Today I’ve been thinking a lot about my sister, and not just because it’s her birthday (she’s exactly 17 months younger than me). It was more because today I needed every ounce of courage, and my sister was my inspiration.

It’s often helpful, I find, when in an unhappy situation to think of someone in even more challenging circumstances. It makes things seem more tolerable. And today, I was not a happy rower.

The ocean seemed to have got it into its head (if it had one) that ocean rowing is a contact sport. Sedna was repeatedly pummeled by waves, and in the most painful incident, a huge wave completely swamped the deck, tipping the boat almost on her side. There was foaming water everywhere, oar handles went flying, I fell sideways off my rowing seat, and an oar clobbered me hard on the kneecap. Owww.

I felt a little shaken after that, and needed to find some gumption from somewhere. I remembered my sister describing how, during her epic trek on Europe’s Haute Route last year, there were some pretty sketchy sections, on narrow paths along sharp ridges, with high winds thrown in for good measure. Not fun when you’re carrying a big heavy pack on your back, increasing your wind resistance and making you top-heavy.

Suddenly getting back on the rowing seat and facing 20-foot waves didn’t seem quite so bad.

Other Stuff:

The ocean doesn’t quite seem to understand the deal here. In exchange for general discomfort and scariness I’m supposed to be compensated with fast conditions and big daily mileages. But I seem to be getting the worst of both worlds at the moment. I was spoiled last year on the final stage of the Pacific when fast currents gave me a big helping hand and relatively calm seas. I’d be better comparing this row with the Atlantic, which was absolutely brutal. I got through it then and I’ll get through it again now.

Inspiring quote for the day: “A ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are for.” (William Shedd)

Photo: It’s very difficult to take a photo to convey the size of the waves today. Here’s a pic from the Atlantic in 2005. I’d say today’s waves were about 5 times higher. You’d have to be almost on top of my boat to see it down amidst the waves. (photo by Dan Byles)

Sponsored Miles:

Mariya Gold, Catherine Langford, John Kay. Some miles unsponsored.

34 Comments

  • Sorry for the rough day(s) – They WILL get better. Your sister sounds wonderful – Happy Birthday “Sis” (Tanya?)! Your description of her trail reminded me of my hike along The Appalachian Trail… A young couple in front of me on a narrow ledge, baby – in-hand, literally in-hand as they handed her across a crevice the mother had crossed first… The baby was wearing a helmet, but I am not sure how much that would have helped – the crevice dropped 3000 feet? 

    • That’s what I was telling her for her Spotty Botty too – Keep it up! Don’t let it sit in puddles…

  • And Roz, YOU, what you are doing, was my “Inspiration” yesterday… This will seem VERY different, but for me, this recent process is the most difficult crossing I have ever made – and somehow being praised for what I have done, makes it even more confusing/difficult… It is just my life – My Nuisance Routine as I call it… There should be no praise or awards for, or movies made about what we have to do in life – or love to do as parts of my life are that too because that is reward enough for me… Just seems odd to me, But the screenwriting on my life story is in full “organizational phase” now – as of yesterday with all sorts of phone interviews with 4 screenwriters… Friends have been asking/pushing me to share my, “Cancer, Coma, Near-Death, Travels, Business Successes AND FAILURES, Come and go Love Stories, People I’ve met and become friends with – a la Forrest Gump, The Diving Bell & The Butterfly, 127 Hours, Six Degrees of Separation and Bucket List” – Life Story for many years now… I would rather be alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean knowing my Orange Squiggle friend is “Somewhere Out There” than doing this… But I guess this too fits the Bucket List aspect of all this for me…

    • P.S. As Geo. C. Scott said in an interview after turning down an Academy Award, “We (Actors) are already paid exceedingly well… I love what I am doing – and would never dream of asking for more… To be given further reward makes me feel VERY uncomfortable…”

  • Hang in there, Roz. Is it possible to log a few days just paying attention to your course heading and not tracking the miles? Get back in touch with the basics of not letting the numbers get to you?

    Maybe you can compare yourself to a Hollywood star who does all her own stunts, and who has to do the same dangerous stunt over and over again at the whim of the director (the Ocean). When the job is done, it’s going to be fantastic and your “movie” will be inspirational — a big hit for sure — but you’re going to gather a lot of bumps and bruises before it’s all over. 

    I’m going to cast Kate Winslet to play you. Helen Mirren can be Rita.

    • Very good point Joan… “Look Big Picture” – weekly or whatever, NOT daily mileages gained or lost, Opportunities missed or taken, or whatever!

  • Pouring here on the East coast, with a severe storm fthats been going for the last 8 hours. Tell the big waves to come around to our side so you get on with the job. Rrr. Jim Bell (NSW Australia)

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I get it and do it all the time. But does anybody know much about this product? 
    We have plastic bags with “epi.” on them. That is from a company that claims to make plastic biodegradable….
    Here’s what they say…….

    http://www.epi-global.com/en/about-tdpa.php
    “Because traditional plastics are very stable and not readily degradable and biodegradable in the environment, discarded plastics represent a significant environmental problem, both as litter and as solid waste in landfills. As litter, disposable plastic products (in particular, plastic bags) are a visible and widespread pollutant, and a threat to animal and marine species and to human health. In landfills, they add to landfill volume, hinder landfill compaction and delay the biodegradation of discarded organic materials, thereby fostering the formation of methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Plastics that would degrade and biodegrade relatively quickly to non-toxic end products in these disposal environments would be a welcome step in managing these issues.”

    What do we think people, if plastic is going to be used should this additive be mandatory?

