Paddler's Pet Pacific Passions
As the flipside to yesterday's gripes about my pet peeves, here are some
of the compensations to life on an ocean rowboat (and in case this is
all a bit too Pollyanna for you, skip to Other Stuff where I once again
get something off my chest…)
Good things about ocean rowing:
7. Getting an all-over suntan – I even alternate my feet in my rowing
shoes now so that they get a bit of color. Didn't have this figure out
on the Atlantic crossing and arrived in Antigua looking like I'd stepped
up to my ankles in whitewash.
6. I get to eat as much as I want without getting fat. Quite the
opposite in fact – I tend to lose about 25 pounds on a crossing.
5. I do what I want, when I want, with very few restrictions apart from
scheduled calls on the satellite phone.
4. But having said that, I like having the steady routine that I never
seem to find in my nomadic existence on dry land. I even remember to
take my vitamin pills.
3. Glow of virtue from eating healthy food and getting lots of fresh air
2. The stars at night have to be seen to be believed – so bright, so
many, so very humbling.
1. Simplicity and purity – I have what I need (give or take a few tubes
of shower gel) and not much more. I often think of my boat as my little
floating nun's cell, in a good way. My time here reminds me what is
important in life – and what isn't.
Eeeeah. Aaarrgh. Eeeaawww. (Imagine lots of Jim Carrey-like face pulling
to indicate inner conflict.) I'm going to have to do it. I know you're
not supposed to dignify negative comments with a response, but I just
can't help myself. Two days ago someone (and we all know who you are)
posted a comment on this blog that I just have to reply to.
So you feel like this voyage so far has been "flat"? Disappointed
because so far I haven't been airlifted by helicopter (2007), had both
my watermakers fail (2008), broken all my oars or lost my communications
(2006)? You may be disappointed, but personally, I am quite happy about
this state of affairs, and would like it to continue. Dramas? Been
there, done that, got the press clippings.
Before every voyage I catch myself thinking "I hope it's not boring" and
then very quickly tell myself to be careful what I wish for. At sea,
drama = bad. It is life-threatening, stressful, and sometimes very
This is not a Hollywood movie. It is REAL LIFE – you know, that thing
that happens when you get away from your computer keyboard and go and do
something more interesting instead. I am not a screenwriter, I am a
blogger. I don't make this stuff up.
I bare heart, soul and backside for your entertainment and edification.
I invite you to share my life, thoughts and adventures, and to abuse
that invitation strikes me as bad manners.
But just to keep you happy, I have arranged for some dramatic new
developments. In a few weeks time I will be hit by a giant killer
tsunami, resulting in an unrecoverable capsize. Then I get rescued by a
galleon, only to discover that it is manned by bloodthirsty pirates.
Luckily I manage to melt the heart of the ruthless pirate captain (who
bears an uncanny resemblamce to Johnny Depp). He whisks me off to a
tropical island where we make our own rum and live happily ever after.
I booked the tsunami for July 23, 6pm UTC. I do hope you can wait that
long for things to get less "flat".
I think I've made my point.
Meanwhile, thank you to the vast majority of people who have been
posting lovely, supportive, encouraging and entertaining comments on my
blog. I truly appreciate them. Especially enjoyed yesterday's comments
from Maria Pomponio, Anna Farmery, and the Old Man. Thanks also to
chep2m for the link to the Google Blog. Sindy – keep up the good work, I
know you'll find a way to fit those steps in somehow – and even if you
don't make it to 10,000 steps in a day, know that every bit helps!
On the question about sharks – yes, every time I go for a plunge I check
for ominous shadows around my boat. Haven't seen any yet, but can't be
too careful. A big shark bite is one drama I could definitely do
And hello to Guam and India!
OK, time to get this blog posted. If you haven't yet checked out
yesterday's video RozCast on YouTube, please do. It took me 2 hours to
get the 30 second ocean bit uploaded because I kept losing the
connection to the satellites, so please make it worth my while! Easiest
to find it via the RozTracker. Enjoy!
Position at 2030 HST: 13 50.199N, 165 59.602W
Wind: over 20kts – very inconvenient. Lots of walloping around the head
by sun canopy until gave up and took it down
Seas: 8-10ft, often coming over side of boat
Weather: overcast morning, blistering afternoon
Weather forecast courtesy of weatherguy.com:
The easterly trade winds persist in the 20kt range throughout the
forecast period. Seas 5-8ft.
Temperature: Hot and getting hotter with increasing humidity heading
towards the equator.
Sky conditions: Partly cloudy and consistent cloud cover next five days.
