Progress is rarely linear. That’s what I keep telling myself. Especially when you’re an ocean rower.

For a few days now I’ve felt like I’m banging my head against a brick wall, except that the “wall” is made up of winds and currents that buck the prevailing east-to-west trend of this part of the Indian Ocean. I just don’t seem to be able to get past this next line of longitude.

This morning I covered the same half-mile of ocean half a dozen times. More of the Big Purple Ergometer exercise as described yesterday. Row out, drift back. By the sixth time I swear the waves were starting to look familiar. Or maybe that was just my mind playing tricks on me.

I’ve been through challenging stages like this before. On my way out from San Francisco I developed quite an intimate relationship with 114 degrees West. I crossed it 5 times in all before finally breaking free. On Pacific Stage 2 it was a line of latitude, six degrees north of the Equator, that was my brick wall.

I’ve learned you just have to keep banging your head against different bits of the wall until eventually you stumble upon the window that lets you through. It’s all about perseverance. And having a hard head. And, really, not having very much choice.

Other Stuff:

Situation unlikely to change in the next few days. The forecast is for a full complement of winds coming at me from around the clock – S, SE, E, NE, N, NW, W, and SW. If the sun would just shine for 24 hours a day, I could stand still in the middle of my deck as my boat turns with the wind and get a perfect all-round suntan, like a chicken on a rotisserie. But alas the forecast is for plenty of rain and stormy weather mixed in with the wind (as I write this blog, rain is pounding on the roof), so I may well be spending a lot of time confined to the cabin.

Speaking of my mind playing tricks on me, there is something on my boat, somewhere, that from inside my cabin sounds exactly like a dog barking. Whenever the waves rise above a flat calm, I hear it. Most peculiar.

Last night I thought I heard a kerfuffle out on deck (as well as the barking dog). I only half woke up, reassured myself that I was unlikely to have intruders, and went back to sleep again. This morning I found the source of the noise – a huge fish, about 2 foot long, was lying neatly between my rowing seat runners. Well, okay, 2 feet isn’t huge compared with a whale shark, but it IS huge compared with the 2-inch flying fish I usually find in the mornings. Not sure how this chap found himself on board, but looking at the size of his teeth I’m glad he was stone dead and stiff as a board by the time I met him.

My, what big teeth you've got

Expert opinions as to his identity?

I would love to see some LIVE wildlife on this trip, rather than all the dead critters that keep washing up on my deck. When I do, you’ll be the first to know!

I hear that the Climate Ride is arriving in Washington DC today. Go Climate Riders!! I hope to ride with you again next year!

Sponsored Miles rowed – but not quite the right direction.

Joan Sherwood, Courtney Elwood, Rebecca Salgado, David Swig, Bradley Kehoe.

29 Comments

  • “Progress is rarely linear. That’s what I keep telling myself. Especially when you’re an ocean rower.” You must be psychic too – I posted this yesterday, Good days, Good days negated by Bad Days, and Bad Days, But when we look at things longer term, then things look better…

    “Speaking of my mind playing tricks on me, there is something on my boat,
    somewhere, that from inside my cabin sounds exactly like a dog barking.” It is the ghost of (a) Salty Dog…

    That fish is AMAZING… From its Skull and Jaw structure, It is one of the ancients of the ocean…

  •  Wow, I’m second after Richard, 2.00am here on the east coast of Australia. The surf is about 800 metres down the hill from me but I can hear the pounding quite clearly. Keep pulling Roz, the only way to stop making progress is to stop. I’m sure your persistence will pay off. Finished my website rewrite, … it now looks like a 21st century site. :-)http://jimbell.id.au/ Jim Bell (NSW Australia)

  •  Roz, you certainly find some interesting things out there. Based on the head configuration, teeth and “under bite”, could this be some species of barracuda? Species of barracuda seem to vary in size, ‘skinnyness’ and fin shape.

    •  @d1ce1abc79c890542c9da11375bd0fbb:disqus That is the closest that I could find… They due vary is size and girth… This is one of the most extremely “skinny” ones that I have seen… But, The head and teeth sure match… It would have to be one of the early members of the barracuda family…

      • Not sure where my mind was on that one??? “They do vary in size and girth… This is one of the most, extremely
        “skinny” ones that I have seen… But, The head and teeth sure match…
        It would have to be one of the early members of the barracuda family…”

    • Bruce,  I was wondering about the Wahoo too with its similar head and jaw configuration. But, the fins seem to be very different, and there doesn’t seem to be the variety of wahoo as there are for barracuda.

      It’s difficult to tell. I was largely going by the pictures of barracuda “faces” found on this page: http://www.jjphoto.dk/fish_archive/a_intro310.htm 

      Either way, Roz should stay away from those teeth. And, probably difficult to cook up on little Sedna.

  • Juvenile, emaciated wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri). They get much larger. Acanthocybium solandri). They get much larger. 

