Roz ArrivalI stepped ashore, setting foot on dry land for the first time in 105 
days. This was now my third arrival after prolonged periods at sea, so 
I wasn’t surprised when the ground seemed to lurch beneath my feet. My 
brain had adapted to being on a constantly pitching boat, so now it 
was over-compensating when I stood on terra firma. I looked up at the 
crowd of several hundred people that had come to greet me, and 
wondered if my first act on arriving in Tarawa would be to topple over 
like a drunkard.

Then two big hunky men in traditional island outfits approached and 
knelt in front of me, forming a cradle with their arms. “Thank heavens 
for local tradition” I thought, as I sank gratefully onto the 
proffered cradle.

I was carried to a plastic chair, and the hunky men were joined by 
several more who performed a local dance of traditional welcome. I 
felt like visiting royalty as I smiled appreciatively. They presented 
me with a coconut, its top lopped off so I could drink the cool, 
refreshing, sweet coconut water inside. It was exactly what I needed. 
I was feeling a bit woozy after my exertions. It had been an 
exhausting 3 days.

As I approached Tarawa from the south on Sept 4th, I hadn’t been sure 
if I would manage to make landfall under my own steam. Given the 
strong easterly winds that had prevailed over the previous few days, I 
thought it much more likely that I would get close to the island but 
miss it by several miles, and would need a boat to come out to catch 
me as I whizzed past.

But finally Neptune decided to give me a break. I had already made it 
safely past the island of Abemama (where Robert Louis Stevenson lived 
for a while). I was making good progress in a northwesterly direction, 
but there was a problem. Unless I managed to shift course to north- 
northwest, I would run slap into the island of Maiana. I had to choose 
whether to go south of it, which would mean I had no chance of getting 
to Tarawa under my own steam, or else east of it – which was the way I 
wanted to go, but was it possible? Under present wind conditions, no, 
it wasn’t.

Then, finally, the long-awaited southeasterly wind arrived. Woohoo! 
Now I was in fine shape. The wind only lasted a few hours, but I was 
able to ride it all the way up the east side of Maiana, which lined me 
up nicely for Tarawa.

I rowed late into the night until I was reasonably sure I was clear of 
Maiana and its reefs. Then I tried to grab a quick nap, but I kept 
opening one eye to squint at the GPS to make sure I wasn’t going to 
shipwreck. At one point I got up and rowed some more, just to make 
doubly sure. It would have been a real shame to get this far only to 
end up on a reef within sight of the finish.

So as I approached the final 20 miles into Tarawa, I had had less than 
6 hours of sleep in the previous 48 hours, and the heat was brutal. 
The wind had dropped away to nothing and the sun was intense. When I 
got to 9 miles out, I really wondered if I was going to make it. After 
rowing 3000 miles, the last 9 seemed to loom very large. I put some 
good rocking music on to help me through.

And finally, mile by mile, I crossed off the final hours of my voyage. 
After each mile I posted another Tweet and had a bite of food. A boat 
arrived to escort me the last mile or two to land. On board were 
Nicole, Hunter (from Archinoetics) and Conrad (our cameraman). Also 
Rob, the New Zealand High Commissioner, who put his sea kayak in the 
water and paddled alongside me.

But I could feel that I was getting depleted. As I always seem to do, 
I get over-excited on my final day and push myself too hard. I arrive 
on land dehydrated, sunburned and exhausted.

The last mile was really tough. I wondered if it would ever finish. 
Rob told me I was rowing against the incoming tide. I was reduced to 
counting tens. Just ten more strokes. Then another ten. Then another 
ten. As I crossed my finish line of latitude, I collapsed backwards 
off my rowing seat.

But nothing that an ice cold beer wouldn’t cure (oops, ignore this 
bit, please, Dr Aenor!). Nicole knew what was needed. I heard some 
splashing as I lay on the deck with my eyes closed, and then Nicole’s 
head popped up over the side of the boat. She had jumped off the 
escort boat into the water and swum over to Brocade, beer in hand. It 
was a bit warm after its time in the water, but tasted pretty darned 
good regardless. Now that’s what I call a dedicated Program Director!

