Day 54 – Day of the Turtle

Day 54 – Day of the Turtle

Turtles are my favorite creatures. If I had a totem, I would want it
to be this. They seem like old souls, wise and wizened, serene and
gentle as they wing their way through the underwater world. I've done
quite a bit of scuba diving, and a turtle sighting always made a dive
special.

So I was very, very, VERY excited to see a turtle today.

After waking to a rough, grey morning with winds over 20 knots, once the
sun rose the conditions quickly calmed down until by mid-morning I was
well and truly in the doldrums. Through the calm surface of the water I
could see that there were a good number of mahi mahi swimming around my
boat so I decided to do some underwater filming. As I leaned over the
side to submerge my Xacti waterproof camera I came face to face with a
turtle.

He was small, only about 18 inches long, but very pretty, with gorgeous
markings on his head. He swam several laps of my boat, staying close to
the hull, a small entourage of fish following him like a gaggle of
pageboys attending on a monarch. He continued his circumnavigation of
Brocade for around for about 10 minutes in all.

I didn't do a great job of filming him – it's not easy from a rocking
boat to accurately aim a video camera at arm's length at a small and
moving target – and he also kept getting just too close, so I've got
some great shots of his eye but not many of his whole body. I'd be very
happy if he came back to visit so I can try again. I'll post another
picture of him tomorrow with his entourage of acolytes.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully. The sky was overcast, the ocean
calm, the wind non-existent. Even Birdbrain the booby was
uncharacteristically quiet. As I type this the ocean is so silent that
all I can hear the occasional splash of a mahi mahi jumping. On a night
like this the ocean seems very large, and land very distant.

Other Stuff:

My course today has been rather erratic as conditions have changed. For
the morning and into the afternoon, such wind as there was came from the
SSE, which was not helpful. But towards the end of the day I was able to
resume my southwards progress.

Today's new video features Birdbrain the Booby and friend in a bit of
slapstick action on the poop deck. Do check it out on YouTube!

I've been pondering on the collective noun for my loyal blog readers.
Rozlings sounds nice, but I am a little embarrassed to have my name
included in the noun – seems a bit egotistical (that Yorkshire
upbringing again!). I thought of Rowsters – but is that too generic?

Other suggestions that I'm afraid I have to turn down:
Rozzers? In Britain that's slang for police. Not quite the connotation I
want…
Roz's Rooters? Really wouldn't work in Australia, where it means… well,
just not suitable. Trust me.
Booby Boosters? Sounds like a new kind of bra.
Roz's Roosters? Hmmm!
Rozcals? As in rascals. I didn't get it at first… might be a bit TOO
clever.
So maybe Roz's Rowsters?

Actually, looking through the most recent comments, Rozlings seems to be
catching on very quickly. And Joan, I know exactly what you mean when
you say it's reminiscent of Dame (!) Edna Everage and her Possums. So
maybe I'll just go with the flow on this one. Rozlings it is. Hello, my
little Rozlings!

Eco Champ of the Day!! A big green hello to Sharon in Toronto! She
posted this comment below, full of great ideas and inspiration. It
almost makes me wish that there would be more garbage strikes – it would
be a big wake-up call for a lot of people to be brought face to face
with their accumulated trash. When it is whisked hygienically away it is
easy to forget that on a finite planet there is no "away".

"Here in Toronto Canada, we are on day 24 of a garbage strike, which has
led to public parks and sides of the road becoming popular dumping
grounds. Determined not to add to the HORRIFYING impact all the sudden
garbage will cause at the end of the strike, my son and I have set out
use, reuse and vaporize what we can.

So far we've started a garden compost to take care of our food scrapes,
we're crafting daily, including an army of robots out of tin cans for
the neighbourhood kids, tote bags out of our dog food bags, recycled
newspaper for 101 paper mache crafts, a box to hold our old newspaper
made out of old newspaper, iPhone and iPod holders out of juice boxes,
chip bag purses and bracelets and the list grows. We are determined to
make this strike a chance for our family to grow green. So much so, that
we've informed all our family and friends that any gifts for occasions
this year will be homemade and recycled.

Reading your blog every day is an extra boost for those times when I
just want to toss an old egg carton, or when the thought of churning the
yucky mush that is becoming our compost makes me sick… I think… its
the least I could do for this planet that has given me so much.

