Message from Elsa – Day 14

Elsa writes:

View from my cabin after a rowing shift - check out those waves!
View from my cabin after a rowing shift – check out those waves!

I’m so sorry to hear the news about Team Pacific Rowers. They’ve had a tough time from the start, and looked like they were doing amazingly well. Was looking forward to catching up with them in Hawaii. I could hear the coast guard on my VHF throughout the night, as I was hiding from the scary waves in my cabin. It is only today that I’ve found out exactly what happened though, and am thankful that the whole team is ok. Thinking of you guys.

I’m still struggling with the cold, wet, windy conditions. I haven’t been out of my foulies when rowing yet. I do manage to change into slightly damp but perfectly acceptable clothes at the end of each shift (I’m trying to keep ‘indoors’ and ‘outdoors’ as separate as possible), but getting into my freezing cold wet rowing clothes at the beginning of each shift still makes me shiver and complain. Roll on the warmer weather!

I’m getting quite adept at ‘speed cooking’ – trying to time my food preparation between waves. I take a good look out towards the waves and wait for a  quieter patch, then quickly open up my ‘cooking’ hatch, and snatch out my stove, gimbal, gas canister, and bag with lighter. I balance them between my knees and quickly close the hatch up again before a wave can break over it. Then I put everything together, carefully holding onto loose bags and bits and pieces – at the moment I’m tucking them under one of the broken oars while I cook. I choose an expedition meal out of another hatch (using the same wave avoidance method), and check the amount of water I need. Tucking that under my foot,  I fill the stove with the right amount of water from my water bladder – again trying to time the pouring between waves so I don’t spill everything. While the water heats I open up the meal and remove the desiccant sachet, and usually refill my drinking bottle at the same time. Once the water has boiled, I pour it into the meal and stir, and then close the pouch up and tuck it behind the broken oar while I put all the stove pieces away (again, trying to avoid waves). This has been mostly successful so far. I’ve had some water slosh into the hatch, and one wave attempted a big attack, but I managed to block it with my body, so the stove pieces are mostly still ok. Eating food should be a simple matter, but I’m still struggling to work out how to get a whole spoonful into my mouth while still keeping a wary eye on the approaching waves. Bits of pasta have ended up all over the deck, on my clothes, down my neck, in my ears… For some reason, the wind doesn’t like the idea of  food going into my mouth.

It seems the wind and I disagree on a number of things then, including which direction is a good direction. I’m still inching south west, but it is slow and painful. Come on trade winds!!

Please continue to send messages of support. Also like and share Elsa’s row on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, subscribe to the newsletter – and dedicate miles and sponsor oar strokes!!

Elsa still has a way to go to reach her fundraising goals – please share as far and wide as you can.

9 thoughts on “Message from Elsa – Day 14

  1. Hello Elsa!
    Sounds like you are doing amazingly well! So many of us are routing for you and your in my thoughts often. Keep up the good work and stay positive. Big love from a sunny uk xxx


  2. All sounds very familiar – I remember holding things between my knees, under my toes, in my armpits – all in an attempt to keep them secure and stop wind or waves from whisking them away! Also quite normal to end up covered in dinner, although I don’t recall ending up with food in my ears….?! Much love from Howard and me. x


  3. Brilliant perseverance, Elsa! Way to keep pulling even when it feels awful. Now that you’re over deep water you’re in the realm of some truly marvelous creatures: sperm whales (huge, black, square, bumpy bodies, and the blow comes out the end of their head at an angle), blue and fin whales (incredibly long, sleek low gray curved bodies, blow goes straight up very high), and beaked whales, which look like great big scratched-up overgrown dolphins. You might even see offshore orcas/killer whales, which eat sharks, so they’re your friends, though they might be quite curious if you’re lucky enough to see them. Most humans only dream of that unknown world that you are now intimately part of. What a privilege to set out on your own into the wild ocean. Remember the love and wonder of what you’re doing, when you can in between the hard bits. You’re amazing! — Kate


  4. Elsa – keep going strong, you amazing woman! Your posts are so enlightening but I still can’t imagine the battles you are fighting each day. Wishing for strong winds to carry you westwards. Philippa x


  5. So impressive Elsa. First heard about your trip via a tweet by Mariella Frostrop. Such tenacity & courage. Will be following your journey and wishing you warmth and safety. Made of stronger stuff than most of us. All the very best, Heidi xx


  6. You can’t hear me cheering you on, but I am! Stay hydrated. Keep eating. Hopefully soon you can eat without getting food in your ears. Cry if you need to, then keep going! You are amazing.


  7. HI Elsa … this evening 9 hot air balloons landed in the field next to our yurt. Their vibrant orange colours against the blue sky make me think of your orange boat in the blue ocean. At least you’re not facing the rather cross farmer the balloonists had to reckon with ! Your blog makes amazing reading. So many people are wishing you well. The Pukka team watched your film at their staff day last week and were so inspired by you. Forza ! Suze, Seb, Em and the Pukka team.


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