Tarawa sunset

Update from Nicole:

It’s been a very busy day here in Tarawa, and I’m going to keep this short because I’m absolutely beat and I know that it will probably take at least 10 minutes just to upload this blog. The Internet connection here has been…well…let’s just say a challenge. Everywhere we go on the island, we whip out the laptops hoping to snag a signal, even for just a few moments, but with the exception of a couple of hours this afternoon, we’ve largely been unsuccessful. Believe me, the irony isn’t lost on us that Roz is at sea and has marginally better connectivity than we do on dry land!

In short, we have accomplished a lot, but there remains much to be done. Tarawa is a place where you have to know people to get anything accomplished…and we’re getting there. Here’s how it works: we meet one person, who will introduce us to someone else who works for the person that is exactly the person we need to know to accomplish X. This all happens on Tarawa time, which FYI is even slower than what we’ve all come to know as “island time.” The good news is that we’ve been getting really lucky. We’re meeting exactly the right people that can make miracles happen, and our new friends are bending over backwards to help us – we are so fortunate.

Today we had lunch with a wonderful Australian gent named David. He is the Attorney General of Kiribati and has been tremendously helpful. His wife is the Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, and she essentially made it possible for all of us to enter the country and has also fast-tracked the necessary approvals for Roz’s arrival. She reports directly to the President, so now we know that we’re legal! David also invited us to sit in his air-conditioned office and avail ourselves of the very best Internet connection on the atoll, so for a few sweet hours this afternoon, we were able to get much-needed work done online.

Another big thank you to our Kiwi friend, John who gave up an entire day guiding us around the island and making important introductions. He helped us secure the assistance of the merchant marines – they have generously agreed to help us extract Roz’s boat from the water and provide safe storage for us during the months between Stage 2 and 3. Roz’s boat weights about 1200 pounds and has a custom-built trailer, which we couldn’t transport to Tarawa. We’ll have to put something together here before we can take it out of the water, and the merchant marines are helping us assemble a crew to custom build a “cradle” for Roz’s boat – something that will be absolutely necessary for storing it safely.

The other very important piece of this puzzle is a safe landing area. We’ve consulted a number of on-island experts about the exact approach Roz needs to make to arrive here safely. It won’t be easy – there are tricky currents and shallow waters with boat-busting reefs that she’ll need to navigate, so my top priority remains lining up an escort boat in the next couple of days that can safely guide her in. The boat needs to be able to go at least 20 miles out to sea (just in case) and finding an able vessel on Tarawa is proving to be a challenge. I have a good feeling that today this piece of the puzzle will lock into place. Cross your fingers for us!

There seems to have been quite a bit of hubbub the past few days about the timing of things on Tarawa so I feel it’s necessary to make something absolutely clear: asking Roz to slow down was MISSION CRITICAL. It is not for party planning or PR purposes. When Roz made the call the call that Tarawa was the destination, we had less than 24 hours to move. We are in a third world country right now, and while the people here are incredibly warm, generous and accommodating, making the necessary preparations for Roz takes time. She can’t just show up. If she did, she’d be putting herself and her boat in very real danger. Roz has plenty of food and water, and is not at all in harm’s way by slowing down a bit to allow us time to make the absolutely necessary arrangements. I should also point out that since she’s changed course for Tarawa, she’s logging record mileage, so she’s not actually slowing down at all. Please know that this Team has nothing but Roz’s safety and best interests at heart. I would hope you’d also have some faith in your heroine – over the past few months, you’ve gotten to know her through her soul-bearing blogs. Do you really think she’d do something doesn’t want to do? There are a lot of moving pieces here, so I just ask that you be respectful of the process and the people that are working hard to make this happen.

Speaking of the team, many of you have been asking how we’re holding up. We’re okay, but definitely dealing with a few little health issues. Today I woke up feeling lousy with a bad headache, a terribly sore throat and blocked nose. Hunter managed to get conjunctivitis, which is really unpleasant. We managed to track down the US Navy doctor who is here through Saturday on a special project and he gave Hunter the medicated drops he needs to fight this off. I’m hoping my little bug buggers off soon too!

Well, that’s it for now. Roz and I will now be speaking every day at 10 am on our satphones. From now until she arrives, Roz and I will alternate days on the blog, so you can be kept up to date on both the land and sea parts of this grand adventure. Thanks all for your continued support and best wishes!

Nicole

[photo: amazing sunset captured on the lagoon side of Tarawa]

28 Comments

  • Go Roz GO!!! You and your whole team are amazing!!!! Today my 11 year old son took his message of worm composting to school -the principal called me and asked if it would be possible to set up a verimculture (worm) composter for the kids at school as an ongoing project!!! We’re very excited!!! One little ripple in the big ocean does make a difference

  • Geez, just read yesterdays comments. Sounds like the “zings” need to settle down! The reasons for the timing cited here make perfect sense.
    The first concern is a safe landing. If anyone thinks they could do it better or more sensibly perhaps they should start their own journey.
    Good luck Roz, looking forward to the well deserved celebration!
    Stay Safe!

