Leg 3, Day 46 – Christmas on Doris


Day 46 – Christmas on Doris

As the clock struck midnight and Christmas Day on Doris began, Nats and Ems rose early from their slumber and made hot chocolates all round ready for the first annual Doris carol concert. Dr Mitchell provided a reading of ”Twas the night before Christmas” and then Miss Dyos conducted her choir through a repertoire of Christmas songs and carols. Fortunately neither Izzy or Lizanne were present as the standard of singing and knowledge of lyrics were somewhat lacking although made up for with huge enthusiasm and lots of laughter.

Christmas morning dawned grey and windy with some big swell. It was feared that plans may need to change but LP and Megs put out a line while Ems and Nats cooked Christmas lunch and Doris kindly drifted along at a speedy two knots in the right direction while the festivities took place. We had a plethora of cards and presents to open including sweet treats, some presents for a Pacific pampering and festive headgear and glasses.

image1 (7)


I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to experience a Xmas in the middle of the almighty Pacific with 3 amazing women. Fortunately for me I am used to being away from home, family and friends during this time of year so I just busied myself getting excited and enjoying what has to be one of the most unique festive periods ever. So many presents, messages of support and well wishes, sweets, sparkly things and even an early morning visit from Eduardo (a great Xmas gift as I haven’t seen him for 2 days and feared he had headed home to spend Xmas with his family!) MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone. Love, ocean magic and glitter coming your way.
Natalia x

This has certainly been a Christmas that I’ll never forget. Although it is very strange being away from my family it has been an amazing day out here on the beautiful Pacific. It started with the best carol concert I’ve ever been to and was filled with festive cheer. I can’t think of any three people I’d rather have spent such a unique day with unless Izz and Lizanne could have been here to join us. We have been spoilt with so many messages of love and support from families, friends and supporters and feel we have shared our day with you all. Now for some Christmas pudding to finish off a rehydrated Christmas dinner! Yum!
Emma x

image1 (8)

The carol concert was certainly a great way to kick off the festivities under the moonlit sky and at the state of our singing, you would have thought it would have scared off the wildlife, however it seemed to have the opposite effect! Doris became the Noah’s ark of the Pacific last night, with not just one Boobie landing on her but FOUR! Plus a Petrel, all at the same time. In my eyes it was a Boobie for each of us and a petrel for Doris, with their presence a sign of support. As I mentioned yesterday, Christmas Eve is anevening I never wanted to miss at home and so a phone call in the morning gave me a chance to speak to each of the family. It was the only point in the day that I felt overwhelmed with emotion but lack of signal wasn’t helping. Anyway, I dusted myself off and after 5mins of self talk, I was back on the boat and enjoying every second of being in the moment. My Aunty Mary had sent out a Christmas pudding, so We steamed it in a Tupperware and made some custard – it was delicious! This Christmas really is one I will never forget, for the generosity of our families and friends, the beautiful messages of support worldwide and without a doubt, the humour we have shared as a team. As Ems mentioned, having Izz and Lizanne here too would be the icing on the cake, but otherwise these ladies certainly put a smile on my face and had me chuckling into the early hours. Happy Christmas to all! Laura xx

What a day! If you had told me this morning that today would have been as good as this I never would have believed you! Christmas is always an emotional time when you’re not with family and friends. However, sitting on the oars last night I was thinking of people less fortunate than myself, and am extremely thankful for the family that I will be seeing in the not to distant future. Christmas on Doris has been everything and more than I expected. Last night telling the story of ‘Elf’ to laura in between wafts of Boobie poo from our onboard zoo, and then this morning I got to speak to BBC radio Kent, and have munched on chocolate coins consistently. We have had lots of laughter, and are feeling extremely lucky with the conditions that the Pacific has offered us today. Being able to put out a rope and roll with the waves in the right direction at 2 knots is the best Christmas present ever! This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and one that will be remembered with three totally awesome and inspirational babes. Wishing you a very merry Christmas from onboard Doris. Meg xxx


Merry Christmas from the Coxless Crew!


image1 (6)Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Coxless Crew…


The final day on land…


The final day on land…

We have just finished our last day on land before we reach Australia.  At 10am tomorrow (8pm tonight UK time)  we will head off on Doris for the final leg of our journey to Cairns.  As always the last day before departure was a busy one.  Laura had the morning off so Ems, Nats and Megs packed the final items on to Doris and finished off the final boat preparations while Tony went on the hunt for the last items on the shopping list.  He’s now visited pretty much every shop in Samoa and has the best collection of holiday snaps I’ve ever seen!  The amazing Nicola Mills had found us some foam for our seat cushions and came for a visit to entertain us while we worked.  The suncream monitor was not doing her job though and allowed her to get a little bit toasted in the midday sun. At lunch time we were lucky enough to have Zita Martel come down to see us on the boat.  Zita is the first female skipper of the traditional Samoan longboats and a hugely inspirational woman and we loved hearing about her success in breaking down the stereotypes in a male dominated sport.

