Day 26 – Dancing at Dawn

Isabel Burnham By

Day 26 – Dancing at dawn

There have been a lot of mentions in our blogs about singing, but not so many about dancing. Yes – dancing (of sorts) is possible on a 29ft ocean rowing boat! Natalia has already mentioned the choreographed dance on the oars that she and Laura came up with last week, but my favourite dance is the daily dawn dance.

The dawn shift (4-6am) can be the sleepiest shift for us. It comes at the end of a long night and can drag out a bit. We often find it hard to keep our eyes open on this shift, and if there are any night time ramblings from Laura, they will almost certainly be during the dawn shift. Last night, the dawn shift was story time. I was mid way through recounting the story of the film Gladiator to Laura when she suddenly stopped rowing and seemed to be fiddling with something in her lap near her oar handles. After a while, I stopped the story to check she was ok. “Fine. I’m just trying to get the talcum powder out of my towel” was the reply! Needless to say, none of these items was on deck. That was the sign we needed – it was time for the dawn dance.

The dawn dance is very simple. The two rowers stand, face one another, and dance until they feel awake again. Sometimes there is a song sung in accompaniment. Other times the dawn dance is silent disco style, with both rowers dancing to their own beat. It’s hard enough to stand on deck without falling over, let alone dance, so our dawn dance is usually not so much a dance, but more a jerky jig of random motions. It’s two people bouncing around like idiots and laughing at one another on the deck of a small rowing boat in the middle of the Pacific as the light of a new day arrives. It only lasts a minute, but it’s a minute of complete freedom and it’s one of my favourite parts of each day.



  1. Tina McLean says:

    Oh to be a fly on the wall I thought when I read this…..but you don’t have any walls…. The best things in life are free. Dancing. Singing and laughing . Invaluable. Following avidly Izzy in Arkesden x

  2. Karl says:

    I am left wondering if you gals would benefit from more sleep and or longer row/sleep shifts. What about 3 hr row shifts to allow for a longer block of apparently, much needed

    Congratulations on some good progress days.
    What about plastic flotsom?

    • Robert says:

      They need at least 6 hours off to get useful sleep. 6 hours on does not need to be flat out rowing all the time, they can vary their cadence & power & take short rests. The important thing is to get more sleep during their time off watch!!! I totally agree.

  3. JG says:

    Can’t help feeling a little worried about Laura on that dawn shift. Have to make sure she doesn’t suddenly undo her safety strap and sleepwalk off the boat.

  4. Simon TY says:

    Looks like a record day, hope wind and tide all working for you. There are many many of us who would love a live webcam to watch the dancing, singing, lunacy !! Take care as you get really tired XX

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