Blue Skies. Photo by Roz April 2010

Dictated by Roz at 20.37 on Monday 10th May. Transcribed by Rita Savage – with difficulty as the voice message broke up from time to time.

Position: -04.25812S, 157.66557

Today I had rather more company than I wanted and saw more people in one day than I saw in 104 days last year. They saw rather more of me than I would have liked.
It started this morning when I turned around at the end of a rowing shift to see a fishing vessel a few hundred yards away. I dived into the cabin to don shorts and bra and to pick up the VHF radio. There was no point in trying to hide as there was absolutely no doubt that they had seen me and had come over to take a closer look.

They were nice and friendly, and asked if I needed food or water or if I wanted them to pass on a message. I thanked them but said that I had more than enough provisions and adequate communication. I was tempted to ask if they had any ice-cold drinks. I wouldn’t really mind what it was as long as it was cold but I resisted the impulse.
They called back several minutes later to confirm the spelling of Brocade. They said they would report my position

And oh boy! They surely did. I can just imagine it: “Hey guys, you’ll never guess what we just saw! There was this crazy naked English woman rowing across the ocean. Check it out! “

The next thing I knew was my post-lunch siesta was interrupted by a loud throbbing noise. I lifted my sunhat and scanned the sky. A helicopter was approaching rapidly. I hardly had time to dive back into the cabin and scramble into my clothes again before they were about 50 yards away hovering just feet above the water. We had a sort of exchange over the VHF radio but it was mostly drowned out in the din of their engine. After about 5 minutes they roared off into the blue sky.

By now I was beginning to feel like an exhibit in a zoo. I hadn’t even realized that I was within helicopter range of land but surely that has to be the end of the unwanted attention.

So I went back to my usual outfit, as nature intended, and carried on rowing. Having my earbuds in and listening to “The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” so didn’t even hear the next helicopter until it was too late. The first I saw of them they were hovering about 30 yards away, waving to me from the open door of the cockpit. With a girlish shriek I let go of the oars and tried to cover as much of myself as a wide-brimmed hat could be made to conceal. My wave to them turned into a kind of “Shoo, go away!” gesture. This really was getting a bit much.

I kept my clothes on for the rest of the day, though of course, nobody else turned up. I suppose I will have to keep myself clad for the remainder of the voyage. It is terribly inconvenient. Clothes get sweaty, messy and smelly and are less easy to wash than skin. I also need to scan the horizon and skies before I use my open-air bathroom.
I can’t help but feel rather disgruntled. I’ve only been out here 3 weeks, hardly any time to myself at all. Humph!

Other Stuff: No sign of Alf, three days now. I may have to resign myself to the fact that he has gone to the big spider web in the sky.

I am on course to pass about 30 miles to the north of the Tuu islands, quite a reasonable margin of safety. I logged a personal best of ??? nautical miles today according to my reckoning, despite all the interruptions. (The voicemail message broke up at this point, and I missed the vital number. Probably get it from Roz 12 hours from now, and will insert it then. Rita)
I wish I could say that it was due to my own efforts but it was mostly thanks to a very favorable current.

There was a torrential downpour while I was having my sponge down . . . . so I got a power shower as well.

Ecoheroes is live and thriving now, but it is never too late to join, so do go to ecoheroes.me and join our community of green-doers.

Thanks for all the great comments. Mum has been passing them along to me. So good to know that you are out there and following my adventure. I am feeling the love.

Rita: Roz is delighted to know your response to her request for comments. I enjoyed reading them – with tears and laughter.
Grateful thanks to latest donors to Foundation funds/contest: Russell Matthews and Daniel Peterson.

Nova: Do join in guessing when Roz might arrive in Madang, by clicking on the Go Roz Go button top right corner of the page. Contest ENDING SOON. Share your stories on gorozgo@gmail.com what you would like to tell or ask Roz if you were to win the personal Skype conversation with her featured in this contest.

Please remember the request from Blue Frontier Campaign to vote for Roz and Margo: http://pep.si/9ZMuai
“Also vote for our coalition partner Project Kaisei to help remove tons of floating plastic debris in our Ocean! Vote here: http://pep.si/alxXp

26 Comments

  • Roz,

    Well that’s annoying! FYI, the average helicopter range is about 400 miles. So if you can stay over 200 miles from land, you should be peeping tom free. Unless they’re so interested they want to be rescued by you after they ditch or fly a large commercial helicopter (with 800 mile plus range) to see you.