With final preparations more or less done we had a lovely final dinner with some of the amazing people of Samoa who have made our time here so special.  A huge thank you to Nicola who can organise anything, Xavier for providing endless help and support  and introducing us to the Samoan Voyaging Society and Sylvia who has allowed us to stay in her beautiful guesthouse all together. We are all really sad to be saying goodbye to Samoa and its beautiful people.  We all feel like we’ve had a bit more of a rest than we did in Hawaii and are feeling as ready as we ever will to take on the final and possibly most challenging leg of our journey.

Us with Xavier

Us with Xavier


An epic afternoon…


Today began with Emma and Nats being kindly taken out on the Gaualofa, a traditional twin hulled sailing canoe, the one that escorted us in on our arrival. Ems got to get her hands on the biggest oar she’s ever handled, so she technically steered the boat which is over 3 times the size of Doris.

image1 (1)

Meanwhile LP made the most of a quiet house, so she got to catch up with a few of her close friends that she constantly talks about on the boat and who have been an amazing support to her throughout (Heather & Ads, Michelle & Paul, Sarah & Tim, Mary & Darren, Kirsten & Steve- on their honeymoon!).

Meg then went out for a paddle in Doris with Ems, to get familiar with the oars before she sits in the driving seat on Tuesday morning (Monday evening in the UK) for launch of the final leg! Thankfully she quotes ‘I quite enjoyed rowing’ Wonder if that will be the same thought by Cairns?!

We then had an epic afternoon! Sarah Moshman and crew had found this beautiful waterfall spot; Sopoaga Falls, so we went there for some filming and a photoshoot with Alana Fickes.


We then went on to one of the world’s most beautiful water spots; To Sua Ocean Trench. It was unbelievable. The water so clear, turquoise blue and bath temperature and what made it even more special, was that there was no one else there! If this was in Europe, it would be heaving with tourists and locals everyday, so to have it to ourselves was very special. It certainly has made rowing to Samoa worth it along with everyone and everything else on this Island.


It was topped off with a fresh coconut and bananas bought as a car snack on the drive home, wish we could get these on our commutes to work back home!


So with only one full day left, tomorrow is full of last minute.com on the boat and personal preparations for launch on Tuesday morning (Monday evening UK time). We hope to set off about 10am local time, but first things first, we will only leave once we have polished off a significantly huge breakfast!



Getting things done


It’s been another busy and productive day on the beautiful island of Samoa.

Ems and Meg talked about routines on the boat and then packed Doris up with all the snack packs and hygiene items. Meg also polished the solar panels as well as running through some more emergency drills with LP.

Cleaning Solbian solar panels

Lizanne with the help of her amazing parents were cutting sheepskin (an invaluable job as we all know how important the comfort of our bums are!!) and sterilizing all our water bottles and tupperware.

Ems and Lizanne had their interviews with Sarah and Ems also finished all the outstanding boat maintenance with Tony.

LP and Meg were very kindly invited onto Wendy and Ian’s catamaran where they had a beer and snacks whilst discussing the row. They are moored next to Doris and have been incredibly helpful and supportive over the last few days. They even helped us identify Fernando as a Galapagos shark. So a huge thank you to them.

On yacht

Today was a day off for Natalia and she headed out with the amazing Xavier or ‘X’ as he is known, who took her to one of the best Academy’s of traditional Samoan Dance, Music and Arts on the island and introduced her the dance group called Le Taupou Manaia. They are called upon to perform at all the significant events on the island and may even be dancing with Miss Samoa next week.

Natalia received a wonderfully warm welcome from the fantastic teacher Korina Lee and her girls. After doing a brief talk about the row and answering some questions, she watched the welcome dance or siva, tried her hand at some basic moves and then taught the team a little salsa!!

