December 27, 2015 Lauren Morton



As I’m sat here typing away in the hot festering cabin I cannot believe we have been at sea for over a week! Time is flying by. 

It was a strange thing leaving the marina of La Gomera, as we rowed away slightly giggly and hysterically, it took us about a good 3 miles to realise that this was it- no turning back now. A sudden realisation that oh, actually, we can’t turn back – no more training rows. We looked back to the mountains of La Gomera and Tenerife and all thought to ourselves this is a bit mad really, are we really doing this? And on we went.

We have chosen to take a slightly ballsy route down south to chase the trade winds, added into this our last weather check on land showed a low pressure system hitting around day 5 if we were to take the more straightforward track- meaning we would have been pushed further north and potentially had to deploy the sea anchor. I’m not up for that this time round, so we headed where the butter melts- and fingers crossed, and toes – it has just about paid off. We will be tracking more westerly now so please don’t worry. In the words of Ben Fogle – Antigua here we come!

As Bells has said it really has been a baptism of fire or a baptism of vomit whichever way you see it.

Bells as ever have the stomach of an ox, closely followed by Olivia. And then there is myself and Gee- HA HA HA- not the strongest chickens of the bunch. I honestly didn’t think it was possible to be as sick- as we were! I’m typing this blog in the cabin now, so I’m well over that hurdle, but Gee is the last to tackle it. In fact last night at approximately 18.12 gee lurched straight out of the cabin door, donning only a pair of Nike trainers and a flat cap and proceeded to projectile vomit her newly digested chocolate flavour ultra fuel all over the deck and consequently onto my legs! I won’t divulge any more intimate facts, but the clean up scene is something I will never forget.

The sleeping arrangements have been divided between the two rowing pairs, myself and Bella boo are on the oars together, and Bolesy and Purdigiggle are the second pair. Myself and Gee (Purdigiggle) swop in and out of the stern seat monitoring the auto helm and our route. This has meant however that we have been assigned the dreaded stern cabin as our sleeping arrangements.

In short, it has no foot well to step into when you’re taking off the wet sodden off shore kit…sooooo your sleeping, rolling around, eating on top on your wet kit, and the cushions are soaked through too. For ladies, as we class ourselves (;)) the smell is quite something; a rotten tone mixed in with mould and condensation. We are outrageously jealous of Bells and Livs who share the bow cabin, and can’t wait for our revenge when we swap positions at the ten-day marker.

Christmas day marked our first landmark on the boat, our 6th day. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t exactly playing ball so was a little heavy on the oars- HOWEVER RLAG KNOW HOW TO PARTAYYYY. On came ‘Walking in the air’- Snowman, followed by some Michael Buble, Christmas Carols and the rest. Liv’s played her recorder as the three of us chimed and tried to remember the lyrics to ‘The twelve days of Christmas’ courtesy of Alex Simpson. One thing’s for sure, we all have beautiful singing voice, and Olivia plays the recorder like an angel! Hahaha I don’t know if that is true, but being thousand miles away from shore, we don’t care what we sound like, so it’s kind of the same thing. 

I wonder what people would think if they looked at this scene as an outsider- a couple of half naked girls, screaming Christmas carols at the top of their god awful voices, one on a recorder, the other forgetting the lyrics and stuffing Christmas cake down her mouth (guilty) – still it was a great time, and I will remember and cherish these moments forever.

In my last attempt I was plagued with bum sores and I had hoped for a better set of circumstances this time round. BUT NO NO- BUM SORE GOD IS NOT PLAYING BALL. They are back with vengeance, angry, mean pustules that unfortunately no amount of talcum powder, surgical spirit (so so painful) and metanium nappy rash cream can overcome the power of these sores. They are here to stay, and are making sitting on that rowing seat for 12 hours a day a right hoot. More photos to follow later-don’t worry you’re not escaping that so easily!


But life is simple out here, we know our routine and we know what we are trying to get out of it. Sometimes at night I look to the right of my oar handle and watch as the waves are crashing alongside the boat. It’s not as scary as it sounds it’s almost like being at one with the ocean. Does that sound cringe or weird? We move with the pace that the ocean dictates, there is no other way about it. If you think you can control it- you’re about to be proved wrong.

