Day 46: At Least it’s not the Atlantic

Lemon Ladies Marmalade

Today has been a good day. I am feeling less anxious than I have done for quite a while. Almost, but not quite, relaxed.

I woke up feeling refreshed after an enjoyable dream that I was rowing at the Olympics. I treated myself to a new pair of rowing gloves. I finally started to feel like I am gaining ground on the list of breakages and technical problems. I made some decent miles. I saw some ocean life – twice I saw a sizeable silver fish leap clear of the waves. The sun shone.

And there was some faintly reassuring news from Lee, my weatherman, too. I’m not getting my hopes up, as weather can be capricious and there is no such thing as a “typical” year, but he tells me: “Off Australia, ESE to SSE wind is expected no more than 50% of the time, but those same wind directions occur 75% of the time on the second half of the route (and the wind tends to be lighter when it isn’t from ESE to SSE).” This is good news indeed. I may possibly yet reach my destination before I have to start rationing food.

It may sound strange, but in retrospect I am glad that my crossing of the Atlantic was so incredibly tough. Worst weather on record, multiple equipment failures and breakages, injuries, nothing to occupy my mind other than my own thoughts – not to mention that it was my first ever ocean so I had much less idea what I was doing.

But at least it set a benchmark, and proved to me just what I can endure when needs must. I doubt (hope!) that I will ever do anything quite so hard ever again. The Indian Ocean is proving to be a tough customer. Progress has been slow, and technical problems have been a frequent cause of anxiety. But I would still take this over my Atlantic experience any day of the week.

The biggest difference is that now I have greater faith in my ability to cope. I may not be happy about it, and I may whine and grumble, but the Atlantic taught me that (and I hope I’m not tempting fate here) I’m tough enough to get through it. So there you go, the worst experiences in life can actually be true gifts, because afterwards everything else seems so much less hard.

Other Stuff:

Jay – thanks for the beautiful story about the whale rescued off the Farallones. Some people think that whales are more intelligent than humans. Sometimes I think that wouldn’t be difficult! ;-)

Currin – there may have been “life stirring on all sides” in the oceans of Jules Verne’s time. Now, alas, not so much. The two fish I saw today were conspicuous by being very rare sightings on this voyage. We will probably never know just how much damage we have inflicted on fish populations, until they are all gone.

But my trusty feathered friends are around, as always. Thanks to Sarah Outen for the ID on storm petrels and pintado petrels. In a mostly lifeless seascape their surfing antics are a most welcome diversion.

Akiran – I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog. Welcome!

Happy Birthday to Karen Morss for Sunday. You continue to be an inspiration to me – proof that we don’t have to be big or tall or male to live out our dreams. I will raise a spoonful of lemon marmalade in your honour!

Photo: Karen Morss’s Lemon Ladies Marmalade – a taste of California in the middle of the Indian Ocean!

Quote for today, which I would wholeheartedly endorse: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
(William Hutchinson Murray in The Scottish Himalaya Expedition)

Sponsored Miles: Thanks to Ann Bean, Michael Peck, Ted Britton, John Miller. Some miles with no sponsors.

  • http://businessdreams.typepad.com/blog/ Karen

    Great post Roz! You are right – it is best to have had tough times so that you know that you can get through. I often look back on my life and think about the many tough times and am grateful for what they taught me. Of course, I wasn’t rowing an ocean – just the usual life things!

    I was reading Jill Bolt Taylor’s “My Stroke of Insight” last weekend. She’s the brain scientist who had a stroke at age 37. Her road to recovery and her learnings are documented in the book. She talks a lot about the power of the focused human mind. We all have that power – to focus our mind and achieve, if we choose to do it. The tough times just help us realize how capable we really are. You put it very well “the worst experiences in life can actually be true gifts”.

    I hope that the weather does cooperate.  Row on!

  • Anonymous

    Karen Morss is married to a friend of mine, Dave Morss (google him). I have visited the Lemon Ladies Orchard, definitely a labor of love. Karen is quite the inspiration, check out her app Flying Poodles. And the marmalade is superb!

  • Bruce

    Roz, thank you for the quotes and please keep them coming. They’re really good. I am amazed at your impervious and self-righting attitude. I love following your work and I love what you’re doing. You definitely lift and inspire.  Thank you. 

  • John Kay

    The water near the surface of an ocean is not particularly comfortable for most species. Rain reduces salinity and sunlight increases it. It’s much more stable below a meter or two and that’s where the food is. Mammals, of course, show up from time to time to inhale and the occasional sunfish needs to bask in the sun. Roz has a horizon of only about three miles and much of her view is restricted by Sedna’s cabins. All in all the life she’s most likely to see is barnacles clinging to her (Sedna’s) bottom.