It was a fantastic experience and a great insight into the Samoan culture. X was the perfect tour guide and has a strong cultural connection and passion. He has the most wonderful outlook on life and is deeply inspiring and informative.


The day ended with a last supper for Lizanne at Paddles Italian restaurant. It was a little emotional as we said our farewells to the beautiful soul that she is as she will be greatly missed. Her spirit, however, will join Izzy’s on the boat and Lizanne will travel with us all the way to Australia.

Last dinner for Lizanne

All six of us now have a presence and the team is complete. Bring on the final leg of the journey! x


Another day in paradise


Wow, Samoa – you and your people just continue to make us smile!

So today the team was spread out doing different tasks. Today is Lizanne and Ems’s day off, so they headed off along with all of the film crew to a tiny little island off of the south east of Samoa called Namua for a beach day.

On the other side of the island back in Apia, Megs and Nat went down to Doris to pack in and count all of the Freeze dried food, a hot and sweaty session; whilst Laura and Tony went to immigration to sort out everyone’s passports. Nat then headed back home to carry on going through the footage of the 2nd leg, and Megs and Laura met up with Xavier to try and find some protein powder (very annoyingly it looks as if this has been lost on its way to us!). This search took us to the Samoan Rugby Unions High Performance Unit and Training ground! It was absolutely brilliant to see where the team trains and have a look around the gym that they train in! Also interesting for Laura seeing the comparisons to the facilities that we have in the UK!

Meg and Laura headed onwards back to Doris so that Meg could learn about some of the safety procedures and begin to find her way around, before then meeting back up with Nat for some paddling! Thanks so much to Jay and Tupa of Nafanua Paddling club for inviting us to join them out on the water in their 6 man outrigger canoes! They go so fast, if we were travelling to Australia on one of those we’d be there in no time! Good to get the body moving, but we can assure you we won’t be doing this the day before we leave for the next leg of our journey!



Having a go at paddling


With team from outrigger club


A productive day in Samoa


Today was a productive day for the Coxless Crew team.  The morning involved some important skype chats.  First up was Izzy and excitingly halfway through talking to her we realised that it was the first time that all six of us have been chatting all at once even if one of us was a face on an ipad!  We chatted Australia plans, fundraising events and how Izzy is getting on back at home.

Screen shot 2015-11-04 at 20.09.20

Next up was Ells, our social media queen and the person who has kept all of you guys up to date with how we’ve been getting on. She’s a legend and it was awesome to have a proper catch up and discuss what is coming up.  Stay posted for an exciting campaign!

Next up was snack packs.  LP and Tony went to pick up the food from the shops while Ems and Meg fitted all our extra safety kit to our shiny new Crewsaver life jackets which arrived in Samoa with Tony.  A good chance to get Meg up to speed with an essential bit of our kit.  Once the food arrived Ems and LP set up a packing conveyer belt and we roped in Lizanne’s parents to help on the work force. Ems and Tony headed off to find the final ziplock bags and then get started on boat maintenance.  Happily now that we could test it properly we discovered that the Solbian solar panel which we feared might be damaged is actually working fine so we wired it back up to the batteries and got a few other jobs done.  A final push in the evening finished the packs off and now they are all boxed up ready to be loaded on to Doris tomorrow.  This stopover we are finding an efficiency never previously seen – it must be our desire to get everything finished with enough time to see a bit more of this beautiful island.

While all this was going on Nats was interviewed by Sarah and then spent the rest of the day patiently looking through our footage and photos from this leg to pick out the best ones to show all of you some of the amazing and beautiful images from our journey through the doldrums.

Doldrums sky

Our to do list is getting slowly smaller and although we are all a little bit in love with Samoa we are starting to look forwards to departing on the final leg of our journey.


Getting pampered


Wow, wow, wow…..

We are all in LOVE with Samoa.

Since arriving here we have been spoilt rotten. The luxuries of being back on dry land has far exceeded expectations, and the distant familiarities of daily routine on land is a welcome novelty. Stable ground, a view that includes colours other than just blue, food that resembles something other than baby food, fresh fruit, a warm and powerful shower, a drink so cold that it has condensation on the outside of the glass, a toilet seat (!), other people’s faces and conversations, different clothes, different smells, Jaffa cakes (Lizannes mum has kindly brought boxes full) and a BIG SOFT NON-MOVING SPREAD YOURSELF OUT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN bed!

