An Ealing firefighter has told of his epic trek across the Atlantic which was nearly scuppered due to horrific weather and pounding waves.
Aldo Diana, who is based at Southall fire station, is making the 3,000-mile journey with rowing partner Ken Maynard and hoped to row all the way from Puerto Morgan, Gran Canaria to Antigua in a hand-made boat.
But horrible conditions at sea and depleted solar panels on their 23ft by 6ft vessel 'Rita' meant the voyage almost ended at Cape Verde in South Africa.
The intrepid pair are now hoping to make a mini-stopover before continuing on to the Carribean.
Aldo is keeping an online journal of the voyage at http://atlanticfirefighter.blogspot.com .
One entry from December 16 reads: "We've been thrown about for what feels like months rather than days.
"There's no respite from the pounding waves. At night it feels like huge whales are in a plot to overturn the boat by thrusting up against Rita."
Conditions have since improved and the vessel is due to arrive in Cape Verde any day now. An entry from Saturday, January 3, reads: "It's still very blustery but the waves are good and we're feeling human again with all guns blazing.
"We reckon we should be in Cape Verde in six days so fingers crossed. Hope to get the technical issues resolved once we're there."
The pair are raising money for the Restoration Of Appearance Function Trust, which helps people who have been disfigured by accidents or illness.
For more information, visit the website www.atlanticfirefighter.com .