Leg 3, Day 14 – Days and Direction

Natalia Cohen By

Day 14 – Days and direction

As you can imagine we’re obsessed with counting the days and getting ever closer to Cairns. We’re also all very much preoccupied with direction as obviously we need to be travelling in the right direction in order to make it successfully to our destination.

When on the oars what we spend most of our time staring at (when not gazing out at the ocean or up at the sky) is the bulkhead (our front door). So without further ado, let me introduce you to our view and entry and exit point of our home aboard Doris.

Above our ‘door’ is the word SPIRIT. This is the acronym for our values which as you all know by now is; strength, perseverance, integrity, resilience, inspiration and trust.

There also has been and will be again our quote that will go above the word SPIRIT, saying:

” You can never cross the ocean, until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. ”


As we face the cabin from the deck, on the left is our Yellow Brick tracking device (responsible for the pink dots you follow), our McMurdo EPIRB (emergency positioning beacon) and one of our GoPro camera mounts.

To the right we have our Raymarine repeaters. These do just that, repeat information from our chart plotter that is inside the cabin to the screen on the outside. The main one we use shows the Heading (direction the boat is facing), the COG (course over ground which is the direction the boat is actually moving in), our speed and the time in UTC.

I have spent many a night staring hypnotically at this repeater!

Surrounding the repeaters are stickers. There are 3 sections corresponding to the 3 legs of the journey and they represent each day we were at sea. This was a tradition that I started and it is one that we will continue until our arrival. It gives an ordinarily dull view a little colour and variety and indeed, helps us keep track of how many days we have been at see.

Leg 1
Originally contained 68 stickers. A mix of random animals, the words Coxless Crew and each of the team members nick names. These had lasted well against the elements except for some substantial fading in colour (I don’t even want to know what the sun is doing to US!) This was until the beginning of leg 3, however, when for some reason, all the animals kept falling of the wall. I was confused. I know it has been extra splashy this leg so far, but how had they lasted so long previously? I observed goings on and then shared my theory. The lovely Meg had adopted a different way of exiting her new home than the rest of us. Once up and out of the footwell, she leans against that right side of the bulkhead to steady herself and her bum is the exact height of the area where the stickers have been disappearing. Mystery solved!

Unfortunately our leg 1 sticker section is now looking a little sparse…we will have to replenish them in Cairns.

Leg 2
Our longest leg of the journey so far. We included some words that were pertinent to this part of the adventure. The equator, doldrums, Doris, laughter, angry bum, fish frenzy, booby, Fernando, team work and aloha all feature as well as a turtle and some local Hawaiian flowers.
It was a long yet jam packed 97 days and the stickers reflect this.

Leg 3
This journey is now underway. We have some new stickers to start proceedings. Some multicoloured faces, of which we have many, and the word Hugs. The next word to be spelled out is going to be ‘bucket’. Something that the 3 of us have taken so for granted but the greatness of our red bucket has been highlighted by Meg and so we think it deserves a mention.

This leg we have various days to look forward to where something special is happening. As Ems already told you, we are giving ourselves rewards for hitting certain waypoints and as well as that, we have letters, cards, videos, riddles and games to open on certain specified days eg Day 10 or Day 20 etc. We have cards for a rainy day, a sad day, a frustrating day, a reflective day and we all have so much stuff for Christmas that I am beginning to think that this may be one of the best Xmas’s I will experience! It will certainly be one I won’t forget!

Above our front door we have 2 Raymarine VHF antennas. One has our courtesy flag attached to it (the Samoan one is still flying at the moment) and the other has some flowers (now dried) that Zita Martel gave us as a blessing when we left Samoa. There is also a grasshopper made out of Palm leaves that Wendy and Ian gave us on our departure that amazingly still seems to be flying strong where we put him attached to the blessing flowers.

As we travel backwards across this vast ocean, it’s strange to think that we all stare at this view for 12 hours a day…everyday, count up the days and count down the miles, want to enjoy the journey but look forward to its end and row, row, row our boat…life is like a dream x



  1. JG says:

    Further fascinating insight into life aboard Doris. There is one thing I have puzzled over and that is how do you steer and row at the same time? Meg mentioned the two ropes that you pull to correct the direction. Are the ropes locked in cleats and do you steer with the feet? As I go about my daily business in the countryside I often think about the four brave women in the middle of a hostile ocean environment,in the dark, on the opposite side of the world and I silently wish you well. Keep safe

  2. Simon TY says:

    So, it is riddles you want. Let us continue your preparation for Oz.

    Inner Narkup Luddaze: Wednesday
    Stewnce: what you used to be
    Tea Nature: before you become stewnce
    Wezzme: how to find the missing thing
    Zarf Trawl: the conclusion.

    How you getting on ? Who does the best Strine accent ? Have you understood them all ? Or are they giving you a Split Nair Dyke ?


  3. Susan says:

    You are all an amazing inspiration – go, girls!

  4. Jim Andrews says:

    Great description of your views while rowing and living on board Doris. Such a small amount of space and to share that space with 3 others. I get claustrophobic in a caravan so probably, Ocean rowing isn’t for me. You, Natalie have a great attitude toward your surroundings and seem to see the positives in what others might not. I hope you continue to make good headway and the sea and weather conditions remain favourable. Stay safe. XX

  5. Great progress this leg!
    On the row row row the boat theme our grandchildren have several variations:
    row row row the boat gently down the river
    if you see a polar bear don’t forget to shiver

    . . . . . . stream
    . . . . . crocoldile (sic), don’t forget to scream

    . . . . to the shore
    . . . . . lion there don’t forget to roar

    etc etc. I am sure you could waste a shift or two devise some more?
    all the best from all of us in Christchurch

  6. Hi Natalia, would I be right in guessing you’ve gone over all the names who are sponsoring you that are in the Cabin, any names that have ‘stood out’??

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