Thank you SO much for opening up your adventure to help the rest of us
discover our own."

Naomi in NY – delighted to hear that I might have influenced you to
resurrect your dream of walking across England next year. Sounds
brilliant! And/or you could come and join us this October as we set off
to walk from London to Bonn, from where we take the train to Copenhagen
for the COP15 climate change conference. Although maybe not the ideal
time of year….! On second thoughts, maybe I'll come and join YOU next
summer for part of your walk – sounds like a much better/warmer idea!

Gregory – yes, women can be knighted, although instead of becoming "Sir
Whatever" women unfortunately get to be "Dame Whatsit" – which
immediately makes them sound like one of Cinderella's ugly sisters in a
pantomime. Anyway, I don't think that's going to be an imminent worry
for me! And Joan – I loved your idea about the Dames Directory. Wouldn't
that be cool?! Dame Judi, Dame Maggie, Dame Ellen (Macarthur) – and of
course my favorite, Dame Edna!

Robert – yes, currents do change all the time. See the latest from
weatherguy at the end of this blog for what I can expect to face in the
weeks ahead. Joan, you're right, it IS confusing. An easterly wind comes
from the east. An easterly current comes from the west. Don't ask me
why!

Susan – glad you're enjoying the Tweets. When I saw the turtle this
morning, I was so happy to be able to share the good news, hot off the
press!

UncaDoug – GPS updates to the RozTracker are automatic. I'm puzzled when
you say that posts are delayed. What kind of posts? Blogs? Tweets? Or
all?

Weather report:

Position at 2140 HST: 05 17.425N, 176 01.534W
Wind: presently none, earlier light wind (5kts) from SSE
Seas: 3-4ft swell
Weather: rained most of the night. Overcast today, but no rainshowers.

Weather forecast, courtesy of weatherguy.com

As of Thursday, 15 July 2009. Wind predictions will be with an added
level of uncertainty due to the naturally occurring variable conditions
in the equatorial regions. From satellite data, it appears enhanced
convective activity was centered along 170W extending past the dateline
to 170E. Winds mostly NEerly direction shift to Serly by 18 Jul
noontime, then back to Nerly by 19Jul0900HST. Speeds should be in the
5-10kt range with periods of calm. Seas 1-4ft.

Sky conditions: Mostly cloudy to overcast with low level clouds.
Scattered rainshowers, squalls, and possible thunderstorms. Wind speeds
in these systems 40kts.

ITCZ: The Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) has once again become
more active over your rowing area. Southern edge of the ITCZ axis trails
off at 180E/W and 00 30S.

Ocean Current: North Equatorial Counter Current (NECC). No change from
earlier discussions. You are approaching the northern boundary of the E
flowing current. Northern boundary is about 05 00N extending to the
southern boundary near 00 30S. Current speeds increases to Eerly 0.1 to
0.2, then builds to a maximum near 0.6 to 0.8kts from 02 30N to 01 00N
then fades to 0.1 to 0.2 near the southern boundary. There are periodic
fluctuations in these dimensions.

Forecast
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft) est
16/1800-17/0600 NE-E 5-15 2-4
17/0600-18/1200 E-S 0-10 1-3
18/1200-20/0600 S-N 5-10 2-4
20/0600-21/1800 N-S 0-7 1-3

Next Update: Monday, 20 July

  • Conway Kayak Company

    Sea turtles are amazing creature to watch swim. Roz you are very lucky to be fortunate to be able to see the oceans in their natural habitat. You remind me of Kevin Costner in water world, growing your own food, making your own non pollutant electricity and you of course are bringing awareness about the global warming.

    ~ Gregory

  • nrgins

    What fascinates me about turtles is how they're so incredibly fast in some ways and so incredibly slow in others.

    I once found a turtle near my house, and put some food in front of it, but it didn't eat it. So I nudged the food closer with my finger, and in a split second it nicked my finger a couple of inches away (not enough to hurt it; just enough to scare me).

    So I realized their neck muscles are lightning fast, like snakes; whereas their legs muscles are so incredibly slow. That just fascinates me to no end…..

  • Robert

    Beautiful shot of the turtle! All the images from Disney/Pixars "Finding Nemo" have come rushing back to me.

