And Then We Swam is an award-winning documentary which tells the true story of two friends who set out to cross the Indian Ocean in a secondhand boat’¦ having never rowed before in their lives. It’s an English idea, this, in the endearingly, quaintly mad tradition of English ideas. The film-maker, Ben Finney, had worked at the BBC and was a volcanologist in a previous life, which qualifies him about as much as his two protagonists to make a film about crossing an ocean.
Those protagonists are James Adair and Ben Stenning. The two of them have an affable craziness about them, a homely antidote to all those super-athletes you’ve seen doing incredible things with phenomenally expensive toys. These guys came from a couch like yours, which is what makes the sheer audacity of what they did all the more incredible.
Nobody thought they’d make it across 3500 miles of open ocean. 116 gruelling days later, off the coast of Mauritius and just five miles from the finish line, things started to go horribly wrong. This is the story of two unlikely adventurers who crossed an ocean to prove everyone wrong – but very nearly proved everyone right.
You can learn more about this fateful trip in James’s book, Rowing After the White Whale.