Lia Ditton’s life revolves around rowing, and pushing her own capabilities to extreme limits. As of now, she is in the middle of an epic journey to Hawaii that started in San Francisco. It's an adventure that has been fraught with challenges and has seen her overcome two terrifying capsizes and spend weeks battling currents and winds that took her south. But Lia is just getting warmed up, as this journey is training for a more ambitious adventure next year.

On 17 June the London-born navigator set off on her solo rowing challenge. To prepare for the 2500-mile journey Lia spent weeks doing safety checks and packing enough food to last for 75 days, while also ensuring that she didn't overload the vessel. As she makes her journey across the Pacific Ocean, a land-based team has been on hand to prepare with weather routing, medical support and safety throughout the trip.

Lia Ditton preparing to cast off
Lia Ditton preparing to cast off © Dylan Reeves

“Lia was originally aiming for 53 days, which is the record, but she fully accepted this would be down to favourable weather conditions, which she really hasn’t had. It’s been tough as can be, so now she’s aiming to get there in less than 99 days, which is the record set by Ros Savage - the only other woman to do this row,” a member of Lia’s team told Lonely Planet. 

Also a professional sailor, Lia fought adverse currents, strong winds and waves the size of buildings as she made her way along the California coast. On day 19, a rogue wave capsized her 21-foot boat and she was plunged into the ocean, forcing her to roll the craft back herself. “The boat was not self-righting. Without hesitation I began to roll it. I don’t remember how I initiated the roll or how much force I used, but the muscles in my neck, arms and shoulders are very sore now,” Lia wrote on her blog. 

Lia Ditton at sea
A selfie on the sea © Lia Ditton

Describing it as a half-marathon, Lia’s mission is part of a bigger idea, to work up to a longer row that will see her travelling across the Pacific, from Japan to San Francisco hopefully next year. Through these challenges Lia has said she hopes to test herself in all conditions and learn how to fix things and adapt should she need to. Lia said that she is on a mission to become the first woman to row the Pacific, but also the first person to row land to land completely unassisted. 

Lia is also passionate about educating people through her trips, and uses daily blogs and videos to recount the experience. The team also prepared a series of content for younger followers before she took off covering different areas of the preparation. 

In June it was announced that fellow rower Angela Madsen had passed away during a solo attempt on the same route, with the news devastating Lia and highlighting the perils associated with such an ambitious undertaking.

Lia’s journey can be tracked at her official website.

Read more:

Hawaii postpones its tourism restart date again
10 classic sailing adventures - Lonely Planet
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