Day 27 – Looks Like I Spoke too Soon

Dictated by Roz at 21.57 on May 15th and transcribed by Rita Savage.

Position: -05.65077S, 154.01086E

Ocean Currents - Lee Bruce

I spoke too soon when I said that I might make landfall within the next 2 or 3 weeks. I think it is going to take a lot longer than that. I am going to be messed around.

This morning I had a phone call with Lee Bruce my weatherman. As I suspected, it was not good news. I had already noticed that everything has changed since I passed Cape Henpan and not for the better. Lee is concerned that the currents in the Solomon Seas are not going to be my friends.

In his words “the most complicated rowing effort that I have been involved in.” Lee is a veteran of fourteen rowing expeditions. So although this makes me feel kind of special I would rather it wasn’t true.

I am going to pass on what Lee told me in the hope that someone with time and technical ability might be able to create a .jpeg to illustrate my plight and share this with the readers of this blog. This is where I miss having email, as it means that I can’t send the image myself.
1. Draw a line from zero degrees S 151 degrees 15’ E to 11 degrees S 156 degrees 15’ E.

2. East of that line the currents run to the SSE. West of that line it is light and variable, becoming SE to NW closer to the coast of Papua New Guinea.

3. Now draw a box bounded by lines from 05 degrees 45’ S to 07 degrees 00’ S; and from 151 degrees 30’E to 153 degrees 45’ E.

4. The current in the west half of this box is from W to E and in the E half of the box it runs from NW to SE.

I have just completed this exercise myself and this is not an encouraging sight. The good news is that I have a good chance of making it to Madang. The bad news is that the current might take me several hundred miles out of my way before I get there. Don’t be surprised to see me making a long looping detour to the south east, before I manage to get into the lighter or more north westerly current.
I can already see the truth of Lee’s prediction. My course for today looks like a staircase. Whenever I am rowing I am pushing west but whenever I take a break the current pushes me south south east.

Sigh.

Other Stuff: Another day that was rather more eventful than I would have liked. No fewer than four large ships passed within a mile of me, and one was within 100 yards. Only one of the vessels responded to my VHF radio call. I have a radio enhancer and my newly beefed-up nav lights, but suddenly I wish I had the resources to light up my boat like a Christmas tree.

Doug, I have been looking out for the crescent moon for the last couple of nights but it has been too overcast. I will report back as soon as I have seen it.

I have just finished listening to House Rules by Jodi Picoult. Very good. Great characters and a good mystery plot. Recommended.
And I have a confession to make, but this blog is long enough already, so I’ll save it until tomorrow.

Rita: if you are kind enough to create the .jpeg as Roz requests, please send it using the Contact form which you will find just below the search box at the top right hand corner of the website. Thank you.

Nova’s Newsletter:
This trip may be Roz’s fastest Row averaging 54 miles per day in 26 days. In order to accomplish this she sleeps in shifts on average totalling approximately 156 hours. Today we are asking people to donate 156 dollars, one dollar for every hour of rest Roz has gotten in the past 26 days. All who donate 156 will receive an autographed photo of her final Pacific voyage. Now with the anticipation of her rowing the Indian Ocean her days of rest are again numbered so lets support Roz. The energy of your support does find its way out to her at sea, let her know that she is not alone on her sleep deprived exertion and journey of environmental awareness and adventure.

Roz’s Ebay Store:

You can bid on an autographed picture of Roz Savage on her boat (The Brocade). Roz Savage is the sixth woman who has rowed solo 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, and aims to be the first to row all the way across the Pacific. This is the 3rd auction of the 5 autographed pictures that were available. The dimension of the picture is 8 1/2 by 11 inches. The 4th auction will happen shortly before Roz reaches her final destination. The 5th auction will happen after Roz reaches land. You can find the auction in the Roz Savage Items section or by following this link: http://stores.ebay.com/Roz-Savage-Ocean-Rower?_rdc=1

Sale! Reduction! The price of the Roz Savage Organic T-shirts has been slashed by 31%! Now selling at $19.99 each.