We all awoke this morning feeling like we’ve risen from the dead. I don’t think anything will ever beat the feeling of a proper night sleep after 97 days of sleeping for a maximum of 2 hours at a time at sea. We all woke with varying aches and pains so we are making a conscious effort to do stretching exercises while on land.

We decided to adapt our plans for Samoa based on the lessons we learnt from Hawaii; the first- have a rest day! In Hawaii we arrived in the evening and jumped back on the boat for cleaning and maintenance early the next morning. We left Hawaii exhausted, so we decided to have some down-time on our first full day In Samoa. The amazing Nicola Mills pretty much set us up for the most amazing pampering day.

After a huge breakfast at home of everything we’ve been dreaming of we got taken to a beauty salon…… Hell yeah! Rosenberg Beauty Clinic very kindly offered to pamper us for three hours, each, completely free. It was incredible; pedicures, waxing, massages, facials! We now feel like women again! The women at Rosenberg are incredible, and each have their own beautiful and inspirational story. Being pioneers in their industry Rosa and the team could not have given us a more enjoyable gift. We walked out floating on clouds. Thank you Rosa, Moana, Suneeta, Naifo and Maria.

We were then whisked away again by Nicola to the extremely beautiful reef resort and spa which the manager Joe Annandale has organised for us. It gave us an opportunity to bond as a team, without any other distraction. The focus was on integrating Meg into the team talking about our hot buttons/hopes and fears etc. We are all loving having her smiley face here and she has definitely made us very excited to get back on the boat.

We went to the restaurant sitting right on the beach and had a special moment; we ordered cocktails which we could ACTUALLY HAVE! (Every sunset on the boat Nat would ask “what cocktail is everyone having?!” and we would proceed to give our order. It was amazing to actually drink our order!!)

Sinalei Reef Resort is heaven on earth (www.sinalei.com). Situated right on the beach we were spoilt to live music and dancing. Laura learnt the Hakka and Meg and Ems were asked for a dance. We ate, laughed and danced and had an incredible time. The people of Samoa have bowled us over with their kindness, love and generosity. Samoa is definitely making its mark… We are in love.


Wow…what a welcome!


Wow…what a welcome

Isn’t it amazing that for the first time in 96 days we manage to find a helpful current, a kind wind and to consistently be travelling at a steady 2.2 knots an hour on our approach to Samoa and we get told that we need to slow down!! We knew that the lovely Sarah Moshman was going to come out to greet us with Tony and Meg and the boat that they would be travelling in would only be able to meet us at 9.30 am. We had originally anticipated our arrival to be sunrise, so we had to slow ourselves down considerably.

Our arrival reception in Apia was mind blowing. We could not have had a more perfect welcome if we had planned it ourselves. The beautiful Gaualofa (traditional twin hulled sailing canoe) crewed by the Samoan Voyaging Society escorted us passed the reefs to the harbour entrance, where a group of local outrigger canoeists took over the baton to show us the way to the pontoon where we would be mooring.


We had to wait a little longer than when in Hawaii to do our group step off the boat as we needed to complete immigration formalities before they would allow us into Samoa. Once done…we were adorned with garlands and flower crowns and then wobbled unsteadily to the Fishing Club where they had organised a traditional Samoan breakfast and press reception!! It was all a little overwhelming. We received the most moving welcome speech by the Honorary UK Consul Brenda Heather Latu who actually managed to move all of us to tears with her beautiful and humbling words.

on land

Rona from Palusami restaurant also treated us to a wonderful tasty steak lunch and then we headed to Riverside B&B where we are being hosted while we are here on the island. A huge thank you to Sylvia for giving us the opportunity to all be under one roof and to Nicola and Rory Mills for coordinating our arrival reception with the great support of Digicel.

Samoa has captured our hearts instantly. The beautiful island, the welcoming people, the incredible culture that has a deep oceanic connection.

We couldn’t be in a more perfect place right now to rest and recover the best we can over the next week.


To see Tony, Sarah and Meg!!
To have the most incredible traditional welcome
To eat fresh food and drink cold drinks
To finally see the Trailer!
To see our support video by the wonderful Kylie Minogue
To arrive into Samoa in the morning and be on the local TV news in the evening
To have a double bed each to sleep in tonight
To have had the most incredible support from everyone mentioned above


How much hair came out in the shower
How rough and damaged our skin feels
How quickly the last nearly 100 days at sea seems like it didn’t really happen
How much has to get done in the next 7 days