Day 63 – The time is near

Isabel Burnham By

Day 63 – And now, the time is near

Subject to any further delays as we approach Hawaii, this will likely be my final blog written aboard Doris. I will be saying goodbye to Laura, Nat and Ems in Hawaii and the wonderful Lizanne will be slotting into my seat and rowing with them to Samoa, before fabulous Meg takes over and rows the final stretch to Cairns.

With 230 nautical miles still to row, we are all still very focused on getting ourselves and Doris to that pontoon at Hawaii Yacht Club and it seems a bit early to start reflecting on our journey. I will no doubt write another blog when I’m home and have had the chance for everything to sink in a bit.

It is with mixed emotions that I approach Hawaii. We are all overjoyed to be so near land after what has turned out to be a much longer first leg than we initially anticipated. Thoughts of celebrations, fresh food, friendly faces, a proper shower and a sleep longer than an hour and a half are creeping to the fronts of our minds. However, we are not there yet and we are also aware that we have a great deal to get done in Hawaii to turn Doris around for the second leg to Samoa and to properly hand over the baton from me to Lizanne.

For me, there is also the huge excitement of heading home to see my precious family, friends and the good old English countryside. I’m particularly looking forward to meeting my nephew, Hugo, who is now just under seven weeks old, seeing my school friend Edwina get married to Ben at the start of August, and finding my way back into some hills in northern England. At the same time, I will be saying a very sad goodbye to the three incredible women who I have shared every waking and sleeping minute with since 19 April. It will be so strange without them. Other people haven’t learnt to anticipate what it is that I’m about to ask for in the same way and are unlikely to put up so well with my singing and nonsense stories. All our in jokes will be too difficult to explain to people back home and probably aren’t that funny anyway when you’re not in a tiny boat in the middle of the world’s largest ocean! I can honestly say that I couldn’t imagine better friends to have made this crossing with. It will be hard to see them head on without me, but I’ll be pleased for them having lovely Lizanne on board and so proud and excited for them all heading onwards on the next step of their epic journey.

I am increasingly conscious that these are my last days aboard Doris and I am trying my best to enjoy every moment and not to wish them away in eagerness to arrive. I will never again be in this position and I am trying my best to save the excitement of reaching land and getting home and, for now, to appreciate the beauty of the Pacific and the company of the girls.

In one of my early blogs I listed some things that I have learnt aboard Doris. After 63 days, I feel ready to add to that list.

1) I will not be upset if I never see another flying fish again

2) Never get too excited by prevailing winds and following seas. All you need is an adverse current and you can still make depressingly slow progress

3) Two hours is a very long and very short amount of time, depending on how you spend it

4) Never attempt any expedition without talcum powder

5) You will always end up with suncream in your eyes, even if you never put it on your forehead

6) None of this would have been possible without our wonderful core support team and the support of our fantastic charities, sponsors and supporters, so thank you, thank you, thank you

7) Tony Humphreys is (nearly) always right

8) Laura Penhaul provides endless amusement with her sleep-deprived gobbledygook in the small hours of the morning, can eat more protein shakes and bars than Arnie and knows the words to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air rap. She makes things happen and is one of the most brilliantly determined, professional and thoughtful people I have ever met

9) Emma Mitchell is an excellent maker of funny faces and never ceases to surprise me (“when I was in circus school”, “when I was rollerblading the Berlin marathon”, “when I rode the Lloyds bank horse”). She has a contagious smile, is a steadfast friend and I have no doubt that she will be (quietly) successful in anything she turns her hand to next (unless it requires smiling and speaking in coherent sentences within 10 minutes of waking up)

10) Natalia Cohen dances better and smells less than the rest of us. She makes disgusting concoctions by mixing her food and her Irish accent sounds suspiciously Scottish. She is inspiringly passionate and lives her life in such joyful, screaming colour that you can’t help but let it rub off on you

11) Lizanne and Meg, you’ll have a blast

12) This may well be the soppiest thing I’ve ever written



  1. Liz Davey says:

    We will miss your excellent blogs Isabel but wish you every success in the future. You and the team have already achieved so much you should be hugely proud of everything you have accomplished, we will miss you. Xx

  2. Simon TY says:

    Izzy, you praise your friends but I have no doubt that their praise and admiration for you is as great. there will be many many things they are too choked to say as you approach land and things that will be difficult to say as you part.

    However, you will have a vital vital role… you KNOW. You will be the ONLY person who understands, who gets it. The only person who understands the dynamic, the moods, the tiredness, the routine, the way to open some hatch we know nothing about, the only person who knows where the spare toothbrush is, or the way to yodel. You will read nuance into blogs, be able to read mood, be able to encourage, advise, implore.

    Im sure your role has been vital thus far. It will be enormously important going forward. Bonne chance, well done, you are incredibly lucky to have three ( well five) people who, if push came to shove, would ( what a stupid thought) row across a bloody ocean with you

  3. kim says:

    wow – incredible progress girls…..keep up the amazing work for another few days and enjoy the matresses, pillows and cuisine that awaits!!!!

  4. JG says:

    (12) Not in the slightest soppy. As a founding member-in- action of the Crew you have been a cornerstone of forming the survival routines, knowledge of which will now be passed on to those who follow you. Yes it will be new to Lizanne and Meg but they will have the benefit of the Crew’s seasoned experience and your legacy to help them on. Your contribution and input must be massive. Great stuff and thank you for your entertaining blogs. Enjoy Hawaii

  5. Mike S. says:

    Hats off to your determined progress girls. We cannot imagine how difficult it is sticking to your sleep/row routine. You state in your blog izz that its down to 1 hour & half, that leaves 30 mins to prepare food, eat & drink, toilet & prepare bed – sound as if it might be less. Brilliant discipline girls won’t be long.

  6. Esther B says:

    Another wonderful blog – I’m welling up here!!! You are all amazing and I love reading about what you are up to everyday as I sit at my desk. I can understand the mixed emotions about being so close to Hawaii – it’s an ending and a beginning all at the same time.

    With lots of love and best wishes that the next 200nm go smoothly. Esther xxx

    p.s. Big hug to Laura xxx

  7. Jim Andrews says:

    Not in the least soppy and I feel sure you will be equally missed, you are still a team member, on or off Doris. Stay Safe. XX

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