So now I am on Tarawa, quite possibly one of the most remote places on 
the world. I’m dying to tell you all about it, but this blog is long 
enough already, and the Solicitor General’s wife’s aunt is waiting to 
give me a much-needed massage. So I’ll sign off now, but will tell 
more tomorrow. I intend to blog every day until we leave Tarawa, 
probably Sept 17th. But internet access here is very limited, so 
please forgive me if I miss a day or two.

Photos and videos coming soon. Stay tuned!

Photos of Roz Arriving in Tarawa!

[flickr-gallery mode="photoset" photoset="72157622292416154"]

60 Comments

  • Marvellous! Inspiring and courageous stuff Roz. Now take it easy and regain yourself over the next few days, you certainly deserve it.

  • So glad you are safe and sound. Love your description of being welcomed like visiting royalty.
    Loved following along on your travels .. every stroke, all the doldrums and crazy winds. You are an inspiration.
    Safe travels .. wherever you head next.

  • Way to go, Roz! Enjoy the beer and massages, and I hope you get re-adjusted to having to wear clothes again! 🙂 Congrats on a great journey!

  • Stay tuned? Of course we will. I’ll keep this short and sweet. I am so glad you have arrived at your destination safely, Roz. We all look forward to hearing more from you in the coming days. Do take good care … and try to receive as many of those massages as possible (I can only imagine how much your body will be saying “THANK YOU” for them.) In fact, I’m sending over a few extra “carrots” JUST for that purpose alone.

  • Roz, great summary of our approach to Tarawa. I echo Naomi and will be tuned in daily, as usual ;-D

    The crown of flowers is very becoming and must have been very fragrant. Just so you know not to spare the pampering as Naomi suggested, I also have sent a golden crown of carrot$ for you, and there will be a golden necklace of carrot$ waiting for you too. You are truly a golden girl ;-D

  • Congratulations, and enjoy yourself… soak in all the interest, rest, eat well/drink good stuff (??), and think of all you’ve accomplished!

  • That is really, really great to hear, you and Team Roz worked super hard, and it’s so wonderful that you made it safe and sound! Thanks for the post, I’ve been checking all day for updates, it’s so exciting! I’m looking forward to hearing more about Tarawa, it looks so gorgeous, I would love to visit it sometime in my life. I hope you have a good recovery, you deserve that and more, way to go!

  • Roz, a bit of serendipitous trivia: At this moment there are 350 views of the page set up on TCP wiki, initially for your speech at Nashville, but to document key points along your journey.

  • Big cheers to Nicole for the perfect Hero’s welcome! As I said before Nicole, I truly wish you were *my* assistant!

    Major major congrats, Roz. Thanks so much for taking us on this journey/adventure with you. I am just blown over by what you have accomplished, and the incredible influence you have had. (You can’t imagine the guilt I feel over every plastic fork I’ve used over the years. Eeek!)

    And I also think it is amazing and cool that you have inspired a group of us from around the world, who don’t even know each other, to become a sort of team ourselves….a.k.a. the Rozlings. There has been some great dialog here. (Ignore the naysayers/trolls!)

    Welcome back to land! I can’t wait to read all the stories, see all the pictures, and cheer you on to your next endeavor!

  • Fa-a-a-a-a-a-bulous! Rest up Roz, and enjoy those beers. You deserve them! Brilliant description of your arrival. Enjoy the massages, wish I could be there to ‘do the feet’!

    Nicole, you are just the BEST. You worked so hard to pull everything together. Some very long days, but YOU DID IT! (The beer was an inspired touch …)

  • Hey Roz!

    Unfortunately I haven’t heard of your adventure until a few days after your departure, when I was looking up nature conservation issues somewhere on the internet. Since then I have been following your tweets and blogs every day – that was a great distraction (I am just learning for my diploma) and has really made me dream… I was looking forward to reading them every day – many thanks! 🙂 For the next stage, I’m there from the very start – and certainly many of my friends whom I have told of you and your adventures!

    For now enjoy your time for recreation!!! 😀

    Kindest regards from Germany, Florian

  • Hello Roz:

    Like a true athlete you gave it your all!

