Leg 2, Day 7 – The A, B, C of waves…

Natalia Cohen By

Day 7 – The A, B, C of waves…

We’ve had a few days of big swell, high wind and plenty of soakings! Luckily it’s warm now and so we generally tend to dry fairly quickly. Most of the time we find the sessions hysterically funny but sometimes we don’t as this continual cycle of being wet agrivates the skin and can be quite uncomfortable. Night time is always a little more challenging, and I’m sorry to say that I have occasionally reverted back to wearing my full wet weather gear! Nevertheless, every day we ride the waves of life out here in Oceania and so today I thought I’d give you all a little more insight into exactly what type of waves we have to contend with out here, as they all have their own personality and outcome.

Due to the direction we need to be travelling in right now (ideally a COG (course over ground) of 180*), we are generally always beam (side) on to the waves.

The air dump – (sometimes known as the hair washer) this wave comes from the side, hits the side of the boat gathers some speed and height before dumping what feels like a large bathtub full of water down onto both rowers. This wave leaves a delightful salty crust on the body and hair (which takes a while to comb out).

The boat slap – a loud smack against the side of the boat that makes you jump if inside the cabin but offers only sound and luckily no splashage for the rowers.

The cry wolf – a huge wall of water that you see coming and are sure you’re going to get a soaking. It is normally accompanied by a rowers cry of ‘oh oh’, ‘watch out’ or ‘big wave’, but then Doris glides over the wave or it breaks under her and affords no or very limited splashage.

The selector – this is the wave that comes at you from the side and selects only one victim from the rowing positions. The wave usually completely soaks the chosen one and leaves the other bone dry!

The foot wash – this wave is one that breaks low over the side or front of the boat and completely covers the deck (and rower’s feet) with water.

The close breaker – this wave has a loud sound, travels at high speed and can be pretty scary at night. It breaks worryingly close to the boat and you’re sure it’s on top of you but is normally just inches away from the boat and its bark is worse than its bite.

The surprise – this is the wave you’ll never ever see coming. It appears from nowhere and catches you off guard every time. This wave normally soaks either one or both rowers and is always followed by a ‘where on earth did that come from???’

The invisible force field – the waves that look like they are climbing up an invisible wall at the side of the boat and then fall away without really splashing anyone.

The wipeout – possibly one of the worst ones. These waves swipe across the boat so forcefully that they knock you clean off your seat!

The big dipper – we love this one! On the rare moments that we can actually travel with the direction of the current, wind and waves, then we climb effortlessly up walls of water and excitedly surf down the other side (usually gathering a speed of at least 4 knts)

Last night and into the dawn shift we had a visitor grace our presence. Bertie the red-footed Booby was very happy hitching a ride, doing some pruning, catching some shut eye and pooping all over our solar panels! He watched the sunrise with LP and me before heading off for the day.

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  1. Sara says:

    Love the description of the waves, it did make me laugh Keep on rowing team
    Love to you al xxx

  2. Hang in their Natalia! Hopefully this storm will blow thru soon and you’ll get a better sea-state to row in. We miss you ladies here in Hawaii, and I miss your infectious smile! Stay safe and steady on!

  3. Jim Andrews says:

    The word splashage caused a bit of laughage I can tell you. Great post and glad to hear you are a bit warmer and dry. I would love to experience a day on Doris in the Pacific but what you are doing is way beyond my limits. Every new dawn sees your achievements greater and more awe inspiring. Keep smiling, rowing and stay safe. XX

  4. Ray Penhaul says:

    Always amazes me how you girls can write such interesting blogs when you are basically spending all your waking hours looking at the sea and sky and the odd booby(bird)!, makes you think about what we are missing or taking for granted, keep writing ladies.

  5. Julie pactor says:

    Beautifully explained Natalia. I’m in such awe of how you keep your spirits so high when the waves are crashing below you. You girls are amazing. I’m very proud of you!!!

  6. Simon TY says:

    Amazing post, brings it to life. How, how on earth do you type a blog when outside the cabin a boat slap/ air dump or roller coaster must be making it difficult not to roll across the cabin ( I know that is not feasible in a confined space, but you know what I mean) ? I can only type single fingered now. But you write reams, of perfect English, no typos, no LP gobbledigook. Of interesting stuff. Do you have an editorial committee to vet each blog, because if this is all spontaneous, it is remarkable, Nobel Literature While Rowing Prize. Do you spend four days planning the next topic ? What if one of the others had written about the waves yesterday ? Blast, think of another topic.

    Anyhow, was Bertie the first bird to land ? Thank goodness not an albatross, they are USELESS at landing and would have wiped out again and again.

    For LP, massive allegations of athletics doping all over the papers. IAAF secret data leaked to a paper showing ( apparent) massive doping with the IAAF ( allegedly) doing little about it.

    Is it just me or are you making amazing progress ? I llok at the dots, then zoom out to see if I can get you and Samoa on the same page, to see what it looks like from the Moon. And you have made a big dent in the distance already. Be careful or Lizzy will be back paddling to make the experience last longer.

    Hope u having a great day today XXXX

  7. Linda says:

    Loving every description and thinking of you all. Keep up the fantastic rowing and stay safe xxx

  8. Tara says:

    and through all of that you still manage to take a photo!!!

  9. Tanzania says:

    A-Mazing! Seriously! If I was on your boat, you’d have a few more issues than a wayward boob pooing on your solar panels. It takes such guts and determination to tackle such an ocean. Truly incredible. Keep up the spirits and keep your eyes on the waves! Playing The Doors, Roadhouse Blues for you this morning in arctic Melbourne!

  10. Barney says:

    Brilliant post. When wave theory is described in the future the experts will undoubtedly adopt those wave names.

    The “Air Dump” is my favourite!

  11. pete mewton says:

    Coping with waves was one of my biggest questions about your experiences. Thanks for the brilliant descriptions and graphic names. Felt like being there! Almost? Very impressed with your cheerful stoicism you giants of womanhood. Just keep going.

  12. I love reading these! Keep safe x

  13. Esther B says:

    And there was me thinking it was just water!! Great post, I don’t know how you think of it all! Keep going girls, you are amazing xxx

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