On the Shoulder of Giants are back!

We were recently joined by two very special guests at our student social! Dan and Rauri, two members of On The Shoulder of Giants (OSOG), recently completed an incredible 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic to raise money for PiP. Dan is also a PiP Trustee.

Looking fresh faced, they shared some of the highs and lows from their epic challenge.

The challenge took OSOG a month to row from the Canary Islands to Antigua and the first thing students wanted to know was what was life like on board the tiny boat! Here’s what they had to say:

Trustee Dan: We rowed 24 hours a day in 2 hours shift – we would row for 2 hours and then rest for 2 hours and that cycle would repeat during the day and the night. You can see a picture of Justin eating a Mars bar as we needed a lot of energy.

Rauri: Justin likes Mars bars a lot, here is a picture of him eating a lot of Mars bars on the boat.

PiP student Danny: I also like Mars bars.

Safia asked Did you see any animals when you were rowing? On Shoulders of Giants boat attracted a group of whales!

Rauri: It was 3 days before Christmas and suddenly we saw a big dark shadow in the water next to us. We were not quite sure what it was as it didn’t stay much longer and then we started seeing more and more dark shadows. Can anybody guess what that might be?

PiP student Louise: Dolphin! Rauri: It’s like a dolphin, but bigger! PiP student Louise: A whale.

PiP student Safia: I can see him! A lovely sunset. 

Image caption: Side of OSOG rowing boat, yellow and red sunset in background. Whale under the water next to the boat.

Rauri: The boat was surrounded by maybe 5 or 10 whales, big whales, that were ducking and diving, playing with water. One was so close that I hit it with my oar. Does anyone know how a whale breathes?

PiP student Louise: Does it come out through the middle on the top of his head? (this is also the Makaton for whale!)

Trustee Dan: Exactly. Rauri: One of the whales came up to the top of the water to breathe and as it was breathing it sprayed water and water that sprayed out went all over on me and Dan!

PiP student Lauren: There’s that whale thats got a name “Free Willy”.

PiP students were very concerned about the team’s safety and asked if they had to wear life jackets for the whole month.

Rauri: In the hottest part of the day it wasn’t really safe to be up on the deck, so we needed to wear special tops and special hats to protect us from the sun.

PiP student Safia: Were you wearing life jackets?

Dan: We had life jackets on the boat, but we did not wear them. The way that we kept safe is we were attached to the boat by ropes. If the boat turns over that way we stay attached to the boat.

PiP student Duaa: Did you get your jab for Covid 19?

Rauri: I had my jab and we were tested many times for Covid before and after our trip.

PiP student Louise: Did you guys feel okay, did you ever get sick?

Rauri: We definitely got sea sick at the beginning. For the first maybe 2 or 3 days it felt quite strange to be on the sea and it took us some time to get used to the food that we were eating and living on a boat.

PiP student Louise: How did you wash your clothes?

Rauri: It was quite important to wash our clothes because otherwise it was bad for our skin. We had a bucket on board, so we had to wash our clothes by hand in the bucket.

Before OSOG set sail, PiP students sent a care package of letters and artwork for the team to cheer them on. Everyone at PiP is very much impressed by their rowing achievement and how much they have raised to support PiP!

Rauri: You all said thank you to us for raising money, but actually it was really really important to us to feel the support of everybody at home. The letters and the pictures that you guys sent helped us to feel happy when we were out there, and knowing there were people back at home supporting us. It was very good to feel the support from everybody back at home while we were rowing across. It is a difficult thing to try and do, but we all feel very lucky that we were able to do it.

PiP student Danny: It’s great, you won it as well! You smoked flares, celebration, well done! That boat is great, thank you for raising money for us. Well done! Thank you so much!

PiP student Marcio: Honestly, big thank you everybody and for raising money for PiP, massive thank you everybody!

Trustee Dan: Thank you, it was our pleasure.

Congratulations OSOG!

Donate here to congratulate the OSOG team and support young people and adults with learning disabilities and autism to reach their potential.

Image caption: Screenshot from Zoom with PiP staff and students clapping and smiling.