Leg 3, Day 64 – ‘Nearly’

Meg Dyos By

Day 64 – ‘Nearly’

Nearly, nearly, nearly. It’s a word that we have heard throughout this leg of the journey. From the moment we left Samoa, embarking on the 3rd leg of this adventure and we were ‘nearly’ there.

According to the kindle dictionary that we have on Doris, the word nearly is defined as ‘very close to; almost’. So I suppose in terms of the rest of the journey, leaving Samoa and from every day since then we have been nearer to Cairns than the day before. But now, when looking at our chart plotter, and being able to see Cairns on the same page as Doris, can quite easily fool the mind into thinking that we are close to arriving. Don’t get me wrong, in the scheme of things we are so close to Cairns, but it is the word ‘nearly’ that has got me thinking recently. I managed to speak to my sister, my boyfriend, and my best friend yesterday on the phone as for our 400 mile reward we gave ourselves 30 minutes of extra phone calls. At some point in the phone call each person said ‘you are so nearly there’ as words of encouragement. This word is clearly hugely subjective, and doesn’t have an objective measure other than that of comparisons. To explain, if we had embarked on a 500 mile journey, then the 350 mile mark would not be classed as ‘nearly there’ yet, as Ems said, we are over 94 percent of the way to Cairns, so of course we are ‘nearly there’. But how near is ‘nearly’? On Doris we all have different points when we feel that we will be able to say ‘nearly’. For Ems it’s that moment when we can see land, for Nat it’s when we row into the marina, whereas for LP it’s 50 miles and for me it’s the moment we can see Tony and Sarah Moshman in a boat that will escort us over the Great Barrier Reef.

So as the four of us row harder than we have rowed so far on this leg, we try and remain focused and take the word ‘nearly’ with a pinch of salt until we reach our own personal ‘nearly’. We still have at least another 7 days on Doris, equating to a minimum of another 84 hours on the oars. So to put it into perspective, with 350 miles still to cover, we have the equivalent of approximately 18 English channels to cross! On the oars last night I was discussing with LP the mantras and motivational words that we will be saying to ourselves over the next week, and power songs that we already have prepared in our performance enhancing strategies that Keith our sports psych made us prepare for the journey. Words such as focus, strong, dig deep, and keeping at the forefront of our minds ‘will it make the boat go faster?‘ as a question to decisions that we make, are all examples of ways that we will focus.

Our parents are all on their way to, or are in Australia already, with Nats and Ems’s already there, mine on a plane currently, and LP’s due to leave on Wednesday. It was only this week that I received an email from my mum saying that she now understood how much of a limbo I was in before I arrived in Samoa. Like the rest of the parents, having spent the past month tracking Doris and attempting to guess when they will be needed in Cairns, and then having rebooked their flights twice, and still not knowing whether or not the flight that they are currently on will be the right one to have chosen, all they have said is that they WILL be there for our arrival. With the delay of the row, both myself and Lizanne’s departure dates for leg 2 and then leg 3 of the journey were also delayed by up to 2 months. As a result, our lives rolled with the waves watching the pink dot addictively until we received the call from Tony saying that our flights had been booked. For Hawaii, Lizanne departed when the girls got to 250 miles. For Samoa, due to the epic 97 days in the doldrums of leg two, and the unpredictability of the girls arrival, I didn’t depart UK until they got to 100 miles!

I think that we would all agree that the support that we have constantly received from our parents throughout, has been one of the things that has got each person through, and I’m not sure that we will ever be able to thank them enough. It’s one thing a member of the team having to roll with the waves, waiting their turn to row, but it’s another, putting our parents through the same process as they all wait together, rolling over the rest of the coral sea and then the barrier reef with us waiting; waiting for our arrival. Here’s to hoping we don’t keep everybody waiting too long.

Update: Today I ate porridge for supper! Porridge! As our savoury options begin to lessen, and the sugar diet commences we are trudging along waiting for more direct Easterly winds and less current to carry us to Cairns one stroke at a time. Oceania are you hearing us bebbey, push us please!



  1. Antonia says:

    As soon as I read your blog today I thought of that wonderful poem, ‘the Golden Journey to Samarkand’ especially this section:

    We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
    Always a little further: it may be
    Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
    Across that angry or that glimmering sea,
    White on a throne or guarded in a cave
    There lives a prophet who can understand
    Why men were born: but surely we are brave,
    Who make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

    Your Samarkand is Australia, and you are the pilgrims, always a little further across that angry or that glimmering sea. But not much further! Some days which will be your last ever that you will spend this way- cherish them!

  2. Adrienne says:

    Laura, my Mum had a call from your Auntie Marie this morning telling her how thrilled she was to have spoken to you earlier. My sister Suzanne and I have followed your epic row and congratulate you all on a fantastic achievement. We wish you all a safe arrival in Cairns in the not too distant future where your families will be so thrilled to see you.