Do check out the Energy Saver Strip – find it under the Eco-Friendly Items.

Power Saver Strip - An eco-friendly product.

Please remember the request from Blue Frontier Campaign to vote EVERY DAY for Roz and Margo: http://pep.si/9ZMuai

Also vote for our coalition partner Project Kaisei to help remove tons of floating plastic debris in our Ocean! Vote here: http://pep.si/alxXp

  • http://www.aims.gov.au/pages/reflib/billfish/pages/bf-05.html bill savage

    Rita here are current patterns pictures for solomons. When you get to the web site, click directly on the current image to enlarge. – If roz can tuck tight to the southern shore . Roz might want to head nnwest asap! From the maps(wb-site)- looks like in june the sea anchor would have pulled her to madang.Might still be workable to madang?\

    http://www.aims.gov.au/pages/reflib/billfish/pages/bf-05.html

    Hope this helps. Good to know the h20 has a solid backup.
    smiles,
    bill

  • bill savage

    For amazing underwater video footage of fish (large and small) have a look – pretty amazing.Again from the aims.gov web site. Perhaps a call to them might provide very accurate current data?
    http://www.aims.gov.au/docs/research/monitoring/seabed/video-monitoring.html
    bill

  • http://www.ppmag.com Joan Sherwood

    Roz, I read that last line and yelled, “Dammit! Tease!” at my computer. I hope you’re able to get some sleep despite all the traffic around.

  • Rita

    Great!! I now have three versions of the map, and am waiting for Bruce Lee the weatherman to tell me which best reflects his information given to Roz. Many thanks to those who have responded so quickly. Rita.

  • bill savage

    Rita , any chance Roz can get a signal for computer equipment ? Now that she is closer to civilization and towers? Worth a try? I know it is frustrating.Roz’s new location might give new signal results?
    The surface currents presently show a seasonal (winter to spring)changing flow toward the nnwest(current flow map).
    http://www.aims.gov.au/pages/reflib/billfish/pages/bf-05a.html

    A tight row to the southern shore along West New Britian? A 2-3 day shore line effort?Drats for the coral depths. Current strength diminish as water depths decrease. … I know Roz will mixe her feel for the ocean with Bruce’s technology savvy. Extreme ocean adventures. Never a dull moment or small decisions.
    Would a call to the local charter fisherman up ocean be worth the call? They fish the waters everyday.They have in tell that might very well be more valuable information than data – respectfully – half a world away.

    A quick call to Brett Middleton,
    MV Talio
    PO Box 521, Madang
    Papua New Guinea
    Ph: (675) 853 7496 Fax: (675) 853 7468
    Email: dylup@global.net.pg

    From the web site:
    http://www.pngtourism.org.pg/packages/fishing/

    Six levels of separation and connections. Hope this helps.
    bill

  • FK in Belgium

    Roz,

    Why not follow that SSE Solomons current all the way down, then pick up the Coral Sea westerlies and head straight for Cairns, Australia?
    Frank

  • Rita

    Bill, the last thing that Roz would want is an on-shore current! How could she sleep at night knowing that she might be swept ashore? I am also just a bit sceptical about your suggestion of the fisherman – he uses a motorboat and that is a different kettle of fish. Pardon the pun. Rita.

  • David Saunders

    As I look at Bruce’s map with all the current markings and wind patterns, I can only think of one thing.

    Where is that drain hole again? ;-)

    Keep it up Roz, your doing great!
    David – Colorado

  • http://web.mac.com/answerthecall/iWeb/Site/Actions.html UncaDoug

    Joan, I guess we’ll just have to stay tuned. Tune in tomorrow … same time, same station …

    David, if there is a DRAIN HOLE down there, which way does the water rotate in the vortex?

