Tajha Chappellet-Lanier here. I’ve always been attracted to outrageous adventures. Biking across a continent? Love it. Hiking a list of 14ers (mountain peaks over 14,000 feet)? My exact idea of a fun challenge. So it’s no surprise that when I heard about Heather Taylor, who will be rowing solo from Monterey to Honolulu, Hawaii to raise money for women living in poverty, my imagination was hooked.
To be clear, I have not undertaken an outrageous adventure myself. Not yet! For now I feel a deep sense of awe toward these people, and the nagging sensation that I should find My Thing and join their ranks.
I don’t think rowing will be My Thing, but I’m thrilled that it is Taylor’s. According to her website, Taylor grew up in Ontario, Canada, and currently lives in Perth, Australia, where she works for the Western Australian state government in disaster management. She’s planning to tackle the mid-Pacific route to Hawaii, traveling 2,500 miles in a boat called Wave Dancer, equipped with 120 days of rations and three sets of oars. If she succeeds, Taylor will become the first Canadian to do this route, and if she succeeds in less than 87 days, she’ll also be the fastest and youngest woman.
Taylor had initially planned to do this journey last year, and even launched in May of 2020, but electrical issues on the boat forced her to turn back after 10 days. Because she’d had a delayed start due to Covid, there wasn’t time for her to start over within the good weather window.
The journey, while certainly adventurous, isn’t just about adventure. Taylor is also hoping to raise $100 for each of the 2,500 miles she rows, and that $250,000 will benefit women’s health projects by Christian nonprofits Emmanuel International and Tearfund Australia.
“I have met others who have not shared my privilege and as far as I can tell, we're not that different from one another,” Taylor writes on her website. “We can all do something about the injustices we see. Rowing an ocean is certainly not the only way to do it, but through it I hope I can make a small drop in a very large ocean.”
If you’d like to see Taylor off on her voyage, you can do that tonight at 11:50pm at K-Dock near the London Bridge Pub. She plans to start rowing around midnight, when the wind dies down. If you’d like to donate to support her mission, or just follow her progress on the tracker, that’s all here on her website.
“I’m not sure if starting it for the second time is a pro or con. Knowing what is to come in the first week (seasickness) vs. having experience to make very small changes that'll make little things a bit easier,” Taylor wrote on her blog this past weekend. “I'm feeling excited and nervous.”
In this case, I guess, a journey of 2,500 miles starts with a single dip of the oar in Monterey Harbor.