MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -- After nearly two months at sea, it was a heroes welcome as the first U.S. veteran team to row across the Atlantic Ocean crosses the finish line in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. Among them Mobile native Bryant Knight.
Knight along with Alex Evans, Beau Maier, and Chris Kuntz began the journey to raise awareness for veteran suicides related to post traumatic stress disorder.
They finished rowing more than 3,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic Monday afternoon. The challenge starting near the Canary Islands and finished in Antigua.
Welcomed by cheering family and friends -- they're glad to be back on land after 54 days, 9 hours and three minutes in open water.
From catastrophic weather to faulty equipment -- they kept each other in the game when faced with unforeseen obstacles.
"You're not going to be prepared for everything. You're truly not," said Knight. "We have a newfound respect for 'Mother Ocean.'"
"Humor. Humor was a big player in getting past the tough times. Because once that happens the laughter starts and the rowing gets a little bit easier, the distance gets a little bit shorter and the days get a little bit better," said Kuntz.
Highlights along the way -- the celestial nights where the sky meets the water and unbelievable up close encounters.
"There's truly a lot of beauty we saw. A whale breach twice. I got to swim with a pack of bottle nose dolphins, we had gray whales, blue whales, a hammer head shark following us... Sea turtles," recalled Kuntz.
In addition to the experience, they all agree it was nice to be "unconnected" from technology like laptops, cell phones, and Ipads. They also had no idea who won the Superbowl.
As the reflect on the journey they continue to remind everyone of its greater purpose -- and say at no point was quitting an option.
"We are here to help veterans through mental health issues, help them integrate and re-establish themselves. And we need to set an example that there's nothing you can't fight your way through," said Evans.
"Being able to represent that in a positive way is -- if we can do that - then we are doing our job," said Knight.
It's a job that's far from over -- "Fight Oar Die is not going to stop rowing oceans until people stop taking their lives," said Maier.
In continuing that mission, they say they've already got other veterans signed up for future Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenges.
For more information on Fight Oar Die mission click here.