Minneapolis resident among rowers who were first to cross Drake Passage

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Three men dressed in orange wet suits brace for an incoming wave.
John Petersen, Andrew Towne and Fiann Paul brace for an incoming wave as they row through the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica.
Courtesy photo

How did you spend your time over the holidays? Six men spent 13 days rowing across one of the most harrowing stretches of water in the world.

With air and water temperatures hovering around freezing, the crew of the Ohana rowed continuously over 600 miles, battled 40-foot swells and tested the limits of human endurance as they crossed Drake Passage between the tip of South America and Antarctica. It is the first time humans have rowed across that treacherous stretch of sea.

One of the rowers is Minneapolis resident Andrew Towne.

“Fear and pain, I think, were two driving emotions, which were counterbalanced, I think, by the desire to support one another in the boat and a recollection of the communities that had supported us and put us in this position to attempt something like this,” Towne said.

He spoke with All Things Considered host Tom Crann about the journey.

Click play on the audio player above to hear it.