Leg 3, Day 18 – Age: is it just a number?

Natalia Cohen By

As I sat on a tiny pink boat in the middle of the biggest ocean in the world, the sun determinedly sent rays of light shooting out from behind some dark grey clouds, and yet another day began. Wherever you are, this is how every new day begins…with a sunrise and 24 hours of infinite possibility. I love that! 

The other certainty is that also, with every new day that passes, we will all be yet another day older.  

Age is a funny thing. You spend most of your childhood wishing you were older and most of your adulthood wishing you were younger. With each decade comes a new milestone in age and with that hopefully comes a new insight, understanding into life and yourself (if you’re lucky). Lists of things you would like to have accomplished and lists of things that society dictates you should have accomplished are all hinged on age. Time seems to go quicker the older you get and the years start racing by. A strange phenomenon is that the body keeps on ageing but sometimes it feels as if the mind remains young. 

There is age restriction and minimum age for many things and we are all classified into age brackets when looking for work, needing medical attention, buying insurance and even when online dating!  So much importance is placed on age but what does someone’s age actually tell you?

This is what I pondered on the oars when thinking about our team and that we have ages that range from 25, the youngest member of our team, to 40, that’ll be me. The age we are had nothing to do with being interested in this challenge. The most important characteristics were commitment, determination and SPIRIT. There is no age hierarchy on Doris and although I may be the oldest, I don’t think you would ever really be certain of it. I am used to having people of varying ages around me and see people for who they are and not how old they are. As far as I am concerned, age in the Pacific rolls away like passing waves.  It makes no difference.

I think that someone’s life experience can override their age. I also believe that there are just some people you meet that regardless of their age, they are an old soul. In tune with themselves and this game we call life and happy to be exactly who they are. I’ve met mature 21 year olds, immature 50 year olds, a 7 year old boy that had the hands of an old man and a 75 year old woman who was as lively as a teenager! So…is age just a number?

Natalia jumping

One thing I believe and this has been highlighted on the boat, is that, quite simply, the more time you have had getting to know yourself, the more you…know yourself. This has stood me in good stead. When doing an expedition like this you have to have a deep understanding of how your mind works and unfailing self belief. It is one of the keys to the success of any monumental journey. I’ve definitely got to the stage in my life where I’m happy with who Natalia is. Understanding my strengths, aware of my weaknesses and striving continually to grow and improve and make a small positive difference in this wonderful world. 

By 40, however, there are many things that society believes I SHOULD have accomplished. There is a stable job, to own my own property, to be married and have children, to name but a few. To be settled. 

It would be easy for me to allow myself to spiral into a panic because I don’t have ANY of those things, but I’m surprisingly ok with it. My life is rich, fulfilling and fascinating and I don’t feel as if I’ve forfeited anything. I know that fear stops many from stepping outside their comfort zone and allowing themselves to be honest with how they feel about what they want, where they are, who they are with and what they do. For some reason I have not felt the need to conform to society and know that if I always choose to walk an authentic life path by being true to myself, happiness will be sure to follow.

Ageing is inevitable, but deciding how you live your life is a choice that you can make. Make the most of every 24 hour day, do all the things you have always wanted to do, leave nothing unsaid to loved ones and friends, laugh often, be compassionate to yourself and others and know that if all else fails, you have lived your life with no regrets. Well…at least that’s how I believe it goes x

You’re never too old to howl at a full moon! As another random social, I decided that we were going to have a full moon party. There was still fairly large waves and a 18 knot wind, so we had to make it brief. We had some glow sticks, a colour changing disco light, music on the speakers and a cheeky dance under the glow of a bright full moon in a clear night sky. 
It was fab!
What a bizarre ocean life we lead…

Our wind is beginning to die down a little, but the swell is still huge. Big rolling waves that glitter in the sunlight and the constant rise and fall of our beautiful Doris. We’re still getting regular soakings and Ems’ towel is, unfortunately, still wet. 

**Please help:
I have a star/planet that I would like to be identified please. I’ve seen it from near the beginning of leg 2 until now. 
It is rising about 5am at the moment in the same line as Orion’s Belt. It is by far the brightest light in the sky and shines a white colour. This light, however, is not constant and it fades in and out regularly. 
If anyone has any knowledge or idea what this could be, please let us know. This is one Doris mystery I need to have solved before our arrival. Thank you x



  1. Simon TY says:

    Which side of Orion, right or left ? And how far away ( in belt lengths ?).

    Age. As you get older you realise there are things you are unlikely ever to do. A marathon. Read Ulysses. Go clubbing again. Be attractive to 20 yr old girls. Hey ho. And you have to accept that you are not going to visit every place you want to, read every “classic” book, etc. I spent my 20s trying to achieve everything, then realised I was not going to. It took a while getting happy with that. The balance between “use yr talents to the full” and “life is not a race”.

    Anyhow, far too serious……

    Some dialogue: “I gunga din, door slokt”.
    “Hancher gotcher key ?
    “Air, buttit spoultered on the inside”

    Spin Ear Mitch: looks very much like
    Semmitch. Two slices of bread
    Utter Martyr: maybe in yr semmitch

    Share: what you are looking forward to, as in “Wine chevver Cole share ?”

    Or Scadded Shares and thunnerstorms: rain

    Hope those give you a few minutes of distraction


  2. If it is to the right of Orion’s Belt it could be the Hyades star cluster. If to the left maybe the star Sirius. If below it could be the Orion Nebula. With your view you are able to see even rather faint objects at night. No streetlights spoiling your view!

