Today has felt like rather an eventful day – which is a good thing. The ocean can be a very monotonous place, especially when seen from the surface on a slow-moving rowboat.

It started with my first marine megafauna sighting. At about 8am today a whale came to check me out. He announced his presence by blowing out loudly through his blowhole, and proceeded to surface 4 or 5 times around my boat – at one point no more than 6 feet from my stern.

I wish I could tell you what kind of whale he was, but he showed only his dorsal fin – I didn’t see either his head or his tail – which makes identification rather difficult. I’d estimate he was about 15 feet long – just big enough to make me a little nervous during his closer investigations of my boat.

Later this morning I was on the satphone to record our weekly podcast with Dr Kiki Sanford at TWiT.tv. Our special guest this week was my weatherman, Lee Bruce. It’s not easy being a weatherman – from what I’ve seen mariners have a tendency to shoot the messenger, as if the weatherman had willed bad weather on them rather than just reporting the inevitable results of meteorological phenomena – but today I was able to thank Lee for some perfect conditions. After yesterday’s monsoon today has been gorgeous – bright and breezy with only a couple of showers late afternoon.

So after several days of trying and failing, the conditions finally allowed me to make it past 1 degree south – cause for a celebratory Larabar (love the new peanut butter and choc chip flavour!).

Tonight was the first night since I set out that the moon has not risen before I retired to the cabin. There were still a lot of dark clouds around, with just a few stars peeking out, so it is a very dark night until the moon rises in an hour or so. The extreme darkness, plus the rougher waters, plus my book getting to a part where a psychiatrist is teetering on the brink of a nervous breakdown, all conspired to make me feel a little off-kilter. So I’m quite relieved to be back in my cosy cabin.

So all in all it’s been a slightly unusual day. Mostly good, and I’m happy to be a bit further south after losing significant ground last night. All’s well that ends well.

Other stuff:

My TED presentation is now live on YouTube. I don’t have the URL here, but if you google on my name and TED Mission Blue YouTube, I’m sure you’ll manage to find it. Apparently some very nice comments have been posted so far, which is a relief. I was such a bundle of nerves – very unlike me – that I can’t really remember what I said, but it seems I must have made some sense!

Too bad they edited out the bit where I had to retrieve my notes from my bra. But probably just as well. Jennifer – I had never heard of “swiss army tits” before, but it’s a great phrase! Well, what else is a girl to do when she has no pockets…?!

No Alf sightings today. That is 2 days now since I saw either of my stowaways. Getting worried that they may be deceased. Defunct. Ex-spiders.

Huge thanks to all the people who have already contributed to the foundation fundraiser. Sorry that I don’t have a list of your individual names, but please know that I am very grateful and can’t wait until we have enough funds to start nurturing the next generation of life adventurers.

To contribute, please click on the Go Roz Go contest button in the top right of my website. We are now up to 1839.00 in our fundraiser thanks to all our donors. We have had donations from $1000.00 to $1.00, no donation is too small or too big. Every donation helps so please Chip In!

So Doug from California, you think I won’t make it until September? I’d better paddle harder!

Richard in Austin – great to hear from you! Hmm, not sure the Nauru song was one of your best – but as you say, maybe some warming up is necessary while you dust off the old vocal chords!

Thanks for the info on Nauru. Hmm, don’t think I’ll rush to go there. Am still sifting through the feedback on the “past vs present” question, but am about to time out on limit of discomfort here in cabin, and still have to try and clip shot of whale from video, so am going to stop here.

[Photos: 1) whale 2) today’s cloud pic for NASA S’COOL project]

15 Comments

  • Just finished watching your video on TED. What you are doing is just amazing, you are living my dream. I have always wanted to roam the Earth alone and enjoy it unadulterated. I support your efforts to keep our Earth alive.

    Say hi to the next bunch of whales you see for me 🙂

  • Roz,

    Sounds like a great day to me. Southward progress and a whale. You must have felt a rush when your friend surfaced that close to your small boat. I was on an 80 foot whale watching boat and my heart pounded for five minutes after an Atlantic Humpback “spyhopped” so close to our boat I couldn’t clearly focus my telephoto lens. Less than 10 feet separated us from the whale.

