Day 21: Three weeks in – push, push, push!

Push Push Push!

That’s what the next three days are going to be about for me. It looks like I have a decent weather window of light winds for the next three days, and if I don’t make good progress west it won’t be for lack of rowing!

Today was a weird day – I made some progress, although slow as still battling winds, and enjoyed lovely sun most of the day. I just had the most beautiful sunset at the end of a golden afternoon. For some reason I started feeling seasick this morning though, after thinking I’d pretty much got to grips with it. Don’t know if it was just the choppiness of the waves or something else, but I decided to play it safe and take a tablet, which seemed to work.

I had it drummed into me in Monterey by our amazing host Becky (miss you!) that the way to deal with seasickness is ‘mind over splatter’ 🙂 I’d usually go for this, and am not normally into taking drugs to sort out every ailment, but I was finding during training that my mind was not quite managing to get on top of splatter. I duly started the race with the strong combination of patch and pills to combat seasickness for the first few days, which worked well. I have a good store of both on board just in case, and for these few months am going to continue to take a tough stance against seasickness as I want to be able to carry of rowing and know how debilitating it can be.

Yesterday I listened to Pen Hadow‘s ‘Solo’, his account of his successful attempt to ski unsupported and alone to the North Pole along the hardest route. (Huge thank yous to Audible for this – it’s amazing to have such a great range of audiobooks with me). I found it particularly inspiring to listen to how he tackled the psychological aspects of the journey, and what strategies he employed to keep in the right frame of mind. It was especially nice to listen to this, as I was lucky enough to meet and speak alongside Pen a few months ago, and he gave some really helpful advice about tackling something like this alone. Thank you Pen 🙂

The music of the day has been Joyshop – currently one of my favourite bands.

Finally, just a note for anyone who might have been worrying about this. Whenever I go on deck (even if I just pop out to use the bucket) I attach myself to the boat, either by surf leash or full harness depending on how rough it seems. Therefore even if I do get washed overboard (unlikely, as I hold on tight) I will still be attached to the boat and able to get back aboard. Darien and I are staying together out here!

As ever, thank you so much everyone for your comments and emails – I look forward to reading them every day, and they make me feel so supported.

Check out a video below of Elsa on a training row (in much calmer conditions!) off the Cornish coast! Thanks to Tom, Colin et al. for making this one happen.

Messages and support

Please keep messages to Elsa coming – and consider attaching them to oar strokes to power Elsa westwards! Just £0.10 each – please support generously, she has a million to take!

Support Elsa


6 thoughts on “Day 21: Three weeks in – push, push, push!

  1. Wow! It’s good to read your news and I think detect a change in your spirit, and hear about the wind being less hostile. At last you may be able to make good progress now – we’re all rooting for you! Thanks for sharing your music picks too!
    Are you rowing by day and resting when it’s dark now? For a while at the beginning you said you’d trying rowing at night….
    News from Faversham – Open Gardens day was yesterday, I had just one visitor who sought us out on a friend’s recommendation -we had bn closed all through because of the JP conf in Folkestone. She loved the new garden so we were both v pleased!
    I feel much more confident about yr progress now – so good luck and keep up your amazing work! Love your bulletins!
    Hugs xxxxx Griselda


  2. You are an amazing woman Elsa! I look forward to your bulletins, you write as it is and that’s how it should be. Listening now to Unweave, Unravel, Unwind (Joyshop) one of my favourites, wonder what goes through your mind when you listen to those lyrics? Hard to unwind I know, but “In love with a sea that accepts me” I can imagine has a big impact.
    Congratulations on the repairs on your oars, enjoy the amazing sunsets and keep going Elsa!
    Jo (mile 2229)
    PS. Sea sickness hopefully subsided and the fair winds will be with you very soon.


  3. Elsa, I so admire your courage and determination. You are an inspiration to me as at the moment I am in hospital on an Eating Disorder Unit, battling to overcome an eating disorder that I have had for years. During my difficult days I think of you and the courage you have during your low times which helps me enormously.
    I am with you all the way!
    Best wishes


  4. Dearest Munch,
    how crazy to suddenly see that you are already 3 weeks in to the row – ~I got a bit caught up with life and lost track but WoW!
    I mean, I knew you’d do it but to see that you’re actually out there being brave and facing all sorts of difficulties and being so strong…
    I will be keeping up from now on, and hopefully be able to write more often. I wish there was a way to send you stuff like when you were in Borneo and I could send you chocolate, but for now I guess it’s just writing and supporting.
    So here is all my support… All I can think of is the sailing lessons at school, getting knocked over board and singing “I need a boat man” and going home with half the channel in our shoes. Not much but hopefully it raised a smile 🙂
    Big love xxxx


  5. Elsa, the first time Becky went out on a shields boat, she worked foredeck with me and tossed her cookies more than once. Yet, here she is, years later, the owner of a boat and one of the premier foredeck sailors in Monterey. We’re all cheering you on and thinking of you daily. Art Sutton and I sailed my Catalina 25, Ten Up, back from Stillwater Cove in Pebble Beach to Monterey yesterday and the winds were light and the seas high, so we talked about you and you’re journey for a while. I just wanted you to know you are always in our thoughts. Tomorrow, I’ll be briefing our Rotary club on your progress!


  6. Elsa,

    Thanks for the shout out! (miss you too!) Don’t feel too bad about getting some help for the sea sickness. As Luis said it has taken me years to master the “Mind Over Splatter” technique and even I have set backs every now and then…like when we were chartering a boat in Lake Superior recently 😦 I was thinking of you the whole time! WWEHD (what would Elsa Hammond do?) Wishing you fair weather my friend.

    XO, Becky


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