Leg 2, Day 24 “Change is the only constant”

Lizanne Van Vuuren By

Our last 24 hours after 24 days. 24 hours, 1 440 minutes, 86 400 seconds and the Earth spins full circle… A lot can happen in a day.

“Change is the only constant” and our last 24 hours have stayed true to this statement, but I’m not sure I’d call this change a ‘holiday’. It’s the perfect follow on from Nats blog explaining why we are experiencing such an array of weather conditions.

Yesterday started relatively calm. The sun was out and the clouds dispersed over the horizon. The first shift for Ems and I was spent lathered up with sunscreen, absolutely baking in the morning heat. By the time we came out for our second day shift there was a dark wall ahead of us. Laura and Nat had spent the entire 2 hours drenched and cold in rain fall, and now it was our turn. With bikinis and sunglasses we were armed, way too eager for a cool break from the heat we’ve been having. The heavens opened up and we endured 45mins of raindrops the size of coins, singing “The sun will come out toomoorrooww……”

It was definitely the most weather-varied day we’ve had so far (almost like England actually. When in doubt always take a jacket, even in a heatwave… You just never know)

For the rest of the day we again made painfully slow progress. We started by fighting a Westerly current and a Southerly wind which felt like rowing uphill. The sunset was pretty much non-existent due to the cloud cover and as night time set in, without the moon and stars I could see nothing but absolute darkness beyond my oars. This added an element of surprise to our row and was a useful tactic in keeping us awake as the waves splashed without warning and oars knocking into knees happened regularly as waves appeared from nowhere and interrupted our stroke.

In our last night shift the heavens opened up again. We could hear it coming as the wind picked up very quickly. Like a well practiced army-drill we put our wet weather gear on, transferred anything that shouldn’t get wet into the hatches (mainly our snack packs. SAVE THE OREOS!) and braced ourselves, oars in hand. By now there was also a change from a Westerly current to an Easterly current (as Nat predicted in her blog) and a Southerly wind of up to around 25knots, which was working hard to blow us backwards. Ems and I pretty much nearly burst a vein trying to keep course, at a pace of a whopping 0.3knots. We could have walked across the Pacific quicker…

By the time LP and Nat came out for their shift we were being pushed North by the wind and it was decided that we would deploy the para-anchor and re-assess in 2 hours. We ended up staying in the cabins for 6 hours! A part of us were a little excited by the prospect of getting some more sleep, but we all woke up feeling drained, achy and exhausted. Don’t mess with the routine… It’s always hard to get back into it. We’re now still struggling to keep a Southerly course, but we’re getting there. Tortoise wins the race and all… Let’s hope Oceania plays nicely tonight. Ps. Is lightening always accompanied by thunder? There have been a few sparks flying, but it’s all bark and no bite. I think we’re ok with that though, but who knows what our next 24 days will hold….

Lizanne x



  1. Simon TY says:

    Dig in deep. Sounds like an exhausting stage of the row to be brought to a complete stop,in yr tracks. Keep strong ( and safe). Hope that things improve. Stock markets now down 12% in a very short period, so not exactly fun here either……not that you care for a nano second !!
    Go, go, go

  2. JG says:

    Lizanne – another great blogpost Thunder is the noise made by lightning and the time elapse between the flash and the bang is a clue to where the lightning strikes or how far away it is in the case of sheet lightning. For every 5 seconds the flash is one mile away. Friend of mine standing by a tent on an Army exercise was struck by lightning twice ! Flash bang and sizzle were instantaneous. It was an amazing sight. He was OK (ish). The weather is a contrary old bag and this year apparently it’s all to do with El Nino. The currents and winds of the Pacific are a confusing mystery to a layman like me but there is a couple of websites that give an instant display of current conditions and a few days forecast which usually ties in with what you guys are telling us. Fascinating stuff – keep it coming.Keep safe – have fun.

  3. Hazel says:

    Just inspirational ladies xxx keep strong 🙂

  4. Allen says:

    Well done ladies, this part of the row will always be the hardest.. just before the middle of the middle! Dig in and enjoy rowing.. Enjoy each moment, each movement and push Doris a little closer to Samoa.. You could be in England with our rainy, windy, summer.
    Have a great time out there.


  5. Hi Lizanne! EEk, what a time! – Had to laugh at your English weather comment as I went out yesterday with coat and scarf and put car seat heater on, yet later in day it was baking! Preferable to yours though… Reading all the blogs with great interest and with huge admiration for the great physical and mental strengths you are all showing. Amazing adventure – life in Hermitage must seem very remote! Looking forward to reading more, take care , Bernadette xx

  6. Jim Andrews says:

    Sounds like, out of the Doldrums and into the Coldrums?
    I hope the elements go easy on you and provide a bit of help and comfort. Keep smiling and stay safe. XX

  7. Frankie says:

    ‘Everything we want in life is just outside our comfort zone’

    You’ve all well and truly leaped out of your comfort zone and are clearly thriving in new waters.

    It’s incredible to think of you out there, I can’t wait to hear more about your experiences.

    Keep on singing!

    Lots of love xx

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