Day 89: How to Avoid Huge Ships

It’s happened. I’ve finally run out of things to say. Or I’m just so brain-dead after a day of bashing my way across choppy waves that I can’t think of anything other than getting some kip.

So I’ll share with you an email sent to me by my literary agent, Taryn Fagerness. She thought I would enjoy it – and she was right. There is apparently a book called “How to Avoid Huge Ships” that has developed a cult following, not to mention a slew of sarcastic reviews on Amazon. These are my favourites:

“I bought How to Avoid Huge Ships as a companion to Captain Trimmer’s other
excellent books: How to Avoid a Train, and How to Avoid the Empire State
Building. These books are fast paced, well written and the hard won
knowledge found in them is as inspirational as it is informational. After
reading them I haven’t been hit by anything bigger than a diesel bus.
Thanks, captain!”

“Read this book before going on vacation and I couldn’t find my cruise liner
in the port. Vacation ruined.”

“This book really is one of the best huge ship avoidance references I’ve come
across, not just for the effective methods it teaches as to avoiding huge
ships, but also for exploding some of the huge ship avoidance myths that
many of us take for granted.
For example:
– Do not charge the huge ship at full speed in an attempt to scare it off.
This may work with coyotes, but it is less effective with huge ships.
– Similarly, do not roll your boat over and play dead. Unless the huge ship
is captained by a grizzly bear, this will not work.
– Do not attempt to go under the huge ship. This is typically not
successful.
– Do not attempt to jump over the huge ship.
Captain Trimmer presents a rather novel technique for avoiding huge ships –
move your boat out of the path of the huge ship. I know what you’re
thinking, this goes against conventional wisdom, but Trimmer presents
significant empirical evidence to support his theory. Indeed, over the long
run, moving out of the way will dramatically decrease the number of huge
ship collisions you will have to endure in your daily life.”

“I am a huge ship. Imagine having an entire book devoted toward actively
avoiding you and your kind. I have always been bigger than other ships – and
yes, I have endured years of being moored in the distance, never being able
to enter the shallower bays, requiring tugs to guide me in – but now THIS!
Mr. Trimmer, you sir, should be ashamed! Please do not be swayed by his
drivel. I ask that you judge me not by the size of my cargo hatch but rather
the content of my wheelhouse.”

“Much better than the sequel book, “How To Run Over Little Boats.”” (gulp!)

Just in case you’re wondering, huge ships are (so far) about the one thing I haven’t had to worry about on this voyage. I haven’t seen a single vessel since I set out from North Island nearly 3 months ago – large or small. Probably just as well. Given the way things have been going recently, I might have been tempted to ask for a bottle of whisky and a tow.

Other Stuff:

I saw a small orange mooring buoy today. Just bobbing around, many miles from anywhere. Going backwards as I do, by the time I saw it I was already past it and couldn’t get back to retrieve it. So it’s bobbing out here still, probably with an entire ecosystem growing on its underside.

Made a half-dozen miles today. Burned about 5,000 calories in the process. This is quite possibly the most inefficient means of locomotion ever invented.

It is now pouring with rain, and I am glad of an excuse to be hunkered inside my cabin to write this blog. The zip on my Marmot waterproof has rusted so badly it needs some WD-40 before it has any chance of working.

Thanks, Jay and Doug, for the, ummm, interesting information about barnacles. Who knew?! I shall look at them in a new light and all due respect from now on….

Quote for today: Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes. (Oscar Wilde)

Photo: encounter with a big ship during the Atlantic crossing – the Royal Navy’s HMS Southampton dropped by for a visit on Valentine’s Day 2006.

Sponsored Miles: Steve Maskell, Andrew Loughhead, Nick Perdiew, Alexandra Stevens, John Griffin and Diane Freeman. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=743974487 Roger Dale Finch

    Yeah, well……. ok it is funny, but now I bet you don’t try to avoid a big ship collision by going under it!   I know you need a hot meal and some R&R but you better row lots more first! :)
    Just how big is that Indian Ocean anyway? :)  I am starting to wish for new pictures of you standing next to taller people and getting hugs and a glass of wine!  (Might be a little too much to ask for pictures of you standing beside shorter people!!) BUT…. You sure have made some TALL accomplishments and you are tall on beauty and courage!

  • Outsidejay

    This is based on an actual radio conversation between a U.S. Navyaircraft carrier (U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln) and Canadian authoritiesoff the coast of Newfoundland in October, 1995. (The radioconversation was released by the Chief of Naval Operations on10/10/95 authorized by the Freedom of Information Act.)
     
    Canadians:  Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South toavoid collision.
     
    Americans:  Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the
    North to avoid a collision.

    Canadians:  Negative.  You will have to divert your course 15degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
     
    Americans:  This is the Captain of a US Navy ship.  I say again,divert YOUR course.
     
