Day 30: Extra splashy wildlife!

I’m still struggling to continue with the western progress I was making, rowing as close to the wind as possible, and being blown southish (fine) and east (bad) – it feels rubbish seeing my west miles ticking back down, but I’m trying to make the most of every opportunity to sneak past the waves and am hoping for another drop in the wind.

Fishy updates:

1. More fish in the water tank! They’re getting a bit cheeky now, and are having a proper party in there, swishing about like mad.

2. Underneath my boat has become a real hang out space for the cool kids, but also a bit of a hunting ground. It’s so busy under there – I have to force myself back to the oars or I would be looking over the side all day. Lots and lots of the little fish (the ones that keep ending up in the tank), and now about 15 bigger fish that obviously like the little ones for dinner. The bigger ones are 1-2 foot long, bright blue with bright yellow tails. They swim lower down than the little fish, and just pop up to the surface to snap and gulp regularly. I tried to get photos but they’ve eluded me so far. Anyone know what they are? (Captain Kate?)

3. As I was getting my sea anchor in this morning the rope stung my hands and also where it touched my leg, leaving a rash on both. (Not very bad or long-lasting). Anyone know why? I haven’t seen any jellyfish around.

4. This afternoon I heard an extra splashy splashing sound in the distance behind me and looked around to see a huge pod of dolphins leaping along, obviously on their way somewhere. Some of them were loving it so much they were doing giant leaps up like an acrobat in the water. I didn’t realise that dolphins travel in such big groups – I’ve only ever seen a few at a time before – but there were at least 30 or 40 of these. Wow.

Thank you again to everyone who is commenting, sending emails and messages, supporting and generally spurring me on. It is so wonderful to read them all, and really helps give me strength to keep pushing on. I’m so sorry I can’t reply to everyone individually from here, but please know that your messages are hugely appreciated and I think about them while I’m rowing!

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14 thoughts on “Day 30: Extra splashy wildlife!

  1. I’d guess that the larger chaps congregating underneath your boat are probably yellowfin tuna. I saw lots of them on my Pacific crossing. At times a huge school of them would show up so that the water around my boat was absolutely seething with their bodies and I could feel them buffeting the hull of my boat. Amazing! I hope they keep you good company. 🙂


  2. The fish are most likely dorado given your position at this time of year, yellowtail would be more inshore, but it is possible. Both fish are known for holding under boats and floating objects in the water. Keep going, good job!!!!


  3. I think you should have a word with those dolphins and get them magically to tow you along while you sleep!!!! A bit like the elves and the shoemaker. Very much love. Christina xxx


  4. How wonderful that you saw a big group of dolphins! It’s possible to see even bigger groups, as some species gather in the hundreds and thousands. As for the predatory fish, I was thinking any one of the three that have been mentioned: yellowtail jack (blue back with a long yellow stripe below the blue, a yellow tail, and a continuous fin all the way down the back), mahi-mahi or dorado (vibrant green or blue or yellow; with a flat, blunt face; continuous fin down the back; very narrow from side to side; and quite sinuous when swimming), or juvenile yellowfin tuna (fat from side to side; perfectly round if seen from head-on; very stiff tail, and two different fins on the back: the first one can disappear completely into a slot in the back, and the second one is pointy and fixed; tunas also have a series of tiny little yellow triangular finlets on the top and bottom leading back to the stiff tail). It might be difficult to tell these apart from above the water. Maybe it’s time to slip in with the snorkel and check the hull and watch fishies? By the way, we all know you are quite the trendsetter, but this fish situation makes you a proper F.A.D.: a Fish Aggregating Device! Commercial fishermen have long known that many types of fish gather under boats or floating logs, and they purposely set out structures to visit after a while so they can catch the tuna and other fish below them. Turtles even gather under floating objects… maybe it really was a turtle banging into the hull at night. Keep pulling westward and keep enjoying the ocean wildlife! — Captain Kate


  5. Loving your updates Elsa! What an amazing world you describe… the dolphins sound magical. Sounds like all your travelling companions are keeping your spirits up, you are doing amazingly well. Fingers crossed for some good west-friendly weather in the next few days. Keep going, you are an inspiration!


  6. You are doing fabulously Elsa. The only solo rower.
    I looked up stings. it could be sea lice, or apparently the cells of jelly fish sometimes get rubbed off. Not definitive answers, but maybe possibilities.
    All so interesting for us sitting comfortably in front of laptops!
    Enjoy the experience. Look forward to reading the book…
    Lesley xxxx
    p.s on the tracker you are not far off course, judging by where everyone else is.


  7. Keep it up Elsa. Watching you each day and hoping for some badass 15 knot Easterly to shove you left. I’ve ordered you a Mojito in this really cool bar in Hawaii. You need to get there quick though, the ice is melting!


  8. Well done so far Elsa! We’re following your progress and fishy tales with fascination, fantastic work so far in what sounds like pretty difficult circumstances. It’s just amazing that as our ‘normal’ lives carry on in Bristol / the UK / wherever your followers may be, you’re keeping that course for Hawaii, surrounded by deepest blue, what an experience! Hope the lows haven’t been too trying so far, you’re sounding extremely chipper, and the amazing wildlife is no doubt helping with this. All our best, Tom & family


  9. Wow! It sounds like great fun and hard work. You are doing great! We really love reading your blog entries. It’s amazing that you saw dolphins – we can’t wait to see some photographs! Corey wonders whether the stingy rope could be caused by baby sea urchins clinging to it? He says they can be quite spikey!

    Steve is visiting us on Wednesday to give us an update on your mission. We are looking forward to hearing tales and seeing photos.

    We are sorry that the wind is not in your favour at the moment – don’t give up! We all believe in you and think you are brilliant!

    Hope to see you soon, we are all thinking about you and wishing you the best of luck! Go Elsa!!!

    Lots of love,
    Felix, Jake, Wil, Zac, Abigail, Sam, Lainie, Isobel, Caroline, Alexander, Ralph, James, Corey, Max, Ava, Elisha, Molly, Belle, Amy, Emily, Jack, Millie, Poppy and Tia (aka Swallows Class!)

    p.s Ava wonders how you will get back – are you going to row?!


  10. I’ve been working on another email…tales from the Brock family adventures! It’s slow going so I wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know we are thinking of you ALL the time. You are never alone. Keep Calm and Carry On! 🙂 XO


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