A Jewish adventure tour leader has made history by becoming part of the first female crew to row across the Pacific Ocean.
Natalia Cohen was one of four British women who embarked on a 257-day journey from the United States to Australia, sailing 9,600 miles in a 29-foot boat. Leaving the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco back in April, they completed their voyage when arriving in Cairns, north-east Australian, in the early hours of Monday morning.
As well as being part of an all-female team, the 40-year-old was also part of the first team of four – the so-called Coxless Crew – to row the Pacific.
Speaking having completed the challenge, Cohen said: “Arriving and accomplishing what we set out to do is a huge thing, but for me there’s definitely still a little sense of longing for the ocean. Not so much rowing, but definitely the ocean. I think it’s going to take a long time to get it out of my head, really.
“We’ve been rowing with all our hearts and there was just relief at actually finally getting somewhere without having to fight, and now just being able to stop. There’s no respite out there.
“It was such a unique experience that now we’ve done it I can’t imagine not having it in my life.”
London-based Cohen has lived and worked in more than 50 countries in the last 15 years and has completed the Inca Trial in Peru 10 times. She had already crossed a section of the Pacific as part of a crew in a small yacht, monitoring plastic pollution.
Describing herself as an “enthusiastic swimmer”, she says: “I find the sight and sound of the ocean deeply meditative and get a great sense of peace when I am near or around water. It’s where I feel at home. So, I suppose you can say that I have always been drawn to the ocean.”
The women are raising money for Breast Cancer Care and veterans’ charity Walking With The Wounded, which helps returned service personnel.