Leg 2, Day 31 – I can’t believe it…

Natalia Cohen By

Day 31 – I can’t believe it…

Just as Ems shared her dawning realisation yesterday about how she can’t believe how small we actually are out here, I thought I would share some of my own ‘I can’t believe it’ insights.
So…here goes:

I can’t believe that…

1. …I’m still intrigued by our 360° view

One of the most special things about this unique environment that we find ourselves in, is that we are constantly surrounded by 360° of ocean and sky. We see the sunrise over the water and then we see the sunset. We see the moon rise, the moon set and the stars and planets rise and fall. There is an ever changing cloudscape and plethora of colours reflected in the water as well as dramatic sea states coming and going to make each day feel different and it seems as though we are rowing through a world that few have been fortunate enough to have seen or discovered.
There is something magical about this view and to be honest, I think that of all the wonderful memories I will keep close to my heart…the 360° circle of impermanence and beauty will be one of them.

2. …although we’ve been rowing for 115 days, we’re still not even half way yet!

I don’t think I really thought about the amount of time we were going to spend completing the expedition and I certainly didn’t think it would take us as long as it has so far to do 2 legs. We could well end up being out here for over 8 months (that’s nearly a full pregnancy cycle, and one of my dear friends will actually be giving birth to twins before my return!)
This realisation is staggering (do you know how much rowing we have already done!!!) and we’re definitely looking forward to hitting that half way point soon and knowing that it’s downhill (so to speak) all the way from there on…

3. …we do everything needed in 4 hours

I’m amazed that we really only have a 4 hour window every day to do the bare necessities like eat, relax, wash our clothes and ourselves, read, write an email/blog, make calls, do routine boat checks, run the water maker etc. Only during these 2 two hour rest shifts are we awake during a 24 hour period and where we are not spending our time rowing. Most of us also manage to get a short nap to also fit into this ‘awake’ shift!

4. …how much attention we give to our bums!

Never in my 40 years of life have I spent so much time touching, rubbing and indeed talking about my bum. At the end of every 2 hour rowing shift, we rub talc over our bum area, and then after waking and before heading out onto the oars again, we rub sudocreme over our bums. We’re constantly checking our own bums and each other’s for ‘angry bum’, pressure and salt sores. Our seat bones are also discussed as the foam in the cushions we are using has become compressed from having someone constantly sitting on them. The bum is always a hot topic of conversation.

5. …that I can now count the almighty Pacific as one of my many homes.

Having spent the last 15 years moving home and country, I’ve always believed that you need to give somewhere at least 6 months before you can know if it’s a place you would like to live and it’s a place you can say was ‘home’ for a period of time. I will soon be able to add ’29ft rowing boat, Pacific Ocean’ to the list of random places I have lived including Cairo (Egypt), Nepal, Spain, Cuzco (Peru), Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Bangkok, Safari Lodge (Saadani National Park, Tanzania)

Keeping in the theme of the blog, Ems and I had a ridiculous rowing session this afternoon. The shift began with sunshine and blistering heat, draining us of all energy and inducing sweat to drip from every part of our bodies. We were fighting the varying equator currents but just managing to keep a course over ground of 160° when a squall came through and threw us completely off course. After our soaking the wind suddenly changed direction and literally sent the squall back towards us! We fought with the heading sending us East and then North and trying to at least find the heading that would take in these far from ideal directions the slowest, until about 4 minutes before the end of the shift. I can’t believe that everything then reverted back to how it was at the beginning of the shift as if nothing had ever happened just in time for LP and LV to take to the oars!! x

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*photo taken on a previous row shift that was not so much of a fight!!



  1. Robert says:

    “looking forward to hitting that half way point soon and knowing that it’s downhill (so to speak) all the way from there on” … Dream on Natalia, you’ve just rowed what should have been the easy bit, prepare for Hell!

  2. ALC says:

    If it were easy, we would all be doing the row!
    That is why you women are soooooo amazing!
    Keep going, keep safe. We are all rooting for you and wish you out of this quagmire into the blue.
    Much love to all of you. xx

  3. Danielle says:

    Absolutely loving reading your updates.
    I’m in absolute awe or should I say oar of you girls and beyond proud of you Natalia!!!
    Sending love, dertimination and strength to you all.

    Dan xxxx

  4. Danielle says:

    That will be determination!!

  5. Simon TY says:

    Looking at the clock, seems to have been a pretty tough 48 hrs or so. Hang on in there. I suspect you had all built up the half way point, and the Equator, as key mile stones, yet so close, the blooming Pacific is playing with you, testing your resolve. But we know you can do it, you know you can do it. You have already undertaken an endurance feat that must equal almost anything ever done. Let that be your strength.

    As an aside, that photo from yesterday. You need to patent the colour ” deep Pacific blue”. What an amazing, intense, deep, powerful colour. Bit like you guys, amazing, intense, deep, powerful.

    Keep yr spirits up ( what a stupid thing to say, but you know what I mean). You will get through this

    Xxx STY

  6. Jim Andrews says:

    It never seems to get any easier,I expect you knew that before you set off. I am so envious of the scenery you describe, it must almost be like you are the only people on the planet. Well done on your progress and the approach of halfway. As previously stated, your achievements so far, surpass most peoples lifetime achievements. If you stopped tomorrow you should be hailed as world (ocean) beating heroes, every one of you. To have maintained the sense of humour, focus and inner strength through these past 4 + months is nothing short of awesome. Keep it up, you are all fantastic. Stay safe. XX

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