Reminiscing about food

Lizanne Van Vuuren By

This week we reminisce about food on the boat.

The most commonly asked question on the boat was “what are you having to eat?” In fact it was the first sentence I learned to say in Spanish when Nat taught me.

Even now it is one of the most commonly asked questions; “What did you eat on the boat??” Needless to say, it was an important part of our journey.

We ate well. Lots of food with many calories. Our freeze dried food supply worked amazingly well on a journey like ours. The only thing we regret is not taking more Shepherds pie.

Writing this blog takes me back to a particular memory.
Towards the end of the middle leg the Shepherds pie became gold dust. We treasured every meal.
Needless to say it’s a meal that ran out before many of the others….

When the last shepherds pie was eaten, Nats and I wrote a song about it. Every time I hear the American Pie song I still sing it with our lyrics!

So I’ll leave you with this…
Bye bye Shepherds Pie
I’m gonna miss having you on the menu tonight
And as I look at my options I sigh
It’s gonna have to be beef curry and rice
Any other option would have been nice

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Teamwork makes the dream work

Lizanne Van Vuuren By

It’s safe to say that (amongst other things) the success of the row was largely due to incredible perseverance and team work. We had a whole network of people who worked so hard behind the scenes to help us reach our goal.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The row was by far the strongest team that I’ve ever had the privilege to be part of. It changed my view on ‘Teamwork’ knowing that we can achieve so much more by working together. Since being back from the row I have looked around me to find that all our relationships are little networks of teams. Our families, friendships, relationships and our working environments. It’s a gift to be able to surround yourself with people who join forces for the greater good.

Even though the six of us set out to conquer new grounds; it would not have been possible without the help of so many people including Ella (who posted our blogs while we were at sea, as well as lead our social media), Kirsten (who monitored or emails), Keith (our sport psychologist), Tony (our onshore support) and of course our friends, families and amazing supporters.

Due to the stressful environments we faced on the boat we all had our own tasks to fulfill, and we helped each other through difficulties. We divided and conquered; even if your task was to simply make lunch for your rowing buddy during that shift.

I would encourage everyone to look at your relationships and realize that if you work together as a team you should be able to encourage each other to bring out the best in your abilities.

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Diary Entries

Lizanne Van Vuuren By

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It’s not every day you get to witness a miracle.
My diary was stolen, and retrieved! So I thought it only fitting to share some snippets from my own personal record of the row.

Mon 10.08.15
15:53
I am currently in a little cabin, lying on my super-absorbent towel, and it’s absolutely baking hot. Laura is busy washing the salt off her body and Ems and Nat are on the ores. We are IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACIFIC!! (Or to be more specific; 530nm from Hawaii and 1766nm from Samoa)
On our first day out of Hawaii we had a visit from a sailboat. Clearly exciting. Although I couldn’t wait for them to leave…. I smiled through gritted teeth and waved, and as soon as they were out of sight I propelled myself to the side of the boat and was sick.
*spot the newby rower!!*
Nat gave me a polo mint. I kept it in my mouth the entire shift. Literally can’t swallow anything.
I feel like a zombie!
Nap time!

 

17.08.15

17:15
I’m again in the same position in the cabin as when I last wrote… Sweating.
I’ve not really stopped sweating for the last 3 weeks.
I’m on the ores with Ems at the moment. She’s got the most incredible stories. She has ridden the Loyds TSB horse, she’s been to circus school and she’s visited Auschwitz. It’s a good thing her stories are so captivating as it’s the only thing keeping me awake during the nights!! Man I’m tired!
I’m also reminiscing a lot and thinking about my future. Work, life, love.
As for life on the ocean… It’s amazing. I can’t believe I’m actually here.

18.08.15
Today has been an absolute blessing in terms of cloud cover! It makes me so happy when we’re out on the ores and there are clouds covering the sun.
Towards the end of last night and this morning the swell has increased again. I was sick again. I thought sea sickness leaves you alone after a few days? Go away nausea!
In the past 24 hours we have rowed 48nm. That’s a step in the right direction for me to make Anna’s wedding.

19.08.15
14:17
Emma and I rowed through a ridiculous storm today. The rainfall felt like buckets of water being chucked on us, a few minutes of hail (??) and the wind gushed around us.
We reached such great speed yesterday, and today we’re down to 0.3-0.6 knots.

