(CBS News) — A blind veteran attempting to row across the Pacific Ocean is preparing to meet powerful Hurricane Lane.
Stroke by stroke, it’s a grueling, 2,400 mile race from Monterey, California, to Hawaii.READ MORE: Newsom: California Employees, Healthcare Workers Must Show Proof Of COVID-19 Vaccination Or Test Weekly
“A sighted person can see the rolling waves coming at you so you can predict the rolling of the boat. I can’t,” said Steve Sparkes, who is legally blind.
CBS News spoke to him via satellite phone. He’s about 100 miles from Oahu after 78 days at sea with his rowing partner, Mick Dawson.
“We experienced some rough, rough weather. The next thing I know… I’m on the side and I’m in the water being dragged,” Sparkes said.
Their 21-foot row boat capsized and broke two oars.
“If it wasn’t for the fact that I was tethered I’d be gone,” Sparkes said.READ MORE: Woman Killed, Man Injured In Huntington Beach Hit-And-Run; Suspect Arrested
The 57-year-old former Royal Marine lost his sight after a diving accident in his 20s. Sparkes is confident they can make it to the finish line, even through rough seas from.
“The waves have become much much larger,” Sparkes said.
“I was doing really well in my career and it call came to an abrupt end and I never really had a chance to put myself on the map,” Sparkes said. “We’re going to deploy the sea anchor… and hold on.”
The two men plan to ride out the storm inside the seven-by-three-foot cabin.
“One definitely can tell the grandchildren about,” Sparkes said.MORE NEWS: Efforts To Address Homelessness Crisis Along Venice Boardwalk Seeing Results
Even with danger on the horizon, Sparkes still has determination in his heart.