Leg 2, Day 26 – It’s the small things

Emma Mitchell By
For Nat’s blog the other day she asked us what on Doris we couldn’t live without. With the everyday items tweezers, sudocreme and sunscreen making the list it got me to thinking about the other simple things we have on board which we wouldn’t want to be without.
1) The ziplock bag. Our daily snack packs are packed into large ziplock bags which are stored in the deck hatches and on a daily basis we grab one out to add approximately 1500kcal to our daily energy intake. This grabbing out of a new snack pack happens with more or less rummaging for particular favoured items depending on who is looking and what time of the day or night it is. Each snack pack contains a portion of mixed dried fruit and a portion of mixed nuts and these are both packaged in their own small ziplock bags. These snack packs usually head out with us on to the oars at the beginning of a session along with a second ziplock bag containing additional items such as sunscreen, lip balm, a long sleeve top, an iPod and a hat or buff. This passing out of the bags to each rowing seat is often accompanied by a chorus of ‘To the back, to the back. Everything Nat owns in a ziplock to the back.’ The uses of the humble ziplock bag don’t end there though…. When giving kit briefs in my previous life as an expedition manager I always extolled the virtues of the ziplock for keeping precious or smaller items in within a rucksack. Within our individual pockets in the aft cabin we each have our clothes split into separate ziplocks to keep them dry from the condensation and general damp of the cabin. Our electrical items, diaries, bird book, matches and any other items we need to keep dry are also ziplocked and placed in their hatch. The final use of these amazing bags is to put the empty freeze dried food packets in. Once they are full they are stashed in the rubbish hatch.2) Tupperware pots. To prepare the freeze dried expedition foods which make up most of our daily calorie intake we pour the dried food into our individual Tupperware containers, boil some water using our trusty Jetboil and then add water to food, mix, leave for 10 minutes and then eat. Making the food up in the Tupperware means that the food packets stay dry and don’t collect wet food in them which would then begin to smell when we store them as rubbish. All good except it means we have to do the washing up after each meal. We tried to make sure that everything we packed on to Doris had more than one use and the Tupperware is no exception. We have also used them to sterilise our water bottle caps, to wash our hair and to bucket shower

3) Car windscreen shades. Now I have never actually owned one of these for a car although considering that I have also never owned a car with air conditioning I will definitely be purchasing one when I get home. During the sunny daylight hours we put these sun shades up in the hatches to prevent the direct sunlight from hitting us in the face and heating up the cabin any more than it already is. We also have one to cover our water containers in the footwell of the aft cabin and to cover the jet boil and gas canisters in their deck hatch.

4) Water bottles. We each have two Camelbak water bottles which we fill up and take out on deck with us when we are rowing. We fill them up back in the cabin and make sure we are drinking as much as possible to keep us hydrated in the heat. We couldn’t survive without them in the burning heat of the day but as with everything else they also have a couple of extra uses. The bottles with sports lids are often used as a kind of jet wash for washing up the Tupperware after dinner. On days where we are getting splashed by the waves we use them to give our selves a quick rinse to get rid of the salt before entering the cabin. They have also been used for hair washing and to give us a cooling spray during a particularly hot rowing shift.

5) Travel towels. We definitely couldn’t live without our towels. Apart from the obvious use to dry ourselves after we have washed we also use these to sit or lie on every time we are in the cabin to stop our sweaty selves from sticking to the mattress covers. In any particularly hot sleeping shifts we’ll sleep on them to avoid getting our silk sleeping bag liners soggy with sweat. At various times they have also been used as seat covers out on the oars and worn as skirts to protect our thighs from the sun.

– We are caught in the equatorial counter current (ECC) which is pushing us East. This is despite our best efforts to row hard in every session and means that we are not currently making many miles towards Samoa.
– Last night when LP and I were on the oars in a beautiful starry night shift a huge (approx 3ft long) sailfish landed on Doris hitting LP on the way. Luckily the tongs were at hand to get him back in the water quickly where he swam off but it nearly gave both of us a heart attack, woke LP from her sleepy state and woke Nats and LV up from their sleep in the cabin.
– This afternoon LP and I headed out from the sweaty cabin to go rowing. I complained that I was hot and hadn’t even started rowing so Mother Nature kindly provided a squall of cold wind and torrential rain with a accompanying tornado twister lasting over an hour to cool us off. Later the sun came out and a pod of dolphins then came past on a visit.




  1. lov e your blogs fishy stories London hot local showers jessiica ennis hill gb heptathlon won gold again world chaps god speed

  2. Holy crap a sailfish!!! Those things are huge, but sport a rather lethal looking javelin-esque appendage, just so glad that nothing was impaled…

    Hopefully neither you ladies or Doris was injured or damaged, don’t s’pose it stayed long enough to pose for a selfie did it?

  3. Simon TY says:

    How did you pick up a three foot sailfish with bbq tongs ? Do yr skills know no bounds ? “Hey, mate, shove another sailfish on the bbq pit”. I hope the struggle of the ECC is outweighed by the PPD ( passing pod of dolphins)


  4. Allen says:

    Hi Ladies, very excited by the sailfish.. One of the fastest fish .. Nearly 70 mph! It would have given you more than a fright if it arrived at full speed! They also use their sails for threat, display and to herd fish. They also change colour!
    and dolphins as well..! Very exciting.
    Sorry that you are having a hard time rowing at the moment.. Keep plugging away!
    We’ve just met another crew in a Rossiters boat. ” All beans.. No Monkeys.. ” They are getting ready for the Atlantic challenge. https://www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/the-teams/all-beans-no-monkeys/
    I hope you manage to get some friendlier currents soon.

    Allen.. and your supporters from Pink Champagne.

  5. Lorraine says:

    What a amazing time you are having. I think you will have to write a book when you get home.

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