    The reception you received from the Tarawan (?) people was no accident. Every person that came to that island before a plane ever landed there, arrived after many days at sea and, like you, had lost the sure footing and were thirsty for water and human contact. So those husky men knew from centuries of experience as maritime people that this is what you needed most. As for Nicole’s reception, the splash and the beer, only the best of friend would have known 😉

    It’s ironic to think that while you were crossing solo a vast ocean, we were so knowledgeable of your every moves and every moods and now that you are on land – among us all – we will soon lose that almost daily so personal contact.

    I’m happy for what you have achieved and I rejoice at the prospects ahead but I also feel a bit sad, as if the friend you have become will leave us soon for a while.

    ’till we meet in San Francisco, congratulation for this epic adventure.

    Friendly yours

    Sebastian

  • We (my 10 yr-old daughter and I) are so impressed by it all!
    WAHOO..congratulations Roz for job well done! You did it!!

    We will miss you amazing adventures at sea, but look forward to the next one soon enough!

    Take care..enjoy your victory..remember it all!

    Kuddos to Nicole for a job well done!

    xo-Nikki & Aidan Actis

  • Congratulations on making landfall and being able to enter port unassisted. To many mariners that is the true mark of seamanship, and as I am sure you know, is extremely difficult (if not near impossible in many places) for ocean rowers to achieve.

  • Congratulations. what a great effort. I’ll miss coming here every day after the 17th. You probably can’t answer this right now, but when approx is the next leg planned?

  • Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

    Sincere congratulations on this terrific and terrifying accomplishment.
    You did it! You actually did it!! What a woman!!!

    As one of the many (and growing number of) proud Rozlings, “THANK YOU!” for taking us along.
    What a thrill this has been. You made us feel a part of something big, indeed.

  • Many, many congratulations Roz, and welcome to solid ground! I was supposed to be studying today but I found myself clicking again and again on the website hoping for more news! What an amazing thing you have accomplished!!!

    It’s going to be quite something to let you go, as it were, while you carry out your various plans prior to the last leg of your crossing and presumably aren’t blogging about rowing an ocean during that time. Funny how possessive one feels about staying connected to your efforts, when we’ve never met and I have no entitlement whatsoever to your thoughts, feelings and deeds when you aren’t rowing somewhere and choose to share them for support and to offer inspiration! Talk about living vicariously!

    Thank you yet again for the inspiration and sheer determination it took to get to Tarawa–entirely on your own steam–you have made this kind of physical and mental challenge real with your openness and honesty–you have more than earned the crown of flowers, the massages (and the cold beer I’m sure you’ve been enjoying in the past day or so!)

  • So happy to hear from you again, Roz!!! Hope you will get some well deserved rest for the next few days. Nicole, you are fantastic. In fact, the entire TeamRoz has done a great job.

  • Various people have talked about being in Sydney when Roz arrives after the next leg of the voyage. Roz knows, and will tell anybody who asks, the Sydney is probably quite out of the question, due to currents along that coast of Australia. It is most unlikely the she, or any other rower, could get to Sydney. Sorry, folks, that’s the way it is. Roz would have to aim for a different destination in Australia.

  • Yeah! Congratulations! Delighted to hear of your arrival. If you are not sick and tired of cold beer by the time you get back to the UK, I’ll buy you another one.

  • congratulations roz savage – I just knew you could do it! Can’t wait to meet up either in Kew or manybge LA!! Trisha xxxxx

  • Roz, I bombard all my colleagues at work with news of your rowing every day and we’re all delighted, relieved and just plain hugely impressed with your arrival. Congratulations, words are not enough! Steve

  • Hi Roz,

    Been a big fan of the adventure. Call me mad, but I fired up Flight Simulator, and punched in the airport for Tarawa (Kiribati), and took a flight around the island and ocean – just to see how small a spot it is, amongst the great ocean. Great job and congratulations.

  • Way to go Roz! I understand that last push. It’s so easy to use up all the gas in your tank just to be finished. I’m so glad you’re safe and sound. I have been paddling every day I can just because, in following you, you inspire me to get out there and put in the miles. Yesterday my wife and I paddled 5 hours on the Fox River. When you are addicted to the paddle like you and I are, it’s a trip temporary trip to heaven, stroke after strike. Enjoy your well earned stardom Roz. You deserve every bit of it.

