A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean
Tori Murden McClure
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"In the end, I know I rowed across the Atlantic to find my heart, but in the beginning, I wasn't aware that it was missing."
In June 1998, Tori McClure began rowing across the Atlantic Ocean solo in a twenty-three-foot plywood boat with no motor or sail. Within days she lost all communication with shore but decided to forge ahead -- not knowing that 1998 would turn out to be the worst hurricane season on record in the North Atlantic. When she was nearly killed by a series of violent storms, Tori was forced to signal for help and head home in what felt like disgrace. But then her life changed in unexpected ways. She was hired by Muhammad Ali, who told her she did not want to be known as the woman who "almost" rowed across the Atlantic. And at thirty-five, Tori fell in love.
A Pearl in the Storm is Tori's thrilling true story of high adventure -- and of her personal quest to discover that embracing her own humanity was more important than superhuman feats.
passed and then another. I’ll suffocate; I’ve got to get out of here. I closed my eyes and wrestled back the impulse to open the hatch. No, there is enough air in here for hours. Slowly the boat began to recover. It turned on its side, and I rolled down the cabin wall. A portion of the roof lifted out of the water, and I dropped to the floor. Another large wave hit and the roof slid back into the water. To stave off another roll I climbed up the floor toward the higher wall. My hands trembled as
contraption overboard. I logged that I’d rowed thirty-one miles, and went to bed. By morning the oar with the radar reflector was hanging precariously over the side of the boat. That didn’t work. I checked my position and noted that I’d lost twelve miles. I was 2,514 miles from France. I decided that I would row at least fourteen miles that day so that I would have only 2,500 miles left. There was a strong headwind. I rowed for fifteen hours, but I was still two miles short of the 2,500-mile
seemed almost as decadent as bringing along a library, but the pillow proved its usefulness by protecting my head in rough weather (and the library protected my head the rest of the time). By late afternoon, everything was dry and I’d made enough water to soap down the cabin walls and get ahead of the mold. To my regret, Theodore Roosevelt had a serious case of black mold growing under his plastic lamination. I guess that’s what happens when someone throws up on you. Theodore Roosevelt is one of
them, they’ll heal. I lifted my shoulders. Sore, but they work. A throbbing lump the size of half an orange just below my left elbow made it difficult to rotate my hand or flex my wrist. However, I could close the hand well enough to grip small items. The arm’s not broken; it’s just a bad bruise. With a few days’ rest, I might even be able to row. I surveyed the cabin. Salt water mopped the floor, but it didn’t wash away the splatters of blood that covered the walls and ceiling. I couldn’t find
would make finding me more difficult, but they would still try. I pulled my dry suit back on. It smelled foul, but if I had to go overboard during the rescue, I would need it. I had lost. I’d given in to helplessness. Instead of dying on the ocean, I would have to live with the ignominy of my defeat. I turned my eyes inward and watched failure dance a tango with helplessness across the stage of my brain. I worked a pair of Gore-Tex socks over my swollen feet. Dawn came with blue skies and the