Waiuku's Tara Remington has strange plans for her 44th birthday.
She plans to treat herself to a Peppermint Patty chocolate before picking up a set of oars and continuing to row across the Pacific Ocean.
The Auckland University academic started the row from Long Beach, Los Angeles to Waikiki, Hawaii, with American Paralympian Angela Madsen yesterday.
The 4000 kilometre odyssey is to raise money for Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman, who lost her arms and legs to meningitis as a baby in 2004. Now 10, Charlotte needs ongoing assistance with prosthetic limbs as she grows.
Remington's row will also help raise enough money for Charlotte to attend Camp No Limits for amputees and their families held in the United States.
She first got involved with Charlotte's charity through the Meningitis Trust in the 2007 Atlantic Rowing Race and now her daughter Jade is Charlotte's penpal.
Remington's journey is expected to take anywhere from 45 to 60 days but she doesn't mind that she will not be able to stop to celebrate her 44th birthday on May 26.
Speaking before her departure, she said she was not feeling the nerves.
"Quite the opposite really, I feel like I've had enough time to talk about it and think about it, I just want to go and do it," she said.
Along with the Peppermint Patty, Remington packed instant noodles, macaroni cheese and merino clothing to keep her comfortable during the long hours of rowing. "I feel really ready to go; I am putting my game face on now.
"When I'm at the beach and I watch the tide come in and the tide go out and see the waves breaking, I think, ‘I just want to be out in it'."
The rowers' quest to complete the Pacific Ocean will take place in two stages, the first this month between Los Angeles and Waikiki and the second between Hawaii and New Zealand in 2017.
Remington, a professional teaching fellow at the university's faculty of education, planned to use the experience towards her PhD studies in adventure-based learning.
She planned to keep a blog of her journey along the way to share her journey and from her past experiences of ocean rowing, she should have plenty to write about.
In 2005, she competed in the Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race from the Canary Islands to the West Indies.
Remington and her rowing partner Iain Rudkin suffered immense seasickness.
She rowed with a bucket between her legs for the first five days just to keep going.
A 3.5 metre shark, which they nicknamed Abby for its abnormal behaviour, battered their boat for 15 minutes before losing interest and swimming away.
They had completed 3518km of the 4800km race and had spent 47 days at sea before the boat started to take on water and then capsized, forcing them to abandon ship.
Two years later, Remington returned to the Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race as one of a team of four women rowers all looking to finish their unfinished business in a boat of the same name.
They finished in 51 days, 16 hours and 31 minutes and became the new world record holders for a women's four.
Remington is determined to make this Pacific race a success for her own confidence and to ensure she raises plenty of money to help Charlotte.
- Waikato Times
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