    Thanks for the answer Roz, I've taken a look and studied some more about currents, and I've learned alot. Very interesting!

    I also have a book recommendation, perhaps you guys have read it. I've started "Arabian Sands" by Wilfred Thsiger, an account of his travels through Arabia and life with the Bedouins.

    Rozling Robert out.

  • Amac

    Some fan name ideas:

    Rozettas
    Roztafarians
    Rozberries
    The great un-sunburned masses
    Rozians

    Pull smooth and steady, Roz!

  • Susan petry

    turtle encounters are indeed magical. I recall a similar feeling when in the Galapagos-suddenly there was absolute silence, there was nothing else in the universe except me and that turtle-gave a fleeting sense of how ancient and vast their world is.

  • Sharon

    Amazing picture of such a beautiful turtle. One of my favorites as well. Thank you for the mention as Eco Champ, but if its alright with you, I would like to bestow the honour on my son, as 90% of the "work" we're doing is his idea.

    I think it is impossible to read your blog and not be moved to do SOMETHING, and we all know that every little SOMETHING adds up to a big difference!

    Now off to watch the video! Steady On.

  • UncaDoug

    Beautiful pic! Amazing color! Love it!

    d'Rozling Doug

  • Joan M. Newcomb

    I like "Rozlings" but it sounds like we're all perched on the poopdeck with Birdbrain. Have you *seen* how much poop a flock of geese can produce?

    We could also be "Rowzers"…

  • Anonymous

    Roz,
    fantastic. Picture of the turtle. I read a very inspiring story yesterday about
    a boy who is only 17 and just completed a solo sailing trip around
    the world. It took him over a year and 27,000 miles.
    It makes my accomplishments seem so small.
    Keep going strong Roz, and good luck in the ITCZ

    Jeremy Stuart

  • sebastian

    Good morning Roz and congratulation on your progress.

    We follow your adventures like fishes, birds and turtles follow Brocade. Maybe "Turtlings" would be an appropriate group name to capture your endearment towards those beautiful and mysterious creatures and a feeling I'm sure you share about us your devoted supporters.

    You've heard about Zac Sunderland, the 17 year old that became the youngest sailor on record to circumnavigate the globe solo. An amazing acheivement in its own right but – without a cause – feel somewhat void.

    This reminds me of one of my favorite quote I spotted on a English church 30+ years ago:

    "A vison without a task is but a dream,
    A task without a vision is drudgery,
    But a vision with a task is the hope of the World"

    Thank you for entrusting us with your vision and sharing your task to raise awarness of the role each and everyone of us can and must play in reversing our disastrous consumer habits.

    Love (not inappropriate considering that it is also that that you are sharing with us all Turtlings)

    Sebastian from San Francisco.

  • Walt

    I was just wondering last night why we had not heard you speak of seeing turtles much. I am actually a sea turtle biolgist with NOAA and it concerned me, though you may be well out of the common migratory passages by now I would have expected you would have seen more in your travels as they occur most everywhere in the tropics. Anyway, guess there is no luck with the fishing like to keep the birds away. The objective was that just before they land they hover and if they feel some minor obstruction tickling their feet they won't land. Might at least keep them confined to the pointy ends if you could rig somethng up. But I was also thinking you msay not really want to be rid of them. I row my gig harbor skiff or Jersey surfboat about 3 or 4 times a week and am convinced oars are magic wands that turn folks into loony tunes so we row on. Actually, more likey an excellent trancendental key to ones soul and mind, but most would understand loony tune better. Really nothing more than a physical addiction kile any runner, swimmer, etc.

    So I was also wondering why you don't have a NOAA spnsorship.

    Good luck, Walt at NOAA

  • UncaDoug

    Q: "GPS updates to the RozTracker are automatic. I'm puzzled when you say that posts are delayed. What kind of posts? Blogs? Tweets? Or all?"

    A: GPS "bread crumb" posts. Allow me to explain:

    When I rise in the morning, and make a cappuccino and mixture of boiled grains (aka porridge), I like to settle in to see where on earth you are, and how the night went for you. GPS "bread crumbs" neatly scattered at two-hour increments are my favorite place to begin, typically at ~40 minutes past the hour (creeping forward minute by minute so they are now at ~56 minutes past the even hours).

