Midway through her attempt to become the first female and fastest person to circumnavigate Antarctica, and nearly 1,000nm south of Cape Town, Lisa’s voyage came to an unexpected halt when her boat was dismasted last month. Jury-rigging her boat and taking on fuel in a hazardous operation at sea, Lisa made her way into Cape Town where she’s spent the last few weeks repairing the damage and sourcing a new mast before she restarts the record attempt.
If she wasn’t already, Lisa is fast becoming known for her incredible dedication and ability to push through setbacks. With repairs well underway, I caught up with Lisa and was keen to hear about how she’s coping mentally with this latest challenge.
Jess: How did those first few days back on land feel?
Lisa: [laughing] I’m trying to remember! It was bizarre because I was straight back into it. I didn’t have that time to reflect. Even the night that I arrived when everyone whisked me off to a pub where we had dinner and a few beers, it sort of felt like I hadn’t even left or that I’d just spent a few weeks at sea. In my head, I’d never really got the impression that I’d been at sea for two months straight, on my own. It never felt like that.
Jess: Where are you finding the strength to rally again, put in all this extra work and keep going?
Lisa: When the mast came down, the first few days I was quite depressed about the whole thing. Obviously it felt like two years of hard work down the drain. You know the story, you sacrifice so much during that time to make it possible, so I was really disheartened that it had come to that end.
I’d worked so hard in my preparation to try to avoid that result. It was also really out of the blue; it’s not like we’d had a knockdown, or that I was pushing the boat. It wasn’t until I started thinking about restarting the record that I got the energy to keep going. As soon as I had something to work towards, I knew I could make it happen. I don’t like to dwell on the past. Yes, I had my moment, my cries, then I got over it.
Jess: The support you're received in Cape Town looks like it’s been pretty amazing, what’s that been like?
Lisa: It’s so overwhelming and humbling when you get so many people who you’ve never met before all trying to chip in and help out. I didn’t get a chance to read the comments on the blog till about a week later. My eyes were watery; I don’t get those comments while I’m at sea. That sort of gives you energy as well. Everyone’s seen the effort, the preparation, the safety aspect, so there’s only been really supportive positive comments.
You can see the full list of Lisa’s sponsors here.
Jess: So what’s it going to feel like when you do set off again? Will it be a relief to be on the way again? Or will you be nervous heading back into colder waters?
Lisa: There’s a level of nerves because I am heading back down to no man’s land, and before I even turn left to start heading back to Australia I get almost 1,000nm from land. So there is trepidation, but the boat has performed so amazingly well though all of this trip to date so I really don’t have any qualms. I think it will also be a relief to be going and finishing this.
Jess: Did you ever think it would be this hard? To have to overcome another huge setback like this?
Lisa: It’s another battle. It has been hard, but it’s been such a rewarding challenge. It’s just another bump in the road. I still know I’m going to finish the trip. I don’t really stop and think about it too much; I just keep going.
You can read details about the repair work, the fantastic support of all those helping her and Lisa’s time in Cape Town in her latest blog here. You can also revisit Lisa’s extensive preparations before she left Sydney in this post here.