Diary Entries

Lizanne Van Vuuren By


It’s not every day you get to witness a miracle.
My diary was stolen, and retrieved! So I thought it only fitting to share some snippets from my own personal record of the row.

Mon 10.08.15
I am currently in a little cabin, lying on my super-absorbent towel, and it’s absolutely baking hot. Laura is busy washing the salt off her body and Ems and Nat are on the ores. We are IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACIFIC!! (Or to be more specific; 530nm from Hawaii and 1766nm from Samoa)
On our first day out of Hawaii we had a visit from a sailboat. Clearly exciting. Although I couldn’t wait for them to leave…. I smiled through gritted teeth and waved, and as soon as they were out of sight I propelled myself to the side of the boat and was sick.
*spot the newby rower!!*
Nat gave me a polo mint. I kept it in my mouth the entire shift. Literally can’t swallow anything.
I feel like a zombie!
Nap time!



I’m again in the same position in the cabin as when I last wrote… Sweating.
I’ve not really stopped sweating for the last 3 weeks.
I’m on the ores with Ems at the moment. She’s got the most incredible stories. She has ridden the Loyds TSB horse, she’s been to circus school and she’s visited Auschwitz. It’s a good thing her stories are so captivating as it’s the only thing keeping me awake during the nights!! Man I’m tired!
I’m also reminiscing a lot and thinking about my future. Work, life, love.
As for life on the ocean… It’s amazing. I can’t believe I’m actually here.

Today has been an absolute blessing in terms of cloud cover! It makes me so happy when we’re out on the ores and there are clouds covering the sun.
Towards the end of last night and this morning the swell has increased again. I was sick again. I thought sea sickness leaves you alone after a few days? Go away nausea!
In the past 24 hours we have rowed 48nm. That’s a step in the right direction for me to make Anna’s wedding.

Emma and I rowed through a ridiculous storm today. The rainfall felt like buckets of water being chucked on us, a few minutes of hail (??) and the wind gushed around us.
We reached such great speed yesterday, and today we’re down to 0.3-0.6 knots.

Just got off the ores. It was another soak session.
There are so many birds! Seriously, where do they sleep at night??

Nat showed me a few of her photos today that she took in India and Uganda. It was so inspirational! I want to start photography when I get back! We were in the sweaty cabin and looking at a little iPhone screen immediately triggered my motion sickness…. The pictures were so beautiful though! Couldn’t stop looking at them!
It is amazing to have a group of strong women around me. It’s pushing me to be better and encouraging me to push my boundaries.
On ocean life today… We’ve caught up with John Beedon who is 84nm away! What a hero!
We saw a whale briefly.
The weather is so changeable.
It’s pretty toasty in the cabin… X

Nats and I are on shift together. We’re getting on really well. She’s bloody hilarious.
In an effort to keep me up on the ores last night we told stories, and made up our own one too. A sentence each. We laughed so hard I thought we might wake the others sleeping in the cabin.
Laura also got hit by a massive fish whilst rowing last night. It was so funny!
Nats and I were sleeping when we heard LP scream. How’s that for a wake-up call! I’ve never seen anyone move so fast as Nats did when she bolted up! LP tried to pick up the fish with the BBQ tongs. It didn’t work though as the fish was the size of her leg!
The boat reeked of fish. Ew.
It’s toasty in the cabin again.
I just had a few spoons of Nutella though, so all is well in the world

It’s remarkable how much can happen when theoretically all you do is eat, sleep, row, repeat.
I’m in such a beautifully happy mood. I think it’s because I cried so much the other day. For no reason at all. Poor Ems must have felt so awkward, in our tiny cabin and I couldn’t stop! and I never cry!! But if there’s no road or mountain to run on, surely the body just needs a release somehow?

Day 56
The monotony of our 2h routine makes time both fly by and drag by.
We crossed the equator in the early hours of yesterday. First fours boat to cross the equator! Boom baby!
Must admit though, I kind of expected a sign or a line in the ocean or something. Like John Beedon wrote in his email to us “shame there was no gift shop to get a t-shirt!”
The equator is colder and stormier than I expected. There’s a chill in the wind, and suddenly I miss the toasty weather!
I’m in the aft cabin, lying with my head in the nose and Ems is cleaning her snack pack. The remaining 15 snack packs are all stragglers- they don’t have much in them and most of them are wet and sticky as some water collected at the bottom of the hatch and so the Starbursts have melted, dissolved and has covered everything in gooey-ness. SAD TIMES.
I need to clean mine too. Mine is particularly sticky today. I’m going to be sad the day the snack packs run out… Which will be in about 4 days!
We’ve not seen any wildlife for ages. Looooaaaads of birds (we checked- the nearest island is 100miles away. Where do they sleep??)
We’ve also been followed by a shark which sucks as I’d like to have another swim.

Have just come off a night shift and Ems and I just saw a pod of whales so incredibly close to the boat. About 2 ore lengths. The moon is out so they were clear as daylight!
2nd night shift done. That certainly woke me up!
Night! X

Day 61 Continued…
Going out on the ores again in 13mins. We’ve changed rotation so I’m with Nats again.
The sea has been choppy today. So many fish feeding frenzies going on around us. I’m constantly wanting to put my fishing line out, but the current is so strong today and taking us NW. If I catch something it won’t be fair on the others if I have to stop rowing to deal with the fish. Hope I get to catch something soon though!
I made pancakes yesterday. It sounds better than it was. It took forever and I only managed to make 2! But we shared it, and it was a divine piece of heavenly homely taste. Nutella is the bomb.
I burned my leg with the boiling water though. A rocking boat makes it easy for accidents to happen. It’s not toooo bad. My left lower leg is now wrapped in cling film like a chicken fillet.
We got some news regarding time-line the other day. Looks like the girls might still be rowing at Christmas. The news crashed down hard, but having mulled it over everyone seems to be doing better. Tell you what though… That will be a Christmas to remember!

Nat is currently doing story time about her “Stars and Clouds” blog for LP and Ems.

Right… Time to get ready for the night x

Reminiscing back to the time Lizanne made pancakes on a boat

Reminiscing back to the time Lizanne made pancakes on a boat


To be continued…




  1. Jim Andrews says:

    Just sat and had a little smile at your reminiscences Lizanne, while sipping a naughty mid afternoon tipple in Mexico. Thank you for sharing your memories of that awesome experience.

  2. JG says:

    Best thing about diaries is that they are neuron triggers to remember more detail than there is time or space to write it all down.

    You will be able to recount great tales based on a few words in a diary entry. That diary is a precious access to a great bank of memories stored in the recesses of your mind.

    So glad you got it back! Now you can work on it and maybe there is a book lurking there?

    There are so many fascinating things that I would like to read about.
    – The amount of, and what, knowledge you had to absorb to fit into the team as quickly as possible. How you did it fighting sea sickness at the same time.
    – How your relationship with the other members of the team developed and what was difficult and if you had to to adjust who or what helped you the most to do that.
    – You cried. Why? How did you overcome whatever was behind that?

    There is so much that people can learn from what you girls have done. We have a taste of it from your blog Lizanne and it is riveting.

    Through it all and out of every picture is that great smile and burst of sunshine.

Leave A Reply