A guest blog written by Laura Nicholson, aka Liz’s niece!!!
It felt like just yesterday Liz was sitting us all down to tell us she had signed up to row the Atlantic Ocean for Parkinson’s UK. To be honest, with Liz being Liz, nothing ever surprises us, but this was a small exception. When she broke the news, the row itself seemed so far in the future but before we knew it, we’d watched her throw her all into preparing and the time had come for us to fly to Lanazarote.
There was never any question that we’d all be there to wave her off but seeing that boat sitting amongst the yachts in the marina, it was hard to imagine that four people were going to eat, sleep, row repeat for six whole weeks in something so small. Despite the gorgeous Lanzarote sun and the amazing All Inclusive hotel we’d booked ourselves into, I could tell the nerves had started to creep in for all of us.
The boat was due to set off on Saturday but the windy conditions meant it was delayed a day, so Saturday night we all took full advantage of the hotel’s delicious food and enjoyed a family meal, Liz seemed super excited and definitely ate like she wasn’t going to have a proper meal for a while, in fact, we all did!! Joining us at the table was also Roxy, Ernie and Parker via a live CCTV streaming from their puppy hotel room back in the UK – they couldn’t miss out, of course!! Liz told us all about how they’d taken the boat for a test run that afternoon and after doing so, she felt confident and excited for the challenge ahead. After a lot of food and too much cake, we headed to bed.
Sunday morning was a little quieter and although excited, and although there’s never been any doubt she’s going to smash this challenge, we could tell Liz was feeling the nerves. As predicted, the wind had died down significantly since Saturday and the water looked calm and still as we headed to Monkey Fist’s parking spot.
We were all so surprised at just how many people had come to line up along the jetty to wave the boat off and after everything was loaded on, it was time to say our goodbyes. It felt so strange that the next time we’d see Liz she would have completed such an incredible challenge with so many unbelievable stories to tell us – it’s safe to say that that last hug was an emotional one as we wished her all the luck in the world.
After a few more pictures, the guys began to row away out of the marina and further out towards to horizon. As they navigated out of the crowded boat area, they headed into the open stretch of ocean on the other side of the wall, so we ran to stand on top of it and wave like mad as the boat got smaller and smaller – the adventure had officially begun.
Since then we’ve returned to home and work and even though she feels lightyears away, we are thinking about Liz every minute of the day. We’re glued to the Monkey Fist Facebook page that brings us news directly from the boat (even Granny has created an account!!!) and are really grateful to the guys on the ground that keep the page updated in such detail, as often as they can – it’s a huge reassurance to us all!
We’re counting down the days until Liz rows into Antigua having achieved what she has and we couldn’t be prouder of the strength and resilience she’s showed so far. Keep going – we love you!!