For most people, rowing 2,400 miles across the Pacific Ocean isn’t the ideal way to spend their summer. But that’s exactly what Eliza Dawson will be doing in an effort to raise awareness for global climate change.
Dawson is a recent graduate of the University of Washington, where she competed on the school’s rowing team. At Washington, Dawson studied atmospheric sciences and will begin work toward her Ph.D in the fall.
In the meantime, Dawson and three crew mates, all female, will spend the summer rowing a 24-foot boat from California to Hawaii. They will try to set a world record for fastest crossing of the Pacific by an all-female crew while also raising awareness for climate change.
“I’m really excited about this adventure,” says Dawson. “I’m both an avid athlete and a young aspiring scientist, and I care a lot about our future.”
The details of the journey make this far from the ideal summer vacation. The boat will have no motor or sail, being propelled solely by the four rowers. They will row for 12 hours per day, two hours on and then two hours off.
The four young women will survive mostly on freeze-dried food, nuts, and energy bars. They will also travel with a water maker to desalinate ocean water. Dawson expects each rower to lose roughly 19 lbs. over the course of the journey. Also, there is no bathroom on board, only a bucket.
The fastest crossing for an all-female crew from California to Hawaii is 50 days and eight hours. When they launch in June, the crew will aim to break that record.
The journey will also give Dawson a chance to get a jumpstart on the research for her doctorate. The path of the trip will take the crew toward the Pacific Garbage Patch, a mass of trash and debris twice the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean.
“As a young scientist, I am the future in climate,” says Dawson. “I really hope this row can spread awareness and spread the message that it’s time for political action now.”
To help Dawson and her team, supporters can donate to a GoFundMe page to help raise money for supplies.