Day 20 No Ditheration
Dictated by Roz at 20:55 local time, position -03.91948 159 5329.

This morning I was woken by the sound of porpoises exhaling noisily near my boat. I popped out on deck to take a look, but despite the bright crescent moon it was too dark for me to see anything. Nice way to be woken up though, beats an alarm clock any day.

Later today I saw a pod of dolphins cruise past. I have mixed feelings about dolphins. They have such a reputation for being such friendly, even spiritual, creatures but in the open ocean I found them to be rather supercilious. Unlike whales and turtles, they take very little interest in me. They just shimmy on by with a superior air as if I am beneath their notice. It’s like they know they are the stars of the show and I am just a bit-part player, or even worse, the clown. I can’t help taking this rather personally, but maybe I project too much.
Fortunately there are no signs of human life today, although I am sure it won’t be long. Today I officially set course for Papua New Guinea.

Tonight I will pass about 35 miles north of Nuku Anuu island and will then head for the straits between Bouganville Island and New Ireland.
Last night I had a bit of a dither. I had made good progress south over the last couple of days, and I toyed with the idea of routing towards Australia. Then I remembered the agonies of last year’s ditheration over the Tuvalu/Tarawa question which hung over me for weeks. I am not going through that again.

I remember going to a talk by a couple of guys who had rowed the Atlantic. This was several years ago before I had ever rowed an ocean. One of them said “It is not the decisions you make, it’s the way you see them through.”

Last year I really learned what he meant. All the vacillating backwards and forwards really affected my motivation. While I was uncommitted it was difficult to push myself to row hard for Tuvalu, when I would suddenly be overtaken by doubt and wonder if I should be aiming for Tarawa instead. I was too hung up on aiming to make the right decision.

The older I get the more I suspect there is often little difference between a right decision and a wrong decision. The worst of all worlds is to make a weak decision and then constantly revisit it, worrying over it, and wondering if it was the right one and changing your mind. It almost never ends well.

In most cases it is better to make the best decision you can, face all the facts available at the time, and stick with it – only changing it if the passage of time reveals that it was completely misguided. Very few decisions are totally irrevocable, and most will succeed if you commit to making them succeed.

I am quite excited about Madang. Australia is a great country but I have been there before. Papua New Guinea will be something quite different, a new adventure. This will be a voyage of discovery.
Other stuff: Can anybody out there tell me what currency they use? What language do they speak? Will they allow me to bring food into the country? And do they have decent beer?

Thanks to latest donors to Foundation: David Saunders and DL Perry.

Fundraising Newsletter by Nova Lee
I was reading Roz’s recent blog on how she dove into the ocean to prevent a plastic stove from polluting the sea without any thought to her safety. Made me think of the times I was too lazy to chase after a piece of escaped plastic wrapper. That plastic wrapper that got away most likely joined the 14 billion pounds of trash that end up in our oceans annually. I have a few friends who regularly pick up trash and they serve as a good reminder of the ‘little more’ that I can do. I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting Roz but I get the feeling that she would be just this sort of friend.
Fans: Support Roz’s foundation today by sharing stories of things you have done to prevent the plastic pollution of our planet and donating so we can collectively catch all the plastic before it ends up in the ocean.

To let us know how Roz has inspired you go to:

