Mylène Paquette, a Canadian rower attempting to make history by becoming the first North American woman to successfully row solo across the North Atlantic, got a helping hand from the world’s largest ocean liner — the Queen Mary 2 — on Thursday.
'The guests were cheering my on and yelling at me, 'You can do it!' So it was like a big, big bunch of love.' - Mylène Paquette, history-making Canadian rower
The ship reached Paquette at around 8 a.m. AT in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
“This morning the boat arrived on my position around [7 a.m. ET] and it was really, really amazing to see that magnifique ship so big in front of me with all those guests aboard, cheering for me and yelling at me. It was amazing,” she said via satellite phone.
Paquette, from Montreal, left from Halifax in July on her voyage of 2,700 nautical miles to Lorient, France. Her specially designed row boat is propelled only by Paquette and the currents.
Recently, Paquette was hit by the remnants of Hurricane Humberto and lost her anchor, iPhone and satellite phone, among other items. She capsized twice on Monday, though her specially designed boat successfully righted itself.
The Queen Mary 2 received the call for assistance on Wednesday and agreed to help Paquette out. The ocean liner's crew donated a new satellite phone and two anchors, which help to keep the boat perpendicular to the waves.
"We are happy to have given assistance to Mylène and help her recover from the damage inflicted by the storm. We wish her the very best of luck with her solo Atlantic rowing adventure,” said Capt. Kevin Oprey, master of Queen Mary 2, in a news release.
"The captain was a gentleman,” said Paquette. “It was so cool to talk to [everyone], they were very kind to me and everyone — the guests — were cheering me up and yelling at me, ‘You can do it!’ So it was like a big, big bunch of love, you know? A big, big bunch of love.”
Some of the other items the ship’s crew gave Paquette include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Baked goods such as croissants and cookies.
- Chips, oatmeal, bottled drinks, coffee, tea and hot chocolate.
- Empty cans for making fresh water.
- A scraper to remove barnacles from under the boat.
- Duct tape.
- Wool blanket.
She has been alone in her boat for the past 83 days and has another 40 to 60 days or so before she expects to reach France, depending on weather conditions and ocean currents.
Paquete said she has seen lots of wildlife including whales sharks and turtles.
"Every day or every two I see something new, so I don’t feel that much alone out here,” she said.
“I really appreciate my time [out here on the ocean.] I really like it, I really love it.”
The Queen Mary 2 is currently on a seven-day trans-Atlantic voyage which departed New York on Sept. 22 on its way to Southampton, U.K.