Leg 2, Day 95 – Samoa approaches!

Emma Mitchell By

We are now a mere 62nm from Samoa and it finally feels as though we might actually make it. Although the currents are still keeping us guessing we have had almost 24 hours of lighter winds and weaker currents which has meant a rise in spirits and good progress towards our destination. I am hugely looking forward to reaching dry land and getting the opportunity to rest and recover. In Hawaii this didn’t really happen as we were so busy getting everything done and when we got back onto the boat at the beginning of this leg I was already exhausted. The rowing in this leg has been both a physical and mental battle with almost every shift at the oars requiring a fight against the currents or wind and a lot of travelling slowly or in the wrong direction. Right now I am exhausted both physically and mentally and feel like I have nothing left to give. Over the last few weeks, rowing, which has been a part of my life for many years and which has so far been my happy place on board Doris has become unenjoyable and I have had to drag myself out of the cabin every two hours to get on the oars. Since I am the ‘rower’ of the boat this in itself has been an extra level of personal challenge. A little time away from Doris to reset and get ready for the final push for Samoa is sorely needed. 

However as well as endless challenges, the doldrums has also thrown up many unforgettable sights and experiences on this stage of the journey. I could watch the skies for hours and not get bored of the endless variety of cloud formations and the fact that you can sometimes see three or four different weather conditions happening around you at once. Having a power shower under a rain storm is an experience I won’t forget in a hurry. The moody storm clouds in front of burning red sunsets and the glowing sunrises that turn the ocean around you into a sparkling watercolour make you feel like you’re in a dream and no matter how tough it gets, for me, rowing under a bright starry sky or a full moon never fails to lift my spirits. Not only have we also seen an incredible variety of wildlife but our proximity to their home while we are on Doris makes it feel like we have made friends with the ocean dwellers. Farewell doldrums, you are a unique and often magical place but we look forward to some following winds and favourable currents to help us on our way to Cairns. 

UPDATE: Today conditions were favourable enough for us to take 45mins out of our rowing schedule and have a team social. We wanted to take a moment before we reach the chaos and distractions of land to celebrate what the four of us have achieved over the last 95 days and to celebrate Lizanne’s involvement in this before she leaves us to return to the real world. It got a little emotional! Together we have battled the erratic conditions of the doldrums, picked each other up through the tough times, laughed, joked and danced together and shared stories of our lives. We will miss the fresh, creative and happy presence of Lizanne when we set off again from Samoa. She is strong yet flexible and brings out the best in all of us. However in the same way that Izzy has been with us in spirit all of this leg, Lizanne will join her in the next.



  1. JG says:

    Well done Emma. Tell it to us how it really is. It only strengthens my respect for you all although I suspected most of what you wrote all along. Whoever is minding you girls on Samoa must fiercely respect your need for rest and recuperation and protect it all the time. You will need medical check ups, much sleep and good food. Your days will be busy repairing and replenishing and PR but you will need a minimum of 8 hours a night sleep and attention paid to your skin. Doris will need some work here and there no doubt but so will you girls. I hope people will see that and facilitate it. You have all done so amazingly well. Keep safe

  2. Christine says:

    Hi girls, I don’t expect you to remember but I met you at Rossiters in Christchurch when you had just done a capsize drill. I said I thought you were mad when you talked about what you were aiming to do. I have been following your tweets/progress like a possessed woman since!!!
    I still think you are slightly mad, but overridingly, I think you are amazing and I am in awe of your achievement.
    Keep going girls- you can so do this! XXXX

  3. Sara says:

    Great blog giving an honest picture of your feelings but it made me very sad to hear you have list your happy place on the oars. Having followed you for years at regattas and seeing what rowing has brought to you I really hope after a real rest at Samoa you once again find that place on the oars again. Take care and lots of rest when you arrive oh so soon now and know I am with you in heart and mind and am so very sad that I cannot be with you to help you recover. Love to you all you amazing and wonderful girls xxx

  4. Jim Andrews says:

    Just a brief, welcome to Samoa and so much relief…..hopefully.
    I think Lizanne will be totally gutted to part company with Doris. I think she will miss her shipmates too. I also think Doris will miss Lizanne and I expect her friends will miss her too. The thing is, you are all so strong, you will just roll the punch and move on. Knowing that what each crew member gave, no one else can or could give. Stay safe. XX

  5. Simon TY says:

    Too early absolutely to say, but does feel you have broken the back of this leg. Even a few days ago, the current was playing games with you, the curry was getting short, and the miles seems huge. Now, a few good days and must be about 50 miles as I write ( PS, can anyone tell me what time the Where is Doris Now taken ? As can then hazard a guess as to how many hours later, and more miles closed down.).

    Anyhow, amazing achievement to push through the last week. As you feel the tiredness overwhelm you in the last few days, be careful, oh so careful. No silly slip now.

    Hope you get swept into Samoa.

    PS the Kiwis are champions. They were well ahead at half time, then an unexpected surge from Oz got them back to a few points. Until Kiwis crushed them with late tries.

    Xxx be safe

    • Tony says:

      Simon – If you zoom right in on the ‘Where is Doris’ track you’ll see a series of dots. Click on a dot and you should get an information box with the position time, etc.

  6. Carrey says:


  7. Anna C says:

    Fantastic effort, girls! What an unbelievably tough leg this has been for you. Do take plenty of r&r when you reach Samoa (so close now). We hope that the fresh fruit and veg won’t upset your stomachs after all that beef curry. Take it easy! Anna & Marius

  8. Babs says:

    Well nearly there, and yes you all need lots of rest and recuperation ( mother’s orders ) Lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and protein to help that skin as well. You have all been amazing and we can only be in awe of the resilience you have all had this last leg in particular. No doubt it will be a sad time to say goodbye to Lizanne, a worthy team member, but a great welcome to Meg to get you to the finishing line, Cairns. Our support across the water and so wish we were there. Xx

  9. Lovely blog Emma – reading it was like watching a film. Once the trip is over the four of you should make a book out of your blogs and photos ! Hope the rest of your journey to Samoa is short and that you have time to get some rest on shore.

  10. pete mewton says:

    Good blogg Emma. Well done for bearing and overcoming the negatives and still recognising, appreciating and accentuating the positives of your great adventure.
    Rest and enjoy Samoa.
    Pete M

Leave A Reply