These Women Just Spent 257 Days At Sea

Photo: Courtesy of Coxless Crew.
The Coxless Crew, a team of all-female British rowers, has arrived in Australia after spending 257 days rowing more than 9,200 miles across the Pacific Ocean.

Crowds gathered to welcome four of the rowers — Laura Penhaul, Natalia Cohen, Emma Mitchell and Meg Dyos — as they stepped onto solid ground at Marlin Marina in Cairns on Monday, according to The Guardian. The impressive women set not one, but two records, becoming the first all-female team and the first team of four to row the Pacific.

The women began their journey in San Francisco in April last year, setting sail in 29-foot pink boat named Doris. The journey, which was split into three legs, was completed in its entirety by three of the crew: Penhaul, 31; Cohen, 40, both from London; and Mitchell, 30, from Buckinghamshire.

Isabel Burnham, 31, from outside Cambridge, completed the first leg. Lizanne van Vuuren, 27, a South African who grew up in Newbury, took over the second stage. And Meg Dyos, from London, completed the final section.

During the final days of their journey, the team tackled the Great Barrier Reef and faced dwindling supplies.

“It has been an exhausting and emotional few days as we make our approach to land. It’s fair to say that with physical exhaustion, sleep deprivation and a lack of savoury food, we are being tested to our limits," a blog post from the crew published on Sunday read. "However, this is where we draw on our spirit, row hard, row strong, row together.”

The women rowed as pairs, taking two-hour shifts and sleeping 90 minutes at a time. Each consumed 5,000 calories a day, eating freeze-dried meals and protein bars, according to the BBC. During their nine months at sea, they were reportedly circled by sharks and battered by tropical storms. They even witnessed the approach of a humpback whale that surfaced just yards away from their boat, the BBC reports.

The expedition, which is raising money for the charities Walking with the Wounded and Breast Cancer Care, has been filmed for a documentary called Losing Sight of Shore.
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