Seablog: Singing myself into line

Finishing yesterday’s mid afternoon break was a tough one – I felt tired and had a headache. It took a bit of a talking to for me to get back on the oars. Silly, because it is infinitely nicer to be outside than in the hot, smelly cabin. The same thing happened this morning when I woke up-I found every which way of delaying the move outside. Again, ridiculous – breakfast is the best meal of the day (Mum’s porridge mix rules!) and the first few strokes at the oars are also the best of the day.

Song therapy was a success on both occasions, each time accompanied by some dancing (if you can call it that). Said song repertoire was combination of completely-made-up-on-the-spot types and remnants of anything I can remember, all belted out at the top of my lungs to any fish, clouds or waves that cared to listen.

Cheery appearances from my faithful Tweedles also confirmed brilliance of being outside. (N.B I have finally succeeded in photographing them…you’ll have to wait for the book though!)

Yesterday I also talked through the reasons why I should stop being such a wimp and do a few more hours rowing….
– Back on land, I’ll only wish I’m out rowing again
-Headache can be cured & lethargy restored with food, drink & crazy singing/dancing
– I can sleep some other time
– There is a front coming at the weekend which will mean time out with Bob (para anchor) again and I’ll be forced into the cabin
-We’re over half way and the more I row, the quicker we get there
-Dad managed to find the energy for things when he was in real pain and feeling rotten
– The rum punch awaits…
– Don’t be such a lightweight-JUST GET OUT THERE & ROW!!

Shortly after I was rowing into the sunset (another great reason to be outside) and today the thought of porridge in the morning sunshine meant I actually made it to the oars in good time.

Happily, we are still truckin’ on in the right direction, in a less boisterous sea than yesterday, so our progress north has been pretty good and it feels less strenuous with a warm sun on my back. A triumph in the galley, too – for lunch I managed to eat a whole portion of the mush claiming to be ‘Beef bolognaise’. Usually, three mouthfuls in and I’m inviting The Tweedles to dine with me. Dried parmesan cheese would have been such a good idea….

Day 64 – we’re fewer than 1600 nauties from the rum punch and have just crossed off the 86th degree. Also, there’s a bottle of fizz to be had with dinner this evening. Party!

S & D & The Tweedles x x


Marcel – Only allergic to cats though don’t imagine they’d be so good in a rum punch anyway.

Geoff, CLASH – Indeed, my email fairy forwarded it on -thankyou.

Lloyd from Freo – Gemini birthday buddy-hope twas a good one.

Amanda Powell – Lovely email, thank you. Will reply fully on the other side. Keep truckin’!

Nicole ‘Cake Fairy’ Milligan – 5 layered cake sounds perfect-I’ll keep you to it… 🙂

Steph Miller – I agree, just young & silly! Yes, book is in the pipeline. Hopefully out for early 2010.

Sam Bryant & Ashika Gauld – Thank you for lovely email. Looking forward to Southampton Boatshow

Jennie Wills – Phd, eh? Nice one. Course I remember you – I’m not that old & forgetful yet!

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20 Responses to Seablog: Singing myself into line

  1. Mum says:

    Barry Gumbert…yes please keep posting the Rime of the Ancient mariner…she hasn’t got it with her…I thought she had. Silly me. Thanks again for all the comments. Sarah really appreciates them.

  2. Amanda B says:

    Song therapy works every time – perhaps you could try it on Bob if ever there is another time when he doesn’t want to come in?! Very envious of you seeing all the albies…Chris and I attended the Central England Arthritis Care Volunteer Conference yesterday, a great day, and there was a quiz question about you and your adventure! It was lovely to find that awareness of your efforts is so high that most people got the right answer, hurray! Amanda x