  • Dear Nicole & Roz, We’re with you all the way, on land and sea, helping mentally and emotionally with every detail! (Do you hear the buzz?) Our warmest support wishes to the whole RozTeam for everything that needs to be done to make for one Gloriously Marvelous Arrival! And if a John Phillip Sousa band was available on Tarawa, we’d hire it!!
    Best possible Tarawa health to all!

  • First of all, gorgeous sunset photo there. 🙂 Second of all, you guys are doing what’s in Roz’ best interests I’m sure. I can’t imagine all the work you are doing ‘behind the scenes’ to try and make sure she will arrive safely. I’m sure you guys had a heck of a time trying to get all these arrangements done for Tarawa after making plans in Tuvalu. Most people probably just didn’t think about that kind of reasoning in your asking Roz to slow it down if she could. Don’t worry too much about the naysayers on the internet, do what you guys need to get Roz in safely. Go Roz Go!

  • Nicole,
    Congratulations on the fantastic logistical accomplishments in Tarawa.
    I was fairly amazed at the level of criticism over the last few days. However, considering the level of interest and concern of the “Rozling Family”, I guess this was the time for venting some of the frustrations….just like our real families do.
    There is only one priority at this time…..bring her in safely!
    Godspeed!
    Roger

  • we are waiting with anticipation….what a marvelous job Team Roz has done to SAFELY secure a smooth arrival for Roz. Congrats to all of you!
    hope everyone is feeling better soon! take care and enjoy this amazing ride!

  • Nicole … are we IMPRESSED w/ you and the whole Team Roz or are we impressed? You bet we are! It was quite fortuitous that Roz landed you as her project coordinator (sorry if I have your ‘official’ title wrong) but, man, you are one joyful, passionate and COMPETENT woman! How incredible that the ‘pieces are falling into place’ … This is just so exciting! All your efforts — and of course, our GIRL ROZ’s efforts — are coming to fruition. It’s been a sight to behold … and I’ve only been along on this fantastic ‘ride’ since day 59 on this, her second, leg of the Pacific row!

    How fantastic that so many ‘influential’ folks are stepping up to help out in such precisely useful ways. HERE’S A HUGE SHOUT OUT OF THANKS to Attorney General David and his lovely wife, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Immigration. (That air-conditioned office and use of the internet connection must’ve made your day, too) … not to mention the help both of these new Team Roz members have become. Thank you again … for what ALL of you are doing to bring Roz in safely!

    Fantastic writing, Nicole … hope I get to meet you on Roz’s book tour. Is it hitting NYC? You’ll both be rock stars by then … so I may not even get a glimpse at either of you (tee, hee). It really WOULD be fantastic if all the Rozlings could meet somewhere to party hearty when Roz completes her Pacific row … hmmmm, now Australia might just be the place, eh?? Duh!

    Kudos to you all … for such fantastic work in bringing our Roz safely ‘home’ into port! May angels be out en masse bringing everyone to the island at just the right time! … including all of Roz’s closest family and friends who will be there to greet her!

    Naomi in NY

  • Wow! I’m exhausted just reading your update. It’s ironic that your probably in one of the most relaxing places in the world but your doing anything but relax. Your without a doubt the hardest working program director anywhere. Best of luck!

  • Roz and Nicole: Sometimes, people overlook the fact that Roz Savage is one of the few really experienced experts on solo ocean rowing and has overcome more difficulties than many of her peers. Nicole’s experience is different but comparable in her field. It behooves the rest of us to respect the fact that you both know what you are doing and have greater and more detailed knowledge about conditions than we possibly can.
    Nicole – your preceding comments are most apt.

    Having worked a little with Roz when she had to deal with almost everything herself I am greatly relieved that you make such an impressive team, especially in view of the particular difficulties inherent in this, Stage 2.

    Blessings on you both and on your helpers.

    John

  • Today Roz tweeted:

    9/3/09 7:05AM – blown south. time to get sea anchor in and row like hell!
    9/3/09 11:58AM – into the last 100 nautical miles. but still have to make 50 miles north. dicey…
    9/3/09 2:30 PM – where is that equatorial counter current when i need it?! neptune has odd sense of humour…

    We’re sending you good vibrations … you’re picking up our citations:

    Nicole and TeamRoz: to overcome ailments … Roz to row happy … experience joy …

    gracious neptune sleeps
    wind whispers ocean calming
    rowlocks clicking smiles

  • I am on the edge of my seat! You guys rock! Nicole: I wish you were *my* assistant. You are truly a dynamo. I can’t imagine what it must be like to pull this all together. Cheers to you and the team!!

  • Nicole you are a real Champ!! Roz would be “lost” without you. Working with an island population is a real challenge and you sound like you are doing a marvelous job getting things done. Try to ignore the well-intended comments that are critical of the team’s plan. You really are on the right track.