    What I want to know is what color 3D glasses does Lee the weatherman wear while working with that chart? Does the answer magically pop up off the page? When he wakes up, does he fall into a dream?

    Roz, I drew the line and box and arrows left, right SSE, NNW, SW and W. It seemed so simple the way you explained it. Then Lee produced a colorful psychedelic masterpiece from the 60s that blew me away. And then I remember Roz’s blog “You Can’t Get To There From Here” … oh no … I feel a hailu coming on …

    Can’t get there from here
    Follow the colorful row
    Find the green deeds course

    At least there seems to be a moral to the story you are about to begin telling … for the next … what … month or so? We Rozlings will surely get our money’s worth from this tall tale. Going to take a lot more carrot$ (maybe its time to switch from carrot$ to green deed$) to keep you on course and lure you back to land … and here I though you spend the night tucked safely away in the lagoon on the lee side of Cape Hanpen … looks like Paradise from this perspective.

    Happy rowing, Roz!

  • http://web.mac.com/answerthecall/iWeb/Site/Actions.html UncaDoug

    Joan and Rozlings all, what say we speculate what Roz’s confession will be. She’ll never know …
    Pssst: I think she’s gonna confess she’s color blind and can’t read her charts … You?

  • Rita

    My guess is that Roz wants to confess that she accidentally trod on Alf. Or drowned him while taking a “shower”.

  • Richard in Austin

    Cool! Love the colors on the map! I haven’t seen colors like that since I went to an Iron Butterfly concert in the late 60s, and they were playing In A Gadda Da Vida Baby, and the lights were flashing, and we were all lit up. :) But I digress. Now, would someone please explain to me “why” it is better to head for Madang, than, say, Thursday Island or Cairns? Does it come down to currents? Or are we in some kind of oceanic hold pattern, kind of like they do at my local airport when they won’t let the plane land and instead keep it circling around and around and around and around in the sky to eat up time because air traffic control has too many planes in the air and can’t manage them properly and maybe the same thing is true about the seas near PNG where all the fishing boats are milling around. Whew. That was a long sentence. I know that I don’t have the full map showing all the ocean currents around TI and Cairns, but it seems to me that it would be simpler to just row to Oz rather than later shipping the boat to Oz. But again, I don’t have enough information. And thanks again for the colors. That map was a “trip” in itself. :)

  • http://www.swellvoyage.com Liz Clark

    Best to you out there, Roz!! You’re AMAZING!!!!

  • http://web.mac.com/answerthecall/iWeb/Site/Actions.html UncaDoug

    Richard, you know what they say … http://www.KeepAustinWeird.com/
    You, Amy and I must get together. I’ll be there the week beginning June 27

  • http://web.mac.com/answerthecall/iWeb/Site/Actions.html UncaDoug

    Her latest tweet shows the last 12 miles during the night she drifted* due south.
    She wants to go E or SE. The results of her rowing today will tell the tale …
    I’m changing my “confession” to “Traded compass for water maker parts.”
    BTW, what was the final result with the water maker? She didn’t tell the ending.

    Go Roz Go!
    SE Roz SE
    W Roz W
    Yes you can!

  • http://web.mac.com/answerthecall/iWeb/Site/Actions.html UncaDoug

    Roz just tweeted the answer to my question … what a relief:
    yayy! got my watermaker working. had to replace the whole feed pump. took most of morning. http://rozsavage.com/tracker

    And I just notice that I got my directions wrong above … She wants to go W or SW. D’oh!

    Go Roz Go!
    SW Roz SW
    W Roz W
    Yes you can!

  • JohnH

    Wow, that darn watermaker again, glad you had the parts this time— way to go Roz —-the mechanic, mechanical engineer, magician!!!!

  • http://thelastgreatfrontier.blogspot.com/ David Tangye

    Good map of Solomon Sea currents at http://goo.gl/3jaa
    BTW: Any onshore current will turn and flow parallel to land once it gets within a few miles of the coast. An onshore wind will be the problem when near the coast. Coastal navigation is a whole new game compared to deep offshore.

