President of Kiribati

From Nicole:

Okay Rozlings, this is it. Tomorrow is the big day, the one we’ve all been waiting for. I apologize for the radio silence from me…the lack of a decent Internet connection has been maddening, especially in such a critical time. I tried uploading Tweets and Facebook updates yesterday to keep you looped in on all the great developments, but to no avail.

So, here’s the scoop:

Yesterday was a hugely successful day at the office. My top priority since we arrived was finding a reliable boat that would be willing and able to go a good distance out to sea (just in case) and help escort Roz safely in to Tarawa. As I mentioned in my last blog, things move slowly here and I was never discouraged, but knew we were running short on time.

Following a lead, Conrad and I headed over to the Tarawa Sports Complex and pretty much hit the jackpot. The US Navy was wrapping up a 2-week humanitarian project (called the Pacific Partnership 2009) with a closing ceremony. We’d met several of the American, Australian and Canadian soldiers since we arrived – after their work was done each day, some of them would head over to our hotel for dinner and a beer before heading back to their ship. They were all really wonderful guys, and the Navy doctor is the one who gave Hunter the eye drops he desperately needed for his conjunctivitis. In any case, we went to their closing ceremony and the President of Kiribati was there! We could hardly believe our good luck. After the ceremony was over, the Australian High Commissioner introduced me to the President and I was able to tell him that Roz would be arriving in the next few days. I told him about her mission – raising awareness for climate change – and he was so pleased, as this is an issue that is of the utmost importance to him. He was warm and welcoming, and delighted that Roz is coming to Tarawa.

After the ceremony, we were invited to drinks at the Australian High Commissioner’s residence. We had heard through the grapevine that the High Commissioner of New Zealand is a world-class champion rower and that he had a boat that might work for us, and we were eagerly trying to connect with him throughout the day. Lo and behold, he was at the party, so we were able to chat with him and he graciously offered up his boat to help escort Roz in safely. We were then introduced to a lovely guy named Emil who also has a large boat, and he offered up his time and assistance as well. Both gentlemen gave me their phone numbers and said all we’d need to do is call. Hooray! Mission accomplished. Uh, well…not quite. We still need Roz.

Today at 10 am, Roz phoned in to give me her update. She was really struggling with the currents. They were whisking her hard and fast to the west, making it increasingly difficult for her to head north to Tarawa. Not good. I gave her the excellent and just-in-the-nick-of-time news about the escort boats, and she was both delighted and relieved. She said the winds were due to change to south easterlies and wanted to carry on trying for Tarawa, but thought that most likely, she wouldn’t be able to get north of Maiana, which is just 20 miles to the south of Tarawa. Roz thought the most prudent thing to do was to schedule a rendezvous point on the south west side of Maiana, and asked if we could arrange that for 9 am tomorrow. Still hoping those south easterlies would kick in, Roz and I agreed to speak again at 4:30 pm to course correct if necessary.

At 4:30 Roz called and gave the final confirmation. Yes, let’s rendezvous at 9 am tomorrow in Maiana. It’s a bit surreal. Roz has been at sea for 104 days now, and as she hung up she said, “thanks so much for everything Nicole – I’ll see you in the morning.” Wow. It’s rather funny to hear her say that after so long!

I called Emil and Rob – the gentlemen who have offered up their boats – and they conferred and decided Emil’s boat would be the best option, all things considered. We will all meet tomorrow at 7 am at Bairiki Harbour and set out to rendezvous with Roz. She and I will speak again at 7 am to get her latest coordinates (we have GPS on the boat, too) and we expect it will take about an hour and a half to reach her.

I just spoke with Ricardo, Roz’s weatherman in Portugal—the south easterlies that Roz needs have kicked in over the past hour, so he seems to think that she’ll be able to row all the way in to Tarawa under her own steam. I know that’s what she’ll want, and if she can, super. We’ll be there, right alongside, just in case. If she needs a tow, we can do that too. All our bases are well and truly covered.

Tomorrow is a very big day indeed. It’s very late here, but I’ve still got quite a lot more work to do, so I’ll sign off for now and just say a massively huge and very heartfelt thank you to all of Roz’s supporters for following along and encouraging her the past 104 days. Please know that your positivity and enthusiasm means the world to her and helps keep her going through the rough times.

I also want to thank those of you who have also been so supportive of me, especially the past couple of weeks. This has been a wonderful project to be a part of for the past 2 years – and the moral support I’ve received from family and friends (and even some of the Rozlings!) has been amazing and oh-so-necessary. An extra special thank you to my Granny, my brother Brian, the Yellin Family, my favorite aunties Aenor and Melinda, Ian Tuller, Hunter and Traci Downs, Nancy Glenn, Ellen Petry Leanse and Evan Rapoport.

Good night everyone! We’ll put up photos, videos and other updates of Roz’s arrival just as quickly as we can.

Nicole

23 Comments

  • Looking at the Tracker, I am delighted to see the progress that Roz is making – either she is rowing all night, or those south-easterlies are a great gift from Neptune – or the windmakers. Perhaps more of us will be up during the night – whichever part of the world we are in – to see Roz reach her destination, with or without assistance. I echo the thanks that Nicole has expressed, to all those who have helped to send Roz on her way.