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  • People
    Population (2008 est.): 6.5 million.
    Annual population growth rate (2005-2010): 2.0%.
    Languages: Three official languages are English, Tok Pisin, and Motu. There are approximately 860 other languages.
    Education: Years compulsory–0. Literacy–49.3%.
    Health: Infant mortality rate–60/1,000. Life expectancy–57.0 yrs.
    Though cultures vary widely, traditional Papua New Guinea social structures generally include the following characteristics:
    • The practice of subsistence economy;
    • Recognition of bonds of kinship with obligations extending beyond the immediate family group;
    • Generally egalitarian relationships with an emphasis on acquired, rather than inherited, status; and
    • A strong attachment of the people to land, which is held communally. Traditional communities do not recognize a permanent transfer of ownership when land is sold.
    • Though land and other possessions may be inherited through the female line in some cultures, women generally are considered and treated as inferiors. Gender violence is endemic.
    • Patterns and frequency of sexual activity, though never publicly discussed (especially in rural areas), contribute to the current rapid spread of HIV.
    Most Papua New Guineans still adhere strongly to this traditional social structure, which has its roots in village life.
    Branches: Executive–Queen Elizabeth II (head of state, represented by a governor general); prime minister (head of government)- Sir Michael Somare-as the Prime Minister, becoming the longest-serving parliamentarian in the Commonwealth. Somare celebrated his 40th year in politics on March 16, 2008. His government was the first to complete a 5-year term since independence and hopes to complete a 10-year term. The next national elections will be held in 2012.
    Principal Government Officials
    Governor General–Paulias Matane
    Prime Minister–Michael Somare
    Deputy Prime Minister–Puka Temu
    Foreign Minister–Samuel Abal
    Ambassador to the United Nations–Robert Aisi
    Ambassador to the United States–Evan Paki
    In 2006 minerals and oil export receipts accounted for 82% of GDP
    Agriculture currently accounts for 13% of GDP and supports more than 75% of the population. Cash crops ranked by value are coffee, oil, cocoa, copra, tea, rubber, and sugar
    Approximately 75% of the country’s population relies primarily on the subsistence economy. The minerals, timber, and fish sectors are dominated by foreign investors.
    The U.S. Peace Corps ceased operations in Papua New Guinea in 2001 due to security concerns.
    For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings can be found. Consular Affairs Publications, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, are also available at For additional information on international travel, see
    Although yellow fever is not a disease risk in Papua New Guinea, the government requires travelers arriving from countries where yellow fever is present to present proof of yellow fever vaccination.
    There is a very good read from Lonely planet-
    Travel Alert: Papua New Guinea is troubled by a high level of serious crime, particularly in the urban centres of Port Moresby, Lae and Mt Hagen. Travellers should use common sense to avoid any trouble – don’t travel alone, especially at night and respect any local advice regarding safety. All travel to the Highlands region, except on essential business, should be reconsidered because of high levels of crime and inter-tribal violence. This includes the Southern Highlands, Enga, Western Highlands, Chimbu and Eastern Highlands provinces. Travellers should stay away from the no-go zone around the former Panguna mine in Bougainville. Check travel advisories and news services before travelling. See Safe Travel for updated government warnings.
    Last updated: 27-Apr-2009
    Here’s a few slang terms in Tok Pisin used to describe a cold one (or 6):
    • Spak Papa: spak=drunk; papa=father.
    • SP: South Pacific (the local brew).
    • Shortpela meri: shortpela=short; meri=female.
    • Shortpela mama: shortpela=short; mama=female.
    • Kism wara: wara=water=beer; kisim=bring.
    • Marasin: =medicine.
    • Bia: the correct term for beer.
    • 6 Pax: a six pack of beer.
    • Crate or box: a carton of beer (24x).

  • Nova, thanks for doing the fundraiser for Roz. I just now made another donation. I like to tell Roz they are carrot$ scattered out in front of Brocade in the direction she wants to go, currently in a west southwesterly (WSW) direction. Last year, she said in a blog that it is encouraging to her knowing the carrot$ are on the “minute” marks so she can watch her gps tracker and count them down as she crosses the minutes. So, today she has another bushel of carrot$ spread from 00° 3″ to 00° 4″ … that’s 60 carrot$, one every minute … so she has something to look forward to every minute of her journey 🙂

    As for plastic, when the grocery checker asks “paper or plastic?” I say “neither” and use a canvas bag. I am also helping my town’s City Council Sustainability Committee in their effort to establish a ban on plastic grocery bags (or, more likely, to put a charge for them) so, like Washington, DC, we can see a SIGNIFICANT reduction in the use of plastic bags. With a price that somehow reflects the true cost to the environment, canvass will become the acceptable lower-cost alternative. It is happening “minute-by-minute” in towns all across the nation.

  • oops … I just noticed a not-to-minor error in my comment above … the bushel of 60 carrot$ is spread from 04° 01″ to 05° 00″ … one carrot$ on each minute of latitude …

    Any other Rozlings care to join me spreading carrot$ out before Roz and Brocade? Just click on Go Roz Go Fundraiser or the GO Roz GO! Contest in the upper right corner.