17:52
Continued…
Just got off the ores. It was another soak session.
There are so many birds! Seriously, where do they sleep at night??

21.08.15
15:57
Nat showed me a few of her photos today that she took in India and Uganda. It was so inspirational! I want to start photography when I get back! We were in the sweaty cabin and looking at a little iPhone screen immediately triggered my motion sickness…. The pictures were so beautiful though! Couldn’t stop looking at them!
It is amazing to have a group of strong women around me. It’s pushing me to be better and encouraging me to push my boundaries.
On ocean life today… We’ve caught up with John Beedon who is 84nm away! What a hero!
We saw a whale briefly.
The weather is so changeable.
It’s pretty toasty in the cabin… X

22.08.15
12:28
Nats and I are on shift together. We’re getting on really well. She’s bloody hilarious.
In an effort to keep me up on the ores last night we told stories, and made up our own one too. A sentence each. We laughed so hard I thought we might wake the others sleeping in the cabin.
Laura also got hit by a massive fish whilst rowing last night. It was so funny!
Nats and I were sleeping when we heard LP scream. How’s that for a wake-up call! I’ve never seen anyone move so fast as Nats did when she bolted up! LP tried to pick up the fish with the BBQ tongs. It didn’t work though as the fish was the size of her leg!
The boat reeked of fish. Ew.
It’s toasty in the cabin again.
I just had a few spoons of Nutella though, so all is well in the world

08.09.15
13:36
It’s remarkable how much can happen when theoretically all you do is eat, sleep, row, repeat.
I’m in such a beautifully happy mood. I think it’s because I cried so much the other day. For no reason at all. Poor Ems must have felt so awkward, in our tiny cabin and I couldn’t stop! and I never cry!! But if there’s no road or mountain to run on, surely the body just needs a release somehow?

Day 56
The monotony of our 2h routine makes time both fly by and drag by.
We crossed the equator in the early hours of yesterday. First fours boat to cross the equator! Boom baby!
Must admit though, I kind of expected a sign or a line in the ocean or something. Like John Beedon wrote in his email to us “shame there was no gift shop to get a t-shirt!”
The equator is colder and stormier than I expected. There’s a chill in the wind, and suddenly I miss the toasty weather!
I’m in the aft cabin, lying with my head in the nose and Ems is cleaning her snack pack. The remaining 15 snack packs are all stragglers- they don’t have much in them and most of them are wet and sticky as some water collected at the bottom of the hatch and so the Starbursts have melted, dissolved and has covered everything in gooey-ness. SAD TIMES.
I need to clean mine too. Mine is particularly sticky today. I’m going to be sad the day the snack packs run out… Which will be in about 4 days!
We’ve not seen any wildlife for ages. Looooaaaads of birds (we checked- the nearest island is 100miles away. Where do they sleep??)
We’ve also been followed by a shark which sucks as I’d like to have another swim.

26.09.15
01:25
Have just come off a night shift and Ems and I just saw a pod of whales so incredibly close to the boat. About 2 ore lengths. The moon is out so they were clear as daylight!
2nd night shift done. That certainly woke me up!
Night! X

26.09.15
18.47
Day 61 Continued…
Going out on the ores again in 13mins. We’ve changed rotation so I’m with Nats again.
The sea has been choppy today. So many fish feeding frenzies going on around us. I’m constantly wanting to put my fishing line out, but the current is so strong today and taking us NW. If I catch something it won’t be fair on the others if I have to stop rowing to deal with the fish. Hope I get to catch something soon though!
I made pancakes yesterday. It sounds better than it was. It took forever and I only managed to make 2! But we shared it, and it was a divine piece of heavenly homely taste. Nutella is the bomb.
I burned my leg with the boiling water though. A rocking boat makes it easy for accidents to happen. It’s not toooo bad. My left lower leg is now wrapped in cling film like a chicken fillet.
We got some news regarding time-line the other day. Looks like the girls might still be rowing at Christmas. The news crashed down hard, but having mulled it over everyone seems to be doing better. Tell you what though… That will be a Christmas to remember!

Nat is currently doing story time about her “Stars and Clouds” blog for LP and Ems.

Right… Time to get ready for the night x

Reminiscing back to the time Lizanne made pancakes on a boat

Reminiscing back to the time Lizanne made pancakes on a boat

 

To be continued…

 

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I GOT MY DIARY BACK!

