Leg 2, Day 71 – Hugs

Natalia Cohen By

Day 71 -Hugs

What’s given and received at the same time, costs nothing yet is priceless?
Can lift you up when you’re feeling down and give you strength and support. What can connect people in a special way and speak a language that can be felt not heard?

Hugs are one of my favourite things.

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Ask anyone that knows me, and they will confirm that I am one of the worlds biggest huggers. I don’t really do the reserved British handshake and although I’m happy to partake in some European cheek kissing, I’ll generally go straight in for the hug.

This was one of the first things the girls found out about me. On our initial meeting, I grabbed each of them for a hug. In fact during the whole expedition they have witnessed me hugging everyone from business professionals and charity partners to strangers passing by Doris on an event we’ve done and Kylie Minogue!

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You can tell so much about a person from their hug and I truly believe that hugs are one of the best ways to be there for someone without having to say a word. Not everyone is a hug lover as they feel as if they are having their personal space invaded, and there are obviously certain situations where a hug is not recommended, but generally speaking I like to think that everyone will come round to the amazingness of hugs at some point.

The last couple of weeks has brought some challenging, difficult and frustrating circumstances for all of us here on the boat, but the one wonderful positive to come from the disappointment has been hugging! There has been a lot of hugs being given and received on Doris and as well as all the healing powers they contain, they have also been a surprisingly more stable position to be in! It seems as though two people locked in an embrace on an unstable boat is a more solid and balanced way to stand or sit. As we lean against each other literally, symbolically we also know that we are here for each other without question when needed.

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Apart from me in my hugging element…
Ems and I had a wonderfully refreshing sunset shift in the literal sense.
We had wave after wave of rain shower pass over us. Relentless for the whole 2 hour shift but great at the same time. The ocean looked magical in between the rain with a smooth molten and silvery surface. Huge droplets danced across the water and their feel tickled our skin. I suggested that we could save some time by washing whilst rowing! Ems grabbed the soap and proceeded to lather up. A couple of minutes later the rain suddenly stopped, I heard muttering and when I turned around, Ems was sat there covered in thick soap suds in utter disbelief that the rain had stopped. I laughed so loud and without restraint, it was amazing.
There is one thing that I love as much as hugs….and that is laughter x



  1. Andy says:

    What timing!! Feeling a bit low today and though the best I could hope for would be a virtual hug your blog lifted me.
    My late wife was a great hugger.
    Thank you x

  2. Jim Andrews says:

    What a lovely lighthearted blog Natalia. I too am a huge hug fan, though being a blokey bloke, one has to be very careful, so I tend to wait to be hugged rather than wading straight in there. I steer clear of the hand shake as it is still the power struggle of many males to try and break your fingers (I have never understood that!). The European kissey thing, though pleasant, can be embarrassing if you get the right and left mixed up on the initial plunge, as you can both end up looking like rampant pigeons or worse. I was so glad to sense a rise in morale in your post and hope that the road to Samoa will get much smoother. Many more hugs and much laughter (Laughter cures all ills) for you all. Stay safe. XX

  3. Danielle says:

    I can vouch for the hugs Nat!
    Do you remember how we used to “slot” when we hugged? We used to see each other then shout “SLOOOOOOT” then have a massive hug!
    Can’t wait to slot when you’re on dry land!!

    Love Dan xxx

  4. Robert says:

    Average speeds for John Beeden and CoxlessCrew over last 20 days:
    John Beeden 1.55 knots
    CoxlessCrew 1.06 knots
    CoxlessCrew’s boat is about the same weight as John’s but longer so has a higher potential waterline length speed.
    CoxlessCrew’s boat has 4 rowers on board, John’s only has 1.
    John is managing to row nearly 1/2 a knot faster in spite of the fact he has to take time off to sleep!!!
    So Coxless crew ROW 1 AT A TIME like John.
    With 4 of you you can row 6 hour watches and each have 18 hours off watch!!!
    If any of you feel like joining the solo rower in your 18 hours off go for it!!!
    Sounds like a plan:):):)

  5. Wise words Natalia – one hug can replace a thousand words and say it all. You are four strong amazing women, inspiring many. Today I move house, challenging and stressful but insignificant to what you are doing. Good luck.

  6. Simon TY says:

    Robert, I am not sure what your game is ? The girls have a plan, a carefully worked out plan, as I said a few days ago. They have taken advice, listened to the best, decided their current rota is best. Do not rock the non proverbial boat.

    And of course they are frustrated by their speed. They would do anything to change that. They pull their bloody hardest fighting currents and winds. Pointing out that John is going faster will hardly be great for morale, actively undermining them. Leave it.

    The whole Doris community has been sending hugs, big virtual hugs. Get with the programme.

  7. Simon TY says:

    Robert, I see that John went backwards four consecutive days, 3,4,5,6 Oct, whereas the girls managed to hold their ground for all but two. Your statistics are misleading. Since the 30 Sept he is but 5 miles closer to his target, over a week.

    My God, I am not having a dig at John, mad, courageous, lunatic ( like the girls) and I send him enormous man hug as well. I wish him all speed, all safety, all strength.

    So, let us pull together. There are 1000s of us pulling in the same direction. No mutineers please. It makes me cross

    • JG says:

      Well said Simon. You are more diplomatic than I which is why I haven’t responded on the subject. I hate negativity and always try to be encouraging on here.

  8. Eleanor says:

    This could only be a Natalia Blog!!! I completely agree with you hon! Hug, hug, hug away… sending love and plenty of hugs from dry land! Love El xxx

  9. Can’t get the picture of Ems covered in soap suds out of our heads. Certainly made us laugh. Agree about hugs so sending big hugs to you all. Keep hugging, keep laughing, stay safe. xxxx

  10. nicnac says:

    Love this. Sending you a massive massive hug! It reminded me of Davin wondering what the deal is with all the hugging on Sea Dragon. And we sort of converted him. Hug away…hug you soon x

  11. JC says:

    I’ve been following you all the way and am sending you the Aberdeen equivalent of a hug ………. a BOSIE, pronounced bow (like a bow tie) zee. enjoy all the cyber bosies and keep going, you can do it.

  12. Sarah says:

    I can’t wait to give you all huge hugs when you’re back in the UK! We’re all so proud of you all and really inspired by your determination, grit and positivity. x

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