You can see ROZ’S ROUTE here. Each dot links to the blog from that day. 6.9 nautical miles to go to rendezvous with Team boat. Due to arrive Tuesday morning at Grand Bay Yacht Club
I thought that last night would be my last night on the ocean. I rowed on and off throughout the hours of darkness, taking catnaps as necessary to keep my energy levels up. The night was rough and blustery, and I snuggled my face into the hood of my orange waterproof jacket as the waves crashed and splashed around me. Stars shone hazily through the clouds, and phosphorescence glittered from the ocean as if in response. The only other lights were the faint glow of the compass between my feet – and the lights of Mauritius, glinting alluringly from the horizon behind me. At last, after 150 days at sea, land was in sight.
I ploughed on, hoping I would be able to make enough miles overnight in order to ensure landfall today. But by 5am local time, as sunrise approached, I still had 27 nautical miles to go. At current rates of progress, I would arrive in Grand Baie shortly after sunset tonight.
Making landfall in darkness is not ideal. Strong reasons for a daylight landing are dictated by safety, logistics, customs regulations and media-friendliness. But to make landfall before the sun sets at 6.05pm I would have had to average better than 2 knots all day – and the rare occasions that I’ve managed that on this voyage I’ve had a strong current helping me along, which I don’t have here.
I was reluctant to give up on my dream of making landfall today. I looked at my GPS, and my logbook, and back to the GPS again, optimistically trying to make the numbers work, but they just wouldn’t. No matter how motivated I might be to feel terra firma beneath my feet, it just wasn’t going to be physically possible.
I rang Tony Humphreys, my landfall logistics manager, to confirm my prognosis. Poor man – I’ve never spoken to him before, only emailed, and here I was calling him at 5am. But he sounded fresh and alert, and agreed with my calculations. We made plans for a landfall early tomorrow morning, 4th Oct, which will be exactly 5 months after I left from North Island in the Abrolhos.
As I write, I am about 20 tantalizing miles from the nearside of Mauritius, and 26 miles from Grand Baie on the leeward side. The wind is pushing me towards land, but I have to try and drag my heels to hold off my arrival until after sunrise tomorrow morning. I can’t put out the sea anchor to slow my progress, as there is a weak current flowing to the southwest, trying to sweep me onto the fringing reefs of the windward coast. The sea anchor would only exacerbate the effect of the current. I need to maintain a precise course due west in order to hit the bullseye of the narrow Quoin Channel.
Conditions are rough and grey this morning, so unfortunately I won’t be spending my day sunbathing. More likely I’ll be hiding out in the cabin, popping out once in a while to tweak the rudder. Once in a while, no doubt I will steal a look towards the silhouette of Mauritius on the horizon, and think of Mum and my team waiting there for me, and wish that I was with them.
Before I started ocean rowing, I thought it was mostly about rowing. But there is so much more to it than that. When you include all the land-based preparations, and the non-rowing activities that take place at sea, rowing is only a fraction of the whole. This present situation is an example of when it’s NOT about the rowing, but rather about seamanship, and navigation, and trying not to go crazy about the fact that I am so near, and yet so far, from shore. Looks like I’ve got another 24 hours before I can get to that hot shower, cold beer, and comfortable bed!
Quote for the day: “Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Photo 1: Left o right: Colin Leonhardt (photographer), Aenor Sawyer (doctor and friend), Rita (Roz’s mother), Tony Humphreys (logistics for arrival)
Photo 2: The Team at the Grand Bay Yacht Club.
Sponsored Miles: Very, very special thanks to all who have sponsored miles for Roz along the way, including these last names on the list: Larry Grandt, Jennifer Bester, Kamas Industries, Louis Girard, John Newson, Megan Lutz and Doug Grandt. I believe it was Rick Hyman who a long time ago asked for his name to be there sponsoring “the last mile!”
Recent additions, thanks go to:John Hayes, Ardith Januszewski, Alaia Leighland, Diane Freeman, Chris Walroth, Dominique Chantier, Charles Pell, Rick Paczewski,Robert F Harrison, John Miller, Terry Oliver, Kenneth Edding, Charles Uyeda, Patrick Seeholzer, Andrew Hedges, Joanne Pannone, Moni Law, Romy Shovelton, Leslie Layton, Graham Dickie, Green Drinks NYC, Annabel Arndt.