Always remember…

Natalia CohenBy

Always remember…



Yes Expectations

Lizanne Van VuurenBy

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



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



No Expectations

Natalia CohenBy

No expectations…

This blog is dedicated to the lovely Lizanne as we had many a discussion on the oars regarding this subject. We never did come to an agreement but we enjoyed this fact, as we actually seemed to agree on pretty much everything else.

in the rain

What exactly are expectations and are they a good thing to have?

Having an anticipated outcome in your mind already of how you are going to feel about a place, person, situation or experience is an expectation.

How can we possibly know what will happen in the future?

Surely we are just setting ourselves up for disappointment with this preconceived idea or notion? So why do we do it?

I make an effort, wherever possible, not to have expectations as the reality very rarely is as good as what the imagination can create.

I have hope rather than expectations.

Being prepared is very different to having expectations and I do believe you can prepare fully for most events mentally and practically.

I had no expectations whatsoever for the row and, to be honest, I think that was the best way to be. I was able to experience things when they happened in a balanced and openhearted way without any predetermined ideas.

I’m not going to lie though; I did have hope for Samoa. I think the main reason was that when I travelled Hawaii in 2013 I went to the Polynesian Cultural Centre and of all the islands represented, Samoa was the one that grabbed my interest the most. There was something that resonated with me and a seed was sown that Samoa had to make it on to my list of top travel destinations. A year later the Row came along!

The island’s deep cultural connection with the ocean inspired me and, as it turned out, for me personally, our arrival into Samoa moved me more than our arrival into Cairns.


(In Samoa. Photo by Alana Fickes)

What has been interesting being back on land are the expectations and often misconceptions everyone has had of us.

‘You must be really fit!’, ‘you must have been so scared’, ‘Are you finding it tough to adjust?’, ‘have you found it difficult to sleep for 8 hours?’ and now and the main question on everyone’s lips…

’What are you going to do next?’

I have absolutely no idea.

I am, however, open to any interesting opportunities that may come my way. Although the travel industry is where my experience lies, I now know that we can achieve anything we set our minds to, so I am excited to see what prospects are out there.

In the meantime I stumbled across a very distinctive company that offer a unique travel concept that I find fascinating and was instantly intrigued. It is a company called Traveleyes that allow blind and partial sighted travellers to unite with sighted travellers and have the experience of a lifetime.

Over the last 15 years I have lived and worked in a variety of different destinations and immersed myself in many cultures. It it always the multi-sensory experience of each place that amazes me. Not only the sights but also the sounds, smells, flavours and feelings you get from exploring somewhere new.

During the row there were hours, days and months of only the ocean as our view, and we often needed to draw upon the other senses to create variety for ourselves. I would regularly spend time concentrating my attention on a different sense to that of sight and, especially at night time, in the pitch black endless sea, it was incredible to learn about the power of the mind and how heightened the other senses would become. It’s amazing how, with some mindfulness and concentration we can tune into these other senses and the sensations they provoke.

 x —————————– x

So…with no expectations, I have set my intention to be relaxed and open-minded over the next few weeks and see where the current of life takes me. Just as the waves will eventually wash up onto the shore, I know that the universe will guide me to my next adventure x





Another week on land rolls by…

Meg DyosBy

What a brilliant week it has been since my last post! Returning home to Kent last Thursday seems like an age ago. On Sunday we had a family welcome home party, which was so lovely to see everyone and catch up. I received some christmas presents too – christmas in February! My mum and my sister also created an amazing cake with Doris on top – it even had a red toothpaste lid to recreate the bucket, in addition to Eduardo swimming alongside us. My mum did a speech that really got me. The worry that my family went through whilst we were at sea is something that I couldn’t bear to think about whilst on Doris, but now i’m back on land, I can’t imagine what they went through. My Aunty Linda brought a bottle of champagne for every week that we were at sea – 10 weeks! I’m definitely going to need some help to get through those! My mums partner Michael, also bought charts to chart our journey across the Pacific, and it has been awesome looking at the route we took on a larger scale!


Me and Will went for a lovely walk on Sunday morning with my sisters dog, Molly. Its just so strange looking out over the English Channel at the cargo ships coming down from the Thames into the channel heading to France. The sea is nowhere near as blue here, and its much colder, but seeing those white horses crash down onto the harbour wall sends shivers down my spine remembering what it felt like with them crashing onto our heads.

Monday took me back over to GSK for the final bit of my analysis as there wasn’t time when we were last there. It involved me getting back on an erg, and completing my V02 max testing which was as hideous as ever! But its always great catching up with everyone there, and it will be interesting to see the results when all of it is analysed.