  • Another great adventure! Thanks again for taking us along. I am sure that it will take a bit to get your land legs back, but I am sure you are happy to get hydrated again (beer, wine whatever!!). My thoughts are with you — by the way, refitting with two water makers next leg?? 🙂 🙂

  • Roz,
    Congrats hey!
    Am so chuffed you’ve done it! And a BIG thank-you to you and your team for giving us a hellava ride the last three-and-a-half months….it’s been so wonderful feeling a part of this. Without my constant tweets from you, I hope I continue carrying my groceries without a plastic bag and keep running three-times a week! Both those things are conscious decisions I took while you were rowing… and your tweets and blog posts helped me remind myself of a greater journey we all need to take, no matter how small and inconsequential our actions may seem.
    Sleep, rest, and drink plenty (water not beer!) while you recover.
    Well done again and I’m gonna miss you as well as Unca Doug, Naomi, Joan, Texino, Rita and Richard.
    Cheers,
    Susan.

    PS. Seems as if the CNN coverage has given Roz some ‘sick’ last minute fans…. groan! Good observation there Unca Doug.

  • Nicole, those are wonderful photos from the arrival and ceremony. That’s a fantastic expression on Roz’s face as she’s being boosted up by the burly men. What a welcome!

    I hope you don’t mind if I post the link to that album here.
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/album.php?aid=2412295&id=3414805&ref=nf
    (hope that works)

    Roz, I’d love to hear what some of the track highlights of your last miles’ music that you were listening to. I’m looking forward to all the other details and stories, and the book tour schedule!

    http://joantsherwood.com/#/sept052009/

  • How fantastic! I cant wait for the pictures. Do you have any of the animals you have seen? You mentioned fish living under your boat?

  • Welcome to shore Roz!One Almighty Row!!!God be with you today , Hes been there everyday so far.I plan on coming to the finish of the next leg,and thank you for making me a more enlightened human being,bringing the world together, and rowing for our environment. You rock beyond words! I am so happy for you. All the joy to you today. With much gratitude and warmth, Amy in Austin

  • Mahalo, blessings…take respite, R&R…bask in the adulation of the indigenous and worldwide fans, enjoy the respect of dignitaries, and be fulfilled with achievement of this leg of your quest!

    Rozta’ Bill

  • Congratulations Roz!!! I hope that you are enjoying some rest and relaxation. You are a champion and hero for our planet.

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Amy

  • WOW! What more can I say? Your courage and determination are new sources of inspiration in my life. I’m smiling at your victory with tears in my eyes!God Bless You!

  • Cape of Storms, so glad you saw the subtle humor hidden there … as I am catching up this morning, so many sentiments are being expressed that echo my own feelings … please indulge one more haiku …

    friends I’ve never met
    rally ’round a regal Roz
    a tear wells and swells

    well, just one more in honor of what Roz has accomplished to show us all …

    rolling ocean seas
    surging power abundance
    fragile life balance

    Thanks for sharing your photos Nicole … almost as good as being there ;-D

  • By the way … Niu Hae Akala is just looping in behind Maiana Atoll ….. amazing how close you two ended up. Will be interesting to see where Niu goes from here. Jim Bell Australia.

  • Brilliant! Congratulations! Here’s to Australia next year. I keep getting good news about people I have been following. Maybe Josh Beckett’s slump will end as well. Enjoy yourself.

  • Roz,
    I’ve been following you since your first leg (and your podcasts with Leo) and I just wanted to say congratulations on an amazing leg. Thank you for sharing it with us through your blog and twitter and podcasts. I’m sure you are ready for a bit of a break, but I must say that I cannot wait until leg 3 begins! I guess I must get my Roz fix by reading your book.

    Congratulations again!
    Jamie

  • I was working at an AM news station today, when guess who I heard on Fox (ick!) News? The amazing Roz Savage! Now you know you have arrived when the far right news organ not only mentions you-runs a soundbite of you AND….wait for it….says you are rowing the Pacific to raise awareness of “global warming”. I almost fell out of my chair. Will miracles never cease? Go Roz!

