3 months later

Lizanne Van Vuuren By


Seeing the girls reach cairns was a phenomenal feeling.
It’s difficult trying to explain to people how proud I was yet inevitabily sad that I wasn’t there to be part of the celebrations. Not that i wish to bask in the external appreciation from others, but simply to reunite as a whole at the end of the journey.

I was up at 2 am (South African time) to Skype with Izzy and Ella who were having a celebratory sleepover in london; together waiting in anticipation for the first landing videos to go live while catching up and reminiscing about the past 9months. Izzy passed the rowing baton onto me, and ella has been posting every single blog since the first day on the ocean. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I saw the first video go up on twitter. They made it!!. I was there only 3 months before, stepping back onto land for the first time, completely overwhelmed by the celebrations and knowing that everyone was at that exact location to see us. The realisation that we are getting off that boat. Never again will our bodies press against the sides of that boat trying to avoid the sweatyskin of our fellow comrade. Never will we watch that sun set, that sun rise, the silver glimmer of the moon on the dark ocean or hear the gerntle rhythm of the ores moving between the waves. It was a relief for sure; our bums certainly needed a break, but believe it or not we managed to some how have the best time on that boat.

I knew the girls would be busy in Australia, so I we would only catch up when they got back to the UK. No less than 2 days and we already had a whatsapp group going… and the chat hasnt stopped! Who knew that after 9months there would still be so much to say to each other?!

We had a group Skype amidst all their media commitments which was magical. It’s nice to have them back on land at the end of a phone line! To say that I’ve missed them is an understatement.

I seem to be in a constant state of bitter sweet, luke warm, halfway between being happy for the row’s achievement yet heartbroken that I wasn’t there with them. Not to mention that Loreaine Kelly has been my icon for the past 10 years, and she thought that Doris was the 6th member of the team! Dammit!

I decided to remove myself slightly from the hype after The Times article failed to mention me at all. It’s really not the media I’m bothered about… it’s just weird reading about something that I was part of from an outsiders perspective. For me the media is an excellent tool to bring awareness to our cause, and hopefully inspire others and encourage people to donate. I feel like that has been successfully accomplished, and hopefully will continue until and beyond reaching our fundraising target. If anyone has felt inspired by our journey over the past 9 months, we would all be hugely appreciative of a donation to our chosen charities.

In other news; the journal I kept on the boat, which captured my personal journey, was stolen shortly after arriving back in Cape Town. Mostly I wrote in it for 10minutes at a time before falling asleep. We’ve been trying to track it down, and with the help of an amazing boy Dan and Constable Jordan we are tantalisingly close to getting it back! Will keep you posted!



Representing in Cape Town



  1. Tara says:

    I actually gasp Lizanne when I read that your journal had been stolen. I can’t believe that someone would come in and take something that personal. I am praying you get it back.
    Reading this blog for all these months has been a journey for me as well. Oddly, I feel like I have been a member of the team. Reading about sharks, waves, sweat, salt and so on included me. You women are amazing. I feel such joy and pride for you and I miss the blogs in the silence between.
    I understand completely how you missed being there to welcome Doris and her sweaty, sore bum, and elated crew as the arrived in Cairns, AND having the media skip over you. But we blog readers have all of you seared into our memories forever.
    Cheers to all of you.

  2. JG says:

    Dear Lizanne,

    Great to hear from you and thank you for responding to my Tweet. I was very keen to find out how you were and to try, in my small way, to show you that you are not forgotten by your public.

    What a great interview you gave on South African radio and my vision of a burst of sunshine was there again. Lucky South Africa I say.

    I was incensed by the media not mentioning you properly. After all you were part of the crew on their longest leg, 95 days out of a total of 257 days at sea.

    (I would have had a life size cardboard cut out of you on the various sofas.)

    Have you had the post-row physiological and medical check ups I wonder?

    Best wishes to you Lizanne van Vuuren for your business venture and finding your journal and thank you for 95 days last year!

  3. Simon TY says:

    Lizanne, I hope you got my Facebook message a few days ago. It must be odd not being there for the media interviews. Like not standing on the podium. But worse than that, actually getting forgotten. And never knowing what you would have looked like in the Times with too much makeup !!!!