  • Richard in Austin

    Doug: Sounds great. I’m in and out of town, but I should be in Austin, that week, or nearby, and will be delighted to get together. You’ve got my email address, so let’s get in touch as that week gets closer. We’ll drink a cup to Roz.

  • http://thelastgreatfrontier.blogspot.com/ David Tangye

    FK in Belgium: I think any significant current around the Solomons would be coming from the SSE? Looking at http://goo.gl/3jaa and http://www.clivar.org/organization/pacific/SPICE/SPICEMalanda.pdf she would need to be many hundreds of miles East of where she is now, to then go South, then be able to be pushed into Australia from there, ie from down near the New Hebrides.

  • http://thelastgreatfrontier.blogspot.com/ David Tangye

    Rita. Bill suggestion of local knowledge from local fishermen should not be discounted. Because they have powerful engines they can power against wind and current. However they generally have an excellent understanding of where which currents are flowing, and how strong or weak they are in different areas from day to day. The data you have from charts, eg like I mentioned above, can be completely wrong from one month or year to the next. Local knowledge from local experienced seamen can be absolutely invaluable, if you can get it.

  • http://thelastgreatfrontier.blogspot.com/ David Tangye

    UncaDoug: I think you were correct in your first post: go SE first not SW, ie keep out of any fast current going NW until as far south as possible. (OK perhaps SSE not SE but that is nit-picking) The tactic: keep east of that strong central current until as far south as possible, then turn and push across it until in its western side. Then hope for a west setting eddy/ branch.

    The Crossing the Ditch guys used lots of waypoints, which they called ‘gates’ after their river kayaking experience, to constantly aim to position themselves for the next advantageous current.

    Based on the above, I might have a next waypoint for Roz as far SE as about 155E 9S before turning SW to make good WNW due to the current as seen in http://goo.gl/NNWZ which is the best data I can find this morning. 154E 8S might be OK too, a lot quicker, but a bit more risky.

    Either way I am aiming at 153E 10S which seems to give options for where to go from there. Eg go to 152E 11S and then you might make south of the main Papua New Guinea island to coast hop, perhaps all the way to port Moresby.

    BTW: I presume you can stop ashore whereever you like, since you have already done so twice.

  • bill savage

    Words for the day: Dauntless-(DAWNT-luss): unable to be intimidated or put down; brave; fearless.
    #2- descry-(dih-SKRIE): to spot as a result of attentive observation; to discover or find.
    Quotes:
    It is not what you do once in a while,
    It’s what you do day in and day out,
    That makes the difference. Jenny Craig
    The secret to having a personal life is not answering to many questions about it. Joan Collins
    One of the pleasures of heaven must be reading the weather reports from hell.
    History repeats itself; especially in matters that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
    That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It!
    A preacher was boating towards an island for a special wedding. On the way he was stopped by the marine patrol. After a quick check of the life preservers on board one patrol officer noticed a box with a few bottles in it.
    “What’s in the bottles, Reverend?” “It’s holy water”, came the response.
    The officer opened one of the bottles. Sniffing it he said, “It smells like wine.”
    “Hallelujah!” the preacher shouted, “He’s done it again!”

  • http://www.david-w-saunders.com David Saunders

    Actually, after some research on the internet, it seems that the direction of the vortex in a drain has nothing to do with what side of the equator the drain is on but more to do with how the bath tube, toilet or sink was built.

    ;-)

    -David

  • Rita

    Thanks for all the current comments – in two senses of the word! Lee Bruce the weatherman will no doubt be reading all these words of advice. Bill there is a quotation that I like: History teaches us that history teaches us nothing. Not all that different from one of yours above. Water maker working again – one less worry for me. Now, about that confession …. we can but wait and see.