Day 20: shit sandwiches with silver linings

All the messages of support and encouragement that I’m receiving are helping me to keep going in so many different ways and it really does light up my day to read them. Every now and then though, something comes through that makes me rethink my attitude.

I have been finding it tough to keep struggling on in these horrible conditions, invariably only being dragged east when I row, and trying to make very stroke count in the right direction. There is hope of a few days of lighter winds approaching that might allow me to make a break for it, but it’s definitely demoralising to finish each day of rowing further away from Hawaii than I was when I started. It’s particularly tough as it feels like everyone else is now sunning themselves on blue seas, being wafted gently towards Hawaii by friendly trade winds (I know it probably isn’t quite like that)…

Anyway, Steve forwarded me on a message today that someone had sent. One part specifically stood out to me:
“You’re eating a shit sandwich right now, eat it one hour at a time. Tomorrow does not exist.”

I’m going to break through this bad patch, even if it takes weeks, and just have to crack away at it bit by bit. I’ve got more than enough food on board to last me, and while conditions are unpleasant and often scary, there’s nothing really wrong with where I am.

It is shit right now, and probably will be for a while yet, but all I can focus on is what I’m doing at the time – whether that’s rowing, resting, cooking, or maintaining equipment – and trust that things will get better in the end. (I am still daydreaming of future hot showers, dry towels, and clean dry beds that don’t continually move about though…)

Hello from the Pacific - check out that wave!!
Hello from the Pacific – check out that wave!!

Food update (by request – you know who you are!): Food is currently going almost all in my mouth due to a cunning ploy I’ve come up with. Instead of adding the recommended amount of boiling water to rehydrate my meals, I’ve been adding as little as I can get away with, meaning that my meals are now a nice thick consistency and not so much at the whim of the winds. I also have plans for an exciting meal concoction that I think will be both excellent and delicious. I’m not attempting this until better weather though, perhaps not even until the trades, so keep an eye out in future blog posts!

Steve: Elsa has told me that your messages of support are really helping her get through these extremely challenging conditions. Please keep them coming, and consider spurring her on by attaching your encouragement to as many oar strokes as you can donate – just 10p each, but Elsa’s got a million to take!

3 thoughts on “Day 20: shit sandwiches with silver linings

  1. Just think! Your smart choice to go it alone means that while you may have nobody to grouse to on board, you are spared some of the joys other teams describe: company in the cabin using the bucket; other peoples’ weeks-old clothes; dudes right next to you “vigorously scrubbing” their nether regions with no pants on; three other warm moist bodies steaming up the window; having to argue over who chooses the next tunes. Of course, I wish I could take a turn at the oars for you (I’m still pushing the cursor westward as hard as I can!). I’m glad you’re willing to wait out the bad weather. And no, it’s not all sunshine and trade winds. Some of us are sitting at home sorting through months-old stacks of paper. Gosh, how exciting. 😉 Hang in there, Elsa, you’ve got what it takes.


  2. Hi Elsa
    It’s really wonderful to read your bulletins – even reading about your challenges (this bloody wind!) The details make it very vivid. You are doing a magnificent job… To have all this set against you at the outset (and it’s funny reading your fantasy that the others are just lightly skimming over blue water!) but I think you have the right attitude – in a way your position is not important, it’s the way you respond to all these problems. You have discovered that the world is not an oblate sphere but a bucking, rearing, time-warping, soaking elastic creature – like a big mad puppy – and you are taming it. You are right – this is a bad patch. But you are on top of it. I have the feeling that more and more people are following all this now via Twitter & FB – it’s genuinely gripping us all. Keep up the good work! And I totes agree with Kate’s comments about the squalor of sharing! Big hugs xxxx G


  3. Well done Elsa! You are making such fantastic progress, really racking up the miles, and they will start to take effect soon. We look every day to see where you are and you are doing absolutely brilliantly! Sending you very best wishes.


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