Making Amends to Mother Nature with the DOT Challenge

Braam Mahlerbe rowing to Rio for the DOT Challenge

On behalf of humanity, Captain Malherbe and First Mate Robertson continue to play the scapegoat for worldwide crimes against the environment. If all goes as planned, they’ll take their 2–3 months of open-ocean lashings, unite humankind in an oath of nil nocere (to do no harm), and secure Mother Nature’s forgiveness.

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The Atlantic Ocean has been strict, if not just, in administering the corporal punishment. In more than a month of rowing, the Malherbe-Robertson duo have only been given a few days of calm, sunny reprieve between the battery of violent storms. Still, humanity’s two stand-ins show no signs of crying uncle. And with half the journey now behind them, the end is in sight.

Excerpts from Braam’s Big Blue Blog (aka Facebook):

Halfway There

“It’s official! We are both geographically and in distance over the halfway mark. . . . Based on our average SOG (Speed Over Ground) and COG (Course Over Ground) since leaving Cape Town on the 7th of February, we hope to reach Rio in 32 days’ time!”

The Rare Reprieve

“After 23 days, the sun skimmed the water in a golden blue light. I harnessed up and left the boat diving into the big blue. Free from the boat at last, I donned my mask and stared in absolute awe at a bottomless clear blue. Nothing, just blue. Nothing but everything! Life, water, purity indescribable. This life-giving water, evaporating to shed its weary load on high mountains thousands of kilometers away, the streams to rivers coming back to their birth place. And I am in it, far far away from land. I am truly surrounded by magic as I dive as far as my breath will allow. . . . I am in awe again after much fatigue, blisters, and a cracked rib. Nature has restored my soul yet again.”

The Battery of Storms

“I’m standing there, precariously balanced, with my back to the prevailing swell, when a rogue wave breaks across the deck and hurls me over the lanyard into the sea. My leash held well around my ankle (a big-wave surf leash we call a rhino chaser), but as I surfaced the boat lent into me and I cracked my head a shot on the rigger.”

It’s up to the rest of the world to hold up the other end of this agreement with nature: to make changes. To cease the abuse and neglect of natural resources. Diplomat Malherbe has already made arrangements to enable earnest progress; he’s spearheaded the DOT Challenge program and mobile app. If the two-month sentence he’s currently carrying out is to be of any effect, we must do our part, make our small changes, take our actions—Do our One Thing.

On March 8, 2017, Braam logged this powerful thought, which we in turn leave with you:

“I feel okay for two reasons mainly; one, my purpose is good and can have a great positive impact on our Earth (with your help) and two, our boat Mhondoro is not dissimilar to Her! What do we need to survive on this rare home of ours? Sun, air, water, food, shelter. Our boat is solar powered to charge our batteries, so that our batteries can operate our water desalinator so we can drink. The air is pure around our little home. The food is stored in ration form in our holds, although the sea supplies us with Her bounty (flying fish and squid land on the boat at night) and our tiny cabin is more than adequate shelter. If we do not look after her, and all she freely provides us, we will die.

Are you, where you are right now, and us, where we are right now in the mid-South Atlantic, so far apart after all? Are our responsibilities not the same; to look after, with infinite care, our finite resources?

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