Tarawa from the air

I’m back! Well, sort of.  I’m having technical problems with my email which is how I post my blog. So I’m reading my blog over the satphone and I hope that Mum gets my message asking her to transcribe it for me, and I gather that I am not the only member of Team Roz having technical difficulties. I haven’t heard from Nicole since she arrived on Tarawa so they must be having problems there too (PHOTO: From Nicole, as she was flying into Tarawa).

I spoke to Evan today who is back at base on Hawaii and he says he has just had the one email from her since she left, so they were having some issues. So all in all it has been a challenging day for the Rozters. Right this minute, though, email is far from the biggest of my worries. My much greater concern is trying to hit Tarawa. Such a tiny speck in such a huge ocean and my boat is so difficult to maneuver with any precision so reaching Tarawa was always going to be like trying to land a parachute on a penny from 40,000 feet, Oh and given that I am not due to arrive there until September the 9th to give my team time to assemble. It is like trying to land a parachute on a penny at 3.23 and 35 seconds on a Wednesday.

If the weather was nice and calm as predicted with a gentle 8 knot wind from the east, this might be looking quite do-able, but as I speak at sunset on Wednesday – I’m on Tarawa time now – I am looking out at some of the roughest conditions I’ve seen on this stage so far. The wind is blowing at 20 plus knots and the seas are rough and steep. So life is erm  . . . interesting.

Hopefully soon these communications issues will be resolved and this reminds me of Shackleton and his men when they had to split up the team. Some of them had to set out across the Antarctic to try to raise a rescue mission. The ones left behind had no idea whether the rest of the party had succeeded or perished in the attempt.

Obviously in the early days of the 20th century they had no satellite phones. So suddenly Nicole has been thrust back several decades into a world without internet. Ironically, even though she is now just 150 miles away from me, closer than at any other point in the last three months  its never been more difficult for us to communicate with each other.

I left a message with Evan that I will try to call Nicole at 10am tomorrow so hopefully we can manage to make contact then. Meanwhile there is this wind to worry about . . .

Signing off now, next blog from me in a couple of days. Hopefully Nicole will manage to get on line to post her blog tomorrow. In the Meanwhile, thank you Rozlings for your ongoing support, love and encouragement, and its going to be an interesting final week, that’s for sure.

All the best for now. Roz.



    “”9/1/09 1:57 PM – need to push north. safest approach to tarawa is from east””

    I am only posting this because I know you were given incorrect information about where to head to on Funafuti…

    According to http://www.noonsite.com/Countries/Kiribati/BetioIslet

    “”Tarawa Radio should be called on VHF Channel 16 when approaching the island and give one’s ETA. The Marine Guard keeps 24 hour watch on 500, 2182 and 6215 MHz. Channel 16 is monitored only during office hours (0800-1230, 1330-1615 Monday to Friday). Having been advised beforehand, officials will be waiting in Betio when the yacht arrives. All formalities are supposed to be completed alongside in the small boat harbour in Betio, but this can only take yachts under 6 ft draft. Because of silting, the depths in the harbour are unreliable, so it may be safer for larger draft vessels to tie up to the commercial wharf on the way into Betio or anchor just outside the harbour entrance. An unmarked wreck, lying just below the surface, is close to the recommended anchorage and its position has been reported at 1°22.03′N 172°55.44′E. The customs office is at Betio and immigration officials will come over from Bairiki, where the government offices are based. The captain must show last port clearance and registry certificate.””

    The required point of entry is at the Beito small boat harbour.

    Also on the charts and Google earth there does not appear to be a reliably open inlet from the east side of the islands to the lagoon.

    I apologize if I am incorrect but it appears you are heading a half days row from where you need to be..

    And Staying at sea an extra 4-5 days just to allow the throngs to assemble is foolhardy.. GET YOUR BUT ON A BARSTOOL AND EAT !

  • Roz, take heart on the phone communications. The problem with iridium phones is that the constellation is not able to fully support equatorial communications, instead of the original 77 that went up, there were just a few over 60. Area of least saturation is where you are now. Take heed of the folks advising you on compass headings and arrive when you get there, not when the rest of the team does. Your safety (and nutrition!) are far more important.

  • Hi Roz,

    If I can do anything from here: calling, emailing, whatever…please, just ask.

    I am holding for a safe and quick landing….

    Cece Gannon

  • Dear Roz,
    I strongly agree: an accurate and safe landing is now Highest Priority! The calendar and the RozTeam have long proven they can take very good care of themselves – now it’s time to take care of yourself! (Besides, apparently at this point Nicole can’t even argue if/when you decide to head straight in for a cold beer & feast!)
    We’re all pulling for and with you! Healthy Cheers! – Doug S.

