Day 113: It Ain’t Over Until The Whale Sings

I have dared to write up on my whiteboard a list of the degrees of longitude that remain to be rowed, so I can cross them off as I complete them. This is quite a symbolic act, a momentous landmark, a fundamental shift in my attitude.

I’ve found that, for the first half-and-a-bit of a voyage, I have to take a very present-moment attitude to my work. I take each day as it comes. Each day I do my best. Some days that results in good progress. Other days not so good. And on bad days, I go backwards.

But whatever happens, I just accept it. If I start thinking about the voyage as a whole I begin to get impatient, and obsessed with how many miles I have covered – and that way lies madness. So I just keep showing up, day after day, and sticking my oars in the water.

It is only when I am well into the voyage that I begin to dare to think about finishing. And even then I have to be cautious not to get ahead of myself. Small pieces are what I have to focus on. The next 100 miles, or one degree, or the next 10 miles.

Right now I am at a dangerous moment – because things are going well. Since I passed halfway, I have been covering one degree of longitude roughly every two days. The assorted variables – current, wind, and swells – have averaged out to keep progress surprisingly consistent, lulling me into a false sense of security. I’ve started running the sums, and guesstimating an ETA based on a rolling average. I’ve even, occasionally, started to get excited.

But there could still be surprises, and at sea the surprises are rarely pleasant ones. I still have a very long way to go. I have to keep myself healthy, injury-free, and connected to my boat. I’m telling myself more than I’m telling you that it ain’t over till the fat lady sings (or should that be until the whale sings) and still anything could happen – and knowing oceans, it probably will.

Other Stuff:

The other day I saw a plastic drink bottle floating by, looking pristine and new, as if it had just been dropped hours ago. But I haven’t seen another vessel in over 3 months, so it must have been out here a while. Yuck.

I’m having problems with email, so haven’t been able to pick up incoming messages since last night – so I don’t have the latest batch of comments. Sorry about that. I’ll catch up on the backlog once I manage to get the satphone data connection to work.

Quote for the day – on having the discipline to keep going when the going gets boring: “We’re doing the work because we’re doing the work.” (Margaret Wheatley, author of “Perseverance”)

Photo: my mile counter from the Atlantic

Sponsored Miles: 28 miles rowed. More sponsors’ names soon.

(Why Roz’s progress is not shown)

  • John Herrick

    Funny urban legend for the day:

    “The dazed crew of a Japanese trawler was plucked out of the
    Sea of Japan earlier this year clinging to the wreckage of their sunken
    ship.

    Their rescue was followed by immediate imprisonment once authorities
    questioned the sailors on their ship’s loss. To a man they claimed that a
    cow, falling out of a clear blue sky, had struck the trawler amidships,
    shattering its hull and sinking the vessel within minutes.

    They remained in prison for several weeks, until the Russian Air Force
    reluctantly informed Japanese authorities that the crew of one of its
    cargo planes had apparently stolen a cow wandering at the edge of a
    Siberian airfield, forced the cow into the plane’s hold and hastily
    taken off for home.

    Unprepared for live cargo, the Russian crew was ill-equipped to manage a frightened cow rampaging within the hold.

    To save the aircraft and themselves, they shoved the animal out of the
    cargo hold as they crossed the Sea of Japan at an altitude of 30,000
    feet”

    Glad you are making good progress!! Keep well!

  • Anonymous

    I hope she is in good humor when she gets this…

    Upon arrival from her latest epic row a gentleman had the audcity to ask this ocean rower out to a nice dinner.
     
    Caught off gaurd and anxious because she had not even moored yet, and being tired and still a little bit in awe about her latest achievement, she repsonds “One sec.” and retreats into the purple palace. Wringing her hands at the lack of her response, which is unusual for her…she quickly sticks out her head from the rear hatch…
     
    “But I have nothing to wear.”

    Cheers Roz!

    Row Roz Row :)

    ~Jay

  • Anonymous

    Roz, keep up the good progress … while you toil westward, thousands of us are sending a message to Barack Obama with a sustained two-week demonstration at the White House. Every day, hundreds are gathering to tell Barack to show unprecedented leadership by denying approval for the construction of the Keystone XL tarsand oil pipeline from Alberta to Texas. 

    Today is Day 5 of the 15 day demonstration. As of yesterday, about 220 of us were arrested for peaceful assembly which violated the terms of the permit, and that simply underscore’s our resolve to get the message to the President: “Yes, Barack, you can say ‘no’ … say ‘no’ to tarsand oil.”I encourage Rozlings to learn more about the Keystone XL tarsand oil pipeline at http://www.tarsandsaction.org/Here is a video of the 70-80 who stood and sat at the White House fence yesterday, Day 4: http://on.fb.me/Day4TarsandActionRow because we are doing it, Roz!

