Leg 2, Day 72 – Times they are a changin’

Lizanne Van Vuuren By

Day 72 – Times they are a changin’

After 71 days at sea, our existence on Doris is changing. It was never supposed to take this long and we still have quite a distance to go, so we are now entering into our provisions. This is where we adapt to bend and not break and show that resilience we’ve been talking about so much. On the boat it is often mentioned how we miss the things we took for granted back on land (like a non-crusty towel for example!) but as we start to run out of certain things it’s amazing to realise that even out here on the Pacific there have been things we took for granted.

We keep going on about our snack packs, but you need to understand how important they have been to our rowing lives. As well as offering a tiny element of surprise; “oooo what treats are in store for me today?!”, they also make life amidst the salt a little sweeter. They give us the quick boost we need when afternoons in the aft cabin drains our energy with high temperature and humidity, or when we need a little kick at night to stop us nodding off. Their main purpose however has been to increase our calorie intake; savoury snacks, oreos, jelly beans, gummy bears, dried fruit and nuts etc.
The idea was to consume 3000 – 4000 calories per day on the boat, split between breakfast, 1 or 2 main meals, a snack of noodles and tuna, a dessert and then a snack pack of about 1000 calories to make our intake a little more exciting.

As mentioned previously we have now run out of snack packs (mayday!!) but also of noodles, desserts, and we’re almost out of breakfasts. The thing we have plenty of though is main meals (unenthusiastic ‘yay’). So this means that since running out of all the good stuff we are having to adjust meal plans.

Breakfast: instead of having porridge, muesli or an all day breakfast we now have the choice between a protein bar or a main meal. Some might decide to have half a main meal and save the rest for night time

Lunch: a choice of vegetable pasta, beef curry (those two are my least favourite thanks to the sea sickness), oriental chicken (running dangerously low as its a firm favourite), shepherds pie, chicken tikka masala or chicken korma. To increase calorific value of our meals we will add olive oil to our (already greasy) delicious freeze dried meals.

Afternoon: packet of tuna or protein bar

Night time: after a night shift we will come in and make a quick meal. For our first night LP and I had shepherds pie. Nats and Ems took their meals out on the oars which was a little tricky to eat between strokes.

Additional treats: a cheeky spoon full of peanut or almond butter, our secret chocolate stash which will allow us one chocolate a day and a few fruit pots.

Toilet rolls….
Two weeks later and we are still on our last toilet roll. We have dug out the wet wipes and decided to, y’know, use a splash of water if we can.

The one good thing that has come from running out of stuff means that we are acquiring more space in the hatches. This means that we can clear out the Fore cabin of sheep skin and our broken water canisters to provide a little escape at night. Sensitive to everybody’s moods and needs we have decided to sleep separately for one (or more if wanted) of the sleep shifts. I wonder if this is going to be bliss or lonely after 2 months of sleeping head to toe.

Now comes the reason the morale on the boat is wavering; we have lost the use of one of our solar panels. Thankfully due to the efficieny of the remaining solar panels we are still able to charge our batteries but at a slower rate. . Since we have two batteries we have plenty of power and more than enough energy to fuel the boat. However, with slightly less charge capacity of our batteries we have decided to be more conservative with the use of our electrical components. The essentials to be used include running the water maker, charging our sat phone, iridium go (access to emails) and iPad (for comms).

This has meant a few other changes.
Temporarily we are unable to charge our iPods/personal equipment as these are our lowest priority…. so no music on the oars. Our deck speakers have also not been used in attempt to save energy. This has meant a significant increase in chatter, especially at night to keep us awake. LP and I being the gobbledygook culprits have started compiling a ‘night plan’ of conversational topics. When you thought you knew it all, you get to know your row buddy even better!
Nat is also singing a lot more. Usually 2 sentences of a song, in an extremely high pitch, repeated over and over….

We have also decided to be sparing with running the watermaker, so there is a hold off on clothes washing. There is still plenty water for us to drink and body wash with as this is one of our top priorities, and hopefully we should be back to normal washing clothes within a few days. I reckon the next change aboard Doris will be putting pegs on our noses.

With all these adjustments on the boat, this is where we draw on each other for our entertainment and energy boosters. In the changes we are experiencing right now, the team is stronger than ever. Being able to talk about our frustrations together somehow creates a new bond, then we leave it behind, make a joke about it and row on.

We have received an unbelievable amount of incredible and thoughtful emails over the past few weeks. From us all we would just like to say that you guys inspire us to keep going… It makes all the difference

UPDATE: we were supposed to celebrate with her in Samoa, but instead we called her from our pink boat….. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH MOSHMAN!! The gorgeous lady doing our documentary is another year older, wiser and ready to spend the coming year doing a lot of editing!

Love, Liz xx



  1. Jim Andrews says:

    Wow Lizanne are you still on Doris or Apollo 13? That all sounds rather grim. What is the plan if you lose power completely, can you navigate, continue? The upside is that you are a great team with a fantastic support team, I hope beyond hope that things improve, in that the solar panel comes back on line and your daily mileage gets back on track. The rations, though maybe not your favourites will at least hopefully, provide you with the energy to eat those final few hundred miles. Stay safe. XX

  2. Simon TY says:

    Been a walk in the park so far. Now you dig deep. It will bring you closer together. It is so inspiring that you can draw on each other. The tears, the tantrums, the shouts ( that must have happened ) will stay on the boat. And now you will share, sweat, pull, grind through the miles. Will bring out strength, patience, and kindness that you never knew you had.

    As you get tired ( more tired, if that is possible) be safe, be safe, be safe. Hope the panel comes back to life

    Thinking of you every days

    Xx S

  3. Oh my goodness! It must seem like one thing after another! However, this is where the real strength of character of you all will shine through. Keep supporting each other and singing those crazy tunes! So many people are really rooting for you – hope it helps from afar!

  4. Paul says:

    C’mon girls…wishing you on your merry way!! Oar-some job!! Guts, gyle and determination will see you through…and you have each by the bucketload!

  5. JG says:

    In times of stress or difficulty there is always a need for review, adjustment, tightening of the belts and compromise. You seem to have hit the nail on the head with the changes you have made and I pray that your power lasts until you can get it fixed in Samoa. Your confidence in dealing with these adversities, as seen through your individual blogposts, is growing and clearly there is nothing you can’t handle. Mileage coming off again nicely. If it’s any comfort for you JB is feeling exactly the same pressures but I guess it is harder for him being on his own. Would you consider, as part of maintaining the interest and enthusiasm, a single rower for a limited period to give everyone a chance of 6 hours off with four hours sleep ? Might help to stave off any staleness that might be creeping in? Just a thought. Keep safe

  6. Glad to see you trucking on again. What an amazingly hard time you have been having.
    Best of luck.
    Rossiter Rowing Boats

  7. Barney says:

    As the drama builds, Sarah is rubbing her hands in glee, the film is shaping up nicely! Start choosing your actresses to play your parts in the blockbuster!

  8. Beryl Pocock says:

    Lizanne having met you when you were only thirteen–I just want to say you have grown into a very remarkable and awe inspiring young woman take care and try to keep smiling on your amazing journey sending you hugs and lots of love xxx

  9. C says:

    I can’t wait to see how this trip goes!

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