Leg 2, Day 91 – meanwhile, on dry land……

Isabel Burnham By

Today’s blog comes from dry land!  I can’t believe that it is nearly 100 days since I left Doris and the team in Hawaii.  I have been asked by the girls to blog to provide an update on what I’ve been up to since I got home at the end of July (and to give them a well earned day off blog writing!). 

Probably the most common question that I have been asked since I got home is: “is it difficult being back in the real world” or “did it take you long to adapt to being back in the real world?”.  The short answer is no.  I don’t want to disappoint anyone (some people seem to expect a very profound or philosophical answer!), but I came back to find that the real world is exactly as it was before I left!  I have been lucky enough to have had a really amazing experience, learnt some new things and met some great new people and I’ll take that forward with me, but I don’t see myself or the world any differently now.  It was lovely to see friends and family again after being away and to be able to thank people personally for all of their support, but after that I just slotted straight back in to everyday life.  I think a big reason for this is the fact that life out there on Doris is simply so far removed from everyday life that it really does feel like another planet.  The ‘bubble effect’ that we talk of is very real.  Now that I am back on dry land, it is still sometimes difficult for me to imagine what the girls are doing and feeling, which is strange since I spent so long out there with them myself!  I have emailed Doris a few times with that in mind, telling the girls to try their best, despite the frustrations and difficulties, to appreciate the incredibly unique situation that they are in, as once they are home it will seem like a faraway world.  Of course, we are all very different people and the other girls may find that they have a completely different experience on returning home, particularly Ems, Nat and Laura who will have been at sea for an incredible 9 months or more.
Now I am back on dry land, I am in a support team role and have the responsibilities that come with that.  We received a huge amount of help in the run up to the start line, but since coming home I have seen first hand how much time and effort is still being dedicated every day by our incredible support team of Tony, Keith, Ella, Alex, Kirsten and Meg (until she flies to Samoa on Thursday!).  We really can’t thank them enough for their hard work, generosity and enthusiasm.  There are also so many others to thanks of course, including our charities, sponsors, PR support Carver PR and Angle Studios, ambassadors, families, friends, supporters and followers.
Life as a Coxless Crew supporter is a busy one and I thought I would finish by summarising a few key events that the other members of our shore support team and I have been up to recently:

– Meg and I did a 24 hour “rowathon” at Discovery Park in Kent.  We rowed a 2 hour on, 2 hour off shift pattern to help Meg to prepare mentally for this routine when she joins the girls on Doris in Samoa.  The event was a chance to tell more people about the row and to raise money for our charities, as well as an opportunity for me to meet Meg’s extended family for the first time.  These guys are amazing – they should be available to rent out to cheer people on!  Thanks also to Discovery Park, Miles and Barr and New Level Results for their support.
24 hour row September 2015
-Meg, Ella and I were joined by a number of the team’s family and friends at The One Show, where Matt Baker and Alex Jones spoke to the girls live from the Pacific.
One show October 2015 One Show October 2015 families
– Meg, Kirsten and I attended the 2015 Women of the Year Lunch as representatives of the Coxless Crew team.  The lunch is an annual event held by the Women of the Year Foundation to celebrate women’s achievements and contribution to society.  We still have no idea who nominated us to attend, but we are very grateful that they did!  It was a wonderful occasion.  The room was packed with women who have achieved extraordinary things.  We heard some fascinating stories and felt very humbled to be there.
Women of the Year lunch 2015
– Meg and I met with the teams from Breast Cancer Care and Walking With The Wounded last week to talk about our ongoing fundraising effort.  Laura and Ems wrote blogs earlier this week explaining a bit more about why we are supporting these brilliant charities.  We are very lucky to have good relationships with both charities and we receive an amazing amount of support from them.  We have got to know everyone we are working with at BCC and WWTW well and they really do feel part of the team.  Tomorrow, I am going to join some of Walking With The Wounded’s injured service men and women to walk one day of their 1000 mile Walk of Britain challenge.  I can’t wait!  http://walkingwiththewounded.org.uk/walkofbritain2015/
– Preparation for Samoa has been full steam ahead!  With help from some of our incredible sponsors, Tony and the rest of us have been making sure that the girls will have everything that they need to resupply Doris in Samoa ready for the third and final leg to Australia. Our thanks goes to Victron, Crewsaver, Solbian, Peli Products, Azoprint, Revo, Jetboil, Fusion Audio, SOS Rehydrate and BeWell expedition foods (and many others).
UPDATE FROM THE GIRLS: Ems and Nats were in the cabin when they heard the cry of “turtle” from LP and LV on the oars. They rushed to the hatch door. “That’s a small turtle, maybe it’s a baby turtle, how cute” said Ems. “Wait a minute I think it might be a coconut” said LV. On closer inspection that is indeed what it turned out to be. T minus 4 days until the main thing left on board to eat is rehydrated beef curry. Samoa can’t come quickly enough!


  1. Simon TY says:

    Looks like a good day on the oars and well below 200 miles.

    Well done Izzy, keeping the flag flying !! Is it not obvious why you were at the Women of the Year Awards ?

    Now, you can answer one question. No one seems to have had a birthday onboard ? I cannot recall a single comment, no reference to singing, sharing a hoarded snack, the bumps. By some statistical anomaly are all yr birthdays between November and April ?

    Really hoping for a good few days and a smooth run into Samoa. Weather not been mentioned the last few days, but hope it has improved

    Xx S

  2. Anne says:

    Lovely blog, Izzy. We miss hearing from you.

    You have certainly been busy since your time back on land and have been incredibly supportive and I am sure we all want to thank you for this. I know you are a backbone for the team.

    Wishing the girls good speed and currents and winds and hope they have a great reception, as you all had in Hawaii.

    All the best to you xx

  3. Jim Andrews says:

    Great little catch up on life after Doris and insight into the unsung heroes keeping things rolling along. Thank you Izzy. 166 miles to go last time I looked at the chart, all thoughts now into this final push, or should I say, pull, into Samoa. I hope the food lasts and the conditions stay favourable. Stay safe. XX

  4. Nanny hills says:

    As part of Megs family, I think I can speak for us all, no we are not available for rent as a cheer group. Except of course for the Coxless crew. We will be up for that any time!!

  5. JG says:

    For me fundraising is the hardest thing to do – its just something I’m no good at. I therefore hold Isabel and Meg in very high esteem for all the work they are doing/have done to keep the Crew in the public eye. The media are all exercised about tax credits at the moment, now that the Chinese Premier has gone home, and it is hard to get their minds off it. National media is miles behind the locals. Less than 150 nms to Samoa at my last check. Nearly there Crew and a very well earned break to refresh everything. Keep safe.

  6. Allen says:

    Hi Ladies,
    It must still be very hard, knowing that you are so close to Samoa, but still having to battle your way there.
    Many thanks for all the inspirational Blogs. It is always a highlight of the day to find out what you have been up to on your little pink dot in the Ocean!
    I have been learning about Sport psychology again from British Canoeing. I tried to relate some of the concepts to life on board Doris and many of the problems that we have, seem insignificant when compared with the physical discomfort, tiredness and now near starvation that you are enduring.
    Enjoy your last few days at sea. It will be good to have you safe on dry land again.
    Many best wishes from Poole and Christchurch and all our Pink Ladies.

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