Leg 2, Day 47 – BAM wall & Fore cabin Hell

Natalia Cohen By

Day 47 – BAM wall & Fore cabin Hell

The heat increases and the sweat begins to glisten on our skin. The space is minimal. Grey pockets line the walls bursting with various things from medical kit to hygiene items and random stuff for the boat. The very tip of the cabin has a huge bag of spare sheepskin rammed into it and surrounding that we have carefully jammed our wet weather gear, sleeping bags and spare lifejacket. Up by the hatch entrance is our laptop (for downloading footage) and chargers and all of our personal items are up near where our heads are positioned. We are completely wedged into this tiny space next to each other and lying shoulder to shoulder gives extra unwanted body heat. The space is so limited, to the extent where you cannot sit up straight or even stretch out and fully straighten your legs without touching the stowed stuff.

We’re in the fore cabin.

As Ems mentioned yesterday, the wind picked up and when rowing we were travelling in an unfavourable North-Westly direction at a fast speed. To stop us moving backwards we had to put out the para anchor for the night and head into the cabins. Ems and I went into the fore cabin and LP and LV into the aft cabin.

You would think that an opportunity to chill in a cabin, not have to row and to get a longer block of sleep would be a wonderful thing, wouldn’t you? You would be wrong!

This is how it goes…

Having fallen into a polyphasic sleep pattern over the last 46 days, we are now used to a short nap of about 75 minutes, so anything longer causes confusion. It’s a fitful sleep during the 10 hours we remain in the cabin and the body doesn’t handle it very well. Apart from a wall fan circulating warm air, the atmosphere is stifling. Hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable. The body begins to stiffen. The hands ache, back seizes up, and the hamstrings cramp. When we want to change position then it works best to do so in tandem. Ems rolls onto her left side and so I do the same. We don’t really feel like we have slept at all and when we get up at 6.30am with the sunrise, in a pool of our own sweat, we feel as if we’ve been hit by a truck! A layer of film over my eyes makes everything blurry and I cannot move my body. Ems and I groan, look at each other and then laugh.

This is what we call ‘fore cabin hell’!

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So…this morning we lay unmoving staring up at the roof of the cabin in a daze. Hundreds of names stared back at us. My eyes slowly cleared and when I looked at the names, some familiar, others not, I smiled. The saving grace of the fore cabin is without a doubt the BAM (Buy a Mile) wall. This wall of names is what keeps us going. It’s what makes us push through the hard times and reminds us why we are doing this journey.

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These names give us strength, help us persevere, make us smile and encourage us to keep on rowing!
These names and the beautiful people that they connected to continue to inspire us and words can’t express how much we appreciate your company.

As Ems mentioned in her bucket list blog, not everyone will get a chance to row across the Pacific, but with your name on the BAM wall, you CAN.

This is the last opportunity for everyone to join our journey as the deadline for BAM names is fast approaching.

x ———–We would love you to travel every stroke of our journey with us———- x




  1. Jim Andrews says:

    Conditions described sound horrendous to us lesser mortals, I hope your progress picks up soon. Your blog inspired me to return to paypal and purchase yet another mile of your incredible journey, I hope others feel similarly inspired. Thoughts are with you, stay safe. XX

  2. Hi girls,another great piece,just left my mums at Pool and the last thing she asked was “how are the girls getting on”so I updated her on your progress, told her I saw Laura s auntie Mairi sitting in her conservatory yesterday,waved at me asI took the dogs for a walk up Carn Brea.For my lunch just had the best pate ever made by Laura s auntie Claire,it wasthe best , get her to make you some when you come back to Cornwall.Think of you all a lot, imagining what your life is like each day,
    Keep pulling girls,make us all so proud,cold and about to rain here in Cornwall,just a little bit of Cornwall life for Laura.read your blogs everyday and I ll tell mum I sent this she will be blown away.I know she would want me topass on herlove and best wishes to Laura and you all.
    Go girls not long now to Samoa.Rugby World cup starts soonBig Blachrock love to you all. Fiona Roberts.