Very isolated rainshowers. About 11-10N latitude, increasing clouds
approaching the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). These clouds
become convective clouds which increase the chance of heavy rainshowers,
thunderstorms, and lightning normally associated with the ITCZ.
Currently, the convergence area of the ITCZ lies between 11N and 4N
Next Update: Monday, 22 June
I'm in enjoying reading your blog from South Korea (American teacher over here). I agree with your hatred of life threatening drama…I'd rather be alive and just a wee bit bored than dead.
Best of luck to you in your journey. I wish I could row across the Atlantic to your home country, but I am afraid I know too much about the ocean to ever take that journey. You are my idol already, because as much as I would worry about what's in the Atlantic, I'm slightly more afraid of what's in the Pacific! I'll be following your journey from here on out…
Oh my… More drama? I find your daily updates to me way more entertaining than enything else on the internet right now. Don't worry about the "more drama" person. If they want real-life online drama, they can follow the terrible situation in Iran on twitter. Maybe they're excited that masses of people are standing up to a corrupt government and being killed in the streets for it. How wonderfully dramatic! That's the kind of drama this world could do without. Don't worry Roz, the VAST majority of us are enjoying the fact that you haven't had any major problems (knock on wood). Keep up the great work!
If I could continue Roz's imaginary drama at sea, I would continue her use of Jim Carrey and make a sequel of "The Truman Show". Here's my pitch to you Hollywood buffs out there:
This ultimate Reality TV Show begins with a massive hoax on a young British rower who believes she's actually risking her life to row across the Pacific Ocean. In reality, she was drugged during her first night at sea and then her boat was moved into the world's largest movie studio. She thinks she's rowing thousands of miles, but in fact, each night while she sleeps, the film crew simply moves her boat back to the middle of the set. The elaborate plot even makes this woman believe that her selfless efforts are actually motivating people to make positive changes in their own lives. Ha, as if one person can actually make a difference!
The true excitement of the TV show, however, comes when the viewing audience is asked to text message or Tweet their votes on what will happen to our gallant rower. Usually the audience goes with the norm, such as making the studio's weather-creation system throw down a thunderstorm or rogue wave.
But, occasionally, someone like Stephen Colbert decides to leverage his influence for some real drama: he challenges his audience to vote for a scenario in which he can see a photo of her our rower's. Sure enough, Stephen gets what he wants after the producers secretly rub poison ivy on the rower's seat each evening while she sleeps and she decides to take a photo of her shiny red bottom. Her pain and suffering entertain the viewers who think about how sore their own butts are after sitting on the couch all day to watch a marathon showing of "Gilligan's Island".
In the series finale, the young woman rows triumphantly onto the beach, exhausted and emaciated, but riding the high that can only come from completing an epic, life-threatening journey. She sees a few of her friends and family running down the beach to welcome her and couldn't be any happier… when suddenly the show's producers flip a few switches and the entire scene collapses to reveal the TV cameras and a live studio audience, laughing and laughing while the woman's knees buckle under the weight of total confusion and cognitive dissonance. She sees she's nothing but an entertainer, facing death for people's amusement. Now isn't that just hilarious?!?!
So, to those who think Roz's journey is "flat" because it lacks the same drama as some scripted TV show… we don't want Roz to have unnecessary drama, we want her to be safe. So, go watch TV, eat some ice cream, stop following this blog, and shut up! Just shut up!
Great zeus, I've been thinking "Oh, I'm so GLAD things are going well (so far, touch wood) for Roz!" I think there's enough drama in one woman rowing across the freakin' Pacific BY HERSELF, without throwing in tsunamis, or pirates.
May pooping birds and cranky stereos be the worst things you have to face, Roz. Stay strong. I feel fortunate to be able to follow your trips from my safe place on land, and am thankful for the technology that let me do that.
I wonder if she's talking about me? Certainly seems to have got under her skin. Funny, I would have thought she would have picked up on the joke. Brit's supposed to have a sense of humor.
I feel bad about this.
Whatta motivating and a great blog ever published on ocean! I am really enjoying reading this blog of yours. Best wishes for your ocean rowing.
I have your tracker on my Google home page. I look forward to your updates on TWIT every week.
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Carry on Roz! I am a former Canadiian Great Lakes paddler (in a sea kayak I built) now land-locked in mid-west USA and following you this year and last on the podcast and now twitter and your blog has allowed to relive some of my much shorter adventures. I miss the solitude, rhythmic thinking and water sounds and your thoughtful blog brings it home for me!
