Dictated at 21.40 on Thursday 6th May.
This blog was dictated by Roz and transcribed by her mother, Rita Savage.
Position: -3.12780S, 160.85564E
So far this voyage has been remarkably mellow. I was starting to feel that I was getting the hang of this ocean-rowing malarkey, enjoying the journey as much as the destination. My progress has been eased by generally favourable winds and currents so I have been taking time out to enjoy ocean life, admiring cloud formations, snorkeling around the boat and gazing up at the stars at night.
However, that all might be about to change. The harbinger of the new phase arrived tonight in the shape of a pinprick of light on the horizon. I tried to convince myself that it was just a low-lying star. But no, it was definitely a vessel on my ocean. Huh!
It doesn’t seem to be getting any closer so hopefully we will just be ships passing in the night, but it did make me get out my chart to see how far I am from land. The answer is: not far enough.
This morning I had called Lee Bruce, my weatherman, to discuss my route. We agreed that Australia is (and probably always was) out of the question, and that my best bet is to make for Madang in Papua New Guinea. The challenge is going to be the obstacle course of islands, atolls and reefs between here and there. My chart of this area, given to me by Captain Vince of the White Holly is rather old but hopefully not too many new features have sprung up in the last 50 years.
After 1961 (not clear what Roz said – any ideas, anyone?) I come to a scattering of small islands including Nuku Manu Frindsbury and Tauu islands. I need to try and weave my way through these and then pass through the straits between Bouganville Island and the southern tip of New Ireland. Then I want to skirt the bottom of New Britain before turning North West to follow the coast of New Guinea up to Madang.
All this is very much easier said than done. Ocean rowboats do not like land. They lack maneuverability and
There’s not much point in stressing about it yet because I don’t know from this far out what the weather conditions will be like by the time I get there. According to Lee the winds should be relatively light by the time I get in amongst the islands, improving my chances of slaloming my way through without running slap-bang into anything.
Its all part of the adventure.
Other stuff: Alf the spider has made a dangerous foray into the area around my feet today. I had to be careful not to tread on the little fellow. It would a shame for him to survive the hazards of an ocean voyage only to be trodden on by his ship’s captain.
Some larger fish with yellow fins and tails have joined the community of little yellow fish beneath my boat. I suspect that their arrival may lead to a reduction in the population of little yellow fish. It is turning into quite an eco-system down there.
Thank you for your comments both on this blog and on Facebook. Mum is passing on as many as she can in our phone calls and by SMS to my satphone. All much appreciated. Keep them coming.
Thanks to latest contributors to the Foundation: James Salzman, Grandad Larry Grandt and Steve Maskell.