Oh dear. This blog is supposed to be about me rowing across the Pacific.
But today I haven't been me – I have been Michael Palin following in the
footsteps of Ernest Hemingway. That's problem with a really good book.
It totally sucks you in so you forget who you are. And where you are.
And what you're doing.

Since the demise of my stereo I have to listen to audiobooks with
earbuds connected to my iPod in a waterproof Aquapac. So the effect is
even more potent – it's like I'm mainlining the book straight into my

On the upside, it did make the day's rowing pass much more easily. I
even rowed an extra half hour so I could get to the end. Then I emerged
from the book to find myself rowing along under the stars, rather
disoriented, like I sometimes feel when I come out of a cinema after a
gripping film.

So it was a darned good book. Michael Palin (ex-member of Monty Python
team, also star of A Fish Called Wanda) was commissioned by the BBC to
visit the places where the writer Ernest Hemingway lived – in Chicago,
Key West, Africa, Spain, Paris, Italy, Cuba and Montana. I learned a lot
about Hemingway, as well as what his old haunts are like now.

Hemingway sounds like a powerful character – one of those people I had
in mind when I did my ideal obituary exercise several years ago. He was
passionate, adventurous, larger than life, and intensely alive. All good
things, in my book. Also accident prone and a hard drinker, with a habit
of bagging both wildlife and wives in excess. Not things that I aspire
to (I like to drink, but would struggle to keep up with his prodigious
intake) but the thing I admire about him is that he lived life without
reserve. He held nothing back. He just went for it headlong.

I love to learn about people I admire. It helps me figure out the kind
of person I want to be. Nobody's perfect, and I would never model myself
100% on just one person. But an amalgam of 20 or so different people
creates a kind of idealized role model – the spirit of this one, the
courage of that one, the curiosity of another. It all helps me visualize
my ideal future self. It's fun – like pick 'n' mix for the personality.

[photo: tonight's sunset – photo taken with my Xacti waterproof video
camera since demise of Pentax Optio WP]

Other Stuff:

Some quick answers to questions raised in comments:

Do I run a light on my boat at night? Yes, I have a solar-powered bright
white light that comes on automatically at sunset and goes off at

How often do I wash off the salt from my body? Many times a day! I have
plenty of water from my watermaker, and plenty of sunshine to power the
solar panels that keep it running, so I have more than enough fresh
water to bathe frequently with bucket and sponge.

How do I avoid getting burned to a crisp? I use copious amounts of my
Green People organic sun lotion. I'm nearly through my second large
tube. And I do have a small sun canopy, although I haven't been able to
use that much recently because it's been too windy and it flaps around
when the wind gets over 20 knots.

Do I wear sunglasses? I should, but I don't. My friend Ellen lent me
some really cool glasses but they slide down my nose when I get hot and
sweaty. So I just wear a baseball cap and that seems to do the trick.

How much sleep do I get and how many hours do I row? Sleep is a flexible
concept. I get about 7-8 hours of lying on my bunk each night, some of
which is spent asleep, but it gets pretty bouncy out here much of the
time. Noisy too. As for rowing, I'm taking it easier on this leg. Around
10 hours a day. That's all.

Can I post temperatures? No, not at the moment. I don't have anything to
measure temperature – or at least, I do, but I'm not planning to
download the data from the devices until the end of the voyage. But I do
happen to know that the temperature in the forward cabin (where my
Project Niu device awaits deployment) reached 100 degrees F the other
day. I'd say that's pretty warm.

Eve – I remember! Well done on your dissertation. Glad the photo helps
provide some inspiration. I think we both know a lot about the value of

UncaDoug – if I see the moon, I'll report it. Do you know what time it
is due to rise on June 23? As for my time zone, I have no idea! I'm
still using Hawaiian time as ship's time, but I don't know what time
zone I am in officially. I suspect I might be an hour behind Hawaii. You
will have to check using my longitude.

Thanks to Anna and Karen for the lovely messages. Anna – I hope the back
gets better soon! You want to watch out for that gardening – truly

Earl-Baldwin – go for it! And good luck with the swimming. You are now
the second adult (that I know of) who has decided to learn to swim after
reading about my adventures. Thanks for letting me know!

Gary – sounds like an amazing project with the Navajo. I look forward to
hearing more about it. Keep me posted!

OK, all for now. Ernest Hemingway has kept me up past my bedtime and I
need to hit the hay.