  3. I can not imagine to be confined to that little space for 10 hours. I will be ceased up and not be able to come out again.
    Another phrase
    To feel GROGGY means to feel generally run down and unwell, often as a result of drinking too much. In 1740 Admiral Vernon, the commander in chief of the West Indies, replaced the neat rum which was then issued to all sailors twice daily, with a watered-down version. The Admiral was a well-known figure and had the nickname ‘Old Grog’ because of his trademark Grogam coat (a rough mixture of mohair and silk). Thomas Trotter, a sailor on board the Berwick, wrote the following passage in 1781:
    A mighty bowl on the deck he drew
    And filled it to the brink
    Such drank the Burford’s gallant crew
    And such the gods shall drink
    The sacred robe which Vernon wore
    Was drenched within the same
    And hence his virtues guard our shore
    And Grog drives its name
    According to The Guardian’s Notes & Queries, Series 1, the unhappy sailors of the fleet soon began calling the new watered-down ration ‘Grog’ and as a natural progression drunk sailors were considered ‘groggy’.
    I think it is right to say you felt groggy after that session in the cabin and your sleeping routine turned upside down.
    Keep on believing in yourselves and keep going. Keep safe. Love to you all. XXX
    Come on Simon . Where are you? You are the cornerstone of these comments.

  4. Babs says:

    Well you poor girls, I can’t imagine how unbearable your conditions are right now, but can only admire the strength and determination that you all have to have, to help you get through this. I shall never complain of a ‘hot flush’ again. It now looks like you must be back out on the oars, as the little pink boat shows 1.2nmiles ,fingers crossed the seas and wind are becoming more favourable. Keep strong, dig deep, and most of all stay safe, you have no idea how many lives you girls are touching.

  5. Robert says:

    Throw all your conventional wisdom out the porthole (you don’t have one?) the south east trades about 500nm west of you a feeding a massive low NW of Hawaii centered at 36.33° N, 177.10° W . Air from the southern hemisphere is being sucked into a low in the northern hemisphere. No ITCZ no doldrums ladies. You have Funafuti garbage dump 1424 nm from you on 242.65 (great circle) as an option (has international airport, coconuts & looks cool), or if your supply of Orios is up to it, Vanuatu is a mere 2238 nm on 241 non stop, or you could have a break, pick up an Orio food parcel at Funafuti …

  6. Simon TY says:

    OMG, Sarel, named and shamed. The depressing thing is that I am not sure what to add….to enthuse….to encourage….without sounding twee or patronising or just idiotic.It is difficult to comprehend. Izzy is the only one who “knows what it is like”.

    Love the comment on Grog, adds to my knowledge of trivia. One day, one pub quiz, will come in handy.

    By now, the girls must have been through the BAM wall names a hundred times. poor Lizanne must be on massive catch up……we know all about her/him already. Anyhow, Laura knows of G. Gs name is up there. Send a little near Equatorial prayer up for my darling G.


  7. Robert says:

    229 will take you just north of Fiji which is better than struggling to get to Samoa. I think you’d be better to free off a bit more on 242 to Funafuti then Vanuatu even though that will put you at the northern tip of New Caledonia. You have a “need for speed” our cyclone season starts in just over a couple of months but most of the early ones hit the north east coast. Get a couple of surfboat sweeps from Croker Oars delivered to your next rower swap stop & try rowing surfboat style:) Also change your watches to 8 hours to get some sleep. Your present sleep pattern is used by interrogators to brainwash their prisoners??? hello!

    • Robert says:

      North West coast of Australia gets the first cyclones (NOT NE) Example:
      “Laurence 2009 16&21 December 205 km/h (125 mph) 925 hPa”
      Whereas on the North East coast:
      “Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi began developing as a tropical low northwest of Fiji on 29th January and started tracking on a general westward track.”
      Is about the earliest your going to get.
      Also remember Australia uses a wimp category system, roughly subtract 2 categories to get equivalent to a hurricane or typhoon. Katrina was 3 when it hit New Orleans, Australians would have called it a 5! They’ll tell you they average the winds differently, whatever!

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