Day 7 at sea

Isabel Burnham By

Day 7 at Sea

I can’t believe we’ve already been at sea for a week. We’re settling into life on Doris, although some quite strong north westerly winds mean that we remain rather frustratingly close to the U.S. Coast.

This morning didn’t start well. After an uncomfortable night, during which we had a rope out behind the boat, I got up feeling unwell. I was then hauling in the rope from our stern and it got tangled on the rudder. I had to go into the aft cabin and poke my head out of the circular hatch to access the rudder and remove the rope. Unfortunately, the seas are rolling pretty relentlessly at the moment and a huge wave came over the stern and into the cabin. I spent the remainder of my 2 hours off drying out the cabin. No damage, but a soggy sleeping bag and not a great start to the day! Happily, today has improved. I received a lovely email and text from home and this afternoon had some fun shifts rowing big waves in high winds with Nat.

We continue to be surrounded by wildlife. We haven’t seen Albert today, the large brown bird that has been with us since day 1. But at night there are sparrow like birds that dart around the boat and make me think they are bats. In addition to the whales earlier in the week, we have seen some big red fish and a couple of sharks – Sharkie and George.

One fairly common activity is speaking to other vessels. We’ve had a few nice chats with nearby cargo boats to let them know we are here and how small we are. The San Francisco vessel traffic service “Traffic” were also kindly looking after us for the first few days. We would get a few calls each night on our VHF radio from them checking up on us, although I don’t think they were that clear on what kind of boat we are: “OCEAN GOING KAYAK, DORIS,THIS IS TRAFFIC. HOW ARE THINGS?”.

We’re very much learning on the go. So far, among other things, I have learnt: I can sleep on my back; the sea can look like mountains; I know the lyrics to some truly terrible songs; and I could live on dried mango and oat cakes all the way to Hawaii.



  1. Zach says:

    I’m one of those ships with whom you chatted yesterday! Have a safe voyage!

  2. Karl says:

    Isabel, sailor types call all “ropes” while at sea, “lines”.
    I am delighted to see you getting some west in your course in the last couple of hours. You may encounter some small gyres of westerly current in your immediate area. I also hope you can get past that whole California current soon and start to lay down some westerly knots!

    Please describe or photo the red fish.

    My heroes!,

  3. Cath Allaway says:

    the sparrow like birds are possibly Storm petrels.. brown with a white patch on back & whiteish V-shape on the wings? We had one called Harvey, I was convinced he followed us all the way over

  4. Simon TY says:

    One fish, two fish, RED FISH, blue fish. Dr Seuss would be happy. Actually, you could learn the whole of it:

    one fish two fish red fish blue fish
    black fish blue fish old fish new fish
    some are red and some are blue. some are old and some are new.
    some are sad and some are glad. And some are very, very bad.
    Why are they das and glad and bad? I dont know. Go ask your dad.
    Some are thin and some are fat. The fat one has a yellow hat.
    From there to here, from here to there, funny things everywhere.
    Here are some who like to run. They run for fun in the hot, hot sun
    Oh me! Oh my!
    Oh me! Oh my!
    what alot of funny things go by.
    Some have two feet and some have four.
    Some have six feet and some have more.
    Where do they come from?
    I cant say.
    But i bet they have come a long, long way.
    We see them come.
    We see them go.
    Some are fast.
    And some are slow.
    Some are high.
    And some are low
    Not one of them is like another.
    Don’t as us why.
    Go ask your mother

  5. Kathy A says:

    Love hearing these updates. Keep it going, ladies! So inspirational!

  6. Well done girls, I admire your courage and tenacity hugely!
    Huge hugs x

  7. Pimo says:

    Good morning ladies (from NZ), I noticed you’ve gained some distance towards Hawai’i. Although not as much as you’d planned on but a gain nonetheless.

    I recall one of our coaches in long-distance racing yelling (re stroke), “L O N G and hard” 🙂

  8. Karl says:

    Nice westerly progress! …in the last few hours.

    Looks like you made it off the continental shelf now. Water is even deeper now. Hopefully smoother days are near.

    Keep on keep’n on,

  9. Andrew says:

    7 days already!

    Great updates and good to see you making progress.

    Well done ladies, truly inspirational.


  10. Barry says:

    Hi all, I’m following you closely every day and really enjoying your blog posts and comments. I’ve been “telling your store every day” and relaying your progress at all of my personal and business network meetings I go to.

    There are so many good wishes coming your way from the good folk of Essex which I’ve been asked to pass on to you.

    Be strong, Be unstoppable and Enjoy the journey


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