  • More obstacles to overcome to make this journey even more of a challenge! I know you can do it, and I’m sure your team is doing an amazing job of setting things up, and trying to make your arrival as smooth as possible. Good luck!

  • There is a reason the approasch to Tarawa is on the WEST end of the atoll on Beito, it is the leeward side of the islands and offers natural protection from the weather usually.

  • I agree with Humphrey, the most important thing is to get in to the harbor. Your entourage will understand that to stay out for more days than necessary is plain foolish. Get in there……..there is cold beer and a hot meal waiting.

  • The reply to this I got Indirectly on Nicole’s Facebook, That roz will be guided in by the ” Merchant Marine “.
    But no mention of her going directly there instead of lolly-gagging at sea , with dwindiling food and water after 102 days ,,to await the “entourage”.
    Evidently they do not like those of us who are looking at this from a common sense point of view rather than a dollars and cents point of view airing our concerns or advice because neither of them has accepted my “friend invite” on facebook so I could see the updates they are posting behind these “less exclusive” scenes.. Good Luck to them I won’t waste a minute caring anymore.

  • I vote with the “Find a barstool and food” crew ASAP! The Landing can be staged for the “entourage” after the fact. That is what we have film editors for! Safety first. Blessing and safe rowing Roz. Land soon.

  • “Momcat” They were not too busy to indirectly dismiss my and a lot of other peoples legitimate concerns. Or to waste four days going slow to “wait for the team to get there”.

  • You’re almost there Roz!! How excited and nervous you must be right now! We’re cheering you on to the finish line! Go Roz Go Roz Go Roz – looking good!!

  • Hi Roz,
    We missed ya’…glad you’re back, but I’m surprised it is so soon. Hope your time alone was fruitful and adequate for your objective.

    Congrats on your notice at CNN. Huzzah!

    You’ve got a legion of folks following, cheering you on, hoping for your success and praying for your safety. We should all remember, though, you are the captain there and I sense you know exactly what is best for your mission.

    Rozta’ Bill

  • Excellent job, Roz!! Make sure that hollywood entrance is perfect! I’m hoping your water, food, and attitude can handle it. I know you are probably just wanting to do what Colin is suggesting – and a damn good suggestion too. It will work out great, and I can’t wait for the video! I’ll probably tear up….-Sindy

  • I am sad that Colin probably won’t read this reply. Roz cannot access her incoming emails while she is at sea, and has no idea that Colin wanted her to respond to his invitation to be a Friend on Facebook. I do monitor the email box, but cannot respond to all the requests I find there. If anyone else is wondering why she has not accepted such invitations, this is the reason why.

  • Roz, reading the pleas … Rozlings imploring you to get there when you get there … asap …
    I hear … another haiku …

    rozlings ’round the world
    caring and sharing feelings
    one might think it love

  • Colin, et al: I can understand how much you all care for Roz. Roz must be very fortunate to have Rozlings like you (including yours truly. I am a huge fan of Roz!)

    But I think we should also realize one thing – after all this is Roz’s journey. She also has a team in which she has full confidence, and I believe her team will only do what will be best for her. Also, keep in mind — Roz is tough. Do not underestimate her strength. A few more days at sea is not going to crack her.

    Cheer up for whatever decision Roz makes!! As always, we all are with you, Roz!

  • Roz,you’re doing good. There are greater things ahead. Your support team are awesome. The approach from the east is great, approaching Tarawa from the south into “safer” entry point at Betio – this time of the year should be good. You’ve done great. Good Luck & Cheers!

  • Colin needs to chill- big time! Roz and crew are fully capable- no worries- as a great American once said”When the going gets weird, the Weird turn Pro!”

    Kick Ass – Roz!!!

  • Got home very late last night and checked in … that “little bird” was tweeting up a storm so to speak. (Rozlings who might have missed a tweet or two or three … below is a summary updating my previous post.)

    Again, it seems Roz is threading the eye of a needle now a mere 140 miles away. Not only is Tarawa a speck over the horizon, but winds and currents are pushing, pulling and impeding her progress north. In jest I suggested that Roz must be a master SEAmstress … from her present location she appears to be on a course to the atoll Tabiauea and ideally steer north of the closest atoll. Perhaps she will attempt to deploy the sea anchor on the leeward side of Tabiauea to minimize drift as she sleeps, she will have about 30 miles from there to Betio. I think she may arrive late in the day what ever day she arrives. It will be interesting to see what Roz’s strategy and Neptune have in mind. Best wishes and best of luck, Roz!