  • Hi Naomi Hi Ron,

    thanks for your friendly comments on my comment. I´d like to comment that 😉
    Yes Naomi, I´d like to develop my thoughts a little. But I´ll be off and away for a couple of days. No cell phones no blackberry no laptop no internet. Just some books and a camera.

    By the end of next week I´ll be back, full of energy and new ideas.

    Bye from Hamburg.

  • Wonders never cease … what a find Leslie!

    According to Google search this might be what you heard … but I listened and “nada”

    5 Minute Newscast (12PM EST – 9/7/2009) – FOXNews.com
    Sep 7, 2009 … The Power of FOX News on Radio! 12PM EST Newscast on 9/7/2009. … feet up on — and 41 year old Roz savage says the purpose of request was …
    http://www.foxnews.com/search-results/m/25949166/5-minute-newscast-1pm-est-9-7-2009.htm

    But there is this …

    Briton attempting to be 1st woman to row solo across Pacific finishes trip’s 2nd leg

  • Roz! Congrats! I am so excited you made it! You are an inspiration to all of us! I have watched and listened to you on TWIT and am just so proud of you! You are truly an amazing focused person! You’re commitment has helped with my own. Thanks!
    TriMoot: Ironman Coeur d’Alend bound in 2010!

  • Leslie, is this approximately what you heard? It is in the Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate) but does not seem to come up on the audio …

    “A 41 year old Briton becomes the first woman to row solo across the Pacific it’s nice to hear it again I’m very — looking — and Roz savage arriving on the island of your body this weekend says. Her goal was to raise awareness about climate change. I’m — London Fox News radio.”

    my interpretation

    “A 41 year old Briton becomes the first woman to row solo across the Pacific it’s nice to hear it again I’m very — looking — and Roz Savage arriving on the island of Tarawa this weekend says her goal was to raise awareness about climate change. I’m — London Fox News radio.”

  • Roz

    Congratulations! Royal are your efforts, and a Royal Reception at Tarawa was most appropriate. That was one on my favorite landings out three dozen I made in the Pacific, while sailing 11,200 miles of it. Enjoy every moment of it. Go pick up some of their stamps …they are artwork for sure …you will cherrish them in memory of your milestone.

    It was an honor to take part in your Hawaii stop …thank you for including me. I still have a sea barnnical that fell from Brocade’s hull while in our boatshop.

    Aloha; enjoy a nap under a coconut tree, Gary Brookins

  • Congratulations, Roz, and kudos to Nicole, Hunter, Conrad, and the rest of your team on another successful, epic journey. I can’t believe, after the final, wrenching ordeal you document above, that you were still able to blog about your arrival! I hope the next few days brings you considerably more rest and relaxation.

    Any chance your return to civilization will bring you through Honolulu? Though we were but the first stop in your fantastic latest trip, I must say that I and the rest of the Aloha State have grown quite fond of you. We’ll keep a cold beer on ice for you, just in case.

  • Congratulations on completing the second leg of your trans Pacific passage.
    Your tenacity and perseverance is exceeded only by your devotion to sharing the experience.
    Best wishes for your future endeavours.
    Rule Britannia!

  • Hello
    I congratulate you!
    ButI don’t know why anybody would want to row way the hell across the Pacific to visit that unhappy place–one that I “visited” for the first time in November, 1943 during the battle of “Bloody Tarawa,” in which I took part as a US Navy landing craft officer, landing assault troops on Red Beach, where I saw scores of my countrymen being cut to pieces by Japanese gunfire (in a battle that had nothing to do with the defeat of Japan) and then, my second visit during February, 2008 to get more information about the hundreds of Americans whose remains still lie there, including a Congressional Medal of Honor winner. Go to my website for more about my return visit, including viewing my film.
    Best wishes, and again, congratulations.
    Leon Cooper

  • YAY Roz! I am so proud of you. I have been telling all my ocean loving peeps about your cause. BRAVISIMO….now go get another massage!

  • ” Congrats Roz….great,highly inspirational.Recently started reading about u,became fan of u…….great job..keep going……..I feel I am looking at mix of forest gump+ cast away…………Roz ur rocking………ATB” .
    tc

    Sath(Charlotte,nc)

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