    But I have noticed that some GPS "bread crumbs" are missing and that they sometimes appear long after the time reported on the window that opens when I click the RozBrocadeIcon. I have not studied it until now, so my thought was that it is a server processing delay, a human processing delay, or just me wanting it NOW, aka immediate gratification.

    For example, this morning a few minutes before 6:45 AM PDT — see my post above at 1:49 PM +00:00 — the RozBrocadeIcon showed:

    7/17/09 4:56 AM
    5.261, -176.014

    The time stamp, I have learned, is my time zone (PDT) … pretty smart RozTracker!

    For the past 2 hours — as I read my other favorite blogs and news pages — I have been refreshing RozTracker every 3-5 minutes [today is my furlough Friday so I have time to kill on my unpaid day-off] and it has not updated until just in the last five minutes.

    As I type it is now 9:17 AM PDT, so my estimate is that the following GPS "bread crumbs" was posted at about 9:10 AM PDT, which would be about 10 minutes delay … that is actually not bad! …

    7/17/09 8:58 AM
    5.215, -176.979

    But I am an impatient kinda guy … but you can call me OCDoug ;-D

  • texino

    It's amazing how uninformed the majority of the posters are. Roz Savage is trying to set a record as the first woman to row solo to Australia using an east-west route and she would likely accept sponsorship from whomever offered. For instance, The Brocade Corp. for which her boat is named was involved in a major financial scandal yet she kept her relationship. Point being that Roz has a plan and is not just larking around the ocean talking about saving the planet. Roz is an extremely intelligent business person and her recent conversion to major ecological mouth piece will, no doubt, become a way to raise money for the final leg of her scheme to get into the record books. There is nothing wrong with any of this; however, I do think the real reason for the trip has been pushed aside and should not be forgotten.
    Texino
    C/o Blue Goose
    Ciudad de Panama

  • John Kay

    Texino does Roz a disservice. The idea of being the first woman to row solo across the Pacific was incidental to her original intent, which was to raise awareness of the worsening state of the environment. After her epic row across the Atlantic (her book will be published in October)she decided to use her newly acquired skills – and ability to attract attention – to encourage others to follow her lead in reducing deleterious impact on the world. Brocade offered support because they manufacture electronic equipment that uses minimal energy. Roz has been particular about accepting support only from organisations with a similar approach.

  • Christa

    Roz – What a beautiful turtle! I love little surprises like that, especially on days where it seems all is dead. I'm glad you got back on course.

    UncaDoug – I look for your comments every day. :)

  • Meg

    your mentioning of wishing you could have a turtle as a totem reminded me of the Cherokee. I think they have a clan named the turtle clan or something or another. I have seen sea turtles at the Aquarium, and it is just the best. The best things always seem to happen on the days when everything seems dead.

  • Walt

    Here is your turtle totem info. sounds like you fit the bill perfectly, we have lots of turtle totum folks here at NOAA.
    Those with turtle as their animal totem can relate to the "sure and steady" message this crature brings to their lives. It is also a powerful totem of protection as withdrawing into it's shell is an amazong self defense mechanism. The turtle has few predators, which gives it an innocent energy. This also increases its lifespan, and so it holds the symbolic meaning for longevity in many cultures. Because of its seemingly wide-eyed, long-lived, carefree attitude the turtle is often thought to be the wisest of souls among the animal kingdom. We would all do well to take this as a lesson and move at our own pace as the turtle does. Further the turtle takes its wisdom one day at a time- not reacting, simply accepting and moving on in its natural mathods. Again, this is a powerful anaolgy for humankind, and we would benefit from adapting the same behavior pattern. Sounds like someone who would row and ocean!

    Copied of course but keeping you entertained I am sure.

    Walt@NOAA

  • Anonymous

    Some stream of consciousness thinking ….

    Your photo this morning reminds me of Ogden Nash's (American poet) short ditty on "The Turtle":

    "The turtle lives 'twixt plated decks
    Which practically conceal its sex.
    I think it clever of the turtle
    In such a fix to be so fertile."

    And that reminds me that nobody has asked you in the last week or two whether you have any children, a question you responded to recently along the lines of "No, not in the last week (since the last time I was asked), I haven't had any children" or something like that.

    And that made me think that actually, in the last week, you now HAVE given birth to the Rozlings, and that in some strange way we are your eco-rowing-supporting children, spread out across the face of the globe.