    It is reassuring to hear you say that Roz still has adequate provisions. Contrary to what many believe Roz is a lot safer at sea. Approaching the beach with shoals and breaking waves is the most dangerous part of her journey. I truly hope that you are successful finding an escort for our intrepid traveler.

    I hope that you and Hunter recover quickly. I will be checking in regularly as we get closer to Roz’s arrival.

  • I am always very excited to read the daily blog…I really admire all of you! Keep plugging away and you have lots of fans!

  • Go Roz Go!!! It is so exiting to see how things evolve.

    And another ripple in the ocean: I am about to start promoting your site and the idea in “my” geocaching community.

    Every oar stroke counts.

    By from Hamburg

    Claus

  • Mucho kudos to you and team, NIcole. Took a trip down memory lane – went to Tarawa in ’62 to visit graves of uncle (turfed) and second cuz (surfed) with my father (Army). A crazy mid-teen daredevil who loved the surf.
    I had fun, recognized the dangers, and smashed up a dugout and my leg on the east side above the airport. I don’t think the dangers of the shores have lessened over the decades, so truly appreciate your strategem. You and Roz are peas in the same pod. Keep on keeping on.

    -Achates

  • Roz’s Tweet: 9/3/09 8:21PM – full moon rising from the ocean…

    Roz, from your progress 2.5 mph WNW it appears you are rowing under the full moon. Enjoy! I hope the wind and current have settled down a bit for you. I gave offerings to Neptune on your behalf ;-D

    Abemama Atoll is just too close for comfort to allow Brocade to drift — or so it appears on RozTracker — so it is comforting to know you are hard a work under the full moon, making sure you skirt around the north side. Your dropping the sea anchor earlier today scared me a bit, seeing the trajectory of your drift heading directly toward Abemama. Sorry your lost your watch in the process. It’s just a thing, but your voice was telling.

    You are soooo close I am guessing you will definitely pull an all-nighter tonight to be sure and stay clear of Abemama. Fortunately you have the advantage of having maximum moon light. BTW, it will be fullest at 4:03 AM where you are.

    I must be a glorious night for you under the moon … the moon here is so full and it had a creamy golden tint as it rose low on the horizon … probably due to the smoke an haze from the fires in Yosemite and in the foothills up toward Lake Tahoe (they are calling that one the 49er fire because it is near Hwy 49).

    So glad to hear your your voice on the Evoca Tell recording. Very nice surprise, although you sound fatigued. We’ll be happy when you are on shore and can relax. It is a sprint to the eye of the needle now and we know you can do it.

  • Rita, I just read your transcription of Day 104. The answer to your question is Abemama Atoll which we learned on Day 101 from Brian from TuvaluIslands.com where he posted this map. Now that I pay closer attention to what Roz said (your transcription is much easier to understand and you did a brilliant job interpreting the garbly Evoca Tell Recording) I now realize that Roz is drifting at 2.5 mph, not rowing — unless she decided to row after recording the blog. OMG … at least her course is well north of the atoll. She is a brave soul. Best to you and all, Rita.

  • Nicole – I just wanted to second EVERYTHING Naomi said above. I was about to write exactly those things, then realised Naomi had said all I wanted to say. Except that I hope you are coming over to London (the UK one!) as part of the book tour!

    Good luck with the rest of the arrangements, you’re doing brilliantly. And I hope you and the rest of team feel much better soon, too.

  • Enhanced “island time” is not exactly surprising. Its bad enough in Hawaii and even worse,in Tahiti, Fiji, etc. The “need to know someone who knows someone” is the same all thru the pacific (Hawaii again good example. Its all simply the culture…the locals like it that way so its not going to change. Obviously yu guys have figured it out so just go with the flow…be friendly and appreciative and all will go well.

  • HEY, WAY TO WALK OUT ON YOUR OLD LIFE AND THEN ACT LIKE YOU ARE A HERO FOR DOING IT. THERE ARE MILLIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE STRUGGLING WITH REAL ISSUES LIKE POVERTY AND CHILD ABUSE TO NAME A FEW AND WE’RE SUPPOSED TO PAY HOMAGE TO YOU BECAUSE YOU WALKED OUT ON A LIFE MOST PEOPLE WOULD KILL FOR? I HOPE A FUCKING SHARK EATS YOU SO THAT YOU GET THE CHANCE TO USE THAT OBITUARY. MAYBE IF WE’RE LUCKY, YOULL CONVINCE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE TO ABANDON THEIR FAMILIES IN PURSUIT OF SELF GAIN. WAY TO GO DOUCHEBAG.

  • Oh great. What a wonderful lesson for kids. Leave your spouse. Pursue YOUR dreams. It’s all about YOU. This woman is the kind of person that wakes up one day after chasing HER happiness for so many years and says “I forgot to have kids…” Geez. We do not need anymore of these “It’s all about me” types.

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