Day 9: new message from Elsa!

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This ‘better weather’ further out is tempting me so much – I can’t wait to get there, but at the some time I’m struggling to know how to…Awful news – yesterday was not just a day of one oar break, but two!!!  And both just snapped immediately and the spoon disappeared completely in an instant, so I don’t even have those to mend or put together for future ones. Now I’m terrified of breaking the next one and and am feeling a bit in limbo. Feel like an idiot – only 8 days in and already messing it up…

Both oars broke as I was nearly capsized by big breaking waves. Tried my best to get them out of the way but also was holding on to try and stay in the boat. Waves broke right over me – whole side of boat underwater, and whole thing filed by wave. So fast. So scary. Left me shaking.

Everything in cabin so wet and damp and disgusting. You’ll have to get yourself a nose peg if you meet me in Hawaii! Condensation dripping from ceiling and running down all the walls. I’m sleeping with a waterproof bag on top of my pillow as it is sopping wet. Putting talc all over my bum and feet every night before getting into my sleeping bag to help hold the salt sores etc at bay.

Massively grateful to all supporters and sponsors – some that I’ve been using a lot this week : Kakadu gloves helping protect my hands as I transition into constant rowing – developing some nice strong callouses and hands haven’t bled at all. Mover layers have been keeping me warm – the nights especially are still cold at the moment, especially as it’s so windy. LifeProof cases and OverBoard dry bags keeping as much of my clothes and kit dry as possible.

Still near a lot of shipping lanes, so am frequently woken up by the AIS warning me that there are ships in the area at could be a danger to me. The AIS has a lovely way of putting it. “Distance from target” “Accuracy: high” etc. I then watch them anxiously on the GPS to see if they carry on heading towards me, or if they look like they’ve noticed and have changed course. Often I have to get on the VHF to speak to them, just in case – particularly at night when I feel more vulnerable. When I get a reply from hem, I let them know that I’m a small vessel, limited in my ability to manoeuvre, (and also often lying in para anchor) , and I just wanted to make sure that they’re aware of me. So far they have all politely agreed to alter course.

I’m feeling rather battered and am covered with bruises all over. Impossible to predict where the next wave will come from.

When I was lying on para anchor and going to sleep last night, I was thinking that maybe my boat feels something like a kite. It is held by this point, but is being lifted and swept around and hit from all directions. Sometimes I’m lifted in bit swoops, sometimes thrown side to side, or lifted up and then slammed down. Sometimes I hear what sounds like a huge train approaching, and then a massive wave slams into me from the side, smashing over the boat and leaving foam everywhere. It is so loud in here at night!

Apart from all the oar breaking and scariness, the rowing itself is easier to do for long periods that I had worried. Hours can go by without it feeling too long.

I can’t wait for a bit of a break in the weather to do some washing and drying, and to make cooking a bit easier. I’m struggling a bit at the moment as dollops of cold water keep being dumped on top of me when I’m on deck – not ideal when you’re trying to heat water!

All the messages, letters and emails make such a difference – thank you so much to everyone who is following and sending good wishes and news. Hopefully this elusive ‘better weather’ will bring with it  more coherent blogs from me.

There have been some sunny evenings where I feel like I could just keep rowing Indefinitely in the golden sunlight, albatross swooping around, and the foam on the water making all sorts of shapes… At least, until a big wave breaks over me, covering me with cold water and leaving me gasping from the shock.

It’s great to hear from Elsa – even if she’s having a tough time at the moment. Great Pacific Race director Chris Martin says that as she passes into deeper ocean (which she is doing as we speak – see the race tracker pic below!) the waves will be more rolling and less breaking, and the further south and west she gets the more favourable the winds, waves and currents. The team is also putting contingency plans in place for Elsa’s oar situation.

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Please continue to send messages of support via the contact form, Twitter and Facebook – Elsa apologises if she doesn’t reply individually but says that they’re all massively appreciated.

Please also continue to support Elsa and get involved by dedicating miles and donating oar strokes. Elsa is well on the way to covering core costs and wants to make as big an impact as possible on the causes she’s supporting.

Media: please get in touch for resources and to enquire about possible satphone interviews.


10 thoughts on “Day 9: new message from Elsa!

  1. Wow Elsa – what an adventure ! Thank you for sharing it with us. May those giant sea birds protect you and the big ships keep up their good manners. We’re all rooting for you. Wishing you a nice calm cup of tea soon ! Seb Suze Em x


  2. Dear Elsa,
    Thinking of you. I hope the sun for you soon so that you can warm up and dry out. Lots of love and keep rowing.
    Christina and Louis (who is home for a few days) xxx


  3. Elsa, Art and track your progress at least 6-7 times a day. When I look at the wind velocity and direction it seems to be not too bad, but from your comments that doesn’t sound accurate. Girls got off this morning at 6:30 under friendlier conditions than you had. Keep rowing and know we are following you. Be safe!

    Lal and Art


  4. Wow!!! Just heard about this via your mum. What a fantastic adventure for you. Wishing you all the love and luck in the world. Always thought you would do something really special!

    Your old teacher


  5. Dear Elsa,
    I am amazed by your resilience and inspired by your courage! You are truly a super woman. Thinking of you through this challenging time and do not doubt your ability to persevere.
    Good vibes and love to you xx


  6. YO Elsa – you rock star… just started following your adventure.. you are so strong and brave just like those waves that keep battering you!
    What a a trip! Elise x


  7. Hi Elsa, Keep on keeping on! I hope conditions are calming for you today. Sounds like a whole lot of wet and miserable and scary, with windows of gorgeous and inspiring. Here’s hoping that ratio keeps improving. You’re one tough woman and you’re finding out what you’re capable of. You’ll always have that knowledge no matter what. Keep up the courage! You’re awesome! –Kate


  8. Dear Elsa, you amazing and inspirational friend.

    It’s wonderful to hear your updates on the great adventure! I’m sure you’re coping well with the kit issues and everything will become easier with time. I’m looking forward to seeing your position off the continental shelf ‘breaker’ zone and into deep, rolling, water! You must be seeing things few people are privileged enough to see. I will be thinking of you out there on the ocean as I set sail for Finland soon. Keep warm, keep strong and keep rowing 🙂

    Lots of love and warm hugs, Oliver xxx


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