Leg 3, Day 26 – Ode to the Flying Fish

Emma Mitchell By

Day 26 – Ode to the Flying Fish

I was on the oars with Izz one day,
When a flying fish came out to play.
While talking of cabbages and kings,
We watched as on its outstretched wings,
It soared like a dragon small and blue.
Further than we could imagine it flew.
That very first time I saw it fly,
Between San Fran and Hawaii under a bright blue sky,
We watched it with excitement and wonder,
Some more wildlife to name and ponder.
We saw them in shoals, fish big and small,
We’d point and gasp and to the others call.
The mahi mahi and birds were no match,
And only occasionally would the fish they catch.
As time went by they increased in number,
And started to disturb our peaceful slumber.
Nights on the oars we started to dread,
As flying fish hurtled towards our head.
Coming at us from the darkest night,
Streaking towards our navigation light.
The worst is hitting us in the face,
In their rush to escape from those who chase.
We needed the protection of our wet weather gear,
As fish scales on bare skin we began to fear.
Each one we rescued and returned to the sea,
But in the end between you and me,
Sadly we couldn’t save them all,
When so many on Doris’ deck did fall.
When the sun above the horizon began to peep,
Dead fish strewn all around in a heap.
The evidence of a night of carnage lay,
Cleaning of fish guts to start every day.
We left from Hawaii and to our delight,
No flying fish to disturb rowing at night.
We were doing so well but the tables have turned,
In the last few days the fish nightmare’s returned.
I’m terrified a fish will land in my hood,
I have to tell myself there’s no way that it could.
In and out of the hatch we go at great speed,
Scared the cabin light will require a fish to be freed.
Dead fish behind the oars and every small place,
Before they decompose its a hide and seek race.
Fortunately our trusty bbq tongs mean,
We can clear the decks and keep everything clean.
Despite the magic of their elegant flight,
They still have the power to give us a fright.
So there’s one thing that you all should know,
I won’t miss the flying fish at the end of this row.

UPDATE: We are still stuck in a northerly current but have been making slightly better progress over night despite the attack of the flying fish, and our top speed today has been 1.5kts. This morning the sun is shining and the seas are the calmest they’ve been in a long time so we are enjoying a peaceful time on the oars without the constant soakings we’ve become used to. I still haven’t re-found my happy place on the oars but on a day like this it is easy to stay in the moment watching the fluffy white clouds wander across the sky and enjoying the warmth of the sun on unsalted skin. We are still waiting for some wildlife to appear but the calmer conditions are set to last at least another day so we are keeping our eyes pealed for any movements in the water.



  1. Jim Andrews says:

    I love a good rhyme it passes the time,
    You can but acknowledge the writer,
    In her wish to express, the fishy distress
    That the flying fish pose the all nighter.

    That isn’t to say that you should dismay
    When Doris has her bilge full of fish,
    Don’t be in a hurry for another beef curry
    The night has offered an alternative dish.
    Stay safe. XX

  2. Robert says:

    You are at the Eastern edge of an East bound current that stretches 130nm West of you!
    Your only hope is to row South to escape the bad current and hit a favorable current according to OSCAR current chart.
    To escape a rip off a surf beach you swim at 90 degrees to it, you don’t try to swim back to the beach against the rip.

  3. JG says:

    The Para-anchor

    The anchor line is out
    She can’t turn about
    But rides throughout
    Until storm is out

    A brief respite
    In the long fight
    To keep a course tight
    And a bearing right

    Courage to the Crew
    For challenge is nothing new
    To the mighty few
    Rowing the deep Pacific blue

    Not easy writng rhyming stuff and the above is a mediocre effort. Your production Emma is brilliant particulalrly in view of the conditions that you worked at it in. Sorry the currents are so random. Are they a constant or do they change like the wind I wonder. Fingers crossed for a favouirable one. Keep safe

  4. Ray P says:

    Emma your a poet and you didn’t know that
    You’re a rower girl and you do know that
    What you are and didn’t know
    Your a girl that brings such strength to the row
    At the start of the row you were the quiet one
    And look at you now, you’ve got a sore bum
    I’ll stop trying to be a poet now otherwise I’ll get told off either by Laura, Babs or Emma’s Mum

    Keep pushing girls, it’s great for us at home that we can see where you are and Cairns on the same page. Hopefully you’ll be out of the current before long.

    I’ve suddenly realised that you’re turning your followers into poets albeit the others being a lot better than me, I think I’ll just resort to the Dog basket tale next time.

  5. Simon TY says:

    If we are doing poetry, we should probably have some Australian nursery rhymes ( or furry tiles as we call them). Which one do you want ?

    Chair Congeal ? ( went up the hill)
    Mary Header
    Girldie Larks
    Lilma Smarfit
    And my favourite:

    Wisperoo Des: Harsh, Harsh, Wisperoo Des

    These are all part of our Gloria Sarah Titch

    But do not laugh too loud, Meg is probably Sander’s Lape


  6. pete mewton says:

    Ode to a nightingale? Pah! Shelly, eat your heart out!
    Just as a wildflower
    Where its not wanted’s a weed
    It has its ineffable right to set seed.
    A flying fish in the face
    Ia a undoubted disgrace.
    But think on this oh coxless crew aces,
    Just who is invading whos’ spaces?
    with love and good humour.

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