  3. Mark Powell says:

    Keep the stiff upper lip and hips and arms and legs and whole body going, you are doing an awesome thing and there are so many people supporting you in this fantastic endeavour. We cannot appreciate how hard and lonely it can be but be assured we are all urging you on to the end which is getting ever closer each time you put the oars in the sea. Endeavour and fortitude are two things you have in abundance keep it up.The book will not be a best seller if you do not reach your goal. I remember when talking with the ‘Vivaldi’ boys in the Atlantic how tough and lonely it was but the communication with the loved ones was the key to the success and knowing the challenge will be over in the not too distant future and the pain will subside and the elation takes over. ‘Party,party,party’ time

  4. Amy Bryant says:

    Keep it up Sarah, we’re all willing you on, if we could come and give you a big push out there we would. You’re demonstrating such awesome determination mate. I managed to complete a 10k race the other day (you know how much I struggled with long runs from the old days!)and was terrified in the build-up to it, but so glad I went through with it, felt jubilant at the finish line. Just imagine what it will be like when you see land – that should get you bounding out of the cabin! Go for the overbump xx

  5. Susie Calderan says:

    Ah, remember our times on Silurian, dude, when all that kept us going in the Hebridean wilds was a rousing rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody or a quick round of the Hokey Kokey? Unfortunately I am not able to come and visit you with a round of hippy tea and a handful of ginger nuts, but I’m up at the mast with you in spirit my dear.

    Oh, and other victory for the similar socks to report. I was out for dinner the other night in a fancy little summer frock and flip flops. Just as we were finishing our first course, my lifeboat pager went off. Ever conscientious, I leapt into action and left the restaurant (conveniently situated right next to the lifeboat station). Piled on the oil skins over the top of my glad rags and hair do, but – oh! – didn’t have any socks on! But – ahhhh – found the similar socks nestling in my yellow wellies and all was well with the world. So, it’s the new look for lifeboat crew – floral frock, similar socks and yellow wellies…

  6. Clare says:

    Hi Sarah
    your film is now live! so anyone else who wants to see it and get to know you a bit better (if they don’t know you already) can see it on:

  7. Clare says:

    oooh, I should explain for people who don’t know: I have made this short film about Sarah for the Oxford University Alumni website as Sarah is speaking at the annual Alumni Weekend in September. And as you can see, she’s great on camera as well as everything else!

  8. Clare S says:

    You are doing so well. Keep it up and keep singing. I have never met anyone with more determination than you so I know you will make it. Just keep thinking of the rum punch and land. ‘Push for 10’ xxx

  9. Sam Coghlan says:

    Your self-motivation techniques are interesting!
    Keep up your awesome rowing.

  10. Chris says:

    Hi S,D & B, so sorry to hear you’ve had a NOT NICE headache S. Hope T’s are keeping close & looking after you so keep truckin’ – you are one special star!
    love chrisx

  11. Barry Gumbert says:

    Ancient Mariner part 2

    THE Sun now rose upon the right:
    Out of the sea came he,
    Still hid in mist, and on the left
    Went down into the sea.
    And the good south wind still blew behind,
    But no sweet bird did follow,
    Nor any day for food or play
    Came to the mariners’ hollo!
    And I had done a hellish thing,
    And it would work ’em woe:
    For all averred, I had killed the bird
    That made the breeze to blow.
    Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
    That made the breeze to blow!
    Nor dim nor red like God’s own head,
    The glorious Sun uprist:
    Then all averred, I had killed the bird
    That brought the fog and mist.
    ‘Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
    That bring the fog and mist.
    The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
    The furrow followed free;
    We were the first that ever burst
    Into that silent sea.
    Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
    ‘Twas sad as sad could be;
    And we did speak only to break
    The silence of the sea!
    All in a hot and copper sky,
    The bloody Sun, at noon,
    Right up above the mast did stand,
    No bigger than the Moon.
    Day after day, day after day,
    We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
    As idle as a painted ship
    Upon a painted ocean.
    Water, water, every where,
    And all the boards did shrink;
    Water, water, every where,
    Nor any drop to drink.
    The very deep did rot: O Christ!
    That ever this should be!
    Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
    Upon the slimy sea.
    About, about, in reel and rout
    The death-fires danced at night;
    The water, like a witch’s oils,
    Burnt green, and blue and white.
    And some in dreams assur’ed were
    Of the Spirit that plagued us so;
    Nine fathom deep he had followed us
    From the land of mist and snow.
    And every tongue, through utter drought,
    Was withered at the root;
    We could not speak, no more than if
    We had been choked with soot.
    Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
    Had I from old and young!
    Instead of the cross, the Albatross
    About my neck was hung.

