Leg 3, Day 8 – Doris our baby

Laura Penhaul By

Day 8 – Doris our baby

I’ve heard many people say, that when they return from a long trip away, they don’t feel like anything has changed. I already find this hard to believe as I know of plenty of things that have changed in my life since I have left. Firstly, my brother has recently accomplished his own #mypacific after having designed and built a house for his family, all whilst still working full time at McLaren F1 & being a great dad to my niece who is now 3. When I left the UK the roof was on but it was still just a shell of bricks, they are now all moved in and I can’t wait to see the finished project when I get back.

I’ve had 3 friends get married, 2 engaged and 4 who are expecting their first or second child. 3 of these friends would have fallen pregnant since I left in April and have had the baby before I return. To think I left one of my best friends Heather as a newly wed and when I get back, she’ll be in their new home, with a puppy (which will most probably be a fully fledged dog by then!), plus a baby! I don’t think my mind will be able to compute having not seen the bump. My sister in law too is expecting their second but thankfully she’s not due until my birthday in April, so that is one date I hope I can be sure to be home for!

I’ve always enjoyed supporting those of my friends through pregnancy, just fascinated to see how the human body can create life and how it adapts and changes to keep mother and baby healthy. It seems strange not being there for them during this time, however I have come to think of some ways in which maybe Doris has become our baby and she’s giving us a little insight into what my friends are going through….

9 months: It is looking likely that our Doris will be due in January after 9 months at sea. Now the first 2 arrivals were late but the experts tell us we should prepare for a premature arrival depending on conditions.

Morning sickness: At the start of each leg, there has been at least one of us who has been sea sick and for more than 10 days. You still have to function and crack on but it does make you realise how distracting and uncomfortable that would be when you’re working a full time job, you’ve got the elder child hanging off you and demanding your full attention and above all you can’t talk or moan about it until the 12 week scan.

Puffy ankles: Having not been on solid ground or walked for nearly 100 days, by lunchtime my ankles & feet are like frodo feet and the size of balloons! Cold water immersion, compression socks, massage, elevation – all work a treat!

Sudocreme & talc: we certainly have tested these two products out to the hilts and can safely say they do leave you baby soft.

Back ache: when you reach land you haven’t stood up straight or walked for the duration at sea, so understandably the lower back gets a bit grumpy, much like when the weight increases as the baby grows and puts strain on the lower back.

Sleep deprivation: I hear that the first 6-9 months of having a baby, you can say goodbye to sleep, so certainly our 2hrs on: 2hrs off regime is giving us a good insight. Maybe a baby will understand my gobbledegook!

Light weights: having not drunk much for 9 months (apart from toasting to Neptune and a couple of cocktails when we reach land) I can only imagine that our celebrations in Cairns will be a cheap one.

Baby food: As tasty as expedition foods are, they are pretty much like baby food mush, so I am certainly looking forward to getting back and using a knife and fork and eating things with texture and freshness.

Emotions: I’ve seen in my family and friends, that emotions are on overdrive after a baby is born and I think as a team we can totally relate with the impact that Doris has had on us; seeing her arrive in San Francisco, the first time she was put into the water, her first paddle out into the ocean, makes you feel like proud parents.

Cravings: I recall Michelle (one of my best friends) craving watermelon when she was pregnant with Jack her first child. Since we’ve been out on the water, we constantly talk about food that we don’t have and crave, such as frozen yoghurt or a Cornish pasty!

Changing body shape: Being pregnant you have to overcome the fact that you will gain weight, but that you lose it after the baby is born. We too had to look pregnant with extra weight gain, knowing that we will lose it out here in the ocean. I increased by nearly 12kgs and reckon I’ve lost that and possibly a smidge more, regardless of my eating approx. 4,000 calories a day.

Some how I think that getting through pregnancy and becoming a mum for the first time is certainly a #mypacific much greater than us simply rowing it.

Today has brought us some sunshine and blue sky, interspersed with the occasional cooling rain cloud, but with the winds continuing to be favourable we have been cruising at a constant 2.5k and above – happy days! On the flip side, we’ve suffered from 3 major tragedies today; I lost a padded glove, Meggy lost her new cap and Nat lost her flannel – doh!



