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.)

Alex Bellini, Ocean Rower

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.

Other Stuff:

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.

28 Comments

  • How about the theme from the BBC radio programme of long ago..
    ” The navy lark ” ?…. 🙂 🙂
    More seriously….”What have you done today to make you feel proud”…Heather Small see;
    http://youtu.be/tms-ayMYzb8

    The lyrics are very appropriate….and it is a great song for a crowd 🙂 🙂

  • Ah, that’s a Terible case of EBS, Epic Beard Syndrome. Perhaps walking around without clothes… Well maybe not. Your whole routine will change as soon as you are near enough to be sited, that has to be a difficult change.
    Row for change, eh.

  • I can’t imagine what being back on land will feel like but I’m definitely excited to hear how you cope. 

    I come to your blog everyday and each day, I am filled with awe.

    Continued success! 

  • At first I started writing this to Roz, but now I’m directing my comments to the readers here. The vast majority of us live our life within touching distances of other humans if not shouting distance. Roz has been alone, not seeing or touching another human for  5 months. I don’t know if that is a record in human history or not. Maybe Guinness, the book publisher of world records could look into that.

    Fair winds and calm seas.
    Jerry

  • Ice in your drink? Are you sure you’re British?

    Seriously, I completely understand your thought process. I felt the same way when I got back from 5 months on the Appalachian Trail, less the dock rock. My solution was to hide out for about three months, which is probably not an option for you.

    However you deal with the transition, you will know that it is a transition, and you are passing into something new. Your life will never be the same again. But you’ve already done this twice before. The question now will be, can you resist the temptation to row around the Southern Ocean?

    I am so happy for you and inspired by you. Godspeed the rest of your journey, to land and beyond.

    Best,

    George Cathcart

  • Roz! This morning I discovered the perfect song in a video that was just posted on Facebook.com /TarSandsAction.  It is “Make a Noise” by Katie Herzig.  You probably haven’t heard it yet ;))

    From what I can tell, it was released June 2nd and is on her new album “The Waking Sleep” released September 22nd.Row noisily, Roz!Look up
    You see the sky on fire
    Look out
    The world is getting higher, now
    .
    Believe, that you can change the world
    Your dreams, have been living in a code of silence
    So let them out
    .
    Find your voice, find your voice
    Make a noise
    .
    You try, to find the words you want to say
    You might, be looking much too far away
    To recognize, we’re all disguised
    .
    Find your voice, find your voice
    Make a noise

    Oh, we’re all aboard before the war, worlds collide
    Look at all the people fighting for the same side
    We’re all aboard before the war, worlds collide
    You can’t have the peace you’re looking for without a fight
    .
    Oh, we’re all aboard before the war, worlds collide
    (you see the sky on fire)
    Look at all the people fighting for the same side
    (the world is getting higher)
    .
    Oh, we’re all aboard before the war, worlds collide
    (you see the sky on fire)
    If you see the world you want make it right
    (the world is getting higher)
    .
    You see the sky on fire
    The world’s getting higher

  • My friends and I experience “Canyon Time” the warp that lasts for about ten days after spending 21 days on the grand canyon. Cannot imagine what “Indian Ocean Time” would feel like or how long it lasts, or how strong of a sensation it is and it’s steep or shallow decline… Maybe consider taking some time off from this blog (outside of updating us on your post paddle solidarity parties) Suggest surrounding yourself with good friends and your mum. And taking plenty of time outs for Roz time at regular or irregular intervals. You can always write about the transition in a later blogs. The first thing I will do once you are safely back on land is to review your blogs from prior to your Atlantic Row until present. You are amazing and I cannot thank you enough for sharing all of what you continue to discover about you, yourself, the world around you and how it relates to us. Yay! Roz, Row Girl Row! And remember, me and several people like me will not think a blink of an eye’s worth what your post row time looks like. Those who matter don’t mind. I say you figure out how to put OR on a cape instead of a plate. You would wear patent leather like spandex well I am sure:) The color would need suggesting, purple? … Nahw, A red cape would suit you well! 
    I just got back from taking Kasey biolumenescent kayaking in Tomales Bay. It is spectacular. The water sparkles and dances wherever you touch it. It is made by phosflorescent plankton that get “stuck” in the bay on a no moon night. Suggest it for any of your fans in Northern California. I hear the blooms were dramatic all the way down the coast of California this year. (I write this in hope to shamelessly entice Roz to come stay for a while with us on the left coast. Right coasters and Summit/Sky and Land coasts can make your own pitch 🙂 Last year I blogged about it. I created the blog to compliment Roz’s fundraising. http://www.outside-365.blogspot.com under Avatar Kayaking, Tomales Bay/Nick’s Cove/ Miller’s Point boat launch.

    Here is a video of the phenomenon in Cairns, Australia:

     http://youtu.be/EN1Yxq8KMsw

    It happens on New or no moon nights in September, October and November. But in September and October the air temperature in N Cal are best for (non-motorized) water sports.

    I love that you are making history AND blogging with us at the same time. I need to change my number two answer from yesterday. “Most memorable”, That would have to be sometime in the future. Because I cannot wait for you to figure out what you will be doing with the rest of your career!