  • Tom Brown

    A bit early in the week for you to be getting philosophical, don’t you think? But in any case, in many ways your voyage is a perfect parable for the human experience. We struggle to get through our four-score-and-ten, suffering the iniquities and enjoying the delightful thrown at us in equal amounts by a turbulent and often-stormy world. All of this tempts us to look forward to the end of that journey, and that’s a pity.  We need to sit down, take a deep breath, and open our eyes to the world (and the life) around us. We here in the Western World are in too much of a hurry. The destination doesn’t matter. What’s important is the journey.

    –Tom

  • bill savage

    I am glad your uninhibited happy factor is solar powered , with the continuous ability  to brighten our days. Thank you for wave cutting your way to educating our world. bsavage

  • Anonymous

    Hello Roz,  I am not sure you can hear them, being so far from land and all but there are people all over the earth shouting encouragement to you.   YAHOOOOO!  GO! ROZ GO!  Wunderbar! Good on ya! Bravo! Ichiban! Fantastique! Acha! Molto bene!
    Did you happen to see my suggestions for putting a sail or perhaps a bio diesel engine on Sedna?  Here is a new idea…A whale tale made of carbon nanites (very strong to handle big seas) connected to an autopilot so you can make good while you sleep. It could be powered by a servo motor and run off your solar array.
    Moving right along…if your electrical system gives more trouble you might connect it to the current.
    Hope you see the green flash on your journey,  Cheers,  Stephen

  • Meaenglsh

    yes and watch out for falling cows! and stingrays, and flying fish, and great whites that think you are a grey seal. and don’t you have a full wardrobe in the purple room?

  • tc

    Steady on, madam! We applaud your every oar stroke. And we stop doing unsustainable things. And we are inspired by your adventure. Thank you very much!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Moonshadow2 Cynthia Kruger

    to go hand in had with your closing quote:

    The difference between the unattainable and the attainable lies in a person’s determination.
    ~ quote on a running poster – unattributed ~

    before I adopted the nomadic RVing life I have now, this poster was framed and on the wall in my flat.  It was wonderful motivation as I trained for sundry marathons and 10km races.  It is just as powerful in the context of your row!

  • Bruce

    So glad you’re making good miles, Roz. Forward. -Bruce 

  • Michael Guy

    It’s great to see that you can have such a nice “captain’s cockpit” on a boat so small. If doing the list gives you encouragement, great, do it. If not, then forget lists. With sailors like you, such as Slocum, no matter what trials you face you will overcome until that fateful day set in the Master Plan long ago when “his time is now”. Slocum sailed off on a final winter voyage and was never heard from again! This voyage will be victoriously concluded for that day is far off. But I assume at sea you can never be complacent…The ocean is a changable temptress and highly unforgiving…

    When I moved inland, away from my beloved surf (for financial reasons) I took up paddling and rowing to replace the surfing I used to do. I painfully miss it whenever a hurricane like Irene passes by as today, but in 2006 just passing 50, I near broke my neck and drowned in hurricane whipped waves, so that had to come to an end. Some Master Planner moved me inland — how boring but cheap! Expecting 18-20 footers by tomorrow morning at the offshore bars as Irene passes safely offshore. But I guess you’ve seen plenty of those from a wavetop perch, something I’ve never done at sea… And can’t claim to have ever had the nerve to ride a 20 footer either. I’m wondering if once you cross the equator if those waters are considered to be “Cyclone season?” I think that is primarily in the Bay of Bengal where you won’t be. I sure wouldn’t want to be at sea in a boat in a hurricane like those rowers in 2005! I’ll still have to read your 2005 book and see how you “nerved” that incredible Hurricane season…

    Wising you “storm-free” waters,
    Mike in Florida

  • Daniel

    Roz,  I almost never find no money when I ride to work.  Sometimes it’s not much but it can be a couple of dollars (mostly pennies).  It seems people are generally careless about small things, small amounts of money, small bits of litter, small contributions to worthy causes, but as they say, the devil is in the details. It all adds up for good or bad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1526305117 Terry Liu

    I am focussed on the Keystone XL project thanks to those who got arrested in front of the White House and then seeing your post here on Roz’s blog laste week.  Prior to that I had not realized what was beign planned. As a result I made the conncetion, got myself educated and now I am telling everyone who will listen. I will go out during my lunch break to send Reiki to anyone there at the White House. Don’t you think, after the Earthquake this week, that a pipeline along the North American craton is insane? Thank you.