Lizanne Van Vuuren By

 

As mentioned in my previous blogs, the diary that I kept when I was on the boat was stolen about 6 weeks ago.
In a bag with my phone and some clothes; my diary got snatched outside my work one evening.

By some miracle I got it all back.
And the story is too amazing not to share…

Through the “Find My Phone” app on iPhone I tracked my phone to Mannenberg, Cape Town. In the middle of gangster territory Dan and I went to the local police station and showed them on a screen where my phone was. (The signal went off 45mins previously, but we knew it was around there somewhere).

A team of 4 hardcore policemen escorted us through the streets of Manneneberg in their hardcore SUV with their hardcore protective gear trying to find my phone (At this stage I forgot my diary was in the bag) I felt a little like I did on the ocean; not in the safest environment, but completely safe, secure and trusting of the vessel and the team around me.

I felt bad creating such a fuss about a phone, to which Constable Jordan replied “yeah maybe it’s just a phone, but today it was you, and tomorrow it could happen to our families, so we want these people off the street”. In the heart of gangster Cape Town; these police are incredible.

We drove around for about an hour, following various leads. It was getting late and the police got called on another job, so we went home after leaving our details. The next day they called and asked us to come back to the Station. As I went to greet the officer he took my phone out of his pocket and said “is this your phone?” I was amazed!

They did not stop that previous night until they found it. I am still in awe. Unfortunately there was no sign of my bag.

It doesn’t end there though.

When I realized that my diary was in the bag we started a new mission trying to track it down. We found out from the Mannenberg police that shortly after the thieves stole my bag their car broke down. They abandoned the stolen car and got a friend to pick them up, handing over my phone to their friend as payment.

What happened to the car? My bag was typically girly with flowery patterns all over it, so we assumed they would have looked through my bag, taken the phone as the only valuable item in there and left the bag in the car as it might look too suspicious carrying it around with them.

We were right.

Dan was in communication with Constable Jordan trying to get as many leads on the case, and eventually tracked down the car impound center where abandoned stolen cars get sent to.

Making a trip there Dan gave the dates and a description of the car. “Ah yes, I remember this car” the security officer at the impound said. A man came to collect his stolen car the next day, and was questioned about the very girly bag in his car. The car owner said that it wasn’t his bag and didn’t want anything to do with it, so the security officer took said bag and stored it in the confiscated box.

On Wednesday, almost 6 weeks after the incident I went to collect my bag, and was reunited with my diary.

A huge thank you to the amazing team at Mannenberg police station. It is amazing to see that there are policemen who are truly trying to make the streets safer!

 

 

UPDATE

As it happens, Nats mum Anne is in Cape Town at the moment. Seeing as it was Nats birthday this week we saw it only fitting for the two of us to meet up and have a cocktail together to celebrate. We had a great catch up too. Happy birthday to the lovely Nat!

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Yes Expectations

Lizanne Van Vuuren By

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This is a follow on blog from what Nat wrote yesterday.

From a young age many of us are taught to have high expectations. The media portrays what the perfect body, job, lifestyle or family should be. For most people it’s something to strive for, but how are we supposed to have it all? Surely somewhere along the line we are setting ourselves up for disappointment?

This consumed a large part of discussion Nats and I had on the ores. Hoouuurs spent discussing if expectations are good or bad in the early morning light as I tried to stay awake! Conversations with Nat always challenged me; making me decipher my ideologies into understanding why I believe what I believe.

(Time is an amazing tool offered to everyone. Take the time to think, you might get to know yourself a little better)

Personally, I’ve always had high expectations. I believe that in the same way that your thoughts depict reality, your expectations lay the foundation of your experience. If you expect something you believe it will happen, and by believing you can create the world you imagine. The “shoot for the moon, and even if you miss you will land amongst the stars” sort of thing.

It was refreshing walking into the row where some of us had never rowed before. Refreshing in the sense that I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve always thought this to be a positive, similar to Nat. Would we have done it if we really knew what we were in for?

For me the ocean was an unknown. Sitting on a beach the ocean often shows you glimpses of its power and the waves acting as a barrier to entry. Many people will never have the opportunity to witness the beauty or a 360 degree ocean view, or the blackness of an ocean night. I really had no idea.

I did however expect us all to get along, and I did expect the journey to be a success, and I did expect that my life would be different after the row. The foundation was there, and the particulars were colored in along the way.

