Lia Ditton Makes Progress on the Pacific

We’ve been covering Lia Ditton’s attempt to row across the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii for a couple of months now, and during that time we’ve watched her struggle with a variety of of challenges. She’s faced big storms, nasty currents, and even a couple of rollovers, all of which have conspired to slow her down and make the entire journey a grueling one. But now, 68 days into the journey, she seems to be finding her rhythm, covering more mileage as a result. She’s still in a race against time however, as her food supply is in danger of running out before she makes landfall.

As of today, Lia is now just 750 miles (1207 km) away from her intended destination. That may seem like a lot—and it is—but she has now entered the final third of the voyage having put 1489 miles (2389 km) behind her. Better yet, she’s knocked off 34 miles (54 km) in the past 24 hours, which is an increased pace from when we’ve checked in on her in the past.

In a blog post, Lia noted that her goal when she set out was to break the speed record for crossing the Pacific from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii. That record is currently held by Rob Eustace and stands at 52 days from start to finish. Ditton now sees what a Herculean task that goal was, saying that on her 52nd day she was still a thousand miles from her goal and ended up capsizing for the second time. More than two weeks later, she’s still struggling towards the finish line.

The traditional ending spot for those making this row is the harbor located in Hilo, as it is the easternmost point in Hawaii. But Lia says she would like to continue on to Honolulu instead, as that city holds a special place in her heart from a few previous visits. The problem is, rowing to Honolulu adds 3-4 days to the journey, which is made all the more problematic due to her dwindling supplies. Lia is already rationing her food to help conserve as much of it as she can, so by the time she reaches Hilo she may not have any choice but to pull into shore there. For now though, she’s on a “wait and see” status.

I’ve been following Lia closely for awhile now and felt her struggles early on. It’s nice to see that she’s making good progress at this point. She still has a very long way to go, but the miles are starting to count down. If she maintains her 30+ miles per day status, she’s still looking at the better part of three weeks at sea. Hopefully the conditions will remain in her favor and she can make it to Hawaii safely. I’ll keep posting updates as she goes.

Kraig Becker