Leg 3, Day 74 – Space

Meg Dyos By

As I have just put the phone down to some of my best friends Chanelle and Richard in Melbourne who are flying out to Cairns for our arrival over the weekend whenever that maybe, I find myself in the aft cabin. We spend fifty percent of our time on Doris in this cabin, and today I lie here hoping with all of my toes and fingers crossed that we arrive before they leave on Sunday.

I also lie here thinking of the space that I have shared with these girls for 74 days, and that they have shared for 255 days. I think of what it will feel like to have my own space again, and how I will feel about being able to stand up without holding onto and being attached to something, how it will feel to chew a main meal, to stand up and shower, to drink out of something other than a squirty bottle. I can’t even imagine what it will feel like to feel cold on a winters day, to not have to wipe the sweat off of my body, and to sit on a toilet seat. To not be able to see a 360 degree horizon, to not have to watch a wave heading towards you in slow motion, knowing that at any moment it will splash you. To not have to constantly cake your bum cheeks in sudocreme, and to not have to hold our faces in a position on the oars where we are shaded by our caps. What will it feel like to be able to stand up whenever we want to, and to not laugh at someone else’s or your own discomfort, knowing that if you don’t you might cry, and to not know that 6 hours sleep is the absolute maximum amount of sleep you will achieve in a 24 hour period – also to know that that will be broken up into 4 separate 1.5 hour naps. What will it feel like to walk more than 4 steps at any one time and in any direction, to never row again, and to not be bobbing up and down in the Pacific Ocean?!

So today I thought I’d focus on the ins and outs of the aft cabin. The aft cabin, the size of a two man tent is our lounge, our kitchen, our bedroom, our dining room, our cloak room and our office. I recall on day 40, speaking to my friend Rose, and screaming down the phone to her that I was ‘ON MY OWN IN THE CABIN’. LP had gone into the fore cabin to stretch out, and after 40 days I couldn’t believe how big the aft cabin suddenly felt. However, to put it into perspective, a sleeping shift involves two people top and tailing. The person with their head at the tail end of the aft cabin under the port hatch has the option to lie on their side, or alternatively lie on their back or front, but with no space for arms to the side of the body they must then be put above the head. The other person lies with their head by the door, metres from the bin in the footwell. At night this also becomes the end that is the cloakroom for our often wet, wet weather gear. At this end of the cabin the person has the option to lie on their back with arms to the side, or alternatively lie on their side. However if they decide to lie on their back, it must be noted that their legs will need to remain crossed, due to space issues. I also recall speaking to my sister on another occasion, explaining to her that my feet were more than a foot away from each other in the aft cabin due to Ems being in the fore cabin. Her confusion of why I was excited at this, says it all. These are just two examples of how small the aft cabin actually is, and what it begs me to question is how we have done it!

The answer I suppose, is patience and good manners! You’ll often hear from on the oars when the pair inside are getting ready to changeover, ‘would you’, ‘could you’, ‘would you mind’, ‘when you get a second’, ‘I’d be really grateful if you could,’ ‘would it be possible’ – the list goes on! Other than using the bucket, everything on Doris is a two man job in one way or another. Whether it is the constant conveyor belt of passing items to each other from one end of the boat to the other, to rowing in time with each other, to sharing the space of the aft cabin, it requires a team mentality and really there is no space for just thinking of yourself on Doris.

So, yes I’m excited about being able to lie in a bed in a star fish position under a duvet without having to worry about touching the person next to me, but at the same time, it’s the best thing in the world sharing every moment with someone, and the moment we step off of Doris, I know that it is quite unlikely that I will ever share a space as small as this with anyone else. So, on what looks like my last time, lying under the port hatch writing a blog from the Pacific Ocean, I thank you for reading, and following us in our journey across this almighty ocean, and I look forward to writing more from land!

Update: Minutes after hearing Nat tell me how when she was young she would sit in the garden with breadcrumbs thinking that she was Snow White and that animals would come to her, the Boobie attack commenced. ‘Incoming, incoming’ I shouted, as again for the 15th time, the red footed Boobie headed straight for us, attempting to land above our heads. It landed on Nats oars, my oars, balanced on the grab rail, came inchingly close to landing on my bare legs with its sharp claws, and then after over twenty attempts it found the aft cabin roof! We have also had another Galapagos shark follow Doris over the past few days. We have named him Oscar, and believe it or not, despite my fear of these creatures, I’m actually quite a fan of this small guy!