I guess it should be said that expectations do need to be managed. Reading Nats blog from yesterday you might imagine how we debated this subject… Good or bad? I agree that expectations feed frustration, but my conclusion is that your expectations should be for yourself and the things you can control. The things you cannot control will either disappoint or amaze you, so be prepared for that too

 

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UPDATE: If you read my blog last week you will know that the journal that I kept on the boat has been stolen.
It is almost unbelievable, but… Wait for it… WE KNOW WHERE IT IS! The boy Dan managed to track it down to a car impound complex in Cape Town. Amazing right??!! I need to collect it with proof of identification, so have booked off some time this coming week to retrieve it.

I also had wonderful catch up Skypes with Nats and Laura this week. Gosh it’s great to have them back on land x

 

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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

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Leg 3, Day 48 – Two Perspectives; The Parent and The Sibling

Lizanne Van Vuuren By

Day 48 – Two Perspectives; The Parent and The Sibling
A blog from Lizanne’s mother

With all the various sports our children were involved with over the years, rowing was never one of them. Our experience with rowing was limited to a glorious day at Henley Regatta; colourful blazers, Pimms and Lemonade, picnic and a sporadic cheer for a team rowing over the finish line. I suddenly loved rowing; it was a great introduction to a calm, glamorous, short races and social sport.

When Lizanne mentioned her intention of rowing across the Pacific with three other girls I could not put these two pictures together. How was she going to cross an ocean?! She’s only little!

We were apprehensive and not very supportive at first as we cared for her safety and did not understand the scale and magnitude of this expedition. The enormity of this project scared me. Dad had a John McEnroe moment, where deep inside he wanted to shout out – “YOU CAN NOT BE SERIOUS!!” But she WAS serious, and four months later she was on the boat.

We realized that we needed to jump aboard her rowing journey otherwise we would be left behind. So naturally the Coxless Crew mission has taken over our lives! It has become the norm in our house to find out where the girls are first thing in the morning and last thing at night and making calculations on when they might arrive. We have enjoyed living their journey through the blogs and emails.

We have made amazing new friends having met the other parents; all wonderful people lovingly supporting their daughters, holding their hearts with hope and in dedication for this journey.

The first time I realised the greatness of this journey was when we met the girls on their arrival into Samoa. A tiny pink boat emerged from the biggest and deepest ocean with only 4 tiny/scrawney/skinny girls steering her and willing her forward with hard work, 24 hours every day. An immense feeling of pride came over me.

Meeting Tony (logistics manager), Sarah Moshman and her camera crew was also amazing!!! It was clear that this team possessed dedication, meticulous planning, integrity, work ethics, perseverance, compassion and a will to succeed.

There were many unsung heroes behind the scenes like Nicola Mills. She arranged a wonderful colourful reception for the girls in Samoa and many other treats. A humble “I felt it right to play my part in recognising their achievements!!” was her reply to our gratitude.

This journey has added a huge bonus to my life. I hope that with the money raised it will touch the lives of people who are facing many trials and difficulties.

May the Coxless Crew’s legacy provide inspiration and encouragement for people who have their own Pacific to cross.

Love Adri x

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A blog from Lizanne’s brother

If my sister has taught me anything about how to ‘change your life’, it’s this; commit to something, and commit big. Let me explain…

About two and half years ago, Lizanne had a moment. At the time she was doing fine – living in Cape Town, practicing her profession as an Osteopath, had a good group of friends, etc, but one day she decided that “fine” wasn’t how she wanted to live her life and she needed to ‘do something’. Something what, though? She didn’t know – the same with most people – but with hindsight I can now say that the answer is this; it doesn’t matter what the ‘something’ is, as long as it’s big and as long as you do it.

At the time Lizanne’s colleague was training for an Ironman triathlon. An Ironman! That was big and drastic enough, so she committed. The very next day she signed up to do the East London Half Ironman which consists of a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride, and a 21km run. She signed up to a training programme, changed her budget to allow for the kit, and most importantly changed her habits and timetable to allow for the rigorous training regime. Having committed, she stuck to it and 7 months later completed the Half Ironman in 7 hours something.

That was the catalyst. Having completed something so awesome and so intense, she had a template for how to tackle big challenges. First commit, then work out the details.