Thanks and lots of love!
I used to boat on the lakes. Sleeping on the water was so tranquil… when it didn't storm! It must be an incredible feeling to be so alone in that huge world. I'll pray for your continued safety and 'boring' journey. I don't find it boring at all!
As a sailor, I certainly empathize with your Pet Peeves of the Pacific!
Big bodies of water will (sometimes reluctantly) let us visit them, but they don't hesitate to let us know who is The Real Boss. In fact, I understand that in 2005 you had several episodes of Aversion to Absolutely Acute Atlantic Animosity!
But peeves-will-pass, and we're all behind you, Roz – with every day's blog!
Roz – I think all the comments say it all. For me it is breathtaking watching your journey, because in a way – as you know – I am almost living my dream through you. I smile everyday when I know you are safe and progressing, I am inspired by your thoughts….earlier this week I walked up the hill just to look at the countryside and enjoy it…why? because of your blog post on enjoying the outdoors, the sea, the nature etc
As for adventure..mmm…well, maybe I am missing something but there is adventure just clicking to see your latest blog post to ensure that you are OK…and due to my phobia re birds that you haven't been pecked to death!!
Anyway keep rowing, keep going, and keep growing..Yorkshire remains proud and excited!! 🙂
I'm glad things are "flat." Your safety and safe travels are more important than anything else.
I'm all for you having an uneventful and safe voyage. I wonder about the person writing the negative comment. I wonder if they have stepped out of the comfort zone of their keyboard and faced a situation where they have had to fight for their life. I wonder if they would have the same attitude if they had ever had to fight for their life and not give up and just let themselves slip into the other side.
I am enjoying your blog here in Connecticut. The longest boat trip I have ever taken is a canoe trip down the Saco river in Maine, where it is mosquito central. You inspire me to someday leave this house on route 12 for a little while and do some exploring. Have a safe voyage.
Brava Roz, and touché
Thanks for the pix and video of you doing what you do in the contextual motion and environs (flat blue sky, flat white and gray clouds, not-so-flat horizon, definitely not flat magnificent deep blue water and cresting white caps breaking off your starboard gunwale — pitching, rolling, yawing, splashing saline spray — a small window into your reality.
I quite relate to the prime-numbered Pollyanna Paddler's Pet Pacific Passions (especially #5 and #7) — backpacking in high country wilderness provides similar opportunity to free one's self from the restrictions of societal routine.
Prime numbers are magical and mysterious, so please number future passions, pet peeves and peculiar lists with only primes for my particular personal primal enjoyment.
For me, non-prime passions #4 and #6 lack excitement ;-D
Inspiration abounding. Roz, you may well be the first woman to row your section of the great blue and in such should take some pride, but even if there had been 20 before you, you would still be as inspiring. It seems more you doing something for you and having the decency to share it with the world than doing something for a title. Just wanted to let you know that not only are you admired for doing what you do, but also for sharing it and for the subtle rifts you leave on all too solemn sight.
Keep well and mark us all a spot upon the ocean where Roz was.
Go Roz, go! Love the Roz Tracker, the YouTube videos and the Twitter updates. Thanks for taking the time to spread the word!
hey don't sweat it roz- texino is a drunk who doesn't make any sense and your a real life, Kick-Ass Super Hero!
I remember once many years ago on my first job I was all hyped up and ready for something exiting to happen. That same day I came within an inch of having my throat cut.
Boring is good.
Here is to an uneventful yet fun voyage (sips red wine)
May Poseidon look favorably on your voyage.
Having an adventure is a sign that something unexpected, something provided against has happened: it shows that someone is incompetent, that something has gone wrong . . . . If everything is well managed, if there are no miscalculations or mistakes, then the things that happen are only the things you expected to happen, and for which you are ready, and with which you can therefore deal. . . . For that reason we pride ourselves on the fewness of our adventures; for the same reason we are a bit ashamed of the few we did have. An adventure is interesting enough in retrospect, especially to the person who didn't have it; at the time it happens it usually constitutes an exceedingly disagreeable experience.
– Vilhjamur Stefanson
My life with the Eskimo
I'm just so impressed. Here I sit in the middle of Manhattan, wishing I were out on the open seas….Best of luck on your journey and "flat" sounds pretty good to me!
Hi Roz! I just want to say that there are some days when I just don't think I could get by without reading your blog. I'm going through some tough times right now, but your story is so inspiring. If you can row an ocean alone *and* with a sore bum, I have nothing to complain about!
Cheers to a great journey!
