Kellyville’s all-conquering rower Michelle Lee is due in Sydney in late February to a hero’s welcome as she hopes to complete the first ever non-stop female solo row across the Pacific Ocean from Ensenada, Mexico, to Sydney.
Michelle, 50, left Ensenada last July (her launch featured in the Hills to Hawkesbury Community News/ https://hillstohawkesbury.com.au/greatpacific- row/) and has so far spent more than 170 days on the high seas.
From massive storms which forced her in her cabin for more than a day, awesome backdrops to a one-metre shark landing on her deck, the massage therapist has seen the best and worst of the Pacific Ocean. As she writes in her diary posted on her website: “Mother nature truly is the boss. I am constantly in awe and wonder, in love with life.”
The exact date of her arrival at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney Harbour will be confirmed closer to the date. She is rowing her own boat and is guided by world-famous marine meteorologist Dr Roger ‘Clouds’ Badham.
In her January 19th notes, Michelle informs us that she is doing it tough as high winds pass through. This pushed her boat was pushed off course, which could push back her arrival date.
“At the moment I’m locked in my cabin, it’s been raining, there’s big seas, big winds and nothing I can do about it. I just have to wait out the storm. I’m going backwards, doing a lot of easting that I will have to make up when I get back out on deck,” Michelle writes.
“Mother nature is throwing some tough times at me. Mentally, I am confined to the cabin which I’m unable to even stand up, I have to lie down. I realised, I’m quite boring after 163 days. On a positive note, it’s been forced recovery, forced rest of the body. So, all I’m doing right now is eat, sleep, rest.
“I’m safe though, which is the main thing. …. right now, I’m keen and eager to get home. I just want to get home. I’m so close. 1600 miles (2575km) away but it feels so far because I’ve got days ahead that will be tough.”
Michelle is already in the record books as she constantly tests the limits of human endurance. In 2019, she completed a 68-day epic solo, unassisted row across the Atlantic Ocean (4700km), which won her coveted The Australian Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year award.
Michelle hopes to be the first Australian woman to row solo both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the first female to row solo from the Pacific Ocean mainland to mainland, and the oldest woman to cross any ocean solo and unassisted. Michelle also holds the world record for the fastest woman to row one million metres on a Concept 2 rowing machine.
Michelle started rowing only in 2017 after a 20-year career in finance, massage therapy and personal training. She wants to prove that anything is possible with the right mindset and mental stamina, no matter your age.
Her life is all about conquering new frontiers and inspiring others. As she says: ”Don’t die wondering. Start thinking you can and you will.”
* You can follow Michelle’s journey and also make a donation via her website: solorower.com/