    I know that I may have an upper hand on this, but I am sure that Roz will weigh in the song she thinks best represents her mission… my suggestion…Supertramp Give a Little Bit

    http://youtu.be/hGI6qQHFlPk

    Give a little bitGive a little bit of your love to meGive a little bitI’ll give a little bit of my love to youThere’s so much that we need to shareSend a smile and show you careI’ll give a little bitI’ll give a little bit of my love to youSo give a little bitGive a little bit of your time to meSee the (girl) man with the lonely (blades) eyesTake (her) his hand, you’ll be surprised
    Give a little bitGive a little bit of your love to meI’ll give a little bit of my love for youNow’s the time that we need to shareSo find yourself, we’re on our way back home
    Were going back homeGoing homeDon’t you need to feel at home?Oh yeah, we gotta sing

    Or how about Train: Get to me 🙂

    http://youtu.be/0OJvFpzHGIc

    Well an airplane’s faster than a CadillacAnd a whole lot smoother than a camel’s backBut I don’t care how you get to meJust get to meParasail or first class mailGet on the back of a NightingaleJust get to me I don’t care just get to meProkeds, mopeds take a limousine insteadThey ain’t cheap but they’re easy to findGet on the highway point yourself my wayTake a roller coaster that comes in sidewaysJust get to me – yeah Go on hitch a ride on the backof a butterflyThere’s no better way to flyTo get to meI look around at what I gotAnd without you, it ain’t a lotBut I got everything, with you, everything Maybe you could pollinate over theGolden GateTake a left hand turn at the cornerOf HaightAnd then a sharp rightAt the first street lightAnd get yourself on a motor bikeAnd if you think you’ll get stuck in atraffic jamThat’s fine, send yourself through a telephone lineIt doesn’t matter how you get to meJust get to me Cause after every dayThe wind blows the night time my wayAnd I imagine that you areAbove me like a starAnd you keep on glowingAnd you keep on showing me the waySHINE SHINE SHINE 

    You get to us Roz!

    ~Jay (Smiling at Smiley’s) 
    written from the Coast Cafe

  • Roz, Wikipedia has “List of songs about the environment” and Radiohead has lots of music inspired by environmental issues.

    I can never say enough thank you for what you are doing.

    -Elena

  • Given the choice between walking like you’re drunk or having people fear bugs might pop out of your facial hair at any moment – I vote for a wobble and a bit of social awkwardness.

    Enjoy the home stretch!

  • Given the choice between walking like you’re drunk or having people fear bugs might pop out of your facial hair at any moment – I vote for a wobble and a bit of social awkwardness.

    Enjoy the home stretch!

  • I absolutely suck at coming up with songs to fit a particular occasion, so I’ll just leave that to the more musically inclined. 

    That has got to be a fascinating, and yes a bit jarring, experience to come into a heavy population and solid land after so much time rocking the waves in solitude. I remember when I used to go to women’s festivals out on a big wooded campground, coming back into the city was a weird experience. All the things we usually think of as normal would seem very odd. And those were just long weekends. 

    I know you tend to be busy busy and booking every minute of your days as soon as you land, so be sure to reserve a little quiet solitude time to give your brain a little peace every day.

    Best,
    Joan

  • Can’t help with the beard thing, and anyway with your colouring it would likely grow out orange and spiky. For your other concern, three suggestions:
    1. Lots of scotch an hour before arrival on the assumption that two unsteadineses will cancel out.
    2. Immediately fall to the ground and kiss it (like the Pope does) and wait to be helped up.
    3. Grab a firm hold of me or, if I’m not there, anyone not actually waving a camera or microphone. Your Mum, for example (Hello, Rita!)

  • You’ll just have to communicate with friends face to face through blog posts! It is evident that your knack for written prose has not deteriorated in the least (unless your mum is a spectacular editor, ha!)

    In British Columbia, Canada, we have a red L (learner) magnet that goes on the back end of your car for very new learners, and then a green N (for new driver) for the next stage before getting the full licence. 

    Best wishes for re-entry into earth’s atmosphere,
    Beverly

  • You can sense the excitement…yes from all of us but also in your posts! Come on girl…

    So I take it then you have 3 actions or ideas that you want to do when you hit land….and I don’t mean, drink bear, wax legs and get date with Johnny Depp!

    Maybe if we know…we can help you put together some ideas over the last few miles? Or start helping you achieve them?

  • Soooo excited for you Roz!
    How long does it take to get used to humans again? Do you find you have more, or less patience with them?

  • Roz, if you are looking for indistinct, airy, nondescript music as background, check out Bobby McFerrin’s Common Threads…. lovely la la la along…  Blessings,  Ina…

  • Greenday, Time of my life :)http://youtu.be/1PK2R0IwCiY
    Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go. So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why. It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time. It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life. So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind. Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time. Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial. For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while. It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.I hope you had the time of your life.It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.I hope you had the time of your life.It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.I hope you had the time of your life.
     
    Row Roz Row!
     ~Jay 🙂

  • Roz, I am so excited for you and for all of us too. It is just mind boggling to know you are so close!  Your determination, tenacity and skill are just amazing!I I will be praying more as you near those reefs and hoping for your safe arrival. 🙂 don’t overlook ANYTHING in your systems checks and keep your faith strong. Hugs……… Roger

  • Well Roz, your amazing tan, sans tan lines, would be a clue, but that might lead to the extremes of attraction or shunning; depending on how far you go with that. Always tough to prove something doesn’t exist.

    Perhaps you should just go about with Woody the Pirate on your shoulder – a la Parrot style. Just for a week or two.

    Tattoos are another nautical tradition. Perhaps an oar on each arm?

    There’s the T Shirt option with slogans like:
    Atlantic [X] , Pacific [X], Indian [X]
    Ready Oar Knot, Here I Row

    Spending months rowing solo across an ocean might just improve your social skills. Give it a Row.

    Just returned from lengthy isolation experiment.
    Please handle with care. Subject may be unstable.

  • Roz, I have faithfully read your blog for the past month with shear admiration for your intellectual contribution along with the inspiration.  Because of it I’m racing next week in a 340 mile kayak race at the age of 62.  If you can do it so can I, although a much lighter task.  When I paddle I simply play Faith Hill’s song, “Just Breathe”.  It reminds me that all I have to have to exist in this troubled world is “inspiration”. 

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