    Canadians:  No, I say again, you divert YOUR course.
     
    Americans:  THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES’ ATLANTIC FLEET.  WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE  DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT  VESSELS.  I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15  DEGREES NORTH–I SAY AGAIN, THAT’S ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH– OR COUNTER-MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.

    Canadians:  This is a lighthouse.  Your call.

    This of coarse, is good humor passed from sailor to sailor for many years with the first written account in 1937, But I ca’t say it is 100 percent fictional as I have seen similar near collisions.
    For your safety, stay out in the open ocean.For our hearts, come back soon!
    For your safety, stay out in the open ocean.
    For our hearts, come back soon!

  • Geneva

    Doug first told me about you a little over a year ago. I just hiked Mt. Washington with some middle school students and whenever they’d complain I’d say “Well /I’m/ facebook friends with a woman who has rowed across the pacific ocean by herself.” Their whinings died upon their lips.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Geneva! Would that be Mt. Washington (NH), highest peak  in the Northeastern United States?  I happen to be warming up after a brisk dip in Lake Alpine, CA this morning.  Took some spectacular pix of the sunrise, then took the plunge … so invigorating, I stayed in about a half hour … as fishermen quietly cast while others paddled canoes and kayaks. There was a low fog flowing across the water off in the distance.  It was so still, the bottom was clearly visible. Is there a lake on Mt. Washington. Tell your students UncaDoug says “Go jump in a lake … try it, you’ll like it!”

  • Anonymous

    Here are 3 of 88 pix I took just before I jumped in the lake.

    Since Roz cannot see them, the first just before the sun peeked over the distant mountain, orange hues on the still water, pine branches silhouetted against the pale sky; the second is a fisherman paddling his canoe in the foreground; third is just moments after the sun peeked over the distant ridge, sky brilliant, reflecting brightly on the still water. Lake Alpine is 7,388′ elevation. The water is 58° F.  Refreshing. Air temp was 53° F.

    Roz, what water and air temps are you experiencing? Did you take along a thermometer?

    Row refreshed, Roz!

  • Fiona Schneider

    Hi Roz, 
    i feared at first you were too near a big ship , or hallucinating , but keep right on . 
    here’s a(n impossible?) question … I know we don’t know your whereabouts , but do you have at ETA yet?  or a ETD ? or an estimated month of arrival yet? Your courage and entrepid spirit is awe inspiring !  Fiona Schneider

  • Stephen Stewart

    Howdy   Roz,  Have you ever heard of Peace Pilgrim?  http://www.peacepilgrim.com/

  • http://www.facebook.com/collinmcmullen Collin McMullen

    Hi Roz,

    I just discovered you and your webpage.  I’m fascinated!  Thanks for letting us follow along on your journey!

    Collin
    Atlanta, GA

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_L33RHYAEXY423B7WST5HDQPSCU faena

    Roz i found a biodegradable monofilament line..! http://www.freshlygreen.com/2008/08/13/biodegradable-fishing-line/
    it fully degrades in five years.

  • John Kay

    I like you; you’re funny!

  • http://jimbell.id.au JimBellofBelmont

    If we take huge ships as an analogy for life’s insurmountable objects, (as opposed to those lesser surmountable ones) then the book  “How to Avoid Huge Ships” would seem to be filled with some useful advice.
    I’m reminded of a quote i found in  John Bell’s diary C. 1860 (G.G.G…Grandfather?)

    For every problem under the sun,
    There is a solution, or there’s none.

    If there is one, try and find it,
    If there isn’t, never mind it.

    Focus on what you can do and we all know that’s Row Roz Row :-)

    Cheers,  Jim Bell (NSW Australia) 

  • Anonymous

    Roz, today I took your advice and avoided huge ships. Well, if truth be told, I set about avoiding huge ships before reading your blog … but it just so happens your blog validated my effort with a particular peculiar goal.

    I avoided huge ships by climbing from Lake Alpine (elev. 7,388′) — where there were a few canoes, kayaks and motorized fishing boats puttering about — to the top of a volcanic ridge, gaining about a thousand feet in elevation. 

    When I got up there, I looked over the other side and there they were — big fluffy thunder clouds and an enormous valley of granite (I think it has a name: “Hells Kitchen”).  There certainly were no huge ships. I think the reason is the air is too thin at 7,400 – 8,400 feet elevation for them to float. It’s the principle of buoyancy, you know.

    Seeing no huge ships buoyed my spirits, or perhaps it was the thin air and spectacular vistas — I took nearly 200 pix.  Attaching 3 which I posted on my FB page from the top of the ridge (cellular internet connection was available way up there). I know you can’t see them where you are, but Rozlings can … sorry Roz.

    Row buoyantly, Roz!