Leg 2, day 83 – Ups, downs and dancing

Natalia Cohen By

Day 83 – Ups, downs and dancing

Four significant events have happened in the last 24 hours.

1. We have now done a full food audit and have allocated equal numbers of all different types of freeze dried food to each of us. We have a good variety left apart from Oriental Chicken and Shepherds Pie as distressingly, they have been the first to go. The other options will last us for the next 10 days eating 2 meals a day. After that, never mind beef curry for breakfast, there will ONLY be beef curry left full stop!! This collection of 48 packets of curry will have to be eaten for the following 6 days, after which…there will be no more food.

As we had had an amazing previous 24 hours making great progress, spirits were high as we all busied ourselves working out how long we thought it would take us to Samoa, if we kept averaging the speed we were doing. 10 days was definitely a realistic prediction.

2. We decided to celebrate crossing the 400 nautical mile mark by rewarding ourselves with something a little different. We combined a 15 minute social and a belated Equator crossing celebration and used 4 songs (1 chosen by each of us) to play out on deck through the loud speakers. We then proceeded to…dance! This social idea was mine…as dancing has always been one of my passions and I thought it would be good to try something different. I had originally proposed an hour, but it was decided that after 3/6 months of no exercise except for rowing, that 15 minutes was probably going to be challenging enough. It was hysterical. 4 girls on a pink boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, shimmying our shoulders, shaking our hips and flailing our arms in the air in a way that we had not moved them in months. Safe to say that after the first song, let alone the fourth, we were all exhausted. It was worth it.

After our little dance, we all stood facing out to the almighty Pacific and ‘whooooo hoooooo’ed’ as loud as we could and then resumed our routine of eat, sleep, row, repeat. Just another day at the office.

3. As is the wonderful world of Murphy’s law (more about Doris’ law to come from Ems), late last night the wind and current changed. Once again our speed has dropped and it is difficult to hold a course. We’re never allowed to forget that everything constantly changes and that we’re going to be challenged every step of the way on this journey. We can’t help but feel a little frustrated but it serves us right as we clearly still have the lesson to learn:

‘Remember the impermanence of all things, don’t project into the future and stay focused on the moment’.

Beef curry for days on end may actually be a possibility…
Moral dipped slightly…then…

4. We had an unexpected encounter. Our first sign of human life in 82 days. A lovely 51ft sailing boat S/Y Windcutter glided into view a couple of miles away while LP and Ems were on the oars. We couldn’t see them on our chartplotter but decided to call them anyway to say hello.
I jumped on the radio.

‘Unidentified sailing vessel, unidentified sailing vessel, this is Doris, Doris, over’

S/Y Windcutter then proceeded to introduce herself. We chatted for a while and then told them to come and say hello…so they did. Craig and Carol have been travelling on their boat for the last 3 years exploring the islands. They have just come from Samoa where they said they had run into some bad weather (Yay!) and were now heading to Hawaii. They circled us a couple of times while we shouted at each other and everyone’s spirits lifted again momentarily regardless of the limited progress being made! Thank you Windcutter and thank you Oceania x





  1. Simon TY says:

    Sorry that an up and down 24 hrs. Always expecting the worse is the exact opposite of the spirit you have embodied for weeks. So, a slap down by the Pacific may have dented yr optimism.

    Glad that an encounter with a yacht came round. Must be amazing. Other human beings. And yet so fleeting.

    The thought of you four bopping boggles the mind…….glad it was not as a yacht sneaked up on you.

    On the map, Samoa looks so tantalisingly close. One last push to close it down and the last few days will be much easier. Keep yr focus on safety. Get Lizanne’s fish hooks out. We all pray for fine weather and a follwing wind.

    Xx S

  2. Jim Andrews says:

    Incredible report once again. So sorry that wind and current have turned against you, once again, but you know it is only temporary. The food situation is sounding dire. I don’t hold out much hope for any little fishes that jump into Doris. Great that you had some human company for a short time, it won’t be long before you have all the human company you can cope with. I envisage a day when the flashing cameras and thrusting microphones will have you wishing you were back on Doris, miles from the madding crowd. I hope the weather and current come to your rescue and hurry you on your way. Stay safe. XX

  3. JG says:

    Fingers crossed for favourable current and wind again for you and that rations last ’till Samoa. Maybe some serious consideration for the 3rd leg about supplementing the diet with fish would be in order. The Samoans could certainly help there with advice. Seems a pity not to be able to take advantage of the unlimited food supply that you are floating over. (Just me thinking aloud). You are doing so well. Keep safe

  4. Jez says:

    Your updates, are great they bring the true highs and lows of ocean rowing. Keep going you have loads of support. Is a bugger when the current and winds keep changing against you fingers crossed they change back soon.

  5. Barney says:

    How exciting to have met up with other human beings after 82 days. I bet they would have been pleased to have swapped some snacks for a beef curry or two! Pity you are not allowed to do that on an unsupported row.

    I noticed half of the stars and stripes in the photo and checked with Google to see what the international convention is for flying flags at sea. I understand that you are observing the courtesy rule of flying the flag of the country in whose waters you are rowing. You are also permitted, I have just read, to fly the flag of the nationality of any ‘visitor’ on board. So do you have the South African flag raised too?

    Was there a panic to remove laundry from the lifelines before S/Y Windcutter got close enough to identify brands?

  6. Simon TY says:

    Is the tracker not working ? Last update on Where is Doris is Day 81. Am hoping that the big number is a bit smaller after another two days ?

    Agree with JG, there must be an easy way of catching and then ( safely) preparing fish. Can u pickle them !! Or just sushi ( is that safe off any fresh fish ?) ? Or poach them ?

    Go, go, go

  7. JG says:

    Simon – Plotting the last dot position on Google earth shows around 340 nms to go to Apia. Approximately end of Oct I would say.

  8. pete mewrton says:

    Testing times girls but still with the lighter joyful moments to saver. Everyone envies your experience, just dont have your guts, so enjoy all of it , youll be back on dry dry arid unforgiving land for long enough. 400nm to Samoa? Thats the finishing staight! Get a sprint on ladies! Lol. Lots of luck. Full of admiration. FOA. X

  9. Georgina b says:

    What’s wrong with beef curry for brekkie?? Just like the student days !!

    Keep dancing girls! You are doing brilliantly! I think about you most days and you are always in my morning prayers and meditations! Xxxxx

    Love george

  10. Georgina b says:

    Ps Natalia today is the day in the film Back To The Future that they went into the future!! Could you ever have imagined all those years ago when we were watching that film in your living room that you would be rowing across the ocean on that day!?!! The future can be amazing can’t it!!? X

  11. Hayley says:

    You girls are all doing so amazingly! Whilst reading this report I was having a little chuckle to myself imagining your dance moves on Doris. What songs did you each pick?
    Make sure you don’t turn into beef curry lol (remember when every mum tells you that you’ll turn into something if you eat too much of it) I’m sure unlike carrots helping you see in the dark, the beef curry will give you the power to get to Samoa.
    God speed girls xx

  12. Catherine says:

    So glad you had company that doesn’t have fins or wings.

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