Braam Malherbe and his rowing partner Wayne Robertson’s voyage to Rio has put the two men through quite an arduous time.

The two have been on the open sea for 36 days and recently completed 3 343km of their 6 700km trip.

On day 33, Malherbe explained that the experience so far had definitely been an uncomfortable one.

“As a result of 33 days of cloudy weather, rain squalls and humidity, we have nothing clean or dry to wear. So we are limited to wearing baggies only, and bathing is restricted to half a litre each and two wet wipes. We have to hand-pump the manual desalinator each day because our solar panels don’t receive enough sun to keep the batteries above 60%. It takes 45 minutes to pump 2 litres.”

The pair ran into a dangerous situation when they encountered a vessel, roughly 600-feet long and 105-feet wide, that almost didn’t see them.

“After relatively close calls with almost a ship a night in the first 12 days, we saw nothing for two weeks except one vessel a few nights back, and then near disaster. Just after midnight, our automatic identification system (AIS) went off. We have set it at maximum distance of 5 nautical miles for an alarm to sound if on a possible collision course.”

The two men tried to get in contact with the ship, but heard nothing.

Malherbe said there had been silence for 30 seconds before they were told to repeat their message.

“We are a non-propelled two-man row boat, a non-propelled two-man row boat,” Robertson repeated. “Un-propelled vessel, you are small,” a person aboard the ship replied.

Full story in the Cape Argus