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12 Comments

  1. Lots of retweets on Twitter today saw a surge on followers, nearly 4000 now. Keep going strong, nearly there and I’m sure it will be a fabulous welcome for your awesome achievements.

  2. Jim Andrews says:

    Fabulous Meg. I am astounded that after 250 odd blogs, and probably a day away from finishing your adventure. You bring a brand new perception to our image of life on board Doris. It has been said many times that life will be very different post this journey. You will enjoy your home comforts and little luxuries when you get back to normality but I truly believe that every one of you will at times, yearn for those sunsets, giggles, boobies and sharks. You will miss Doris! You really must jointly, or individually write a book, imagine the revenue for the charities. The blogs alone, are going to be a couple of hundred pages? Progress has slowed somewhat? Is that down to weather and tide, or are you relishing those last few miles together? You got a mention by Alex Jones on the BBC One Show this evening, stating you are just a few hours from completing your epic adventure. She turned to her Co presenter Richard Osman and said “I don’t know how they did it, he replied, I think they rowed! 🙂 Stay safe XX

  3. I remember experiencing the size of the cabin when we saw Doris at the boat show. I couldn’t imagine trying to survive in a space so small…..and at that point there was no equipment in it, I was on my own in there and it was open to the air conditioning from the show hall. True admiration for surviving in such a small space and still being on speaking terms. Always space for politeness and manners and even more important in such a small space! You have so many everyday spaces, situations, tasks and activities that we all take for granted to rediscover! Stay safe! Looking forward to the pictures of jubilation when you are stood on terra firma xx

  4. Brilliant posting Meg, your description really gives us an insight into life on board, just how cramped the conditions are must be difficult, but just how many things to balance at the same time too 🙂

    Your journey is reaching its culmination, but it will be missed, but keep driving hard on those oars!!!

  5. helen says:

    Nearly there. Can’t believe it is nearly over. Having been hearing about the row from the very beginning from Laura’s dad, which seems like ages ago, and following you everyday it is going to seem strange not to hear about you fantastic girls in your little pink boat rowing. I now it has taken a bit longer than expected but what an achievement!!!!! Just keep going the end is very very near.

  6. Johnnie says:

    Inching ever nearer I can’t imagine the jumble of emotions. I too remember looking inside Doris at Rossiters soon after your first adventure down the harbour. We sat in the cabin for a few minutes as you showed me the various gadgets and storage spaces. so small! What a journey – amazing. We are now in Sydney so rather than get in the way in Cairns if you need a bed here contact STY for our details. Will be thinking and admiring all of you this weekend.

    • Simon TY says:

      Lloyd, you might be needed up there. All the parents are on flights that leave about yesterday……and will all be under time pressure. I assume there will be one hundred and one logistical things to do….., packing up, getting rid of things, media, ( a few days off) and above all getting Doris somewhere safe before she is shipped back. Probably another pair of hands would be very welcome on about day 3 or 4. Or volunteer to get Doris to where she will be shipped from…..few container ships out of Cairns.

      Hope you all well. Lots of love to Kate and the, no longer, brats. Yr goddaughter is getting confirmed on Sunday 7th. I assume you had not forgotten ?????!!!!!!!

  7. We were introduced to Doris in Redruth School’s carpark early last spring. Laura’s enthusiasm was infectious and, even though Doris looked very tiny, we were carried away and knew that focus and determination would make this row a success. Gosh, these ladies have worked hard, firstly to get the journey underway and then to cope with everything the Mightly Pacific has thrown at them. We all wish praise and congratulations come their way in abundance but I also think that they should be up for the Nobel Peace Prize! Four headstrong women in a 29 foot boat for 9 months without anyone being lobbed overboard could teach the rest of the world how to act when the going gets tough. Well done ladies, we are full of admiration for you all. Stay safe. xxxxxxx

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