    All the best,
    Eric

  • Hi Roz,

    I’ve just enjoyed watching your TED lecture, and reading through your blog.

    I’m recording an album at the moment, playing all the instruments and producing it. It’s slow and hard work, and also a huge amount to do on your own. It’s not really logical that I’m doing it like this (as opposed to with a band), but it feels right so there it is! It’s great to read about your determination, and attitude so I’m going to follow your blog, and hopefully it’ll help inspire me to get on with what I’ve got to do!

    I hope you’ve had a good day, with less passing traffic!

    Best wishes

    Giles

  • Good thoughts Eric on the travel range. Roz has just burst that distance bubble. Sadly or not- 16. 4 plus days left of living under the global microscope. It is too late for delivery of the ocean rower’s hospital gown? Roz might have to break the seal of the dry bag that contains her swim suit? Will the islanders allow roz the respect and opportunity to rest? Let’s see. With every oar stroke Roz is passing through and making island history. Record book history, women’s history and human history. Every Roz sighting and hand wave, a new story to be shared by families around the dining table. For all of PNG history.
    Let’s believe the planet will appreciate the environmental message? You better than half way Roz! Our part is to pass on the word to friends and friends of friends. Financial support is needed for this voyage and for the nonprofit. Vote, send an email and do our daily environmental best. Have a safe and pretty day on the water ripple maker. I hope you have whales and rainbows in your rear view mirror.
    Word for the day: trumpery-(TRUMP-uh-ree)- worthless stuff; a thing or things without value; nonsense.
    Quotes:
    Another way to get high blood pressure is to go mountain climbing over mole hills.
    There’s only one man who is never criticized when he lies down on the job- a blood donor.
    The human body is the baggage everyone carries through the voyage of life, and the more excess baggage one carries, the shorter the trip.
    Some men are such bores you can’t stand listening to them even when they’re talking about you.
    A good cook uses shorting before dinner, and a good speaker uses it after dinner.
    Roz, now that you are gaining on land mass. Could the old laptop and harry potter signal maker , dance well together once again?
    bill

  • 2 helicopters! oh gawd, imagine the fossil fuels they burned just to get a look-see! Men. When are they going to learn? 😉

  • Hi Roz,
    I was thinking about the dreams you’ve been having and I wonder if it’s not due to a lack of excitement like you had on the Atlantic. Except for a few squalls it sounds like it’s been pretty quite. Now that you’ve had the excitement of visitor intrusion they may subside.
    Be assured that we are all here pulling with you. I think the silence on our side is because we don’t want you to go broke on long sat phone calls.
    Always our best, Ken and Marilyn

  • From YOUR perspective:

    Row, row, row your boat,
    I would rather be alone.
    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
    Why can’t these people just phone?

    From THEIR perspective:

    Row, row, row your boat,
    Oh wow, she’s rowing nude,
    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
    And she’s very clearly not a dude.

    Bottom line: There are always two sides to every story!

  • It’s like you’re the star of your own Jane Austen novel:

    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a good rowboat, must be in want of rescuing.

    Tell those helicopters to leave you alone!

  • The choppers were probably out of Pohnpei, Micronesia, which was about 160 miles to your north. The good news is that you are now entering a zone which is more remote, and you should be out of helicopter range until you near PNG.

  • Roz,
    Just caught up with your last 2 days…thought I would add my “am following you daily” today–43 comments from yesterday…would rather add to the 11 today…its funny my email alert to another message usually comes in around midnight my time…most of the time I am up, but usually too pooped to pitch a comment…however a week or so ago when you talked of a course correction, I spent over an hour exploring various online maps to locate all those tiny islands you are navigating…what fun…these days I seem to be balancing my news updates between you and the horrendous oil spill tragedy unfolding in the Gulf–with no end in sight…it is amazing how we are all connected by the water–me on a houseboat, you out there in a corner of the south Pacific where only a “few” copters have found you, and those experiencing a growing tragedy in the Gulf…no profound conclusions but just something to think about–how fragile and delicate our relationships are with our planet…finally, I hope you are noting your daily dreams and immediate reactions–they could be a journal of their own…yes, along with all others, you are followed and cheered daily here

