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.
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.
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.