You can see ROZ’S ROUTE here. Each dot links to the blog from that day. 134 nautical miles to go. (This may be updated as the day goes on.)
I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world, but in Britain, when you’re learning to drive you have an “L plate” – a square white sign with a red “L” on it that you display somewhere on the car to warn other drivers that they need to make allowances. Once you’ve passed your test, you display a green “L” for a few months to show that you’re still getting the hang of things.
I feel like I will need an “L” plate when I get back onto terra firma. It’s okay for the guys – when they come back off the ocean, many of them are sporting big, bushy beards to hint that they have just returned from deeds of derring-do. The facial hair sets them apart from their less hirsute, landlubbing peers, and also offers an excuse for any slightly odd or antisocial behaviour. It is a badge of honour, indicating that they are not ordinary mortals.
But I will arrive back on dry land looking pretty much the same as I did when I set out, except maybe a bit browner and thinner and more weatherbeaten. I feel that, after all I’ve been through in the last five months, I should look different on the outside to reflect the changes on the inside. But I don’t – or only so’s my mother would notice. My legs will be in need of waxing, but that’s not quite the same as having a big, impressive beard.
People who don’t know me may wonder why I can’t quite walk in a straight line, and might even think that I am drunk rather than suffering from “dock rock” (of course, I may be both). They may think that I am rather socially awkward, rather than just getting the hang of being around people again. They might wonder why I get so excited about things like ice in my drink, or running water, or restaurant menus, or chairs or beds or cars.
I recall, after previous rows, struggling slightly to readjust to land life. I won’t be able to remember what I “normally” eat, or what order I do things in the shower, or how to make small talk. I will find myself wondering, “what would a normal person do in this situation?” and having to fake it till I make it. Everything and everybody seems rather strange for a while.
Maybe I should make myself an “OR” plate to hang around my neck for the first few days. That’s OR for “Ocean Rower”, not “Obviously Retarded”, by the way. Or… maybe not.
Remember Col’s superb video of my departure from Fremantle all those months ago? We used a song proposed by Jay as the backing track. Col will be with us once again in Mauritius to record my landfall, and has asked for suggestions for a suitable soundtrack. Ideas, anybody?
Sponsored Miles: Our gratitude to: Julian Gall, Karen Morss, Jennifer Bester, Kamas Industries, Louis Girard, Molly McCallum; also to Greg Danforth and Mark Reid.