Leg 2, Day 93 – Lightening never strikes in the same place twice

Lizanne Van Vuuren By

Day 93 – Lightening never strikes in the same place twice

The proverb goes that an unusual event is unlikely to ever happen again in exactly the same circumstances or to the same person. Who knows what the future holds, but for starters I think I’ll stick to land based challenges from now on. As I sit writing this blog I know that this row, alongside these five women essentially gives us our own individual strike of lightening. Each leg of the journey will be different and so Izzy and Meg’s experience will be incomparable to mine, but together we build different pieces of the puzzle completing Nats, Ems and Laura’s full journey.

Even though we were all brought together by the row, I’m sure we will remain part of each other’s lives far beyond our destination. We are a strong team and have endured many stresses together; winds, waves, currents, torrential rain, muscle sprains, tears, heartache, back ache, sleeplessness; and that doesn’t even include the arduous years some had to endure to get Doris to the start line.

As my time left on the Pacific diminishes by the day, the thing that I will miss far beyond the wildlife and amazing night sky or sunrises is the unity we’ve developed within the team. Being in each others faces and spaces for so long brings rise to an unspoken language formed, where you can talk with a gesture and where our female intuition is at its sharpest. If ever I wanted to make lightening strike twice, it would only be with these three.

Everyone needs an ‘Emma’ in their lives. She is kind hearted, generous and will put her heart into everything she does. Our team is built on her strong foundation, the rock; solid, firm, powerful and resilient. Without her none of us would know how to row, and we probably would have washed up on the shores of Christmas Island long ago. Her gadget fingers will fix anything before you’ve even noticed that it’s broken or squeaks. She has been a pillar of strength throughout this row and her stories will keep you captivated, intrigued and surprised at the crazy things she’s done in her life. It’s a testament to the gutsy way she leads her life…. And that smile! It creeps up her face and into her eyes. Without Ems we would sink.

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Nat is quite simply, glitter! She is what makes the group sparkle. She’s the fairy dust in Peter Pan that lifts everyone up and makes them fly, captivating you into her own magical Neverland where people just laugh, become philosophical and eat mandarin fruit pots. Nat will always ensure to “bring you back to the moment” and will make sure that you are thankful for the amazing sunrise you are experiencing at that moment. She has a beautiful demeanour who sees the funny side of everything. Without Nat the boat would be sparkle-less and dull.

What is the girl version of a ‘Bromance?’
Laura and I have discovered that we have countless similarities. There is a constant chatter about our shared interests; triathlons, work, music, family, friends and food. At the moment food is our main topic of discussion, reeling off recipes as we present what is on ‘today’s menu’. She is diligent, hard working, open and funny. If she was a man I might marry her. She’s the powerhouse of the project, a great leader and the centre of it all. Without LP none of us would be here.

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It amazes me every day that after 93 days of eating, sleeping, talking, rowing, living in such close proximity to each other we’ve not wanted to chuck each other overboard. In fact quite the opposite; it has bonded us far beyond what I had imagined.

We are currently united in complaining about our bums hurting in the sitting position, ie rowing! We’ve not done too badly if this is the first signs of deterioration after 90 days!



  1. Andy says:

    Praying for favourable wind, currents, the mental and physical strength etc to get you to Samoa quickly so that you might get the rest you deserve; the problem is that means we lose you Liz.
    I am sure the other girls are in a better position to describe what an asset you are to the team, so I just want to simply say thank you.
    Your life has probably changed because of this journey, but think also upon the journey to new life you are giving to so many because of the fundraising of your heroic efforts.
    God bless,
    Andy x

  2. Simon TY says:

    Sounds like polygamy to me: you could marry the lot of them !!! An amazing, warm, sensitive, perceptive blog.

    I hope in years to come you ( and yr grandchildren) read the tributes and glow with pride ( and embarrassment).

    90 miles. Come on Samoa. I know nothing about Samoa ? How tall is it ? Next question, when do you see it on the horizon ?


  3. Jim Andrews says:

    That was a beautifully written tribute and update. How wonderful to have that attitude and love of your friends. What you ladies are going through is beyond our comprehension other than the bits you share with your devoted followers. I hope and believe that in 40 or 50 years, you will all be best of friends and will regularly recount that fantastic journey, way back in 2015. Stay safe. XX

  4. Jules says:

    So proud of you and that was so beautifully expressed. Lizanne, can’t wait to see you again soon. Your writing makes us feel like we are with you on this journey with you, giving us a unique perspective on what toy are going through. Your tributes to the girls are beautiful. They are lucky to have you onboard. I’d choose to have you on my team if i ever had to endure a challenge like this. Keep going. You are so close now. Love to you all and keep those bums treated. You are almost there. enjoy these last few moments. Xxxx

  5. Simon TY says:

    I have tried answering my own question. My google says the distance you can see is 3.57*(square root of height in meters).

    I see the highest point on Samoa is 1858m. So square root of that is 43, multiplied by 3.57 is 154 kilometres or 95 miles….

    And standing on Doris gives a point c 2m above the sea level, adding another 3km

    So, someone correct me ? With the right telescope, Doris could be seen from Mt Silisili ( great name) and vice versa ?

  6. Babs says:

    Well Lizanne, what a lovely tribute to all the girls, we are going to miss your blogs, but as you replaced an amazing team member in Izzy, so will Meg replace you, who has been equally as stoic. ALL 6 of you are so special , and as one of the Mum’s will always be so grateful to have met you all ( and all of your wonderful parents) and hope to have in our lives in the future. Wishing you a speedy last few miles to Samoa, and well earned rest. Stay safe xx

  7. Peter W says:

    A lovely read Izzy – Lightning comes under the Physics syllabus, so a real inspiration for me to keep reading your blog as I prepare lessons for the next generation. I will always be able to share with my new students that a young lady I used to pass in corridors, with a happy smile, and whose brothers I taught, went on to be in the first ladies crew to row across the Pacific. “What will you do?” Keep a sharp look out.

  8. Grant Ross says:

    OOOOOOHHHHH… Couldn’t have happened to a better mate:) Proud of you dooooots;)

  9. Less than 100 miles to Samoa.
    You have done Doris proud!
    Our very best wishes.

  10. Great blog and tribute to your fellow rowers Lizanne. Less than a hundred miles! Great news for you all. Soon have firm ground, choice of food and hopefully some rest. Expect Doris will be glad of a break too!
    Stay safe. xx

  11. Carrey says:

    Totally inspiring xxx

  12. JG says:

    Dear Lizanne – I will miss your blogposts. I’ll bet that you are the perpetual ray of sunshine on that boat. Sparky and bright. Reminds me of the yellow drosanthemum flowers of the Great Karoo – a splash of vivid colour. You will be missed as was Isabel and soon it will be Megs turn. Take care young lady and keep safe.

  13. pete mewton says:

    Thanks to all of you for your uplifting, life- affirming blogs.
    Going to be the book of the decade!

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