Day 34 – Pocket life

Isabel Burnham By

Day 34 – Pocket life

We continue you make faster progress South West with the arrival (finally!) of some following winds. Today Nat and I saw our first flying fish. I had no idea they fly so far! Our last shift on the oars we decided to make a Spanish shift. We both spoke only in Spanish, with some inventive Spanglish thrown in from time to time, and listened to Spanish music (Juanes, Santana etc). It was great fun and we might make it a regular occurrence.

Every day on Doris brings a new example of how simple life can be. We are constantly reminded that we don’t need much to get by. In addition to the equipment for the boat (communications equipment, para anchor, tool bag, flares etc) and our communal items (medical kit, talc, soap, loo roll, wet wipes, multi tool etc), each of us has a pocket in the aft cabin to keep our personal belongings in that measures approximately 45 x 40 x 20cm.

In my pocket I have: sunglasses, glasses, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, sun cream and face stick, lip balm, hand gel, 2 x long sleeved tops, 2 x leggings, shorts, 2 x vest tops, 2 x buffs, wooly hat and gloves, iPod, kindle, notebook and pen, sponge for washing, head torch, travel towel, spare socks and underwear. Our snack packs and water bottles live next to our pockets. It is a constant challenge trying to extract things from the pocket without having to completely pack and re-pack, but everything has a home and fits in. It just goes to show how little we actually need to get by.

There is something I strangely enjoy about this basic living. There are no decisions to be made about what to wear, where to be when, or what to eat (this is by and large true as we have limited food options, although we all manage to spend a lot of time deciding which expedition meal to eat each day!). It is the small things that we appreciate: finding a chocolate bar that you didn’t think you had at the bottom of a snack pack; a blast of fresh air into the hot, humid cabin; a good nap; a gap in the clouds and sunlight on the water; a warm sleeping bag; a fly by from a friendly albatross; a fresh pair of socks; laughter with friends – big, belly aching laugh till you cry type laughter.



  1. Jim Andrews says:

    I love that you spent a shift speaking Spanish/Spanglish, my good friend Brian and I used to have a German half hour, when feeling in a bit of a silly mood or bored. This was while we were serving with the Royal Engineers in Gibraltar. My daughter was born there and I have convinced her that her true nationality is Giblet and her official language is gibberish! Incidentally the Gibraltarians speak a strange mix of Spanglish, is this where the word gibberish comes from?
    Anyway….Great progress is being made, very very well done. Another brief ex military conundrum, rehabilitation to normality and acceptance thereof, on your return to normal living. Not easy. Best wishes, stay safe. XX

  2. sarah Lee says:

    I am really enjoying reading your posts. Maybe when you return you could publish your blogs and sell the diary with profits going to the charities you support? Or maybe you’ve already decided on that! Apart from the hard work that you are putting in, it sounds like you are also enjoying your time at sea. I love hearing about the wildlife you see and the songs you sing. Stay safe ladies and thanks for brightening up my days

  3. Robert says:

    There is a Trade Wind route from Santa Barbara USA to Honolulu Hawaiian Islands but the Ccrew are taking the great circle route and their average speed rowed so far is 1.0 knots. (The trade winds have been favorable for the whole period the Ccrew have been rowing)

    Fedor Konyukov (Russian guy who took a Trade Wind route) rowed 9,400 nautical miles from ConCon just north of Valparaiso in Chile to Mooloolaba in Queensland Australia in 162 days at an average speed 2.4 knots.

  4. Robert says:

    “We continue you make faster progress South West with the arrival (finally!) of some following winds.” The following winds have been there all the way from Santa Barbara if you had put yourselves in the right position to take advantage of them. Think chilled out Polynesian, not stiff upper lip British & the Pacific will look after you …

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