Weather report:

Position at 2215 HST: 13 14.922N, 166 58.248W
Wind: 15-20kts E
Seas: 6ft E
Weather: occasional clouds, hot and sunny

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


  • Do you ever get up in the early moning say 4 a.m. and row befor the sun gets up? OR row after the sun goes down?
    BnT Ranch

  • Morning from MK.
    This morning the news is full of the girl team in the round Britain race. They not only broke the record, they smashed it!
    Yachtswoman Dee Caffari and her team managed the 2,500 nautical mile race in 6 days and 11 hours, knocking 17 hours off the old record of 7 days and 4 hours set in 2004.
    I am glad you enjoyed Micheal Palin's Hemingway, I read it last year, he write so well. I thought the book was much better than the TV series, which I found boring after his exploits "Around the World" and "Pole to Pole"!
    May the wind be at your back and your dreams be sweet 🙂

  • Thanks to you Roz I am now walking to work each day. It's about 5.5kms which I used to drive (if it's pouring with rain I take the bus which is also how I get home unless I feel extra energetic). I figured if you can row across the oceans to help save the planet the bare minimum I can do is get up early and forgo the daily drive. I've found it quite a joy actually and am also developing a nice audio book addiction.

  • I'm enjoying reading Hemingway in Korea too. He was never here adventuring but it's fun to read about adventure while you are embarking on your own.

  • Roz, the crescent moon will set tonight about half an hour after the sun drops over the horizon. Tomorrow, it will be about an hour and a half after the sun sets. It will be quite faint, so scan around left and right and above the point where the sun was and even the faintest crescent will suddenly appear … if you're luck ;-D

    I will check the time from your long/lat a bit later at http://heavens-above.com/ and get back to you. If you don't see the moon tonight, don't fret. Odds are much better the second night after the new moon. FYI, the actual new moon occurs on 2009 June 22 at 19:35 UT/GMT … precisely.

    Everybody may join in the Moon Watch project at http://www.crescentmoonwatch.org/report.htm

  • Hi Roz,
    Palin's Hemingway sounds like a good read indeed, if it can take you away so completely. I'll look for it at the library.
    Great sunset photo today, and thanks for the answers to recent questions. 🙂
    Janice in Chicago

  • Hi Roz,
    Your list of answers has raised another question. How often do you need to go under the boat and clean off barnicales? I was reading where your friends farther north have to do it fairly often.
    KennyB on Whidbey Island

  • Roz,
    I know you're quite prepared for (and experienced with) rough seas and that your boat is designed to be able to roll and right itself, but your wave crash Tweet made me wonder something. What are the conditions that make you decide it's time to batten down the hatches and strap-in in the cabin? I imagine you could keep on rowing over very high rolling waves, but that high breaking waves would make things a lot more dodgy.

    Listened to the latest podcast and watched last week's video with my mom in Tennessee this weekend. We really enjoyed it. Thanks for going through the pains and frustrations of that upload.

    Joan in Atlanta

  • Roz, you probably will not get today's comments before sunset, so please simply tell us the cloud condition (see below) and I will report that to Moon Watch. Tomorrow, the moon should be high enough above the setting sun that you may be able to see the crescent.

    Based on this morning's reported position (13.187 N, 167.065 W) sun and moon setting times follow (you can generally synchronize your watch and time zone with these sunset times):

    Mon 6/22 – Sunset 19:37, Moon sets 20:02
    Tues 6/23 – Sunset 19:37, Moon sets 21:02
    Wed 6/24 – Sunset 19:37, Moon sets 21:56

    Moon Watch wants to know the earliest time you see the crescent moon, cloud conditions e.g., clear, haze, cirrus, some clouds on the western horizon, partly cloudy, overcast), relationship of the moon to the sun (e.g., left or right of the sun as it set), and angle to the sun, e.g., 4:00, 5:00, 6:00, 7:00 or 8:00 where 6:00 is straight down, or if you prefer in degrees where 180 is straight down.

    Hope you have success … start gazing after the sun sets and the sky darkens. Your window of opportunity is just over an hour Tuesday and stretches out to 2+ hours Wednesday. Good luck. You will most certainly be the only person observing in your current neck of the woods and Moon Watch folks will surely appreciate hearing your report ;-D

  • Have you read any Hemingway? I would recommend reading .. not listening, so it's probably not much of a recommendation for an ocean rower.

    You are amazing.

  • Hi Roz,

    it's Oliver. The ex Hawaiian Olli…. The Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail with Svenja hiking Olli.. I just wanted to tell you that I am with you almost every day. I have been kind of quiet here, since it is overwhelming how many people talk to you. That is great, but I didn't want to add to social stress on the ocean ;-))) I am following you from Austin Texas now.
    Thank for taking us with you on your journey.



  • Oh.. one more from Olli…. I am still on my bicycle as my main transportation.
    No desire to have anything that burns fuel, except a helicopter ;-))
    I also finally gave up on kitchen towels, I am now using reusable wash cloths to clean. And I am almost able to buy my water machine to not buy any plastic bottles of water anymore.
    You are inspiring a lot of people through your mission.
    Thank you again.


  • Dear Roz, you are one brave, amazing lady. You put the Portuguese, the Vikings, the great navigators of the past all in one pocket!!!
    I'm writing a Blog now, Rock the Cage, where I try to talk about people who make a change, and you are certainly one of my heroes. I was literally astonished by your experience. All the best to you. Take care and give my regards to the old Poseidon.

  • Ernest Hemingway is larger than life but he never tried to tackle the pacific in a small row boat.

    Regards, Greg

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