    And of course the next question is: "If we are Rozlings, what exactly does that make us?" I mean there is a flock or a gaggle of geese (depending on whether they are in the air or the on the ground), and a stand of flamingos, and a brood of chicks, and a colony of penguins, and a bevy of quail, and a host of sparrows, and a gang of turkeys, and a flight of swallows, but what exactly is there of Rozlings?

    Could we be a "boat" of Rozlings?

    Have I had too much caffeine this morning? :)

    Richard Cort
    Austin, Texas

  • Anonymous

    What about a rising tide of Rozlings? Each week I pick up the statistics of the numbers of people accessing roz.savage.com. There are visitors from over 100 countries each week, many of them are regulars, but each week also a crop of first-timers. Interestingly, people are spending a longer time on her web pages now than ever before, with an average of over 17 minutes. Rita (aka Mum).

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, that should have been rozsavage.com
    Rita.

  • UncaDoug

    Listening to Roz on http://live.twit.tv/

    Nicole asked her which collective name she prefers … Rozlings. But she's embarrassed that it includes her name, and it seems diminutive to her …

    Then she expressed gratitude to us "Team Rozsters" and said she thinks of us as equals.

    Made me think Team Rozsters, Bros and Sistas

    just had a chuckle … had to share ;-D

    … and thank you Rita from me too!

  • UncaDoug

    BTW, Roz and Evan, waiting for the TWIT.tv broadcast to start, I noticed that the most recent GPS "bread crumb" on RozTracker became visible about five minutes after the time stamp 12:59 PM PDT 5.139, -175.939
    Seems to be working nicely. Nice to listen to you and Nicole LIVE! on http://live.twit.tv/ just now. Be safe.

  • Evan Rapoport

    To clarify UncaDoug's quetions about the RozTracker's GPS breadcrumbs, here's the deal.

    First off, I just released a new version of the RozTracker, which I'll explain below. The version that you've all been seeing for the past few months had a few issues with timezones that are now fixed. Unfortunately, some spots showed Hawaii time and others showed whatever timezone is set on your computer. Clearly, this wasn't intentional; my apologies.

    So, here's how it works now: Everything SHOULD be in Hawaii time. GPS bread crumbs and social media items will usually show up within 5 minutes of us receiving them from Roz or her Solara GPS device.

    However, everything here in Blogger is set to show up in good ole UTC / Greenwich, since Roz is, as we all know, a Brit. This was the way she set it up originally, so I'm not going to change it.

  • UncaDoug

    Good explanation, Evan. Good work, great site! Thanks;-D

  • robert

    roslings? never, don't like it. can't please everyone. amen to Tesino. John Kay do your home work. you sure got'em going Roz. You are so entertaining at sea!!! I will remain one of Roz's savage's maui bob

  • John Kay

    Thanks for the tip, Robert. I was part of Team Roz for the first Pacific leg and have researched everything about Roz on the web and elsewhere but I must have missed something…

  • Joan in Atlanta

    A wake of Rozlings?

    Thanks, Roz, for clearing up the wind vs. current directions. I'm relieved that I'm not just crazy.

    I understand your Yorkshire-raised misgivings about the Roz-based naming, but I think it's more due to the way that Roz Rows the Pacific is such a short, sweet name that gets the point across for the podcast that it's very catchy. It's clearly evident every day that this effort is so NOT about your ego. You constantly give credit to everyone who's helped you along the way, and you're always coming back to your message of lessening our impact on the planet, making better decisions in our everyday lives, and even cleaning up the mess we've made already and planning for the future.

    You've really earned every reader and listener that you've gathered along the way, and that's no small accomplishment in its own right.

  • UncaDoug

    Joan, thanks for asking the question about the current and wind. I was confused too … and slothful. Just want to put in 2 cents that your post is "right on" and a "wake of Rozlings" we are!

  • Jerome

    Hmmm. Don't know about "wake of Rozlings" definition also includes "vigil over the deceased." How about a Brocade of Rozlings?

  • Antonio

    rozwannabees sounds good

  • Antonio

    Tarawa or bust

  • Antonio

    The pics shows the tortoise baby eyes(great shot- I'd say.
    I guessed you will see a Tortoise eventually.
    You're almost here Roz.