After 82 grueling days, Steve Sparks has become the first blind person to row the Pacific Ocean. The 57-year-old retired British Royal Marine faced down a hurricane during his 2,400 mile journey in a glorified canoe from Monterrey, California to Honolulu, Hawaii.
Sparks was discharged from the military after an accident damaged his eyesight and decided to row the Pacific to show other vets that limitations don’t have to limit your life. During his 12 weeks at sea, he had help from a fellow vet and avid ocean rower, Mick Dawson. They endured Hurricane Lane and several bad storms, along with a month of virtually no sunshine, but they finally finished this week, coming in third in The Great Pacific Race, “elated, but exhausted.”
“I think this shows if you put your mind to it, you can do anything,” Sparks says. “This has been phenomenal for me, and I wouldn’t have done it without Mick.”