    I am also sickened that anyone would take yr journal. I hope maybe some publicity might get it back, and might even raise the profile of yr part of the row.

    Really hope I get to meet you one day. Hope the new venture goes well. Three months. Must feel like a lifetime ago, until you wake up dreaming that the alarm has gone and you must haul yourself out of bed ( have any of you woken and jumped out of bed before realising where you are ?)

    Xx S

  4. Barry says:

    It takes many links to make a chain but only one weak one to break it. The chain stayed strong from start to finish, had it not then there would be no finish. Each link was as vital as the next.
    Well done girls.

  5. Chiin says:

    Dear Lizanne,

    I had been frantically searching for updates from you, as it felt weird that you were not present in all the media hype. I think you are in the hearts of the many loyal followers who were there through the journey. We know better than the media. 🙂

    Keep smiling.

    C x x

  6. Peter Walker says:

    Hi Lizanne, great to hear from you. On reading the global press, I mentally inserted your name and image in every text and group shot. Coxless crew’s six rowers were brilliant, and will remain an inspiration for years to come.

    Best wishes

    Peter Walker

  7. Esther B says:

    Great to hear from you Lizanne – your radio interview was brilliant, you were so articulate and really brought it all to life. Thank you for being such an integral part of the Crew and look forward to hearing what you all get up to next. I hope your journal is returned and your new business thrives xxx

  8. Jim Andrews says:

    Oh Lizanne, I have so felt for you over the last couple of weeks. I think you will, gather from the posts on here, that your popularity and worth are equal to the other crew members. The fact that you are absent should not mean that, you are forgotten, or not mentioned. Your contribution to both, the row and this forum were priceless. To have your journal stolen, seems to be the final insult. I hope you get it back and cut the thumbs off the low life that stole it.
    I wish you well in all aspects of your future and hope that the, records get reset to reflect your huge contribution. XX

  9. Barney says:

    I have been looking forward to your blog Lizanne, and please be sure you will never be forgotten by many of us in your fan club. To me you played such an important part, providing the new impetus in the crew for Leg 2 which turned out to be the toughest. Who knows how the row might have turned out if your brand of human energy had not been injected at that time. I don’t do Facebook or Twitter so I can only express my admiration for you in this medium. All the best with your new business and fingers crossed you get your log book back.

  10. Holly says:

    Hi, Lizanne. It must have felt strange and sad to not be in Cairns or be a part of the media blitz. But, believe me, you were in my thoughts and I am sure in all of your faithful followers as well. I think one of the key factors to the team’s success, mentally, emotionally, keeping alert to the dangers, sustained appreciation of the journey and beauty, was having a different 4th team member on each leg, even though it wasn’t originally planned that way. You brought fresh eyes, personalities and stories and made it easier for the core team to not become unintentionally complacent.

    I hope the Times writes a retraction..here in the States the media never seems to get a story right – they’re in too much of a hurry to beat their competitors to the punch.

    I can’t imagine how you felt having your journal stolen. I love Simon’s idea of dropping the thief in the doldrums in a row boat. Hah!

    Enjoy your memories of the row, have fun talking to all of your team sisters, and know you were part of an adventure that touched and will touch many lives and make a difference. Best of luck in your future ventures!

  11. Paul says:

    Dear Lizanne
    I was disappointed by the shortsightedness of the international newscasts reporting on the landing in Cairns and which referred to the achievement by four British women specifically. This is largely typical of journalism today where detail is dismissed as irrelevant. Of course, it was a challenge by four ‘women’ to traverse the Pacific, but on average, not cumulatively. This omission is hopefully a significant embarrassment for the PR team but, rest assured, there are many that fully realize the sacrifices that you have made in this endeavor. Without doubt, a landing in Cairns would not have possible without the commitment that all six of you, plus those behind the scenes, have made. Guess it’s a case of blood, sweat and now tears. However, there is no reason on earth not to hold your head up high to what has been achieved. You’ve done something all but a handful can achieve!

Leave A Reply