  1. Jim Andrews says:

    Love the analogy, Doris and childbirth, great comparisons. Sorry to hear about the glove, cap and flannel.
    It sounds like there has been a bit of a baby boom within your family and friends, so much to look forward to when you return home and lots of pressies to buy. I cannot believe the fantastic progress you are making, 330 miles in a week. Wow! I hope the bald heads have given up and gone home? Also, that the moon has put in an appearance. I am as excited and entertained logging on to your blog, now, as I have been for the past 8 months. With every passing day, the coast of Northern Australia draws nearer, and nearer. In a selfish way I want you to slow down but you so deserve to be nearing your goal and I hope, all your targets will have been achieved or surpassed. Six amazing young women, thank you for sharing this with us. Stay safe. XX

  2. Simon TY says:

    Nine months…..will also make you realise how long pregnancy is ! Doris herself could not possibly be pregnant, she has only had female company for nine months.

    Glad the sun has returned and hopefully the moon therefore. We have the tail end of some storm passing through and the scaffolding on the house ( roof being redone) is creaking like a Tall Ship. Would not be surprised if part of it peels away tonight…..but at least not accompanied by 40ft swell and no seasickness here.

    Hope you all in a good mood and the miles race by. No mention yet of Oreos or snack packs yet ? That seemed a staple of conversation and blog, but maybe you are so content that no snack pack mania has hit yet. No word yet on wildlife ? Presumably Meg would be really CROSS if you do not row within ten feet of a whale ?

    Keep safe, keep going

    Xx Simon TY

  3. Richard says:

    What a brilliant post! I’ll look forward to reading your memoirs following this epic adventure.x

  4. JG says:

    So many strong women in the wide world. Just now I am looking at footage of Kurdish and Peshmerga women warriors fighting Daesh in Syria. There are battalions of them and they strike terror into the hearts of their enemies. They are fighting for their lives and their cause and their treatment when captured is horrendous. Fearless and dedicated they make brilliant soldiers. I tried to paste a pictrure on here with no luck but if you Google ‘Peshmerga Women fighters’ images you will see what I mean. Awesome. Things must be warming up for you during the day now with the sun heading down to the Tropic of Capricorn. (Typically it will be cool nights). It’s certainly pushed off from here and we are being battered by winds rotating around Barney and Abigail Atlantic storms and November has finally arrived. Keep safe.

  5. Anita says:

    I don’t know any of you but have loved reading your posts that Michelle has been sharing. You are all truly inspirational. You absolutely must write a book about your journey. Keep up the good work.

  6. Jarrod says:

    Great analogy Big L! (I’m now referring to your ankles)

    So much to tell but I’ll write An email but I thought of you all today as I sat in a football managers conference at the fancy British Museum. A girl (I can’t for the life of me remember her name) talked about rowing the Atlantic (a mere 3000 miles) …I scoffed out loud as she talked of the pain and difficulties……and all I could think about was The one, the only, Coxless Crew still rowing after 9 months all the way to Aus from America!!

    Keep up the slog guys thinking of you all in very interesting times.
    Write soon!

  7. Have just done my “first thing in the morning” check on your progress and Wow! Doris is flying! Those miles are just dropping away despite the adverse conditions e.g. cold rain, warm wave splashes etc. so keep up the good work. You are all doing a fantastic job. Stay safe.
    PS Sad news from NZ this morning with the passing of Jonah Lomu at the age of 40 years. His young family now have their own Mighty Pacific to cross.

  8. Robert says:

    Thikombia island, Fiji will be popping up to starboard in a little over 24 hours at your current speed. You will pass a village on the south eastern end of the Island which has about a 3 nm reef running SE from it. Good speeds in spite of your 2 hour watches and rowing as a double scull instead of a pair like a surfboat, luckily the wind is being kind to you šŸ™‚

  9. Esther B says:

    Wow! Look at you lot go!! Your progress is fantastic and another fab blog Laura; how you still find things to talk about is beyond me! Any wildlife to tell us about since you left Samoa?

    Keep up the pace! Esther x

  10. pete mewton says:

    Lovely querky and personal blog Laura. So ‘you’ in as far as know you and admire you for you determination in triathalons, in the past, and your lead role in your incredible Pacific challenge.
    I think Heathe would rather be #pregnancy than # pacific. But youre right both are miraculous.
    Keep on being miraculous and enjoying the miracles you are experiencing.
    Sorry about the lost flannel! Oh, the trials…..lol

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