The power of the waves is again phenomenal, you can hear them rolling or rather growling as they approach you, the crest of the wave threatening to dump a big fat one on the deck of the boat, sometimes it does…and I shall not tell you the number of expletives that come out of our lady mouths! Sometimes it chooses not too and gives you a lending hand zooming our little ocean rowing along at some serious speeds. It’s very humbling in that way, reminding you exactly who is boss.

That’s all for now, we shall return soon for more updates on life on board. But for now MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR.

All happy campers onboard the RLAG Mrs Nelson..

Lauren x

Comments (7)

  1. Dear Olivia, Arthur told us you were rowing with a four. so I looked and found you, and emailed your mother before you left to say we were thinking of her and you. I have just read your latest comments and commentary about your voyage. You are all tremendous, and well done, and please know that we shall be watching your progress along with Jack G and Freddie in Atlantic Castaways, and Humphrey has told us that Jack Collins step brother in another boat is also rowing somewhere along side you!! Jack shared a flat with both H and Arthur!!
    Loved the comments about singing at the top of your voices scantily clad in huge waves. Very good and gives a very clear impression of your boat and how you all are coping. Anyway all for now, and well done and keep going. much love from all Voelckers.

  2. Andrew Purdy

    Lauren just loved reading your blog, fantastic painting a real picture “warts and all”.
    Just love the thought that you RLAG girls are all getting on and still able to laugh
    although I’m sure not all the time.
    Good luck
    xxxx Gees Dad

  3. James Phillips

    Bloody well done girls!!! Keep going and what a triumph when you finish. (Olivia, I was at Ratcliffe with your Dad and met you with him at some Polo in Rutland). Very impressed with your determination and courage (and very envious). We send you all our best wishes and will be with you in spirit! James and Judy Phillips, Lincoln UK.

  4. Julie Henderson

    Hi all! I hope I’m posting this right on your blog, and you will all be able to see it! I am a little late in wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, but on the other hand, I am early to say Happy New Year!

    Lauren, I have put my photos on Facebook from La Gomera, or rather Danielle has, and she ‘tagged’ you into them so you may be able to show/share with the other lovelies there with you. There’s a running ‘thumbs-up’ theme with Liv – love the Christmas photo! I thought I would have been able to put photos on this blog but it doesn’t seem to work that way.

    Thank you all so much for allowing me to share a little of your incredible journey. On the way there (and back) and going to/from America, I kept taking photos of the Atlantic from the planes, thinking every few minutes “This is STILL the Atlantic!” and, to be honest, worrying. I will put a couple of them on fb to save you ploughing through all my crap.

    Bella – Linda, my sister, said when she saw the photos that you were a ‘cutie’. And so you are!

    Gee – you could be Lauren’s sister you look so alike!

    I’m going to sign off now and once again wish you all a very happy New Year and Godspeed. Julie XXX

  5. Sue and Mike English

    Brilliant to be able to read your blog Lauren. We met Olivia at a fund raising night organised by Charlotte in Broadoak just before you all left for la Gomera. Been thinking about you all often, what an amazing experience. Wish I could suggest something helpful for the bum sores, but can’t think of anything that doesn’t involve not sitting for a while, sorry! Just hope you all manage to keep seeing the lighter side of things and be lovely to each other! All strength to you and Happy New Year, soon you will be at your destination and it will feel so good. Sue and Mike

  6. The MacFarlane Family

    Just seen that you are now in second place and still rowing faster than anyone else apart from Angus and his team. Keep going girls!!!
    We are following you every inch of the way – and you are utterly inspiring!
    Hope you can find time to celebrate New Year’s Eve in some way tonight – but wishing you every success in this race and beyond. What a way to start 2016…
    Loads of love to Bella in particular but hugs to all of too.
    Fiona, David, Alastair and Oli.

  7. Hannah Crossley

    Loving reading your blogs and checking on your amazing progress! Thinking of you inspiring ladies every day, sending lots of bum sore healing vibes your way! So stoked for how well you’re, doing you are smashing it!! XXX

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