Leg 3, Day 61 – Still rowing

Emma Mitchell By

Day 61 – Still rowing

Since leaving San Francisco in the early hours of the morning on 20th April 2015 and rowing out under the Golden Gate Bridge we have covered a huge 8115nm. With only 452nm to go until we reach Cairns and our final destination where we will step off Doris for the final time, we have completed over 94.7% of our journey. Now the challenge is to keep focused and stay safe as we navigate through and around some Cayes and reefs before approaching the Great Barrier Reef and finally Cairns.

Yesterday saw an invasion of our little blue bubble of Pacific by no less than 6 cargo ships. The first passed us during the night. The second came within a mile of us, approaching as Megs and I sat on the oars on the sunrise shift. As dawn broke the sound of the boat, which was an enclosed cargo ship and strongly resembled the kind of boat a child has in their bathtub, reached us across the still and silent ocean and the dark shadow came closer and closer. As he passed us he tooted his horn in greeting. During the afternoon and evening another three boats passed close to us. Having a chat to them over our VHF radio is great fun and the experience often makes our entire day. Megs and I spotted a final boat in our middle night shift, seeing its lights on our starboard side as it passed parallel to us. LP brought me some PG Tips teabags for a Christmas present and Megs and I have been enjoying a taste of home on the oars under the starry sky.


We have also been seeing more signs of life in the skies at night, spotting more than one plane on each of the last three nights. It is exciting after so long to feel like there are other people out here with us but it also feels like a little bit of an invasion of our personal space after feeling like we’ve had the ocean to ourselves for so long.

The way that the ocean shifts and changes so much still astounds me. After a few days of glassy silent water and burning heat the wind picked up steadily over last night and the waves returned. This is good news for us as this wind is blowing us towards Australia at an average speed of over 2kts and is set to stay for at least a few days. We are taking advantage of it while it is still here and pushing on hard towards our next waypoint which is just north of Observatory Cay about 80nm from our current position.



  1. All sounds very exciting……..lots more shipping, And lots more to come as you approach Australasia…..not far now before you reach your finishing line. Hope there will be some space left in the almighty pacific as you approach Cairns, but probably not……the whole of Australia may be there to greet you…..let’s hope so.

  2. Simon TY says:

    Observatory Cay seems to have a lighthouse. That will be an invasion of yr space !!!

  3. Your daily blogs are an inspiration. Read every day over morning coffee. Your physical and mental strength is inbelievable.

  4. JG says:

    Of all the adventures recent and taking place The Crew’s Pacific row must rank highest in terms of challenge and achievement and, very soon, success. Women feature prominently in all this.
    The Row Like a Girl 4-crew team in the Tallisker Whisky Atlantic challenge currently holding 2nd place out of 26 and 1/3rd to go. They’ve had good winds to date but there’s some unfriendly stuff looming. One girl overboard but luckily tied on and pulled back on board
    Tracy Curtis Taylor has just landed in Sydney after flying solo in a 73 year old Tiger Moth biplane from the UK.
    Sarah Outen reunited with her boat Happy Socks washed up on the Irish shore.
    As the father of two daughters and grandfather of three girls I am so pleased to see how many wonderful opportunities women are taking up now epitomised by you six as the best role models ever.
    Great to see the winds are blowing you along nicely. 41 miles covered at the last count and things becoming more interesting as you go.
    Take care and keep safe.

  5. Jim Andrews says:

    I think your days of being alone, out there, are drawing to a close. So glad to see the wind is on your side, at last. How are the rations holding out, has all that extra chocolate gone yet?
    Another 10 days at this rate, I imagine the excitement is rising, loved ones will have flights/ accommodation booked and Doris will be looking forward to a bottom scrub and a well deserved rest. You are six amazing people, who have created a fantastic memory for yourselves, your families, and me. It is a shame that your schedule over ran so much. I hope it doesn’t have too much affect on your lives. Enjoy what is left of this incredible adventure, above all, stay safe. XX

  6. Wow all of a sudden it’s as busy as a Pacific Piccadilly Circus out there by the sounds of it!!

    I’d be slightly concerned of a 30,000 tonne freighter getting anywhere close to Doris but I like the banter you build up with the Captains there, any love interests perhaps??

    Might be a silly question but with the intensness of the Sun how come you’ve avoided getting sunburnt as I think you’d need a helluva lot of sunscreen?

  7. holly says:

    As you are nearing the end of your epic, courageous journey, I can’t convey my feelings..I have watched your pink dots and read your blogs and feel I have gotten to know you (at least your Doris days). I conveyed in one of your earlier blogs about crossing our own Pacific’s my own with my daughter, who is addicted to heroin for some years now. Hard to watch someone you love more than anything die by inches. I realized today I am in my own Pacific bubble that no one else can really understand if they haven’t been there. I wish I had a beginning and ending point for my daughter..land ahoy! But, no. I have nothing but the utmost admiration for your grit, bravery, kindness, endurance, giving…I could go on and on. I tell everyone I know about you. I wish you safety in your final miles. Stay alert, get to Cairns safe, and celebrate! Can’t wait for the documentary. I feel honored to feel a small part of your journey. Know that you are among a very special part of history! XX OO.

    • Jim Andrews says:

      My heart goes out to you Holly. My philosophy has always been, “You can’t live other peoples lives for them”. When it is your own child, that phrase becomes obsolete, because we all want the best for our chidren. Good luck and stay strong. X

      • Holly says:

        Jim Andrews –

        Wow – you get it. So few do. Thank you beyond words for your kindness and understanding. After 5 years, I am not as strong as I was. Not sure what to do.

        Thank you so much. X

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