Day 3, Leg 33 – Events and observations

Natalia Cohen By

Each leg of our odyssey is a separate entity. We have had a different personality and team dynamic to get used to as we have had Izzy, then Lizanne and now Meg join us on our journey, different wildlife, changing sea state, areas of the ocean and weather conditions. The variety that this has created for me, LP and Ems is invaluable and none more so than this last part of the expedition. The only other human interaction we have had that is not with each other (apart from with families) is with the passing boats and these have been very few and far between. 

I’ve just finished a rotation with Megs and it’s been an interesting ride. We’ve laughed hysterically and had deep, moving and thought provoking chat. We’ve shared perspectives on the row and on life, on religion, death, routine, gender, travel…and this can easily all happen in just one 2 hour row shift!!

Nat and MegOur last sunset shift was a great one. We had some chill-out music playing on the radio and were winding down for our first sleep shift. It was very overcast but this seemed to make the water look even clearer than normal although it was dull. Suddenly, out of the blue I heard a thud and then a flapping and knew that a large sized fish had landed on Doris. I jumped up and moved further forward to get out of the way of the unlucky fish. It was writhing around in a blind panic. My first thought was to call LP (our night in shining armour), as she was the large fish picker upper. I shouted for her to come as quick as possible and turned back to the fish. Meg had made her way forward from the back rowing position and having read my other blog from leg 2, was attempting the same ‘use the sheepskin to cover fish and pick it up before it dies and release back into the ocean’ approach. She was successful and the fish swam off. It was about 2ft long, quite round and flat, silver and with a big eye. It looked similar to a Butterfish.  Looks like we now have two fish rescuers aboard!

We sat back down to row again and allowed the excitement to settle, when about 5 minutes later we were surrounded by Mahi Mahi. They glowed a luminescent blue and were playing around us like dolphins and living up to their nickname of dolphin fish. We have never seen such large Mahi Mahi (they are giants), never seen such an incredible show of belly flopping jumps that went on around us and also never seen such high clearance in the jumps. 

Fish under Doris
In the dead of a pitch black night shift a huge sized flying fish (the biggest we’ve seen) smacked LP in the back. What’s with the super sized wildlife at the moment? Perhaps Giant Octopus or Blue Whale will be next!

Where are the aeroplanes?? We have not seen one plane since leaving Samoa. It’s all very strange. 

We had our first sighting a passenger ship. It was very exciting. The Dawn Princess passed as close as 3 miles from us and provided an impressive light display in an otherwise starless, moonless night. 1st Officer Harry initially made contact with us as he saw us on the AIS and wanted to double check all was ok as we were travelling at such a slow speed! This is something we always have to explain. LP ended up having a long chat and found out that they are doing 2 week cruises of New Caledonia from Sydney.  I think LP’s over active imagination combined with being at sea for 8 months meant she was rather taken with 1st Officer Harry. With a beautiful voice and an interest in our expedition, the conversation with Harry has definitely been one of LP’s highlights!

Christmas decorating has begun. We’re getting all festive on Doris. 

Christmas decorations on Doris
It’s been strange being out here and having no signs of Xmas whatsoever. No concept of days of the week, months of the year or seasons. What time is it? What day is it? Where are we, who are we and what exactly are we doing? x

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7 Comments

  1. Dawn Princess over 77,000 tonnes with over 2000 passengers and over 900 crew, including Harry!!!!!!!,

    Must have looked so huge from Doris. You may see her again on the return journey……that’s her’s, not yours!!!!!!!!

    Enjoy Christmas decorating…….

  2. Robert says:

    CoxlesCrew 9 days to row 121nm, 13.4nm/day @ 0.56kn
    JohnBeeden 9 days to row 378nm, 42.0nm/day @ 1.75kn

    CoxlessCrew you just spent 9 days from 1 to 9 December rowing against an adverse current up to 0.8 kn and 121 nm long which you could easily have avoided as it’s on the OSCAR chart.
    If you find yourself heading into an unknown opposing current exit it at 90 degrees either left or right depending on the wind.

    John Beeden is 544nm from Cairns.

  3. Well done ladies for telling us these updates, I’m amazed to hear about all the animals you’re seeing there must be so many fish congregating around you I think you must sing the song ‘Under the Sea’ from Nemo 🙂

    I heard Australia restricted airspace due to volcanic ash so I wonder if that might be the reason for the lack of aircraft.

    I can’t imagine the bond that’s grown between you all, I hope it won’t be too overwhelming when back to civilisation but you’re all CRACKING!!!

    WE LOVE IT!!!

    WE LOVE YOU!!!!!

  4. JG says:

    The speed is picking up again ! None of the OSCAR stuff I look at is the slightest bit comprehensible. Whic direction is your adverse current coming from andf does it veer from one direction to another I wonder. It seems to me that the overall current direction where you are is anti-clockwise heading north? I wonder if the depth of the ocean has any effect on surface currents. You are doing brilliantly and your stamina is mind boggling. Very nearly at half way now and the Coral Sea. Take care lovely girls and keep safe.

  5. Simon TY says:

    Feel guilty been off air for a few days. My gorgeous Georgina ( on yr wall) has arrived from Phuket. Have not seen her since August. Seems ages ( though in context of yr row is not long and actually shows how long you have been at sea). So some lovely days with all the family united.

    You seem to be past Vanuatu. Or at least through the gap. I always wonder what you see on the horizon. Did you see distant land ? Or clouds ? Or sea birds ?

    Anyhow, God Speed, be safe, the last stretch of sea lies in front of you

    Xxx

  6. Jim Andrews says:

    Glad to see that progress is on the mend. I wonder if the Pacific Islands themselves cause the adverse currents, that have hindered you? A lot of people in Cumbria have been left temporarily homeless due to extraordinary rainfall and flooding. Bridges that have withstood a couple of centuries of harsh winters being washed away by the sheer weight of water. It is heartbreaking, that those affected are now unable to escape their predicament, in that their homes are pretty much uninsurable or saleable. as I type this, we are enduring torrential rain.
    Sorry to lower the tone but reality continues to occur in your absence. Your own reality is looking much better,27 nm the last time I looked. I hope the New Year isn’t too old by the time you land in Cairns. You will be in the thoughts of many over the festive period, I for one will raise a glass in your honour at our Christmas gathering. Stay safe. XX

  7. Rob Baker says:

    I ca see Doris on my AIS tracker!! (marine traffic app)

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