Needless to say, it was the same for when she joined the Coxless Crew. She wasn’t a rower, but the opportunity was there, right in front of her to take. Lizanne committed to the crew and set to work figuring out all the details in her life that needed taking care of for when she was away. It wouldn’t have been possible without these people – our dad Sarel van Vuuren, our mother Adri for her continued support, Lizanne’s business mentor Cliff Warren, practice manager Christle Hickman and all her friends and colleagues for the endless support, thank you! – I figure that people are far more amenable to helping out if you are doing something awesome.

Throughout her life (not just the row), Lizanne has been an inspiration in how she’s tackled life. She’s challenged herself, and sought out experiences to build her identity. It also helps that she has surrounded herself by a tribe of positive people in her life, all of whom have a great influence on her. Luckily for her, that positive ecosystem was recreated on a tiny pink boat in The Pacific, with three other incredible women and a mutual goal. 97 days later, that common goal, that positive group thinking got them to Apia harbour in Samoa. For Lizanne, she was back on land; for the rest of the CC, Cairns awaits. And after that? Who knows… I look forward to finding out!

Bernard x

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Update: today we want to wish John Beeden a massive congratulations for reaching Cairns. For those of you that haven’t followed john, he has rowed from San Francisco to Cairns non stop! In the 2nd leg, we came within 5 nautical miles of John! Sticking to our bet of the first one to cairns buys the drinks, John you owe us! We can only imagine how delighted Johns wife Cheryl and family must be to have him back on land! Hopefully not long until we also step onto dry land!

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Leg 3, Day 5 – Bittersweet

Lizanne Van Vuuren By

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
― Haruki Murakami

 

I’m on the edge of bittersweet. Happy and sad, completely changed, yet still the same. The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind, and after 97 days at sea I almost can’t believe that I am actually back on dry land.
Sunrise

 

The first thing that struck me was the incredible love and support that has radiated around us. I am still catching up on messages and emails, and I am incredibly grateful to everyone who shared and supported our journey. We certainly felt the love out on the ocean, but it is only since being back on land that I realise just how much love we have been showered with.

The last few days on the boat was the toughest for me; it was all coming to an end. It was beyond the sea sickness, enduring the sweltering heat or fighting the wind and currents. That was all physical; something our bodies got used to and was able to push through. We got strength from the fact that we knew our circumstances will change. The midday sun will be replaced by the cool shimmer of the moon, the rough waters will be replaced by calmer seas and the current will push against us one day and go with us the next. It’s easy when you figure out that what goes up must come down and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It does something to your psyche that helps you persevere, while munching on Oreos and singing “Defying Gravity”. As for my last few days… this was it.

My new challenge has been dealing with the end. I’ve never been good with endings, and I’m pretty sentimental; be it the end of school, university, relationships or the row, I don’t like it when something comes to an end. Luckily I know this about myself so I have allowed myself time to let the previous three months sink in before bouncing back to my old life.

When something ends, I try to be respectful of the impact it has had on my life and so I don’t rush into something else straight away. What can I learn from it and what will I change after it? I’ve been asked many times “so, what’s next?”… There will be a next challenge, (land based!) but for now I will eat, sleep and allow my body time to get its strength back.

My body is slowly removing all signs of the row. My muscles are getting used to standing for long periods of time again and the calluses on my hands are slowly disappearing. My body clock doesn’t wake every two hours, but I wake up very early. I am in Australia at the moment, so still have not returned to work.

As much as I don’t like endings, I am excited to head back to Cape Town and get back to my old routine. Since being back on land I have enjoyed a big, stable bed, showers and clean skin, normal food (!) and seeing my family. I am also excited to join Izzy and Ella on the “behind the scenes team” organising fundraisers, the arrival into Cairns and social media etc. The journey is not over yet.

 

On a complete side note, if anyone is or knows of an Osteopath who would like to work in Cape Town, I’m looking for an associate to join my practice. Email me at lizanne@coxlesscrew.com for more info

 

Sunset

 

So what are the lessons that I learned?

Challenges can be fun

I have learned that in order to complete any challenge the connotation doesn’t have to be sombre. Challenges can be fun, and you can laugh through anything. There’s a time and a place, sure, but when the tears have dried up, make a joke. Laughter carried us all through the rough times

The importance of teamwork

I can talk about this for hours. Our team worked well because we are all different and we lived by our team values; Strength, Perseverance, Integrity, Resilience, Inspiration and Trust. We supported each other, encouraged and listened. When one person was down the others picker her up.