Fascinated in Following. Esp since the mere watching of your video rowing makes my stomach gurgle. I admire your courage. As an am astronomer, I would love to see some star pics from your locality! Godspeed.
nice to hear the stars are all still out there untroubled by all the polution and garbage we cause here on earth. I've sailed back and forth across the Pacific several times and you will never get tired of seeing it each day. Seeing those stars in the south pacific for the first time makes you realize how insignificant we all really are in the big picture. Once you get south of ICZ then start keeping your eye out for the southern cross…that is another milestone to see for the first time.
Nothing like an ocean passage..just all the routine jobs to do 7 days a week. Its my very favorite mode of sailing…though I think the double digit miles per day rowing would drive me up the wall. I like my hundred mile plus days consistently in the trades.
Get ready for those heavy tropical rain squalls..hoping you have a rain catchment system on board…at least a couple of buckets for filling with water during those heavy showers. When you see them coming be ready to strip down and soap up with your gel (didnt have that on my boat)then once the rain comes down just stand out in it and let it wash offall the soap…the bucket is for the second rinse in case you want a second rinse off. Nothing like that clean fresh water feeling when the squall is gone and the sun comes out…dont worry about the hair dryer !!!
Hi Roz, I have been quietly following your blog for quite a while now from Canada. Life consists of little things and reading about you should make everyone think about their own lives how those little things can change our home planet to the better or worse… So I try to walk a lot, use public transportation, the Sun kisses my drying laundry in my backyard, my lawn may look a bit sad, but I'm not going to waste water on that, because my neighbours might disapprove.
I admire your courage to undertake such a journey. My grandfather was a sailor and there may be some blood of the Estonian Vikings (who raided Swedish important town in 1187) in me, but somehow the seas and oceans frighten me, although I love to live close to them 🙂
Right now I have to come over my fright of black bears when we go camping with my kids… I'll try to think of you swimming in the ocean where there are sharks lurking somewhere close and how brave you are!
Continue writing about all those little things, you're just one amazing woman!
Of course it's flat. It's the Pacific!
Of course it's flat, and so is the earth…Oh yeah, and so is T "I was just kidding." Sheesh! get a life.
Roz: you are an inspiration to all us landlubber, ground bound, non-adventuresome types. Thanks for sharing your life and adventure, plans, and wishes. God speed on your journey!
Roz – each day we pray that your adventure is "flat". You are an inspiration and are doing something most of us wouldn't even think about doing. Thanks for doing this blog and letting us hear from you via Leo.
To fill your ocean dream think of this.Before you jump in to take your daily dip if you see an extra large shadow that will be me in my submarine waiting to wisk you off to an island of your choosing to live the good life.Take care and God bless.
Your grit and courage and determination and sweetness remain an inspiration. An open invitation to live life truly, differently. That's flat? Thank the gods for lack of drama, as though rowing the Pacific alone isn't drama enough in any condition. Thinking about you alone at night, at sea, under all those stars, is a magnificent thought. Stay safe and well and forget the flatliners!
Hey, Roz, I just found your blog quite by accident. You made my day. Two quick questions…do you have any pets back on dry land, and do you wear a seat belt or a tether. Excuse me if you've talked about these things before. I've just started reading your list of posts. Happy trails to you and thanks for the inspiration!
Your comments about this being real life are so true. I think in todays society we are all so deadened to how life an death the sea can be. I hope you have the most boring voyage ever. If your only gripe is a sore bum and poor sleep I would count that as a success.
Sometime I think it would be interesting if you could post about how and if your boat can right itself or how you get in and out of the boat safely. Also if you do go for a swim do your tether yourself to the boat somehow?
RIver FAlls WI
Hey Roz, Anonymous wrote such an expressive post at 10:44 AM +00:00 about the 'flat' poster. Remember where you are: in a place that 'flat' poster has never and likely will never be, nor comprehend. You are out experiencing the utter majesty of life and nature that only people on small craft way out on the deep ocean will ever experience. Your posts take me back to places decades ago as if it were literally last week, places I am unlikely to ever go to again, except when I hear from real people like you and then the memories flood back. A huge thanks from me.
Lovely video, by the way. It's nice to have a voice to go with the text.
The stars at night in the middle of the cocean is amazing.
I recently interviewed with Brocade. As luck would have it, it led me to you!
I row on a whaleboat team in the San Francisco Bay. We're eight rowers and a coxswain that row a 2000 pound whaleboat. A fellow rower and I are in flux, looking for meaning, etc. We've found inspiration and hope through you!
Thanks for giving us something to dream about!
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