Leg 2, Day 13 – Wet, wet, wet

Laura Penhaul By

Day 13 – wet, wet, wet

Some of us on the team have silly superstitions such as saluting a single magpie, or saying white rabbit 3 times on the first of every month. None of us however had previously thought the no.13 was a ‘bad’ number, so I’m hoping the last 24hrs was just a coincidence. As we make our way due South from Hawaii to Samoa, our route is not in favour of the westerly current nor the easterly winds and swell, so this therefore means as the swell picks up, we have waves crashing over the beam side of Doris. Yesterday the winds picked up to a steady 18knots and by nightfall it was 21. For Nat, Emma and myself it suddenly started to resemble our early days of leaving Santa Barbara and for Lizanne, it was about to be an eye opener to the less glamorous side of ocean rowing. Wet weather gear was donned once again and shift change overs in the cabin revisited the wet/dry routine with plenty of talc to go around. This particular occasion we seem to be getting a proper soaking literally every 2 minutes. This would be rather refreshing if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s salt water, which leaves you constantly caked in a layer of salt. Nat has described the different types of waves in a previous blog  and I’d say the predominance has been the ‘selector’ (although it’s been generous to douse us fairly evenly between pairs), the ‘air dump’, the ‘suprise’ and the ‘wipeout’. Em and I got washed clean off our seats about 3 times in one shift.

The difficulty at night time is that you can’t prepare yourself for what’s coming, so you’re always slightly on edge with anticipation. The moon rise wasn’t until 02:30am last night so the majority of the night shifts were in complete darkness. I’m pretty sure the sky was star filled last night, but can’t say we saw it as we were concentrating so hard on keeping the boat moving and staying in our rowing seats. Just before I was about to have a sense of humour failure last night, I decided to listen to some tunes whilst rowing. A good friend of mine Carli had been so thoughtful and sent me a package of treats to open when I reached Hawaii. Alongside some cadburys chocolate and water pistols for us, both herself and another friend Jo, had generously put in their iPod shuffles which were full of music. I had been saving Carli’s for a rainy day as I knew she’d have some good tunes to cheer me up. So heading out onto the oars in the pitch black of the night with the sound of crashing waves as Doris pitched and rolled, I pressed play on Carli’s shuffle. The first song that played was ‘I need a Hero’ Bonny Tyler – absolutely blimin perfect! Suffice to say there was no hero that unfortunately turned up, but it certainly worked a treat at getting me powered up to fight the waves. Music is such a powerful tool; it can bring back memories, it can motivate and it can cheer you up when you need a pick me up. To those of you that kindly put forward suggestions for our playlist, we thank you. Last night other songs from the list that got me singing out loud was:

Roar – Katy Perry : thank you Esther Baggaley

Girls just want to have fun – Cyndi Lauper : thanks Joanne Owen

Eye of the Tiger : thank you Martha Johnson

Offshore – Chicane : this is one of my favourites for sunset time, thanks Simon Goodison

Personal messages:

Kim H: hey roomy! So lovely to hear from you and I loved hearing all your news and what’s happening at Ullswater. Can’t wait to be back to hear more stories over a glass of vino or two. Mary and Darren: thank you for your lovely email! How’s the house hunt going? Miss you guys and think of you frequently, especially when I have a peppermint tea! Lily: hey hon, how have the triathlons gone? Wondered if you’d been out SUP’ing too this Summer, everyone loves it in America and Hawaii. Hope it’s not too hectic at work and prep for next year is going smoothly. Lots of love to you all and thank you for your ongoing support. Xx



  1. So glad Eye of the Tiger was a good pick me up at a time where you guys really needed it! Stay strong out there. You ladies are truly amazing! =)

  2. Simon TY says:

    Thank goodness you did not get my playlist being a musical retard. I mention artists and my wife says never heard of them.

    Sounds like last few days been a bit of a challenge and the Pacific is just reminding you who is boss.

    Keep strong and safe

  3. Babs Penhaul says:

    Great to here you are still upbeat to spite whatever has been thrown at you in the last 24 hours or so, keep up the good work girls, you are showing everyone exactly what you are all made of. Although you are having rough seas, you are making good speed 2nm at present, each mile getting you closer to Samoa. You constantly amaze us by finding something to offset the continual bashing you are getting from the waves. Thank goodness for your present of the shuffle that was kindly sent out to Samoa. We are home here in awe of you, stay safe. Xx

  4. A life on the ocean wave,
    A-home on the rolling deep!
    Where the scater’d waters rave,
    And the winds their revels keep.
    Like an eagle caged I pine
    On this dull, unchanging shore.
    Oh give me the flashing brine,
    The spray and the tempest’s roar.

    A life on the ocean wave,
    A-home on the rolling deep!
    Where the scater’d waters rave
    And the winds their revels keep,
    : The winds,….. the winds…
    The winds their revels…keep. :

    2. Once more on the deck I stand,
    Of my own swift, gliding craft.
    Set sail, farewell to land,
    The gale follows fair abaft.
    We shoot thro’ the sparkling foam,
    Like an ocean bird set free.
    Like the ocean bird, our home,
    We’ll find far out on the sea.

    3. The land is no longer in view,
    The clouds have begun to frown.
    But with a stout vessel and crew,
    We’ll say : Let the storm come down!
    And the song of our heart shall be,
    While the winds and waters lave:
    A life on the heaving sea,
    A-home on the bounding wave!

    Here’s the tune

  5. Jim Andrews says:

    The elements are having a go at you again but you are making good progress. Keep singing, smiling and rowing but above all, stay safe. XX

  6. JG says:

    You are doing so well. Fortunately weather is constantly changing and it looks as if calmer waters are not too far ahead. You left Hawaii at the right moment as they have suffered two tropical storms since you left with Hilda still fermenting and possibly providing the tough conditions that you are experiencing right now. It is forecast to fizzle out soon. The discomfort of caked salt must be horrendous. The bliss of a rinse down to look forward to!! Keep safe and enjoy!

  7. Esther B says:

    Hooray – I hope you sang (shouted!) Roar at the top of your lungs!! It always does the job!

    Keep going girls, you are doing amazingly well and we are all so proud of you.

    With lots of love to you all xxxx

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    the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely
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  9. Hi Girls,

    I really enjoy reading your blogs, you are truly inspirational!! Do you ever sing sea shanties, Fisherman’s Friends style? I can imagine you groaning out ‘South Australia’ as you heave and haul away on the oars, though luckily you are not travelling quite that far! Stay safe xxxx

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