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Synopsis

That first day is hard. The hands begin to cramp, drops of blood start oozing through your fingertips . . .

In 2003, Tori Holmes, a 21-year-old from Alberta, Canada, and Paul Gleeson, a 29-year-old financial advisor from Limerick, Ireland, met in Australia when Holmes answered an ad to drive the support vehicle for Gleeson’s 5,000-kilometre cycling trek across that country. During their first adventure together, Gleeson fell hard: both off his bike and for the woman driving the car.

Once Australia was behind them, it became clear that crossing a continent together was simply not enough. Acting on self-assured determination and an ever-growing sense of adventure, Gleeson and Holmes embraced the dream of rowing a tiny boat across the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean in the 2005/06 Trans-Atlantic Race. Of course, neither of the young adventurers knew how to row, so they connected and trained with the only Irishmen ever to have completed the same race, Eamonn and Peter Kavanagh.

In November 2005, after months of training, Paul and Tori left the Canary Islands to row 4,800 kilometres across the Atlantic. In February 2006, they completed their epic journey after 86 days of huge seas, violent storms, terrifying capsizes, unbearable thirst, bizarre hallucinations and sleep deprivation. Along the way, however, during one of the darkest moments in the race, inspiration came in the form of an unseen, yet completely perceptible, presence. Old seafaring lore has several theories as to what this might have been, but both adventurers are keeping their minds open on it.

Part inspirational adventure story, part travelogue and part romance, Crossing the Swell is an honest and intimate portrayal of what it takes to truly engage in the many adventures that life has to offer.

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