    8/29/09 4:48PM – kills me 2 go so slow! but teamroz cant all get 2 tarawa until 9/9.
    9/1/09 8:26AM – eek! had passed today’s target milestone by 0600. harder than you’d think to go slow!
    9/1/09 9:35AM – going to try sea anchor and see what happens…
    9/1/09 1:57PM – need to push north. safest approach to tarawa is from east.
    9/1/09 6:32 PM – wind strong and rising. sea anchor out. too south for tarawa. anxious times.
    9/2/09 2:17AM – midnight here and wind still blowing strong. ric tells me it shd drop a bit tmrw. it better had!
    9/2/09 7:43AM – early dawn: wind and waves still high. hoped both would have subsided by now. hmmm.
    9/2/09 8:48AM – big black raincloud heading my way. hope there may be calmer conditions in its wake.
    9/2/09 9:59AM – rainclouds failed to deliver calm. but will try rowing anyway. need to get north!
    9/2/09 11:24AM – just saw a coconut. first sign of land?
    9/2/09 12:31PM – phew! have just spoken with nicole. she is fine, but internet access nonexistent on tarawa.
    9/2/09 4:06PM – making some progress north, but not enough. need forecast wind shift to happen.
    9/2/09 10:17PM – rowing under a bright moon. been a long day but need to keep pushing north…
    9/3/09 12:26AM – really upset. lost trusty old watch overboard. solar powered g-shock pathfinder.

  • Hello Rita.
    There is a lot of caring input from everybody, especially since Roz is approaching the climax of her journey. The concerns of Colin and others of us who have “been there, done that” do suffer some anxiety inspred by caffiene jitters. But the bottom line we must all adhere to is: This is Roz’s end-play. She is the captain of her ship and will make her own decisions. Rest assured though, the tremendous amount of spiritual energy directed toward her, right now, is all positive and does contribute to her efforts.

    Have faith, everybody. Roz is a winner, and she will succeed — her way. -Achates

  • UncaDoug: That atoll you call Tabiauea is actually Maiana Atoll. The village on it is called Tabiauea. Google has the islands of Kiribati (and Tuvalu) poorly labelled. I have been fighting them for years on this. But Roz appears to be heading for Abemama Atoll. I Hope Roz has the right coordinates for Tarawa!!!

  • Brian, thanks for clarification. I was relying on the accuracy of the Google map on RozTracker … okay for the spectator (?) but not advisable for the adventurer ;-D … That is a great map you just posted. One way or the other, Roz needs to skirt around Abemama Atoll, preferably north. She needs Neptune to smile down on her.

  • Colin, don’t take it personally if they ignore your comments. They only encourage the most Polly-Anna of comments here, the rest get ignore or deleted. It’s frustrating, yes, but Roz is on her own journey and is doing what is most important to her, and that’s being there after the crew gets there so they can document the exciting moment of her achievment of fininshing the second leg of the Pacific row. She’s probably fine with food and water.

  • There is a lot going on out there that I have no way of influencing, and that I’m just going to leave in the hands of the on-scene experts to work out. But I see something here that I might be able to influence. Since I am a long-time user of Casio G-Shock watches, I can sympathize with Roz’s sadness at losing one of these overboard. These are fabulous watches, and one certainly grows attached to them. And no, I don’t work for the Casio company, I just love their watches. I’m going to now make a contribution on PayPal toward a new watch for Roz. There doesn’t seem to be any way of “earmarking” donations for specific uses on PayPal, but I’m going to encourage anyone else who wants to contribute, to add an additional penny to the contribution. This way, a donation (for example) of $10.00 would be made as $10.01. That extra penny will show Rita or Nicole, or whoever does these things, that the contribution was meant to go toward a new G-Shock for Roz. I looked on Amazon, and Amazon.co.uk, and the price of a new G-Shock Pathfinder Solar seem to range between $200 and $300 depending on the model. But if anyone is interested in doing this, even a small donation would be appreciated. I know that it’s often “little” losses like this, that are the most irritating in life, especially if it’s something that’s been in our life for awhile. And I wouldn’t be doing this if we were talking about pearls, or a diamond dress watch, but the G-Shock is a “tool of the trade” for Roz as a rower, and I think she needs a new one.

  • In my case, urging Roz to move to port directly and not wait around for the entourage is a way of saying not everyone is caught up in expectations for a photo op ending. It’s OK, and only sensible and sane, to adjust to changing condiions and be safe no matter the expectations of others. Do what you need to do. Those who have a sense of what you are dealing with want you safe and sound more than any other consideration.

  • To Richard in Austin – a brilliant and kind idea. As I keep a record of all the donations, I was puzzled at first when I saw a donation with .01 added – but now I know. I will make sure that it is recorded as such. Thank you.
    To Joan – naughty, naughty!

  • Humphrey…Ditto that, I’ve rowed a couple thousand miles myself, when you have the wind and current you row hard, when you don’t you ROW HARDER, when you go slow you get into trouble..

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