with the bucket. Photo Credit: The World's Toughest Row

The final story shared by the team is one to skip if you are eating your breakfast.

As you may have guessed, with no shower, there are most likely no other facilities to accompany... if you catch my drift.

With a lack of toilets, there is only one real solution. A bucket.


Valuable skills rowers need at sea include balance and a lack of embarrassment.

Luckily for the team, the makeshift toilet sits at the front of the boat to give the most privacy possible.

It is also critical for the rowers to add a little seawater to the bucket before 'surfing' so clean up is as easy as possible, but not too much that the contents fall out.

With huge waves battering the vessel, the team has to surf the bucket, which can be difficult when eating 5,000 calories daily.

At this point, Intrepid 232 has already had a hectic couple of days, from being stalked by stars to smelly eggs; you can imagine the team wanted a break.

However, the team did not get one.


On the sixth day, nature called, and it was business as usual for Intrepid 232 until a huge wave hit the Black Squid whilst one of the team was dropping the kids off at the pool.

She was thrown off the toilet mid-surf, and the contents of the bucket followed.

The other escapee of the trip flew into the footwell and had to be... retrieved.

Despite the challenges faced in the first week, the team of determined women continue to battle through the waves.

The mums want to raise money for charity during the challenge and raise awareness for the Grace Crocker and Blue Marine Foundations.

Intrepid 232 has raised more than £4,000 so far and wants to reach its £10,000 target during the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Rowing Challenge.

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