  • Dear Roz;

    Your subconscious “playing up” is to be expected. This is your fourth ocean row, you aren’t likely to experience anything new, and that is influencing your blogs. You are listening to audio books, which is a passive activity and you need mental stimulation. For the future, consider mentally challenging recordings, such as language courses or some of the Teaching Company’s material. Such things are ideal as accompaniment for purely physical activities such as long distance rowing or driving as they keep the brain occupied on constructive and structured matters.

    Perhaps for now you might try mentally composing detailed text for your next book to type up later. A prisoner of war in Vietnam maintained sanity by the visual exercise of designing his dream home in such detail that he was later able to build it.

    Meanwhile, know that you are followed, admired and loved by all of us in our several ways. If we don’t always comment on your blogging, it may simply mean that we can’t think of anything constructive to add!

    John

  • Roz,

    I think you are amazing ! I really admire your strength, courage and purpose in life. Yes, we are listening and we enjoy hearing about your wonderful voyage.

    Karen

  • Dear Roz.

    What an amazing ordeal you must be going through, barely escaping bad dreams and awakening to sensation hunting helicopters. Good thing you were quick about it and dove for cover for a change. My bird in Bergen got some coverage after I commented on him/her on your blog. Sorry for stealing your thunder, but it´s just a bird, and you´re rowing across the pacific. I´ll take my chance you´ll be magnanimous about it. In addition I think it´s great that approx 600 people follow her on facebook every day. It´s not a lot I know, and more should follow. Maybe watching a bird for a few moments every day and following your blog could somehow change a global mindset. As they say; start with the small things. I make music and released two albums in Norway with a band called The Owens. It´s not going so well so now I manage and run a restaurant for some really good guys in Bergen. After reading about you I´ve decided to whole-heartedly enforcet a recycling system as soon as I can. We see approx. 1000 guest on sunny days, and this leaves a lot of garbage. I promise I´ll do my very best and more.

    This quest your´re on is amazing Roz, but I can´t help mentioning this bird today as she woke to snowfall. I know some believe snow to be natural in Norway in May. In fact it´s not. This Oyster Catcher (Haematopus ostralegus) really froze up this morning but regained her focus, thought of her eggs and pulled through. At last the SUN came out at noon and I observed this Oyster Cather basking in it.

    Papua New Guniea isn´t too far now. You´ll arrive, change, put on something not salt-drenched, and bask in the sun, or in the shade if that´s your preference. You´ve earned it! In the mean while, I won´t give up on you somehow seeing some footage on Bergen, Norway´s Oyster Catcher at tjeld.uib.no.

    Best of luck!

    Ove.

  • Someone tweeted a link to your TED lecture, then I followed you on Twitter, then I get to read this blog entry. I’m so grateful to the person who led me to you, today’s entry made my evening.

    Now that the local airborne navy or airforce know you’re rowing naked expect more reconnaisance flights, it’s bound to work with the process of “morphic resonance” that each squadron will somehow discover that they need to check you’re OK and not a naked damsel in distress.

  • Dear Roz, I have a love/fear relationship with the ocean. So I can envy you the beautiful days you spend on the ocean as long as its calm and just breezy and not too hot. I have enjoyed sailing several times with my (co-captains) aunt and cousin on an all-girl 43 foot sailboat that is moored in Tortola. My aunt (59) delivers sailboats and has been at sea overnight but I don’t think I could ever do that. Being in a small boat at night would make me too anxious and I can’t imagine doing it all alone. (I watch too many episodes of I Shouldn’t Be Alive!) However during the day I have enjoyed being at the helm in 25 knot winds and 4-6 seas which was most exhilirating. It made me feel alive and that I could do anything.

    Anyway I’m a 40 something soon divorced professional who also yearns to quit the rat race and do something important for the world or at least a part of it. I haven’t figured out what it is yet. I wish I’d become a doctor who could treat poor people or help out in disaster releif or a therapist who could help addicts overcome their diseases. You inspired me so much! Now I know that there are people out there who do live their dreams, that it is possible. I can’t tell you how much I admire you!

