Sarah Outen sets new record for women–and lesbian–adventurers


Adventurer Sarah Outen, twenty-eight, has become the first woman and out lesbian to row from Japan to Alaska.

Outen began her journey in Choshi, Japan on April 27. After spending five months alone on the sea she arrived in a small town in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska on Monday, September 23.

The solo rower spent 150 days at sea and rowed 3,750 miles. Once she hit land in Alaska, she celebrated with a bottle of champagne.

On her journey a few momentous events took place. She capsized five times, was circled by a shark—and got engaged to her girlfriend via a satellite phone call in the middle of the ocean.

Outen studied at Oxford University, where she earned her degree in biology. An avid lover of wildlife, the opportunity to be immersed among it outweighed the difficulties she endured on this strenuous and taxing adventure.

“I have had some of the most intense and memorable months of my life out on the Pacific, it has been brilliant and brutal at the same time,” Outen said in a statement, adding, “And it has been a privilege.”

When Outen landed in Alaska, she was welcomed by a group of supporters who met her as she pulled ashore. They were the first people she encountered in nearly five months, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Only a half a mile away from the Alaskan shore, Outen ran into some high winds and difficult rowing conditions which pushed her onto rocks; at that point, her support team decided it was safest to tow Outen into the Harbor.

“I have pushed myself to my absolute limits both physically and mentally to make land here in Alaska, and body and mind are now exhausted,” she said, as quoted by the Huffington Post.

Outen’s original intent was to row from Japan to Canada, but the weather conditions forced her to revise her plan.

Though a massive accomplishment, this is just one leg of her world trek. Next spring she plans to kayak from Adak to the mainland of Alaska, this time she will bring along a teammate, Justin Curgenven.

After reaching the mainlands, she plans to bike across Canada and North America before rowing across the Atlantic Ocean to her final destination of the United Kingdom, where she resides.

In 2012 Outen attempted to cross the ocean but was cut short after her boat suffered damage from a tropical storm, from which she and another rower were both rescued.

In 2009 Outen rowed alone from Australia to Mauritius, becoming the youngest person and first female to row solo across the Indian Ocean.


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