Day 18 – Happy Days

Isabel Burnham By

Day 18 – Happy days

The last couple of days have been very special ones aboard Doris.

Yesterday I received news via our sat phone that I have become an auntie for the first time. My older sister Emily and her husband Ben have welcomed a little boy. It’s sad not to be at home at such a special time for our family, but it was fantastic to receive the news out in the middle of the Pacific. I can’t wait to get home and meet my little nephew – I will just have to be patient.

After a peaceful night on the oars, this morning initially brought grey overcast skies. However, by lunchtime the clouds had cleared and the sun came out. We are experiencing a few days of very calm conditions. The sea was beautifully flat and glassy all day and you could see for miles and miles. When I imagined the Pacific before the row I imagined all sorts of different conditions, but I never once imagined that the ocean could look like a giant pond! We enjoyed rowing in shorts and t- shirts (rather than our wet weather gear) and took the opportunity to do plenty of washing, hanging everything out to dry. Mid-afternoon, Laura, Ems and I couldn’t resist any longer and we jumped off Doris and went for a quick swim. The water was so blue and clear and it was incredible to swim right out at sea so far from everything. There isn’t a lot of room on Doris to stretch out, so being able to stretch and float in the water was bliss.

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After swim time came shower time. All four of us went out on deck and had a proper wash. There were a number of different approaches taken, including using buckets, sponges, flannels and a solar shower. Three of us even washed our hair. It was amazing to be covered in fresh water. We would have been quite a sight had anyone passed by – four women all trying their best to balance on a wobbly little pink boat while showering! We’re now hoping for a beautiful sunset and a quiet starry night to top off a fab day.

There are some thoughts below from the other girls on our first swimming and showering session.

Laura – ‘today to date is without a doubt the highlight for me of the trip so far. Experiencing swimming in the middle of the Pacific was something i knew I’d look forward to doing and it didn’t disappoint. Diving under Doris and looking down into the beautiful blue was epic. To top it off with then having a proper clean solar shower on the boat felt so refreshing. I couldn’t resist though to shout out the line from Old School ‘come on everybody we’re streaking!’ & although I found this highly amusing it fell on deaf ears to none of my team mates having seen the film (I think I need to educate when we arrive in Hawaii!). Certainly if there was any aircraft that flew by at the time they would have got a shocking view!

Emma – Going for a swim in the Pacific was an amazing experience. The ocean was like glass and it was like being in our own giant infinity pool. It was also great to get a different view of our beautiful Doris. I feel properly clean for the first time in 18 days and the hilarity of shower time on an ocean rowing boat was a great team bonding experience. Day 18 has just finished off with a beautiful dusk shift. With full cloud cover there was no colourful sunset but just a fading of the light turning everything to a silver glow making Laura and I feel like we were in a dream.

Natalia – The wind dropped and the sea became this still, deep blue, translucent expanse. It was incredible. I will swim in the middle of the Pacific, but today was not my day. I’m waiting for slightly warmer waters and took the opportunity to film the others! The shower was greatly needed after so long. Nothing quite like a soaking in fresh water and being all 4 of us on deck together was hysterical!! It’s amazing what we take for granted like a simple daily shower!



  1. Lauren says:

    We’re going streaking!!! I’m with you on the Old School quotes Laura. ‘you’re my boy Blue!’. Keep up the good work. Following you everyday and thinking of you out there on the ocean. Lozza xxxx

  2. Karan says:

    Congratulations Auntie Isabel. Lots of love xxxx

  3. Simon TY says:

    We want the video……….come one, onto youtube straight away. Must have confused the sealife XX

  4. Congratulations Auntie Izzy! Lovely news and your nephew will be so proud hearing about your adventure when he’s older.

    So pleased you’ve had calm seas, a swim and a shower. Sounds truly wonderful.

    We’re all thinking of you x

  5. Catherine says:

    sounds amazing. So glad you are having a great day v

  6. Hey Girls!

    Congrats on pushing at it still!

    Was curious to know what the feeling is like being at sea with nothing but sea all around you – especially when it’s glassy still like today. How does it play on your mind?

    Also – more of an interesting personal question, but like James Cracknell and Ben Fogle famously did in their trip across the atlantic – any nakedness rowing yet due to sores and chaffing/How has chaffing been in general?

    Keep it up! 🙂

  7. Nick Stocker says:

    what a great blog – following your progress every day. So glad you all got to swim in the Pacific, surely only a handful of people have done that. What a special moment. Congratulations on your trip so far, Hawaii beckons very soon!
    Looking forward to hearing about the next stages of your journey x

  8. Derek says:

    Great to see that you are making some real westwards progress, well done!

  9. Jim Andrews says:

    You never ever sound down but that was a definite Up, report. So glad that you have had such a great day, it must have been good to exercise some of those muscles that rowing doesn’t benefit. Please can you mention in one of your blogs, the quantities that you are carrying in terms of bulk and weight please. I just wonder at the amount of potable water you can carry, or am I in the dark ages, and you have some form of desalination equipment? As always, I am loving following your adventure and my best wishes for lots more really nice days! XX

  10. Jim Andrews says:

    Ooops. Very remiss. Congratulations to new Auntie, new parents and new baby. X

  11. Ray Penhaul says:

    Know how the girls feel, we’ve been sitting in a small confined space, looking at the sea, eating fish & chips (as opposed to ration packs) at Pendennis Point, it’s a hard life!!

  12. Tess says:

    Great Blog my fellow Auntie & rest of crew! Just love following all your antics and it seems fitting that the best day on your journey so far comes on the day after our gorgeous nephew is born!

    You are all doing so well! Really proud of you intrepid female adventurers!

    Love Tess xxx

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