I was tremendously honoured to receive an award for “Ocean Inspiration Through Adventure” at an event held a few days ago in New York. The event was to commemorate the legacy and life of Jacques Cousteau, and was organized by his granddaughter, Celine. My friend Margaret Lydecker of New York Green Drinks accepted the award on my behalf, as it was tricky for me to get the night off from rowing across the Indian Ocean.
When I was at school or in the Girl Guides, an award was something you received when you’d completed a task, and when it comes to the oceans, the task is so very far from completed. At times it feels like it has barely begun. Critically endangered seafood is still served up in restaurants and sold in supermarkets, tons of rubbish still finds its way into oceans every day, only a tiny proportion of the total ocean area is protected, and ocean acidification caused by excess carbon dioxide continues to threaten all of ocean life as we know it.
But at least these awards show appreciation for those who fight on behalf of our oceans – and there are many out there doing so much more than I am. Awards help encourage the battle weary, and put fresh vigour into campaigns.
And so we keep pushing on, one oarstroke at a time….
Today was another rough, tough one. My boat was besieged by boatfillers, juggernauts, and other hostile wave varieties. I would find this easier to tolerate if it meant I was whizzing briskly across the ocean, but progress continues to be slow. The waves seem to suck me backwards almost as much as they push me forwards.
The temperature has dropped too. So far it had been remarkably comfortable and pleasant – usually between 75 and 90 degrees. But today was distinctly chilly, and I wore my neoprene booties for the first time.
A thought for someone who wants a challenge: before his premature death, Timothy Ray had planned to swim the length of California, stopping off along the way to talk to students about climate change. It sounds like an amazing and ambitious plan. Now that Tim is gone, wouldn’t it be fantastic if somebody else decided to take it on as a tribute?
Thanks for the feedback on wind gauges. Okay, I’ll use the finger-in-the-air / British ensign wind gauge for now!
Gail Brownell, Suwin Chan – thank you!