Day 59 – Doris, meet Ela

Isabel Burnham By

Day 59 – Doris, meet Ela

It appears that our plan of a final week of gently surfing the waves into Hawaii, living the easy life, tapping Doris gently along and spotting wildlife on our way may have been a little optimistic….We are currently on the edge of Tropical Storm Ela.

Tony has been constantly updating us as things develop and we also received an email from the US Coastguard in Honolulu advising us of the situation. Tropical Storm Ela is located to our southeast and has a maximum sustained wind speed of 31kts. It is moving northwest, so we are passing just to the north of it. It caused our wind to build to 28kts overnight last night with some stronger gusts. The swell was very high and in those conditions we don’t make a great deal of difference by rowing, so the safest thing was to put a line out overnight to keep Doris steady and to stay in the cabins rather than risk rowing in the dark on such high seas.

Ems and I were in the fore cabin, the smaller of our two cabins. The cabin was extremely hot and sweaty and attempts to open the hatch to ventilate were few and far between as this risks letting in water and an open hatch compromises Doris’s ability to self right should she capsize. To give you a bit of a feel for it, imagine yourself in a sauna the size of a cosy one man tent and then discovering that there is another person in there with you! The fore cabin is not quite long enough for me to fully stretch out my legs and is not wide enough for two people to lie without touching each other. Ems and I lay in a pool of our combined sweat for more than 10 hours, each of us only able to move position when the other did as well. Needless to say, we were both ecstatic to get out of the cabin and onto deck this morning in the fresh air!

As Ela continues to overtake us, we will pass close to the centre where there’s much less wind, although the sea will remain bouncy. As the wind starts to build again it will fill from the south, gradually turning more south easterly. At the back of the storm the wind speed will be lower than it was last night, but the change in direction will likely mix up the swell making for a choppy sea.

We’re all very splashed and salty, but the conditions are no worse than we saw on the way out of San Francisco and we all remain happy and excited to be within a few days of Hawaii. As Tony said in his email, we should see Ela as just another character building experience. Also, if you’re going to have a Tropical Storm, it might as well have a good name. We love that this storm is called Ela as our amazing social media support back in the UK is also called Ella. We would have loved to have her join us on Doris. At least now she’s on the Pacific with us!



  1. Jim Andrews says:

    Love the casual way you just take these things in your stride, we sit here on our lovely island whingeing about the weather and just about everything else while you four exceptional people put yourselves through hell and high water for the benefit of others. Bravo! Stay safe. XX PS Serena Williams won the Ladies final.

  2. Simon TY says:

    Brilliant day in the UK. Stuffed the Aussies in the first Ashes Test. And, Laura will appreciate this, I sold Claire my tickets for next Friday at Lord’s ( we are off to Spain on Tuesday). Could not happen to a nicer nation. Might be 5-0 by the time you get there and they will not let you land.

    What other news ? Omar Sharif has died. Prince Philip used the F word at some reporters. Greece remains rubbish ( you lucky people have missed the last deadline, followed by the next last deadline; followed by the referendum after the last deadline; followed by the new last deadline tomorrow Sunday. After that I can confidently predict there will be a stand off, a new deadline, new deadlock, and then the last deadline ( until next week).

    Laura, nice message on facebook from yr Pa

    Be safe the next few days …….why do they call viscious, deadly, tropical storms after women ? Oops, not the question to ask four amazing women, tough as old boots ( metaphorically of course, I am not talking about yr hands or derrieres). Did noone warn Ela that Laura, Izzy, Emma and Nat were coming through ?

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