    • Jim,   This additive is very interesting; thank you for pointing it out. I would like to know much more about it, including the results of independent testing.

      If it works out, the slight increases in cost would be little to ask of consumers.

    • My two cents: 1. This material is fossil-fuel derived and therefore moves fossil carbon from the ground to the atmosphere contributing to climate change. 2. This material “biodegrades” into a suite of toxic byproducts. You’d be poised if you tried to compost it in your garden. The manufacturers specifically warn against this. Do we want this in our landfills, beaches, and oceans? 3. It’s yet another excuse for the chemical and petroleum lobbies to GREENWASH yet another environmentally harmful product for a yet another buck. Simple as that. 

      Go with carbon-neutral materials–cornstarch-based bags are available online and are the best option. They come from corn remnants that were grown last year, sequestered modern carbon out of the atmosphere, and as the bag degrades into harmless byproducts that carbon will cycle back to the atmosphere this year–mostly a neutral carbon shell game.

      Cornstarch “plastics” are not entirely carbon neutral, however, because it took fossil fuels to grow the corn (natural gas is used to make synthetic nitrogen fertilizer which corn requires); it took fossil fuel energy to process the corn into a usable bag. We used fossil fuels to drive to the market to purchase the bag. But at least cornstarch products are relatively carbon benign and chemically safe. 

    • I have been reading more and more about this new patented process of converting waste plastic to fuel for cars, trucks, trains and the like. Patented by two men – One English One Scottish I think. Apparently it works. In a relatively small facility – 7000 Sq Ft/750 Sq Meters – they convert up to ten tons of waste plastic to 9.5 tons of usable fuel a day… “95% Efficiency By Weight”…

  • Hey Roz,
     You hang in there.  When I was riding my bicycle across the US with all my gear in a wind storm I went thru a similar situation.  Eat a little food, drink some water… Turn on some music and set a workable pace.  Sing along and just watch that horizon.  Lots of us are pulling for you.  You go Girl.  Even a slower pace is still moving forward. 

  • Sounds brutal … but glad to see you are still able to peck something out even with conditions that churn my stomach just to think about them. Keep rowing … and posting.

  • Sorry to hear about the bad weather Roz! Our thoughts are with you.

    A lot of severe weather, including great numbers of tornadoes in the US and flooding in Queensland, AU are being blamed on the La Nina in the Pacific; cool waters in the equatorial regions. La Nina also seems to bring strong monsoons to India.

    I wonder if your weather guy can tell us if the La Nina condition is affecting your region of the Indian Ocean with the strong waves you are experiencing?

  • Roz, you just hang on there friend, one little oar stroke at a time.  What about yelling back at that ocean?  I remember how cathartic that was!  Yell and scream and then sing for joy! You are that much closer to your goal and we are all cheering you on! xo

  • Hang on, dear Roz.  I wrote a limerick on Day 17, inspired by high winds and am dredging it up with appropriate alterations to suit today’s harrowing report: 

    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px ‘Lucida Grande’}

    We love our fair maiden of oar
    Whose loo and earned indolence soar
    When winds would whip up
    She’s drenched too abrupt
    Be shaken not stirred we imploreRow wryly, Roz!

  • “If it was easy…..”. The more difficult your endeavour is and the more effort you have to put into coping with it, the greater you become not only to your “Rozlings” but to yourself. We who follow your adventure from the safety of our phones and computers must never forget that your very life is in your own hands constantly.

  • Awesome tenacity on such a tumbling day but you’ve been
    there so much before – still no fun have a wet butt all day! Is there any dry
    spot on Sedna in such conditions? A pic that will make you appreciate some waves anyway!

    Later, Mike in FL
     

  • Tornado Sirens All Night Here
    Roz Dealing With Her Own Fear
    Wish I could do something more
    Right now, This is just poor
    Hope tomorrow brings US good cheer

  • Roz, you know if any of us could control the weather we would turn the waves down to help you in your efforts.  None of my assorted weather dancing has ever helped me.

    I like Yukon90daylady’s idea of putting on some music.  I know you’ve got a lot of audiobooks with you but surely you’ve got some wave ass kicking music?  Not sure how you identify the ass of the wave to kick it but you get the idea.

    Hang in there, Roz!

  • Roz, you know if any of us could control the weather we would turn the waves down to help you in your efforts.  None of my assorted weather dancing has ever helped me.

    I like Yukon90daylady’s idea of putting on some music.  I know you’ve got a lot of audiobooks with you but surely you’ve got some wave ass kicking music?  Not sure how you identify the ass of the wave to kick it but you get the idea.

    Hang in there, Roz!

  • Oh, Roz,  What a hard day!  Your Asheville buddies are thinking of you and sending love and good cheer.  Below is one of my favorite quotes – I hope it makes you smile.  You are making a huge difference!  xo, Deb, Michael, Madison, Sallie & Buddy, et al…

    “If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy.  If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem.  But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.  That makes it hard to plan the day.”
                                            ~ E. B. White

  • Roz, although there is no physical comparison, what you are experiencing is a mental metaphor for what I will surely encounter in the venture/adventure I am planning to “retire” to in the not too distant future. You give me mental strength — you are my role model.

    Row model, Roz

  • Stay strong, Roz!  You have thousands of people around the world pulling for you, and wishing for your safe return.  Show that ocean who’s boss!

  • Roz…. Thanks for the reminder on struggles and keeping them in check! Although I am not getting drenched by huge waves daily, i often lose track of the rely important things dwelling on some little crummy thing! Thanks for the daily inspiration from the ocean!!!
    ~kt

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