  • Dear Roz, Rita, Nicole, & RozTEam,
    Hooray !! (American slang for “Thank god, it’s happening!”). Roz, you, your RozTeam, and your Union Jack pulled it off again!
    As you know, your favorite quote-maker, Sir Winston C., has been with you in virtual reality all the way from Hawaii. Well, behind the scenes, when things got difficult he had a serious chat with King Neptune. He explained, (as only he can!), that you are now not only high on the acclaimed list of English adventurers, but in far-off Santa Fe, NM, already proclaimed as “Lady Roz” and therefore of the Peerage. So, underwater royalty, make favourable things happen! Now!!
    He got the message! And as we are now delightfully discovering, the rest is history. (Or will be in the morning!)
    And your whole RozTeam certainly knows and believed Sir Winston when he said, “We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire…Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”
    Thank you, Sir Winston. Way to go, Union Jack Roz and the whole RozTeam! Welcome ashore!!

  • I am just in “awe” of what Roz has managed to accomplish in the last couple of days, and also of what Nicole has been able to do since arriving there two days ago. These are really some very amazing women! I am truly honored to be sitting here watching all this unfold.

  • It has been an amazing journey so far…since meeting ROZ and NICOLE in Hawaii over 104 days ago. And, now…Roz will be landing. I am thrilled that Roz looks to make it safely and in good health at the end of this segment of her journey. I have been reading this blog since the beginning. Fascinating. Very good read. Inspiring. I just want to add that my life has been enriched by both Roz and Nicole and Rita (what a great mother)… THANK YOU!

    Aloha!

    P.S. Roz, I look forward to your final row to Australia in 2010. And. Knowing the First Woman to Row the Pacific Ocean – Solo. Wow.

  • Nicole- great work It’s safe to say you are highly underpaid(you’re prob not paid) for the level of skill and competence you perform at- Well Done!

  • Roz! how amazing you are. I’ve been glued to your tracker and am thrilled and amazed that your persistence and dazzled by the incredible model you present, the inspiration, the phenomenal picture of tenacity and fortitude and great good spirit.

    hip hip hooray for you.
    Happy landing. I can’t wait to see the film. And to meet you in Asheville!!!!

    Laurey in Asheville, North Carolina

  • Roz, at Gerga O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams at SFMOMA thinking pulling a “spiritual oar” for your momentous accomplishment.

  • WooHoo, Roz and Nicole/Team Roz!!! you must be arriving as I write! what a fantastic journey it is. we’re with you in spirit, a great thundering of applause….ya, our Roz!

  • NICOLE!

    I’ll hold my plaudits for Roz until she lands.

    For you: When you digs like a dog, you’ll finds the bone, and slavishly relish the treat! By going one further, and sharing this around, you become a star. A brilliant star in the Roz constellation! Your efforts shine with Glory! Funtastic!

    There is about 19 hours differnce between Tarawa and Vancouver. ALMOST hope the Baseball game is rained out tonight, but I should be back before the bell rings. Stay with it kids, and this will be one Labor Day weekend worth celebrating! -Achates

  • 15 miles to go WOW, Roz, you do make us proud! Awesome watching yet again your courage and pluck! The boat should be there later in the morning to guide you in. Yahoo!

  • Great news all around. So thrilling to see Roz’s morning tweet of land in sight, and so close to her destination. It’s almost 9 a.m. Hawaii time now, so we must be in the final strokes. Wishing you all the best and thanks so much for the gripping adventure this summer. Will go stop by PayPal to sponsor the round of cold beers we wish Roz could have on arrival. I just listened to Leo and Roz’s podcast earlier today and learned about the conservative local culture there on Tarawa. Interesting turn in welcome home celebration planning there I guess.

  • What fortune to have everything come together at the last minute. Nicole – you are to be congratulated on pulling off the welcoming committee. Well Done – I cannot believe how the winds have finally changed at the last minute – Go Roz!

  • Roz finally got what she needed – fair winds and following seas! Congratulations Roz, Nicole and the Roz team.

    The Roz tracker with its ability to follow in near real time made her voyage fascinating to follow on line and interesting to read her comments along her trail. Good show – production – podcast – what ever it is called!
    Seattle-Dave

  • Roz, you rock and row!

    Kudos to your traveling shore team, especially, Nicole, the phenomenal cultural navigator, ambassador, and procurement officer extraordinaire!

    @ Chris Myles and Lorrin Lee, thank you guys for keeping us armchair folks entertained. Chris’s spectacular Tarawa photos and Lorrin’s video of Roz’s departure from Hawaii help complete the mental picture as the final miles tick away on the Tracker! Outstanding!

    Prayers for continued safe passage and arrival on Tarawa,
    Janis

  • Wow! So exciting following the RozTracker and seeing Roz getting closer and closer to Tarawa. And scooting past the northern tip of Maiana – halfway between there and Tarawa as I write. Time to go to bed here in the UK, so happy landings Roz!

    Fabulous work Nicole – fantastically well done for all you’ve achieved in such a very short time there. And Rita – it must be such a relief to know that the long wait is coming to an end, and Roz is very nearly safely back on dry land again.

    Best wishes to all.

  • What a wonderful TEAM effort. All of you should be very proud.
    Enjoy the celebrations. I am serving Green Man organic beer to honour your accomplishments.

    Cheers,
    Currin

  • Congrats Roz. Sorry I missed the last two weeks of the adventrure but tried to keep appraised of things and knew you changed course. Hope I have been of some help and at least entertaining to keep your thought processes going.walt@noaa

  • Congratulations Roz. It’s funny, no one ever seemed to doubt you would make it safely. That’s the way you inspire people. When you set out to do something, you do it !!!! Lots of love and once more, hearty congrats.

  • Congratulations Roz! I’ve been following your progress since San Fran and love the podcasts and message you are sending. I never expected the arrival for this leg to be so exciting! Enjoy the cold beer and good luck for the last leg next year!
    Best wishes,
    Ian

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