After my rowing video blog the other day, I had this idea to do a short series on “Welcome to my World” – little snippets of descriptions of various parts of my day, that I hope will give you a sense of what life is like on board the Brocade.

Part 1: Ocean Dawn

As well as the round hatches into the forward and aft cabins, there is a third round hatch, in the ceiling of the sleeping cabin, just above my head. The cold grey light of dawn slowly seeps in through this hatch, and wakes me up.

I make the groggy transition from dream world, in which there is no rocking, into real world, which is always rocking. No matter what I am doing while awake – dressing, rowing, eating, blogging – the boat is always rocking. But in my dreams the world is a stable, non-rocking place. This makes the transition rather disconcerting. The rocking slowly invades my consciousness, as if it had stopped while I slept, and is only starting up again because I am waking, almost as if the rocking resulted from my thoughts. But this, of course, is nonsense, and I remind myself so.

I go through my morning mantra:

I am positive, I am energetic, I am enthusiastic. I am positive, I am energetic, I am enthusiastic.

Some days it is more effective than others.

I check my chunky G-Shock Pathfinder watch. It is usually a bit before 6am when the daylight wakes me. I lie in my waterproof, fleece-lined sleeping bag for a while, relishing the feeling of being warm. My hands are warm, my toes are warm. The hours of rest have allowed the blood to return to my extremities, from where they had retreated during the chilly day. I appreciate the toastiness all the more for its being so rare.

I think through the day ahead. What phone calls do I have? A podcast with Leo? A call to my mother or any of the other members of my team? They are on a regular weekly rota. Luckily my watch shows me the day of the week – otherwise it would be hard to keep track out here. Will I attempt the watermaker today? Do I have any maintenance to do? My mind tries somehow to differentiate this day from all the other days of my voyage, not wanting to admit the monotony.

After a few minutes my body gets impatient to get on with the day, and overcomes my reluctance to depart the coziness of the sleeping bag. I unzip it, and wriggle down to the sitting area – the eighteen inches of space between the foot of my bunk and the round hatch to the rowing cockpit. I fold the sleeping bag shut behind me, and flip it up out of the way, cutting off the line of retreat to its tempting warmth.

Time to start the day.

(Next in the series probably tomorrow, unless some hot news happens in the meantime.)

Other stuff:

Thanks to Bill, Kevin, and others who have identified the alarming-looking fish I saw the other day (and mentioned on my podcast with Leo Laporte) as the Sun Fish. Described as “Looks like a head only; but healthy and harmless. Spends some time up at the surface on its side. Often with one fin protruding above the surface.” That sounds EXACTLY like what I saw, and I am relieved to hear that its extreme torpor was not a sign of sickness, but just the way it is. Not sure I would like to meet the 1.5 ton version – that would be pretty freaky!

I am faintly embarrassed by my lack of knowledge of open ocean critters. I am pretty good on reef fish, having done nearly 100 scuba dives and also shared a home for many years with a large marine tropical fish tank, but out here I’m pretty much an ignoramus. I shall continue to confess my ignorance, and get photos if possible, and hopefully you can all help in my education.

Kevin: do I get seasick? Yes, I do. Haven’t actually been hanging over the side this trip, but often suffer a low-grade nausea.

Mikala – aloha! Fantastic to hear about you and your family picking up trash from the beaches and the water. Keep up the great work.

Alex Bellini – hello to a fellow ocean rower! So we are both out here on this big old ocean at the same time – you in the southern hemisphere, me in the north. The very best of luck to you – I wish you a safe and successful voyage.

Do go check out Alex’s website, at He is rowing from Lima to Sydney, and we share the same weatherman in Rick Shema.

Thanks again to all my friends and supporters on dry land. My mother emails me your comments and messages, and it’s good to know you are there and that you care. Thank you.

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