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Michelle Lee – tough days but still smiling

Although the end is in sight, this last section of the Coral Sea, has proven to be the most trying of her over 200-day voyage.

Having waved goodbye to Cyclone Gabrielle which kept her locked up for over a week, Cyclone Judy and Cyclone Kevin made their appearance shortly afterwards, resulting in another 5 days of lockdown, forcing her to deploy drogue anchor and unable to row.

In true Michelle fashion, this time was not wasted, and was spent on a considerable amount of self-care, which included her last set of fresh sheets for her cabin and a day spent on deck in the pouring rain fully lathered up in a substantial amount of shampoo, getting ready for the finish line.

Michelle’s spirits remain high, she is back on the oars again and despite some southerly winds and challenging currents, she is giving it her all to maintain a good westerly direction.
One major windfall this last week was finding two large stashes of Easter eggs in one of her hatches, and a piccolo of her favourite sparkling wine which she indulged in whilst she hopes to be her last full moon at sea.

She has sufficient food supplies to see her journey to completion, however, they are now basic – breakfast consists of rice and cuppa soup whilst dinner continues to be dehydrated meals.

There is still no confirmation as to which port she will be coming into. That will remain the decision of her land support crew with her safety has the primary factor.

    • Days at Sea: around 218
    • Current Location: Approximately 1,250 km from Sydney, approximately 880 km from Cairns.
    • Distance travelled: Approximately (7,220 nm) 13,370 km from Mexico
    • Departed: Ensenada on the West Coast of Mexico 8th August in 2022
    • Expected Arrival: Late March / April – North coast Queensland, Australia

I’m so close now, about 500 odd miles away. I’ve rowed, more than 7,500 miles and there’s only 500 to go, but getting to land feels like an eternity away.

We’re going west, heading towards Cairns, which means I’ve got to navigate over the reef.
There’s a lot of things that need to be organized for this, a fair bit of planning, strategy, there’s a plan A, plan B and plan C. It’s super technical for Roger my weather router to get me across the reef at the right time. He’s never let me down so far, I’ve been through the InterTropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), crossed the equator, been through 5 hurricanes and 4 cyclones.

After the Great Barrier Reef, there’s a couple of currents that will want to take me north, and then the next stop is Cairns. I’m now just dreaming of stepping on land.

At the moment, it’s some really conscious focused hours on the oars with the finish line now in sight.

Apart from my lack of sweets and fresh produce, I’m doing great, no complaints. Health-wise, all is good. Right now, my options when I land are looking pretty good. That stack of pancakes is going to be so amazing, as is a bunch of celery, some chopped capsicum and cucumber. Randomly, I’ve been thinking about having a can of #Sprite, and I don’t ever touch soft drink either. A bed, with fresh sheets, so divine, and a shower, and to get my hair done as well! The things going through my mind are rampant now. I expect the first week, it’ll take me a week to become a socially acceptable human again. To look after my skin, my feet, everything’s been so neglected.

There’s only a couple of hurdles ahead of me right now, and they’re quite minor in comparison to what I’ve been through… so looking forward to getting to land I am. My patience has been tried and tested, I’m ready to land…

Michelle Lee - Solo Rower

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Michelle is grateful to all her sponsors;

The Quays Marina LTD    Southern Seas Marine   Dunbier Trailers   Fibre Marine Boat Repairs   Simrad Yachting    Survitec Group Ltd.    Deep Cycle Systems    Chief Nutrition    Speedo    Sharkskin    Tiller and Kites    CAMPERS PANTRY Pty Ltd    Crewsaver    Australia One Party    Silva Method Australia