    Roz, a while ago you mentioned the difficulty with the trawls which would, had they worked, have trapped only stuff floating on the surface. It might be better to lower a basket vertically to a specific depth (perhaps 2 or 3 meters) at specific times after dark and dawn to take vertical samples. Populations vary as between those times.

  • caroline g.d.

    i needed this message today. thank you, roz! you inspire me.

  • http://www.beginwiththebrain.com Martha K

    Roz – Your thoughts today reminded me of Daniel Pink’s book: “DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.” Have you “read” it (listened to it)? There is a terrific 2 minute video posted on his website I show that summarizes Pink’s two questions for everyone. http://www.danpink.com/archives/2010/01/2questionsvideo
    He first says that “Everyone should have a sentence that defines them”.. so the first question is to ask yourself, “What’s my sentence?” (He cautions us not to write a paragraph! – simplify) He says use your sentence to navigate your life. The second question, you are to ask yourself each night: “Was I better today than yesterday?” When we reflect each day we will begin to improve. .. the more improvement, the more motivation! So – Roz, my dear, What’s your sentence? It certainly sounds like today was better than yesterday!!! ;-)

  • Monica

    How often would we choose to do the hardest round first? 

  • Outsidejay

    Roz, et al; The orignal story came from Moving On and not me. I was living in San Francisco at the time and had known about the original story that was posted (day 41: dreams of whales) about a whale rescue. So I posted the links to the sfgate article. I cannot take credit for the post. However, the new rescue story that I posted was a video http://youtu.be/EBYPlcSD490
    a mutual friend posted and that I did share on several facebook sites that you “like” Plastic Pollution Coalition, Surfing for Change, Oceana, Ocean Story, Ocean Champions, Surfrider Foundation, SeaWeed Rebels…etc. When I first posted, the video only had 142 views. That was two days ago. It now has over 5700 views. You are getting the word out Roz, keep rowing!
    Know this is happening even if you are having a grey day or even when anxiety starts to get a grip onto your trials. Amazing people have grey days too. But just like that ole footprints-on-the-beach story, your friends carry your burden in the rough times.

    Other stuff: I hesitate to sound like a lunatic but do this for warmer toes. As you know that your toes are getting cold, consiously make an effort to shiver. This should be a total body shiver starting with your neck, shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen. back. Muster up that deep, deep growl of a scream and belt it out with as much air as your lungs can hold for as long as you can hold a scream. Anger works too and also, but I will stay clear of that storm:) The above excersise may make you yawn. That will increase circulation to your head and then to your toes. So keep doing it because it is a sign that it is working.

    Keep your head, neck, and what you can of your upper body insulated.
    Stay well hydrated. Avoid spicy foods. Avoid foods with vasoconstrictors in it like coffee, tea, chocolate, at least enjoy these when finishing a shift or in warmer climates. Digestion will pull warmth to your stomach, therefore time when you eat and when your shift begins.  If there is small, 50 milliliter intravenous bags of normal saline in your first aid kit, they can be warmed and used inside your booties. Similar external warming devices may work.
    Your seating position may not be helping the circulation to your toes. So getting up and moving your toes literally, more often may be mandated. Massage when possible. There are some reports that Raynaud’s phenomenon has a psychosomatic compontent. No! Roz does NOT have Raynaud’s. I am merely implying that what you think and what happens to your body are often congruent. Biofeedback has improved many a sufferer of Raynaud’s. So think warm thoughts and recognize anxiety and stress levels and use them to your advantage. Lastly, know this… You are amazing! Please note that it is hard to have cold toes and be amazing at the same time, yet Roz seems to do that well too:) 

    For the North Atlantic, we will get you something that will work like insulated gortex socks empregated with silver (heat radiating) thread. I hesitate to suggest anything electrically charged due to your saline environment but battery operated socks for skiers do exist. Your booties may be too tight. Instead or warming you by insulation they may be cutting of some circulation (obviously not all).

    Row Roz Row!

    It is Father’s Day in the US and I just have to add that your father (rest in peace) is very proud of you! … God Bless you too Rita! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/susieslanina Susie Slanina

    Karen, I loved that book! It’s next for my bookclub. Jill Bolte Taylor is quite the inspiration–just like ‘our Roz.” 

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  • Dave23532

    The greatest realization I have encountered is the confidence to realize I can deal with whatever life throws at me..  I hope this same confidence sees you across the Indian Ocean to Mumbai!