    Safe and interesting travels!!

  • Hey Roz, and Rita!

    Just to let you know i’m definitely following you, whenever i have access to internet service. Just got back from a week or so without service. It was great to have the chance to catch up on your adventure. What a great job you continue to do. Your commitment is admirable and inspiring.

    Did you ever gather your thoughts and post about living in a different century? Would love to hear what you came up with.

    And, if you have nothing else to do how about using your your communication skills and describe the night star canopy for us? It must be deeply soul enriching to experience that every clear night.

    May your Guardian Angels cloak you with their invisible protection!

    Rita thank you for doing such a great job as communications intermediary for Roz.

    Peace to You!

  • A poem for a traveler:
    Each day you awake, you are no longer at work,
    The breeze of air and ocean mist,
    Reminds your soul , every moment is an eternity,
    Your past is past, only a moment ago,
    This traveler once lived only for herself,
    By chance, choice or fate, no something stronger,
    She came alive to be alive,
    Self matters, but there are times,
    When the earth cannot speak for herself,
    Then a voice must step up and forward,
    And show not tell, each day is filled with human possibilities,
    You are alone but not by yourself,
    Anymore than wind , earth, water and time,
    Ever aged without each other,
    With oars, a pen or soft words,
    Traveler, your love of people, place and earth is never hidden,
    Keep pushing, pulling and laughing toward the sun,
    My thanks for your thoughts and deeds,
    Bill savage

  • Ove, I loved watching the tjeld as the clouds rolled in and the snow began to fall … gradually covering the landscape as dawn broke yesterday, then watching the snow melt as the sun rose over the hill. Thank you for sharing the site http://tjeld.uib.no/videoframe.html

    As for the unwanted visitors … Birdie’s comment inspired this image …

    choppers hovering
    voyeurs spewing C O 2
    shoo! hell’o’clatter

    Relating this back to Day 11 – Past vs Present ( http://j.mp/RozDay11 ), I think that human nature has remained unchanged over the centuries, and the only real change has been our technology, which has given humanity more comfort, free time, and deleterious impact on everything our greed and selfishness touches.

    In the past, our lives would have been more intense “living” compared to today’s intensity of activities — not necessarily quality life. Rushing to the bus is certainly not “living” as was running after a squirrel or deer to eat, or running from a cougar intent on eating us. Sure, we would have died at an earlier age, and more catastrophically, but compare that to dying a slow prolonged tedious death over years and decades as modern medicine keeps us on the brink between life and death, slowly deteriorating in a state of increasing boredom, numbness, and pain.

    If I had my druthers, I think I would choose the past … on the other hand, we have that choice even today. We are essentially the same as our ancestors centuries ago — just ditch the technology and get out of the concrete jungle. That may be harder to do than said, but … look at Roz or any adventurer who is out in a survival dance with nature. If we don’t start getting back to our sustainable essential selves soon, nature may do it for us.

    Some warn of “collapse” due to societal and economic chaos caused by flood and famine, wars over water and energy, disease, etc. It may not be that far away. BUT, we have intelligence and innovation. We just need motivation and community. That is what I see in http://ecoheroes.me/ … it is just one of many tools being developed, and it could teach us to come together as community. This is brilliant, Roz. BRILLIANT! BRAVA!

  • This is a bit of a Facebook-ish comment on a comment, but I laughed at my misread of Bill B’s wish for you: “May your Guardian Angels cloak you with their invisible protection!” which I thought meant they would cloak you with invisibility to protect you from snoopy ‘copters!! Another, similar, thought is that your absence of coverage may result in increased coverage, of the publicity type! Rowing nekkid for the environment, what?!

    We love and honor you, Roz, and follow your

  • Oops! New computer, didn’t mean to hit that Submit button right there. I meant to say, follow your endeavours with admiration and (speaking for myself)not a little envy at your youth, courage and sense of purpose!

  • Hey Roz,
    Sounds like the adventure continues in some unexpected ways. As Claire suggested, it could earn you more publicity, albeit not necessarily of the type one would prefer. Hope your day of rowing unfolds smoothly. Rest well on your sojourn.
    Norm

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