Exclusive: Lone rower Mylene Paquette thanks Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 captain who came to her aid


A fond farewell: Mylène waves goodbye to Queen Mary 2 (Picture: Mylène Paquette)

Update: To hear Mylène’s reaction to this story and my blog, please click here.

Below is an email which lone rower Mylène Paquette sent the captain of Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 after it diverted course on Thursday to drop supplies to help her transatlantic attempt. After 83 days, the 34-year-old is halfway towards her target of rowing from Canada to France in a seven-metre boat. By the way, Mylène’s team said she cried when they read her the blog I wrote about her:

September 27th 2013, Atlantic Ocean, 47,05’ North 34,57’ West

To the Captain of the Queen Mary 2 and his wife,


I needed to write you this message obviously to thank you again but also to share with you, your crew and your passengers a little about my outstanding experience with the Queen Mary 2.

Yesterday I felt completely supported and encouraged by you, your crew and your guests. I was really impressed with how all your crew had managed to give me support and how everybody worked together to make this happen. I wanted to write this letter to share with you my perspective of our encounter yesterday.

Firstly, only to hear a voice saying three times my first name followed by the impressive “here is Queen Mary 2, Queen Mary 2, Queen Mary 2…” over the radio was truly incredible. That same friendly voice had explained to me kindly and so gently how things would happen and how to proceed. To see appearing a little dot on the horizon what turned up to be the silhouette of the marvelous Queen Mary 2 was brilliant. As if it wasn’t enough to meet that magnificent boat at sea, I was overwhelmed to know that she was coming up for me. As she was approaching, I was staring at her, looking her like a mirage or an appearance in front of me, she was stunning! I was hearing the voices of your crew over the radio, the engines, the thrusters, all of the sounds of the Queen Mary 2. I saw the water moving around her Majesty, her colors, her impressive architecture, what a beauty of the seas! I saw a little door opened with some friendly people carrying a package over a line hanging over the ocean. I heard the voices of the passengers yelling sometimes my name, sometimes a cheer, encouraging, encouraging and whistles again and again.

I was trying to cope with everything, trying to think about what was really happening. I embraced every emotion and feeling, every moment and every second while talking to my little tiny boat, telling her “this is true, this is her, this is Queen Mary!” At the same moment I was describing what was happening over the phone to someone from my land team for recording so as to share this moment to the world. I was describing every move, saying; “She is there approaching… I see three humans on the front deck! I see people on the deck, hundreds of colors, people in their jackets, these are real people! Oh my God! Oh my God!…” yelling, crying and laughing.

Since the beginning of my endeavour, a lot of people have been following me, via the web, the media, social networks, the articles that I write and through podcasts. I receive a lot of messages but according to my team, they can only send me a few because there are too many and they want to keep me rowing! It’s difficult to imagine all the encouragements with all that distance between me and land, with all that water around, I feel a little alone.

Yesterday your passengers and your crew have made themselves the messengers of the world. To hear them whistle and cheer, to hear all the “ohh!” and the “Go, go, go!” and sometimes my name… that was magical, it was more than I could ever imagine!

I started to row towards the packages your crew prepared and dropped over which I found quite difficult to reach but with all the voices of your guests cheering on, yelling my name, it really helped!

I heard you, Mister Captain, talking to the microphone and explaining my project to your guests with so much patience and respect. You explained so well what I am trying to achieve and how long my journey has been. I heard you telling them what my name was and asking them to cheer me up all at the same moment. That was brilliant, insane really!!! Suddenly I was a rock star in the middle of nowhere! There are no words to describe how I felt.

And then I had a chance to speak to everyone aboard by the radio and via the microphone. I was shy and so amazed at the same time: I tried to be nice and quick. I thanked them for a precious moment, I thanked the crew. I don’t remember the words I used, I said some words in English, some in French and I thought about three simple ones which were: “Live your dream!” I wasn’t sure if it was enough, according to the voices I heard when I got the echo of my own voice in the microphone saying just that, it was thrilling!

This encounter was a unique moment in my life. Above all the items that I received in the packages, which will be very beneficial for the rest of my voyage, it’s the memory of this encounter and the remembering of the people’s cheers that I will carry with me for the rest of my life!

Mister Captain and Queen Mary 2, by making this unique moment happen, you have sent to the world a unique message; you shared the values of the seas and shown about the sense of seamanship. You have shared with the world the inner essence of what is travel at sea; an encounter, a dream, a stunning and vivid experience! You have created an imperishable souvenir for your guests and myself. Queen Mary 2 knows what it is to have a dream. Thank you so much for your help and this lovely meeting.

On September 26 2013, in such a vast expanse ocean, the luxurious Queen Mary 2 was doing a change of bearing to accommodate a feeble vessel and a little woman with her oars and her humble dream: to row across the Atlantic ocean. Not regarding the type of vessel, with engine or sails, in the name of such human values, the QM2 changed course, prepared sweets, fruits and tea, made a new anchor during the night, generously gave a satellite phone and moved a hundred miles South to drop it all over the edge! All this to encourage a woman to pursue her dream!

All the while you continue your trip across the seas, bringing your guests from one port to the other, at the same time your crew will be putting chocolate on your guests’ pillow, and I will now be tasting this same chocolate every night while thinking of all of you on the QM2. And my wrapping will read: Cunard – Good Night – Bonne nuit!

All my best regards

Mylène and her little rowing boat, Hermel.

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