    •  Maybe, But the tail and jaw are not exactly Wahoo – and the “Dagger-Like” teeth are classic Barracuda…

    • Bruce, you seem to know more about fish than I do. Check this out! The look on Roz’s little guy’s face and the shape of him seems sorta like the cutie who came up when googling ‘long fish Indian Ocean’ … the image file name is tn_lizard-fish, so I further refined my search to “lizard fish Indian Ocean” which brought me to http://bit.ly/TsunamiDeepCreatures.Note the teeth and extreme elongation of this guy and his mate in the tub beneath. Judging from this guy’s girth, it would suggest Roz’s friend is just a little baby who lost its way :((

      The most definitive description I can find is “The Longfin Lizardfish is a type of Lizardfish that lives mainly in the Indian Ocean” … Can anybody dredge up more on this guy?

      There are lots of similar cuties at http://bit.ly/LizardFishPix

      Roz, avoid OarFish, they look a bit like your visitor, but are very very very very large indeed.

      •  @UncaDoug:disqus Your second image is very close – Bigger Model, But Close – whatever it was…

      • Doug,  I can see why they are called lizardfish! The first link doesn’t seem to work for me.  Perhaps the bit.ly link isn’t working? 

        • Rick, there was a space between the url and Note … added the space so the link works now. Thanks and enjoy the cute critters. 

          • Doug,  Thanks for pointing out the problem. I went to the linked page, and see some truly strange deep sea critters. 

  • Denzel Washington’s Penn State speech paraphrased and excerpted: 

    “The ceremony was a little overwhelming and out of my comfort zone….I had to come exactly because I might make a fool of myself. I’ve found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Nothing….Failure is inevitable. We should “fall forward” instead of falling back on something and learn from our mistakes and keep going….Do you have the guts to fail? If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying.” 

    Anybody have thoughts on this? 

    •  I agree… I have forgotten who said something quite similar, but this was “Their” quote… “No one can do everything – so we are destined to fail many times… Those who have never failed have never tried to do anything worthwhile or difficult…”

  • Hey, The U.S. Navy is inviting all of us – Not just Rozlings (In fact, Damn if they did not even mention us in this invite) – to help with the Pirate problem… Here is the link to the story – http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110517/ts_alt_afp/usmilitaryitinternetgamespiracy;_ylt=AnlpedamLI_km2lQ7t9ecDRk24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTNlc2c2b2w3BGFzc2V0A2FmcC8yMDExMDUxNy91c21pbGl0YXJ5aXRpbnRlcm5ldGdhbWVzcGlyYWN5BGNjb2RlA2dtcGUEY3BvcwM5BHBvcwM5BHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcmllcwRzbGsDdXNuYXZ5cmVjcnVp

  • Purple Sedna lured the most unusual fish
    “Please don’t bite me” was Roz’ only wish
    Was it a Wahoo
    Or some other Yahoo
    No matter, It was one yummy dish

    • Richard in DFW, you’ve inspired me …

      While Roz did sleep she heard a kerfuffle
      Like needle nose pliers fell from her duffle
      ‘Twas naughty nihilistic
      Gross features realistic
      Netherworld navigate off it did shuffle.

      Row without muffle, Roz!

      •  @9ded466cb37f14648c547bf3da0e14bf:disqus You just reminded me of a very old, pre-comatose memory… One sister used to call me Richy – Just as a very worrisome ad came out on TV featuring a very sad “Richy”…

  •  The comments on each blog post are as interesting as the blog post itself. It’s great to follow Roz’s journey. So inspiring! Go Roz Go!

  • That is not a fish, it is a bad dream captured by a wave. Anyway in order to help Roz, we must dispense with the haiku and bring out the voodoo. Specifically we want the help of “Babalu Aye”  I’m sure you have heard Ricky Ricardo sing the Babalu incantation on the “I love Lucy show. ”  Basically you need a conga drum and someone to beat it while yelling  “Babaloooo–bablu babalu ayeeeee”  and dancing round a bonfire.  Make sure that everyone has plenty of rum and soon a conga line will form.  If all goes as planned Saint Babalu will show up; he is an old man with a staff and he can use it to whack Roz to a better place. OK? Fine. Now I’m serious about this and you must remember that since Voodoo is a religion it is subject to the same kind of silly rules that govern white people’s church, so keep your clothes on.  Good luck

  • Hey Roz,
                   as you are still sort of in W.A. waters the fish with the teeth you’ve been getting are called Longtom, from the Garfish family – the one’s you got without the big teeth are Garfish. Here’s a pic I found on the interweb!  Hope things are going well by the way.
                                        Regard’s, Col.

  • That is some type of Barricuda (I.O. version) – we have a hefty model here in Florida waters and they have a habit of leaping clear out of the water into fishing boats, for various reasons not clearly understood. Boat passengers and fishermen here in Florida have been seriusly impaled and injured by leaping Barricuda (which only seems like just karmic payback in some sense) – I never fish them but once caught once accidentily that made short order of my tackle. Perhaps they are (in daylight) attracted by shiny objects above the surface. Don’t wear your best jewerlry just yet.

    I wonder, he seems quite emaciated compared to our species. I’m guessing but I know you’re well out into open Bluewater now. Perhaps foraging for that fish is tough out there!
    Enjoy your continual workout (whew!) Patience you must have in abundance! (PS: yes, I agree, in piano playing my progress was rarely linear! Great thought…
    best & later: michael in FL

  • @Rita:disqus  A little worried – after Roz’ Blog this morning sounding so Blue… All of a sudden, Today’s/That Blog, May 18th is gone from her website… Hope everything is OK???

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