Leg 2, Day 15 – The Doris Mysteries

Natalia Cohen By

Leg 2, Day 15 – The Doris Mysteries

UPDATE: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…the rate at which Oceania shows us her differnt personalities is mindblowing. For the last few days we’ve been battling varying wind speeds, constant soakings and a drop in temperature as the wind cooled against our skin or wet weather gear. Yet last night we rowed through torrential rain and today we are rowing a pan flat sea with no wind and increasingly high humidity.

It’s not a mystery, it’s a fact that everything changes out here, but we have found that we do have a few other mysteries to solve…

The only thing I’m slightly precious about is a good pillow. In all my years of travel, the one thing that is paramount to ensure a good night’s shut eye is the right pillow. Not too hard, not too soft and, for me, not too high. Obviosly this was a concern before embarking on Doris for 6-8 months, so I informed the girls that I would search for my own pillow to take. I found the perfect one. A small travel sized, comes in its own little case, blue and white checked pillow. I loved it. I tried it out in San Francisco before our departure and all was good in the world. However, since embarking on Doris, the strangest thing has happened to my little pillow. For some unknown reason it’s permanently damp! I mean seriously, even if it has been dried in the sun out on deck and then brought back in, before you know it, it is damp again!! So without further ado, we would like to share a few of the Doris mysteries…

– Why oh why is one of our 3 pillows (the small blue and white one) in the aft cabin ALWAYS damp?

– What are the bright lights in the sky that we have seen appear, glow unbelievably bright and then disappear as quickly as they arrived? They are not flares. What are they?

– Why do flying fish only land on Doris at night? Absolutely no fish during the day.

– Where do all the clothes pegs disappear to? There’s really only limited places to hide on Doris, so where on earth do they go?

– The absolute mystery surrounding the 10 minute danger zone. It dumbfounds all of us that regardless of how calm the shift has been, within the last 10 minutes either one or both rowers get an obligatory splash before coming off the oars.

– The mahi-mahi (dolphin fish) have 2 types of jump that they do. One is a beautiful high arcing jump and the other is complete belly flop. Why is this? Most tend to go with the belly flop and we always hear the splash/slap, even if we don’t see it.

– I have started sneezing uncontrollably and feel as if I have an allergy to something. I may be slightly worse affected but all of us are sneezing. Why?

– We spotted a moth flying near Doris and then it landed for a while. What on earth is a moth doing out here over 500 miles from land?

– In Santa Barbara we replaced our grab rails (lines at the side of the boat that we use to steady ourselves during change over) with some new ones that we bought at a climbing shop. The mystery surrounding these lines is that they were taught during the heat of the day and then slackened as soon as the temperature began to fall! Why? This is the opposite to most materials we have come across and was not particularly helpful as night time was when we needed the help the most!

– Where are the choc chip bits in the chocolate chip desert??

– For some random reason we keep finding a solitary red gummy bear in the footwell. Why?

These mysteries and more, constantly confuse us out here on the almighty Pacific. Clearly we have too much time on our hands…and are heavily sleep deprived, but we’re sure you would all be just as confused as we are!! x



  1. Simon TY says:

    I cannot answer the one about the gummy bears.

    However, the “flares” are presumably the Perseid meteor shower. No reason why you should not be seeing the same as us. We lay on the lawn last night and watched an amazing display. They say one per minute, but we saw about twenty over 45 mins. Some across what appeared to be a quarter of the sky and visible long enough for all of us to go, Over There and the others still turn their heads. There is no moon at the moment so it is pretty clear in the middle of nowhere in Kent. You must have unbelievable visibility.

    Enjoy your shooting stars. Last night was meant to be the peak, but they carry on for another c ten days getting fewer as time goes on. What a place to watch the display !!!!


  2. Carla says:

    Hi rowing girls – I’ve really enjoyed this post about the mysteries that you have to face and, since I also deal with different kinds of mysteries, here’s my attempt to provide you with clarification on your mysteries.
    1) The damp pillow: This is is the lesser-known “damp hallucinations”, i.e. thinking that the pillow is wet as an extension of the fact that you are wet most of the time.
    2) The bright lights: Definitely friendly UFOs checking on your progress and keeping an eye on you.
    3) The flying fish: Its a well-known fact that flying fish rest during the day (that’s why you don’t see them “flying”) so that they can entertain you at night. Its their way of keeping you alert and on your toes. (Those landing on Doris are actually those with suicidal tendencies.)
    4) The clothes pegs: Obviously the missing ones joint the missing socks. Find the missing socks and you find the pegs…
    5) The 10-minute danger zone: These waves work in close cooperation with the flying fish landing on Doris and fulfill the same function. Its a reminder: Hey! You are out here on my turf!
    6) The dolphin fish: The belly flop is just so much more fun!
    7) The sneezing: You are obviously allergic to the moth or the flying fish, and now the entire team has joined you in an unconscious sign of solidarity.
    8) The moth: Two options here: either the moth traveled with the UFOs, or the flying fish. I’ll put my money on the UFOs.
    9) The grab rails: The guy who sold it to you did not tell you that it was new technology that works in reverse order to what you are used to. In actual fact, he forgot to mention that they mostly sell it as washing lines…
    10) The choc chip bits: My best guess is that they joined the pegs. Find the pegs!
    11) The red gummy bear: This is the key to all your mysteries. Solve the mystery of The Red Gummy Bear and everything else will fall in place!

  3. James G says:

    2. The bright lights may be meteors (if they have a tail, see above) but could actually be “flares”, specifically Satellite flares, which are commonly Iridium flares (named after a particular series of satellites). When satellites adjust their solar panels (and other bits) in space, the sun can shine off these panels directly onto the Earth. So it’s kind of like someone moving a mirror in space and shining it in your eyes.
    3. The flying fish only land at night because they can’t see you (like the Irishman who flew to the Sun).
    6. Maybe the beautiful high arcing jumping mahi-mahi are just getting lucky…?
    9. The grab rails may be tight in the day because the whole boat has expanded, and slack at night because it has contracted again.

    Keep up the great work girls. It’s truly amazing to be able to follow your adventure from the UK.

    Em: would love to get in touch when you finally finish. It’s been too long!

  4. Jim Andrews says:

    My theory is, that flying fish, fly to escape predation. Predators are generally nocturnal, hence the increase in activity. The gummy bear, likewise, avoiding predation, not many hiding places on Dores and all the best spots have been taken by pegs. I’m afraid the other mysteries are out of my league. Stay safe. XX

  5. Matt says:

    It is fantastic how far you guys have gone and how well you are doing. It sounds like you are having an amazing experience. Keep going and stay safe from all of the Fieri team! x

  6. JG says:

    The moth possibly travelled as a passenger on floating debris. Do you come across much of that? Was getting a bit concerned about you guys. Bit of a wriggle on the dotline and then no blog on 12th. The next couple of days look quiter for you on the wind front and I see that your speed has picked up again. Keep safe, have fun.

  7. Antonia says:

    The red gummy bear is actually a submarine captain. Known as the Scarlet Teddy, he stalks the seas looking for his submarine, which disappeared during a storm of flying fish dropped by UFOs. Named ‘The Moth’, the submarine was shaped like a mahi mahi and was prone to leaping out of the water flapping its periscope. Fuelled by clothes pegs and chocolate chips, Scarlet Teddy is the scourge of rowers everywhere as he stows away on his endless searches, sleeping wet on the blue and white pillow and dreaming of a time when he and his beloved Moth are reunited.
    I hope this helps. Now I really MUST get some sleep. Thanks for the laughs girls. Antonia x

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