Reflections

Another week on land rolls by…

Meg Dyos By

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!

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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!

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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: http://www.oceanusrowing.co.uk/news/

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Red carpet treatment

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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

 

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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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The ocean within…

Natalia Cohen By

Nat free

As humans, we truly are incredible creatures. So resilient and adaptable it’s quite unbelievable. I fell back instantly into a monophasic sleeping pattern and have been dealing with what is essentially the culture shock of being back on land and surrounded by so many sounds, colours, sights, smells and people. It’s amazing to eat fresh produce but I’m not feeling overly inspired by other food. My body and my mind feel really tired and all I want to do right now is watch box sets and chill!

Every minute of every day was filled with one clear goal out on the ocean and now I am disorientated. It strangely feels as if the last 9 months was a dream.

Did it really happen?

I’m used to the sensation of eras feeling like a memory soon after they happen, but I have to be honest I never expected this one to disappear into the depths as quickly as this. I have felt detached and as if everything that has happened over the last couple of weeks has happened to someone else. Not to me. It’s really bizarre.

Now, with family and slowly beginning to see friends, I am finding that I do not really want to talk about the row. I want to hear about the lives of others and what their news is that they can share. I find the perception that others have of me odd and as I have not really had the opportunity to fully appreciate or reflect on the enormity of what has just been achieved, I am struggling to understand why people are so in awe of us.

All I know is that on a personal level I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the strength of human spirit and the power of the mind that we all have access to. Collectively we wanted to create awareness and raise funds for the women supported by our two charities Breast Cancer Care and Walking With The Wounded and make a difference (however small). What I never imagined is how our expedition would impact so many other people. How by sharing our story and experiences, others would be inspired to take on their own challenges and find the belief in themselves to follow these through.

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This has been unexpected and amazingly humbling.

Our work is far from over. We still have a long way to go with the fundraising and that is what our efforts need to be concentrated on right now.

As soon as I can make sense of how I am feeling, I really hope that I will gain a better insight into the impact we have had and what we have actually done. In the meantime all I know for sure is that the ocean has penetrated deeply into my soul. I feel in many ways that I am a part of her. I’ve been breathing and moving with her for the last 9 months, feeling her anger, her calm, her frustration, her overwhelming power, her flow of life and ever changing nature. For the brief times of hardship, there were countless moments of such breathtaking beauty and freedom out in the ocean and I know that what ever happens next, I will forever carry her and her lessons within me and always feel the pull to be near her. x

Ocean Beauty

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