Tuesday was the premiere which Ems told you all about in our Tuesday blog – what an awesome evening, can’t get enough of free popcorn, and the film was brilliant!

Today I also popped into see my grandma’s craft group. They have been so incredibly supportive and have raised lots for our charities. If you saw the bunting at our arrival into Marlin Marina, they also made that!


Other than that, its back to the job applications, and catching up on sleep amongst catching up with my friends and family. Bodies healing nicely, bum is still a little worse for wear, but with my concoctions of bio oil and body shop remedies hopefully these scars won’t remain forever.

On another note, on behalf of all of us we would like to give our wishes to the Toby Wallace crew and Mikes family at this terrible time, we just can’t imagine what they must all be going through. For more information please don’t hesitate to read:


Hello from the Alps

Isabel BurnhamBy

This week I’m lucky enough to be writing my blog from Chamonix in the French Alps.  I’ve always been happiest when in the mountains and Chamonix is one of my favourite places, so it is great to be out here spending a week off work.  Today we had incredible conditions and great skiing up on the Vallee Blanche below Mont Blanc.  Last time I was here was before the row and it feels really fantastic to be back in the mountains again.  As much as I loved seeing the ocean in all its different lights during the row, I will definitely always be a mountain person, more than an ocean person.

I am here with my family – my parents, two sisters, brother in law, my younger sister’s boyfriend, and my nephew Hugo.  It is wonderful spending some proper time with Hugo.  He is nearly 9 months old now and it seems like a very long time ago that we received a message on our sat phone aboard Doris in the middle of the Pacific saying that he had been born!

Vallee Blanche


Red carpet treatment


Tonight was an exciting night as Megs, LP and I met up in London to attend the UK premiere of The Finest Hours. Looking a lot more glamorous than we are used to seeing each other we turned up at The Ham Yard Hotel where we were photographed and interviewed on the red carpet before enjoying champagne and canapés. Then we headed into the screening where one of the stars of the film Holliday Grainger told us a l ittle about the making of the film before we settled down to enjoy the drama. The film is about what is still the greatest small boat rescue in coast guard history. A crew of four set out in the 12 man coastguard boat in a huge storm to help men stuck in the stern of a tanker which has split in half. Despite loosing their compass they manage to find the ship and rescue the 32 men left on board. Watching their small boat battle through the huge waves brought back memories of the bad weather which we encountered on Doris and made us appreciate how sturdy and safe she felt in the waves. It also made us appreciate the mild Pacific weather after watching them put in the snow, rain and crashing waves without even any proper waterproofs. All in all a great evening and thanks so much to Premiere Comms for inviting us.image



I love being home

This last week at home has been very special. Spending it with my family & friends who have been there for me from the start. A time to say thank you in person for all the support I’ve received and to share with those that have been so influential to me wanting to make it home to Cornwall.

It has been so lovely to spend quality time this week with my parents. They have sat on the sidelines, gone through the emotional roller coaster & many times put on a brave face to support me when it was the last thing they ever wanted to see me do. I love my folks very much and will forever be in debt to the love they have always given to me. Now it’s my time to spoil them!


I got to see a lot of my family this week, which was amazing. Although makes me want zto start up a regular family gathering that’s not just at christmas.


My best friends too were all together for the first time in an age! It was so much fun catching up with them, although after a morning in a soft play with Michelle’s two kids and Sarah’s one, I can safely say that rowing an ocean is less hard work than juggling having 2 children (Michelle you’re my hero!). Meanwhile I got to meet my best friends baby who is called Max & only 3 weeks old you can already see he’ll be fighting the girls off!

So amongst the socialising, eating and drinking, I got to catch up on some X Factor, Greys Anatomy plus watch the beating the Italians got from England Rugby. ‘Twas a perfect week!


A united team…

Natalia CohenBy

” The strength of the team is each individual member.

   The strength of each member is the team.”

                                                                                                                 Phil Jackson


The experience we have shared during this extraordinary journey will forever connect the 6 of us and we look forward to being united as a team in May 2016.

In April/May we will be holding a friends/family/followers event as well as our charity auction (which will be a high end fundraising gala dinner).

We will keep you posted regarding both events.

We are incredibly excited to meet everyone who has supported, inspired and motivated us over the last 9 months. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you x

(photos courtesy of Sarah Moshman and Alana Fickes)


3 months later

Lizanne Van VuurenBy


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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