  3. Jim Andrews says:

    I think that whatever distance from Cairns you decide, is, “nearly there”, will be fine, for us spectators. The main thing is, “there” is getting ever closer. It feels like a lifetime ago, when I started following those little pink dots, in fact it was the week before my 63rd birthday. Now I am “nearly” 64! What a journey we have been on. You wonderful ladies providing the drama and effort. Pushing yourselves beyond, what is acceptable to the normal mortal. While I have been glued to my laptop, every day, trying to persuade Doris to go a little quicker.You ladies have become a little leaner (I assume). I meanwhile have got a little heavier, I was 14 Stone 8 pounds when you started Now I am “nearly” 15 Stone. ( I have been marched off to Slimming World to rectify this Syn). I first learned of your impending challenge when you appeared on the One Show, I have been riveted to your progress ever since. To me, 350 miles is a bloody long way to row a little boat. So nearly, is relative to what you have already achieved. I am excited for you all. It is time for that well earned rest and thoroughly deserved recognition, so back to the oars, I shall remain on the laptop and obsessively follow those pink dots for another few days. Stay safe. XX

  4. pete mewton says:

    Towards the end of any race, run, cycle or swim Ive done and no matter how much Ive hurt or struggled when Ive been “nearly there” the finish, Ive always found a little reserve of energy and belief enabling me to securely make it. I know your race is a billion x anything Ive done but am certain each of you will know when that is in your bodies and minds. My guess is you are probably ALL “Nearly There!” Love and respect. P.

  5. Allen says:

    Hi there ladies, Thank you for the “nearly” blog.

    Please can you let me know if you want any local press about your arrival?

    Doris was built in Christchurch and you have done some of your training there, so I can see that there would be some local interest, as well as the National Interest that your records will set.

    Best wishes for the last few ” nearly ” miles.


  6. Simon TY says:

    Nearly there, but the Where is Doris has not updated, so we have no mileage for today ( yr yesterday). Hoping it was another good one.

    David Bowie has died…….aged 69 of cancer


  7. Interesting to hear at which point each of you will believe you are ‘nearly’ there. Wherever that is we all know you are getting ever closer to Cairns and the end of your epic row.

    It was a great blog Meg but Jim’s input, often entertaining, tonight had us laughing out loud. Maybe hours on the rowing machine with no Oreos will be a quicker solution than Slimming World!

    Must be great to know that your families will all shortly be in Australia ready to meet you. Stay strong and keep safe. xxxx

  8. Barney says:

    Yes, spare a thought for the parents, I don’t suppose they have ever been through anticipation like this since their daughters were born. When will she arrive? Will I be in the right place at the right time? Leg 1 took 8 days for the last 350 nms, Leg 2 took 13 days. JB has warned of another Doldrums on the way in! A few days ago Tony predicted 18 – 22 Jan. Plenty of data but none of it consistent with the rest! I guess the only consolation is that the weather has to be better than at home, and no labour pains this time around!

  9. JG says:

    I apologise for having been one who said things like ‘nearly’ and ‘not far’.
    It is often used as encouragement to keep going and is perhaps a bit of a white lie.
    Anyway having followed you daily, and sometrimes multi times daily, since that day you appeared on the One Show in April last year I am obliged to you for opening up a whole new world for me.
    I have learned about how you set up the expedition and how you found your way in those first few weeks on Leg 1. I took the opportunity to learn about the Pacific, it’s fascinating war time history, it’s garbage problems, the weather patterns, El Nino, the equatorial counter current, para anchors, de-salinators, AIS, and so on.
    I have replied to your blogs endlessly and tried to be as different in them, in far less trying circumstances, as you were each time . I hope you did not find them tedious. I tried a few jokes but you probably didn’t need that!!
    The Talisker Whiskey race is in storm turmoil at the moment with some crews being blown back 15 nms and all but a few on para anchor. But it looks to pass by soon and the 4 girl crews all doing well, especially RLAG who have held 2nd place since the start.
    The web shows your own weather zone to be quieter with a wind following you into to Cairns at least until 25 Jan. Be a bit still around 20 Jan but genrally about 12 – 16 kph. I dont know if that is enough to help you through the currents but I hope so.
    Just checked the position at 13 0008 hrs and see that you have just 311 nms to go. By the time I get up in the morning you will have cracked 300.
    Take care and keep safe.

  10. Zenna says:

    Another cracking blog. Keep the faith and pace.
    I love following you, and will miss you popping up on my Facebook, when you go back to your normal lives . So I, very selfishly ,am looking forward to still having you all in my life for next little while. Good luck

  11. Mike S. says:

    You girls are gladiators & keep on blogging because I am the same as JG & have researched the pacific, wildlife, currents, el nino, the stars & lots of other blogging subjects. Wish you strength & Godspeed.

  12. Simon TY says:

    No blog yet this evening. Hope all is ok. The pink dot say 0.3kn so maybe headwinds 🙁

    My sister met Kylie yesterday. However, did not put 2 and 2 together and mention the crew.

    Nearly there. I have wondered about various aspects of yr return to civilisation ( if that is where all of us have been) and particularly the attention. Immediately families, friends, boyfriend, stories to tell ( ” did I tell you that or was it someone else ?”) hugs to give, tears to cry. Half of Cairns on the jetty, but the other half having no idea who you are, and not caring. On her plane back “where are you flying to. Have you been on holiday” ” No I’ve just bloody well rowed across the Pacific” or maybe lie, yes, just holiday, and enjoy another gin in yr own space without three people in yr face.

    Some will praise, some will cry, some will not care, some will dismiss. Some of you will want to talk of nothing else ( hey, guess what we just done) others will want to hide for a while, have some privacy, indulge yourselves.

    Some of us will ask stupid, banal questions. Some will offer platitudes ( gosh it must have been a long way). Some will crowd you. Some will appear to ignore you. Some criticise you. Some will want you to “talk me through it, day by day”, others will not get near comprehending what you have been through, or what you have done.

    And me. I just want to hug you all !!!!! That’s all.

    Hope you having a good day. Be safe, alert and watch each other’s backs

    Xx STY

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