    Next time you cross the Pacific, a night sky mapping App would be a good app to have on your iPad. I doubt you currently have WIFI access for a download just now. 🙂

    Rob in Vacaville

  3. JG says:

    “Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
    You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

    Desiderata, verse 5, by Max Ehrmann

    Whenever I have had doubts about myself I read Max’s poem, especially verse 5, along with the Nuns Prayer and Kiplings “If” and somehow it seems to straighten me out.

    I often wonder if my postings on here are of any interest to anyone but I press on because, if nothing else, it shows support for your amazing endeavours. Not much longer now! I have always wondered how manoueverable Doris is when you are trying to keep bow or stern to the swell. Keep safe.

  4. Hey Natalia, I learned something new from your posting ‘How stars appear from the southern Hemishpere’

    Orion is flipped turned upside down, which almost sounds like Will Smith from Fresh Prince of Bel Air one of my fav TVs shows, but I’m waffling so sorry.

    Okay at first I thought you were talking about Betelgeuse, but then when I saw the star maps actually following Orion’s Belt discounted Betelgeuse, but I do see Sirius it’s almost inline and a whopper!!

    I hope I’ve solved it.


  5. Fantastic blog Natalia. You girls amaze me . You surprise us everyday with your blogs. Don’t know what we are going to do when you are finished. As Simon said it became our norm to check the miles , read the blog and the comments everyday and check the dots as well.

    Ageing is inevitable but we can choose our attitude towards it. When you’re a child and you hear somebody is 40 or 50 you think it is old , and then you come there and you realise it is not. We should ask ourselves the question: If you didn’t know how old you are, how old would you be? It is all in the mind.
    Do your own thing and live life your way .Wayne Dyer said you should have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.
    Keep going girls Vanuatu is close and if you passed that then Cairns is just down the home straight
    Keep safe xxx

  6. Charlotte R says:

    Sweet blog Natalia. I read them all but this one, in particular, touched me personally.

    Be safe all of you and keep drinking it all in…:-)

    From a fellow v nearly 40 yr old! X

  7. Well not wanting to get you too excited but I wonder if it is Comet Catalina you can see?? This from earthsky website…

    UPDATE NOVEMBER 23, 2015: Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina) is finally here and – for telescopic viewers – it’s showing two tails! Several observers in recent days have spotted it on film. An avalanche of pictures is expected during the next days as Comet Catalina ascends in the predawn sky and becomes brighter and easier to see. Current magnitude estimates ranges between 7.6 to 6 (the limit of viewing with the unaided eye). And the comet is still brightening.

    Most comets do show two tails: a dust tail and a plasma tail of ionized gas. These tails point away from the sun and are usually not related to the direction of travel. Instead, the tails are related to how the gases and dust react to solar heat.

    Comet Catalina was closest to the sun on November 15, so it is still difficult to observe because of its nearness to the horizon just before sunrise. The hope is that the comet will brighten enough to become visible from the eye from a dark site, by the end of November, as it moves higher in the eastern, predawn sky. A higher position in the sky will provide a better contrast. The observations made early this week will provide a good idea of its brightness, to see if it’s improving or not. By the end of this month, Comet Catalina might be visible to the eye at a visual magnitude of 5 or 6, which means it would be within the limit for viewing with the unaided eye from dark sky sites. It’ll be in the predawn sky, near the planets and moon in early December. Comets have been shown to be unpredictable, so it may become brighter or fainter. Sometimes comets even disintegrate. But this comet is well worth following!

  8. Mike S. says:

    Having followed your journey from the start the first ritual I could not understand was your unbelievable sleep pattern, but on the whole it seems to be working a treat. I cannot see any evidence in your blogs of deprivation, they seem sharp & very interesting. Still can’t work out how with 2hrs on & 2hrs off you can fit in preparing food, eating, filming, navigating, bucket chores, blogging, keeping in touch with family & friends & Tony, & if there’s time left sleeping & rowing. You are all amazing.

  9. Jan R says:

    Great post, Natalia! That was so you! That’s exactly how I remember meeting you – at times as fresh as a 20-year old, but at times as wise as a 70-year old – your unusual life experience has shaped that and make you the incredibly interesting person that you are now…and that is at the moment I am sure to the benefit of the team!

    Age is relative, every year seems to pass by more quickly, because relative to our age it becomes a smaller percentage…

    Happy to see that you are still racing on, cherish every moment, as the row will come to an end quicker than you might expect. Prepare mentally for the big hole it will leave, but I am sure you all have exciting plans for when you finish… for the moment keep safe with that big swell, it’s easy to lose respect, but the sea is just so much stronger than (wo)men!


  10. Jim Andrews says:

    I am 63 no I’m 16 wait a moment I’m ageless! Wisdom apparently comes with age. I can reate to that. Not saying that all old people are wise, just wiser than they were. I love, that we have inbuilt valves that open and close and that we have no control over. I call them, embarrassment, guilt, ego, happiness, sadness, love and hate. These are things we have little or no control of. We have an inbuilt sense of justice, right and wrong, which is probably why you 99.999999 % of us are reasonable people. I love getting older, it is a priviledge getting a birthday, the more you get the luckier you are. Every experience in life should be cherished, each is a lesson. Even grief and sadness are importantant reminders of how important other people, pets, possessions or memories are. Look what you have done Natalia, you have me celebrating myself! Thank you. You are an incredible individual, surrounded by incredible individuals. Stay safe. XX

  11. Jim Andrews says:

    The photograph of you in flight is awesome. I feel it encapsulates your zest for life. Congratulations on being you. XX

  12. Sharon says:

    If the ‘star’ is in a direct line down from Orion’s belt and fairly near it could well be Sirius, the dog star, Orion’s hunting dog.

    That tends to twinkle red/white/blue. Otherwise haven’t a clue, sorry.

    You could try accessing a ‘star map’. Sorry, again, can’t suggest one.

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