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Pacific rowers crave a cold drink as wild weather bites

Pacific rowers crave a cold drink as wild weather bites

Two-weeks into her row across the Pacific Ocean and Tara Remington has one small request.

“I would give anything for an ice-cold drink of any sort.”

The University of Auckland academic is rowing across the Pacific Ocean from Long Beach Los Angeles to Waikiki in Hawaii with American Paralympian Angela Madsen. But the desalinator machine they’re using to make sea water drinkable is not as refreshing as they would like, even when they add Raro or electrolytes to it.

“It’s always a bit warm and a little bit salty,” she says.

Tara’s 4000 Km odyssey is to raise money for New Zealand girl Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman who lost her arms and legs to meningitis as a baby in 2004.

Now a 10-year-old, she needs on-going assistance with prosthetic limbs as she grows. Tara hopes to raise enough money for Charlotte to attend Camp No Limits, a special camp for amputees and their families held in the United States each year. Angela, a former US marine, is also using the row to raise money for wounded American war veterans.

Tara is still introducing Angela to Kiwi music to get them in the mood for rowing. After the Topp Twins and Patea Maori Club, she’s now playing Dave Dobbyn and Split Enz, though she won’t play the band’s Six Months in a Leaky Boat any time soon.

In the past week the pair has been fighting strong NW winds and rowing just one hour on-one hour off to save energy.

“The conditions are terrible. It’s taking its toll on us. It’s like pulling the oars through concrete. Every time we drag the oars it’s like the ocean wants to rip it out of your hands.”

“The continent just doesn’t want to let go of us.”

The wild weather has halted Tara’s plans to teach Angela the Haka.

Other highlights in the past week include two visits from a US Navy helicopter that circled above their boat, once in the day and then again the following night.

As the helicopter circled a second time the crew contacted Tara and Angela on their VHS radio to check they were not in distress.

“It was really nice to hear a different voice and have a chat with them,” says Tara.

They have also been wowed by playful dolphins, and impressed by a large white shark that swam up alongside their boat and rolled over to show them its belly.

The bizarre move helped them forget the shark was about the length of their six- metre boat.

Tara, a Waiuku resident and lecturer, first got involved with Charlotte’s charity through the Meningitis Trust in the 2007 Atlantic Rowing Race, and now her daughter Jade is Charlotte’s pen-pal.

Tara and Angela set off in their vessel, the Spirit of Orlando, around 6pm LA time on Wednesday 21 May. The journey is expected to take between 45 and 60 days.

The boat is named in honour of Lieutenant Orlando Rogers, a British marine and fellow competitor in the Trans–Atlantic Rowing Race in 2007 who was killed in a Tiger Moth crash in England in May 2011.

Visit for more information on Tara and her Pacific Row 2014.
Make a donation to Charlotte at:
You can also track their progress at


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