Build a team around you, everyone needs a support system.

Women are strong

You don’t have to be a man to do epic challenges like this. Over the past few months I have become acutely aware of the strength women possess. Magical things happen when a group of determined women put their heads together and work towards a goal.

You can do absolutely anything you set your mind to….

As cliché as this sounds, it’s true. Start small and you will find yourself at the foot of your own Pacific.

 

The row changed a part of me which I’m finding very difficult to explain. I’m still the same person, I’ve just been refined.

 

I miss the girls, but I am extremely excited to follow Megs journey on the boat. She is amazing and will contribute so much to the team.

 

UPDATE:
We’ve just passed the 200 mile mark. Woohooooo!
Nights have been pitch black since we left Samoa with thick cloud cover and no sight of the moon. She’s now beginning to wax, so hopefully she’ll come and introduce herself to Meg tonight or tomorrow.
There’s been a gentle increase in wind and swell and so Meg now has to contend with bigger waves and splashing. She’s slowly learning the rules of the sea…and we’re all observing them afresh with her.

 

Lizanne x

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Leg 2, Day 93 – Lightening never strikes in the same place twice

Lizanne Van Vuuren By

Day 93 – Lightening never strikes in the same place twice

The proverb goes that an unusual event is unlikely to ever happen again in exactly the same circumstances or to the same person. Who knows what the future holds, but for starters I think I’ll stick to land based challenges from now on. As I sit writing this blog I know that this row, alongside these five women essentially gives us our own individual strike of lightening. Each leg of the journey will be different and so Izzy and Meg’s experience will be incomparable to mine, but together we build different pieces of the puzzle completing Nats, Ems and Laura’s full journey.

Even though we were all brought together by the row, I’m sure we will remain part of each other’s lives far beyond our destination. We are a strong team and have endured many stresses together; winds, waves, currents, torrential rain, muscle sprains, tears, heartache, back ache, sleeplessness; and that doesn’t even include the arduous years some had to endure to get Doris to the start line.

As my time left on the Pacific diminishes by the day, the thing that I will miss far beyond the wildlife and amazing night sky or sunrises is the unity we’ve developed within the team. Being in each others faces and spaces for so long brings rise to an unspoken language formed, where you can talk with a gesture and where our female intuition is at its sharpest. If ever I wanted to make lightening strike twice, it would only be with these three.

Emma
Everyone needs an ‘Emma’ in their lives. She is kind hearted, generous and will put her heart into everything she does. Our team is built on her strong foundation, the rock; solid, firm, powerful and resilient. Without her none of us would know how to row, and we probably would have washed up on the shores of Christmas Island long ago. Her gadget fingers will fix anything before you’ve even noticed that it’s broken or squeaks. She has been a pillar of strength throughout this row and her stories will keep you captivated, intrigued and surprised at the crazy things she’s done in her life. It’s a testament to the gutsy way she leads her life…. And that smile! It creeps up her face and into her eyes. Without Ems we would sink.

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Nats
Nat is quite simply, glitter! She is what makes the group sparkle. She’s the fairy dust in Peter Pan that lifts everyone up and makes them fly, captivating you into her own magical Neverland where people just laugh, become philosophical and eat mandarin fruit pots. Nat will always ensure to “bring you back to the moment” and will make sure that you are thankful for the amazing sunrise you are experiencing at that moment. She has a beautiful demeanour who sees the funny side of everything. Without Nat the boat would be sparkle-less and dull.

Laura
What is the girl version of a ‘Bromance?’
Laura and I have discovered that we have countless similarities. There is a constant chatter about our shared interests; triathlons, work, music, family, friends and food. At the moment food is our main topic of discussion, reeling off recipes as we present what is on ‘today’s menu’. She is diligent, hard working, open and funny. If she was a man I might marry her. She’s the powerhouse of the project, a great leader and the centre of it all. Without LP none of us would be here.

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It amazes me every day that after 93 days of eating, sleeping, talking, rowing, living in such close proximity to each other we’ve not wanted to chuck each other overboard. In fact quite the opposite; it has bonded us far beyond what I had imagined.

UPDATE
We are currently united in complaining about our bums hurting in the sitting position, ie rowing! We’ve not done too badly if this is the first signs of deterioration after 90 days!

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