  • It is funny, Stan Miller, that I had the same experience with a whale sighting! I had a 400mm lens on and all I could see through the lens was black, I looked up and a whale was 10 feet from the boat! They are curious creatures as Roz found out! The island of Nauru looks on Google Earth to be ringed with homes! Here is wishing you a good day again tomorrow, Roz.

  • I just watched your TED talk today, and I have to say you’re very inspiring. I would have never thought someone would be able to row across the Atlantic, much less the Pacific. My arms are aching just thinking about it. Keep being amazing.

  • Uh oh! I think there was an error in my calculation … that is WAY too many days. Actually, it was an auspicious date that I thought was cool. I won’t divulge my logic, but hey, if you paddle harder you will get those carrot$ faster. I just made two more bets that are truly scientific gut feelings … dead on accurate to the second ;-D

    But, Roz! it didn’t take my money … we gotta pay to play … and God knows you need carrot$.

    Happy rowing, Roz!

  • Hi Roz

    Saw your TED talk today and was most impressed. However I was horrified reading your blog where you described your skin blistering and peeling.

    You are a great looking woman and whilst age takes external beauty away there is no need to accelerate the process.

    Your skin type evolved in colder climes where covering up is the order of the day.

    You are doing massive damage to your skin which might not affect you right now but in the not too distant future you will likely regret it very much.

    I’m all for rowing with no clothes on but you cannot afford to do that unless you are willing to pay the price of skin cancer, solar keratosis spots and generally degraded skin condition.

    The 2 guys who kayaked from Aus to NZ (crossing the ditch) were almsot totally covered up and both of them have much darker complexions than you do. Row naked in the early morning or late afternoon.

    Enough said, (no more preaching)I admire what you are doing and all strength and fair weather to you.
    Written by a wincing red head.

  • Isn’t it strange that we landlubbers can see more of Nauru on Google earth, than Roz can see when she is so close to it. Thank you to those who added the link to the TED talk, making it a bit easier to watch it. You will notice in the blog that Roz mentions about timing out on discomfort in the cabin. Yesterday the amount of reading I sent her by email – your blog comments – was super-huge. To be kind to Roz, please bear this in mind. She loves to hear from you all, but reading long messages is not easy when she is uncomfortable. It is partly her fault for those questions that she asked!
    Thanks Karl for the reminder about sun-damage. Generally Roz does try to keep in the shade as she mentioned a few days ago. Apologies to Doug for problems with the guessing contast – the person responsible is actively working on the problem.
    A shame about the ex-spidition deserters, perhaps they are just hiding from the sun! Rita.

  • Isn’t it strange that we landlubbers can see more of Nauru on Google earth, than Roz can see when she is so close to it. Thank you to those who added the link to the TED talk, making it a bit easier to watch it. You will notice in the blog that Roz mentions about timing out on discomfort in the cabin. Yesterday the amount of reading I sent her by email – your blog comments – was super-huge. To be kind to Roz, please bear this in mind. She loves to hear from you all, but reading long messages is not easy when she is uncomfortable. It is partly her fault for those questions that she asked!
    Thanks Karl for the reminder about sun-damage. Generally Roz does try to keep in the shade as she mentioned a few days ago. Apologies to Doug for problems with the guessing contest – the person responsible is actively working on the problem.
    A shame about the ex-spidition deserters, perhaps they are just hiding from the sun! Rita.

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  • Hi Roz,
    Way to go 12 days in and 534 mi, sounds like you are preparing for a long silent retreat. My thoughts and good wishes will be with you. Many blessings as you pull each stroke. I admire your courage and pluck. Norm of the Canadian prairies.

  • My students have been tracking you ever since we saw you in Seattle. We are very interested in many things, but the question that came up the most was…. how do not get too sunburned? They are concerned! Also, they want to know if you like poetry, they would like to send you a poem or two. Take care!

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