    Rita tells Roz about the carrot$ when she calls, she really does. Roz loves carrot$ … they give her energy and motivation ;-D

    Rita, please tell Roz I love her Ditheration story and magic number 23 on

  • Just for giggles, Roz, re your comment about the apparent attitude the dolphins have for you, they may just be thinking that you are part of that genus of critters that is plastisizing th ocean!
    Blue Sky Guy

  • It’s been quite awhile since I last read your blog – back when it was on blogger. . . when it switched over I lost motivation to go through the hoops of getting to it. This time, however, I notice that it’s just as easy, and I enjoy reading about your adventures. Shows how we grow in time, eh? 🙂

  • Smart decision to head into New Guinea. I dont know what the “official” line is, and do not really care, but USA to New Guinea sure looks like you have “crossed the Pacific” to me. Anyway, you can always continue to Australia later when prevailing conditions are more helpful, and if you want to. Heck you can hop your way right round the planet, if you feel it is of sufficient continuing benefit to your cause! 🙂

    ps Checking the pirate tracker ( You are well away from any potential danger. Just don’t land on a head-hunting island :-).

  • Congrats on your decision to aim for Madang. From what I’ve heard it’s a very nice town. It’s popular among expats with many international NGOs headquartered there.

    Hopefully Alf will like it too. He’s (they’re?)small and and from the sounds of it discreet enough to slip by any authorities bent on fumigation.

    PNG is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world with some 800 languages spoken. The good news is thanks to its British and later Australian colonial past many people can get by in English. The lingua franca is Tok Pisin- Pijin English.

    I was working for a while in West Papua on the Indonesian half of New Guinea where some Papuan colleagues smuggled in some cans of “South Pacific” brand beer brewed in PNG’s capital Port Moresby. I never had the pleasure of a cold one but it tasted fine, even warm. Given the expat concentration in Madang I suspect cold beer will be locally abundant.

    As of June I’ll be working for a while in the Marovo Lagoon in the far western end of the Solomon Islands- a bit to the east of where you’ll be passing. It’s a lovely part of the world so any human creatures you encounter are likely to be very friendly and welcoming.

    Wishing you optimum conditions as you stroke your way toward that much deserved cold beer Roz.

    PS I enjoyed your chat with Dr. Kiki and weatherman Lee.

  • Hi Roz!
    I think this particular post is one of your best ever, even if it was transcribed! Excellent points and wise thinking! ……….well, ‘cept for the dolphins! 🙂 Why would they not feel superior as they have faster speed, more manuverability and are not affected by wind and very little by ocean currents? ! AND they are wise enough to NOT TRAVEL ALONE! LOL But you both have several things in common. for one, you both are about helping others, they and you both are good for the planet. And there may be a “Flipper” in the bunch that is “watching your behind”! AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, I bet they know where they are going! 🙂
    Love ya, Roger

  • Happy Mother’s Day Rita Savage!
    Thanks for taking care of Roz out there on a journey with a destiny
    Hope you keep your focus and good attitude Roz so hang in there Roz I’m praying & rooting for you and your side
    What you do and inspire is amazingly spreading its Butterfly Effect
    Great job and sustain that power … your efforts will create change for the positive

  • Morning Rita,
    Happy mothers day! Thank you and for your gifts to our planet.Your daughters.They live what they love. Savage family tree smiles to you. With gratitude, bill

  • Dearest Roz,

    When you reach Papau, have a “Bia” for me. I’m sure you will find the citizenry welcoming AND curious. Am sending vibes their way in advance of your “landfall”.

    Stay well and strong and I’m sure the dolphins are at the worst, being curious and just possibly, making sure you’re OK….hope the whale’s tail is meaningful on this leg of your journey.

    May your course be true.

    Fondly, Jeanne Gallagher

  • Word for the day: determinism (dih-TUR-mun-um)- the belief that a person’s course of action is not free but predetermined by external circumstances.
    Quote of the day:
    But total freedom is never what one imagines and in fact, hardly exists. It comes as a shock in life to learn that we usually only exchange one set of restrictions for another. The second set, however, is self-chosen, and therefore easier to accept- Anne Morrow Lindbergh
    The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.
    Shirley MacLaine
    What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other? – George Eliot
    Thank you for your determination Roz. Good rowing today. What book are you listening to now? To your journey, bill

  • Hello Ros! Had decided against commenting since I knew you weren’t able to get emails, but based on today’s blog I will go ahead!
    This post made me think of The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. With the dolphins having the superior air 🙂 I keep several of my co-workers updated with your progress, they find it fascinating. Am thinking of you and hoping for safe passage between all those islands coming up!

  • Hi,Superb blogging dude! i am just Fed up with using RSS feeds and do you use twitter?so i can follow you there:D.
    PS:Do you thought putting video to this blog posts to keep the readers more entertained?I think it works., Ezekiel Adalja

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