  12. Ruth Ryder says:

    Hey Sarah,

    Love reading your daily blog, really amazing to think of you out there in the ocean, plugging away – I wonder how many thousands of people you have touched with your dedication to this inspiring challenge…

    I have to agree that happy socks rock – purple stripey get my vote although I think your birthday ones take the (sea)biscuit!

    Lots of love and best wishes from the Ryders

    PS Keep on truckin’ !

  13. clem says:

    Hi Sarah!!
    Many good wishes from the “mob” at RPYC Freo. Yes, we’re still here, summer seems to have extended itself in WA and boating still in vogue with the Annexe still keeping busy! Everyone still has you very much in their mind and gather in the office for their updates on your progress.

    Belated birthday wishes from us all(we’ll keep the party going for Mauritius)..

  14. Colin Ive says:

    Here I am strapped to a boring desk and have nothing but respect for you battling the ocean. So when your next down about getting out rowing think of all of us who have nothing to row but a desk and are with you in our minds as you glide the waves. If it wasn’t tough it wouldn’t be worth doing……stick at it. In a short few months it will just be a memory, but we will be still strapped to our desks.

  15. Rosie says:

    Go Sarah! My motivation is usually the more exercise I do the more chocolate/cake I can eat. Hmmm, might not work too well in your case with limited rations but they say you need an exception to prove every rule! R xx

  16. ian brocklebank says:

    hi sarah,i wonder if it feels like you are going downhill now you’re over halfway?loved the image of you dancing about in the middle of the ocean,was going to try it at the boating lake but somehow think it might get me banned!
    i wonder what will dippers do at the end of your epic voyage?retire?mentor other boats who are keen to do something similar or tour and bask in the inevitable glory of your achievement?
    just watched your film,it really does highlight the monuemental nature of your amazing journey and the motivations for it,as many others i am in awe of your fortitude and application,we are all willing you to push on.
    hope the rations take an upward swing,that beef thing does not sound good!
    heres hoping you see a few more albies soon…..
    regards to you and dippers

  17. Charlie Chase says:

    I have just watched your short film on the website of the Oxford University Alumni (my thanks to Clare).
    The more I learn about you – the more impressed I become. I’ve heard you on Radio, but when do we see you on TV, BBC TV. Will they be at Mauritius when you arrive. I’m sure they must be planning a good long programme to show at some time. I wont want to miss anything, will we be informed – I hope we are.
    Keep going girl – always thinking about you – Charlie

  18. xtina says:

    Hi Sarah.
    Thanks to your mum we have managed to buy a huge Planning Chart of The Indian Ocean for our study wall …. we now can see everything much more clearly, and follow by marking longitude and latitude … brilliant!!(just the same as the one you have up in your kitchen)
    Can see the 86th degree you have reached; oh my goodness how amazing to be able to follow like this ~ is making so much more sense.
    Hope you enjoyed that bottle of fizz? and the party didnt go on too late waking the Ocean up too much!! Bet the Tweedles love having their photographs taken.
    take care

  19. Caroline says:

    Have been following your journey from the start after hearing you on Woman’s Hour before you set off. So enjoy reading your blog posts and can’t wait for the book – think you’re a total legend. Have been meaning to comment for ages, but haven’t got round to it till now. Best of luck with the rest of your journey.

  20. Marcel says:


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