Queensland Woman Rows from California to Hawaii
Queensland woman potentially sets records by rowing 4,000km from California to Hawaii
Posted on 27.08.2018
Sharks leaping from the ocean, waves crashing into the side of your small sea vessel as you sleep, a bucket toilet with no privacy.
For many this would be the voyage from hell, but for Bundaberg’s Eleanor Carey it was a world-record-setting attempt she was determined to complete.
Ms Carey has just returned home to Bundaberg after rowing 4,000km across the North Pacific Ocean as part of a three-woman team.
They rowed from California to Hawaii in a 7.6m ocean rowing boat named Danielle, taking 62 days, 18 hours and 36 minutes, finishing their journey earlier this month.
Rowing up to 13 hours a day, Ms Carey, 28, and English crew members Cazz Lander, 28, and Megan Hoskin, 34, potentially set two world records — yet to be verified — for being the first team of three to make the crossing, and the youngest female crew of three to row any ocean in the world.
With little rowing experience, Ms Carey became part of the crew called Pacific Terrific after watching a documentary on Netflix about four women who rowed across the Pacific Ocean.
She researched teams looking for members to join their challenge, an email was sent, and with just eight weeks’ notice, she began the epic journey.
With no motor, no sails and just arm power, it was not the sharks, distance or lack of food and privacy that were the biggest obstacle for Ms Carey — it was seasickness.
“There was some pretty hairy moments at night-time when you can’t see anything and you’ll hear broken water and just wait for the wave to hit, and you’re only about a foot above the water, you just brace yourself,” she said.
‘But apart from the weather, I was really seasick at the beginning and it was about 17 days before I ate a proper meal, so my fear was being pulled off the boat and medically evacuated, which we came close to a few times.
“There was no way I wanted to get off that boat.”
There were also moments of beauty and self-revelation for Ms Carey as she completed the journey.
One such moment happened a few weeks into the challenge while rowing in the middle of the night.
“My night shift was 2.30–5.30am. I was eating again and life was getting better,” she said.
“It was 3.30am and I was blasting the Foo Fighters from the speakers on the boat and it was just the most incredible moment.
“Here I was in the middle of the ocean and I just felt completely calm, completely in control and just empowered. If I can do this, I can do anything.”
Happy to be home, Ms Carey is still coming to terms with her achievement and how it will impact her life.
“I feel a calmness that I have never felt before,” she said. “I think maybe I will be more chilled out than I was before. That’s a good thing.”
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