Leg 2, Day 20 – Daily tasks: Land vs. Ocean

Lizanne Van Vuuren By

Day 20 – Daily tasks: Land vs. Ocean

Every really new idea looks crazy at first. Alfred North Whitehead

It’s sometimes strange to imagine that one day this will all just be a memory. The daily rhythm of our lives are scheduled by a 2 hour alarm and at the moment it feels like this might be it, forever.

Still, with the difficulties we face we are all very much trying to take note of those moments where we emerge from the cabin and exclaim “wow, look how flat the water is!”, “look at the stars!” Or “can we all just take a moment and realise where we are for a minute?!”

This has also got me thinking how the rhythm of life and our daily tasks out here contrasts with life back on land. As cliche as it sounds, it’s the little things you take for granted. Back at home, if we see a big spider or get grossed out by a cockroach we invariably might call the nearest male to “do something”… Out on the ocean there are no spiders (much to Laura’s delight) but our response to getting a flying fish flop onto our lap or hit in the face gives a similar shriek. We made a plan and now we deal with them the only way one should… By picking them up with barbecue tongs.

We’ve also not walked properly upright without holding on for support since getting on the boat as there is so much movement, so by adjusting to the size and motion of living, most of our daily tasks have needed to be altered. Its survival of the fittest out here…

Brushing teeth:
Since I became so well accustomed with the side of the boat in my first few days, I pretty much do everything leaning over the side now. Everyone has their own unique way of doing things though. Emma has an amazing ability to brush her teeth in the cabin, then without stepping foot outside she leans out and rinses over the side.

Getting from A to B:
Something as simple as walking from one end of the boat to the other usually requires either holding onto the grab rail, holding onto the rower sitting down or crawling. No wonder our calves are wasting away!

Making food:
The only cutlery we have are plastic sporks and our only cooking facility is the jetboil. Add hot water to our freeze dried meals and voila… Gourmet! LP’s advice to me regarding the food was “just tell your brain you like it, and you’ll like it”. And like always, she was right. I am looking forward to doing some cooking when I get home though and flavouring my food with something other than Ketchup. Thank goodness for ketchup though.


Washing up: Nat has the fine art down of doing everything in the footwell and uses her water bottle a lot to give a rinse down. For me it’s over the side of the boat again (with our biodegradable soap of course)

Washing bodies:
This is very weather dependent. When it’s wet and splashy we have a quick routine of using wet-wipes to get the salt off, then baby powder-ing bums and feet after every single row shift. Within seconds of getting the powder out Nat will shout from wherever she is on the oars “I see you baby, talcing that a**”

During our off shifts we’ll have a proper wash though. This will either be done in the footwell (pretty uncomfortable), out on the oars in between the rowers (trialled and tested today) or as a group using solar shower or bottles to rinse after a swim.

Washing clothes:
In the bucket and gets hung out on the grab rails. Our clothes/sleeping liners get dirty so quickly due to the heat that this is almost a daily task. Like the same feeling back at home, there’s almost nothing better than getting into a clean bed.

Getting changed:
The cabin is big enough for you to sit upright comfortably, but not nearly enough for standing. Therefore, a change of clothes is usually done wriggling around lying down.

I think the absurdity in the smallest things we do has contributed to spirits being (fairly) consistently high on Doris as there is always something to laugh about.

So tonight when you brush your teeth, cook a lasagne, or have a shower, spare a little thought and imagine how you would do it on a small, pink, moving vessel.

Lizanne x



  1. I am intrigued as to why you have barbecue tongs on Doris, whose idea was that ? Turns out to be a good one, though the use they are being put to is a little unusual !

  2. Tashels says:

    YAY lizzle, you finally let me know how you brush your teeth *mystery solved*…absolutely love these blogs my friend and in awe of you girls! Keep it up!

    much love from the mother city xx

  3. Jim Andrews says:

    Thank you for sharing that. No, seriously! Unless you tell us how difficult life can be, we can’t know. I imagine that you must yearn for a bit of privacy but at the same your lack of privacy is part of the bonding process that makes you such an incredible team. Stay safe. XX

  4. Simon TY says:

    How do you guys keep writing such brilliant blogs ? I have nothing to write, witty, erudite or anything else ( maybe you have a few more hours on yr hands to think about the meaning of Liff.

    Anyhow, am now a Coxless Crew addict, so nothing going to keep me from my daily fix. Sorry I have so little to give back.

    I did spot one thing. You say Nat shouts “talcing that a**”. Surely “talcing that a***”. Or did you bring a donkey to look after the bbq tongs ?

    Keep strong and safe

  5. Barbara says:

    Hi Lizzy girl,so proud that you have perfected “the over the side”option….I would have done the same….my geyser has burst so I’m experiencing the bucket system at the moment so can relate to you guys having no running water—it sucks. Stay safe lol Barbs

  6. billy says:

    Don’t think this is going to be a memory you deserve a medal and a entry in the Guinness book of records

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