Day 31 – Reasons to be Cheerful
I'm feeling rather beaten up today. I've developed a twinge in my right
pectoral, which is causing discomfort on every stroke. But where
there's a will there's a way. I've had to adopt a rather different
rowing style, placing the blade carefully in the water with my arm at
full extension and using the muscles in my shoulders, back and legs to
complete most of the stroke, only using my arm to finish off the stroke
once the other parts of my body have created enough momentum.
This is more like the classic rowing stroke I would use on flat water –
on rough ocean water it's usually easier to take the catch with bent
arms to help compensate for not knowing quite where the water is going
to be at any given time. It means that I've been able to put less power
into it than usual, but at least I've been able to keep myself on a more
SW course than I would be on if I'd just taken the day off.
An incipient patch of baboon bum has also been causing me concern, and
eating a couple of last year's falafel crackers for lunch might have
been a mistake. I felt a bit queasy for the rest of the afternoon, so
the rest of the batch went overboard as fish food. I hope it didn't give
them gippy tummies too.
So all in all I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself. But no day is totally
without redeeming features, and today has had several.
I optimistically decided to try Lazarus's On button, and surprisingly
the stereo popped into life, having steadfastly resisted all attempts
over the last couple of days. And the weather was sunny without being
too hot. And I saw a few birds (terns? with black caps on their heads,
white bellies, and black backs and edging on their wings). Also a flying
fish making an impressively long flight across the waves, his silver
body gleaming as he skimmed just inches above the blue water.
So all in all, life isn't too bad. Nothing that can't be remedied by a
good night's sleep, a few painkillers and a dollop of hydrocortisone
cream applied liberally to my nethers.
[Photo: still smiling. Ish. Tonight in my cabin.]
Nicole tells me I'm coming up on 1,000 miles. And tomorrow marks the end
of my first month at sea. I tend to focus on how much still needs to be
done, rather than what I've already accomplished, so it's nice to be
reminded that a small celebration might be in order. Yayyyy!
Today's Eco Champ is Megan L in Chicago, who posted this comment:
Roz, I'm working on being more green and this is what Ive done since you
started on this leg:
-Installed two rain barrels so I can use rain water in my garden.
-Set up two double compost bins. I eat a lot of veggies (local-from the
Farmers Market) and I used to put the scraps down the disposal.
-Put up a clothesline to use sunshine and wind to dry the laundry.
-Put solar lights around my patio.
Thanks for the inspiration!
All fantastic ideas, Megan – and don't you just LOVE Farmers' Markets?!
So much more friendly than a supermarket, great to know where your food
is coming from, good sense to save on those food miles when food has
been flown halfway around the world – and best of all when they give out
UncaDoug – I've been looking out for the crescent moon all day, but not
a glimpse, alas. Sorry! Maybe the sun was just too bright? It's been
Some swift answers to questions:
Do I worry about lightning strikes? No. What good would worrying about
Does the boat drift off course when I go to sleep? Kind of, yes. But I
have a very flexible concept of the word "course", so I don't lose sleep
over it – literally or figuratively. Provided I go a bit west and a bit
south, I'm reasonably happy.
Would I consider stopping at another island en route to Tuvalu? No.
Ocean rowboats and land do not get on well together. Landfall is the
most difficult and dangerous bit. Best avoided until required.
Have I seen the space station? No, but will look out for it now I know
it's there. Have I seen the zodiacal light? No, not that I'm aware of.
What happens if the boat flips over? It flips back upright again.
Do you ever feel like the "noise" from the blogging and twittering and
facebooking, and other communications is too much – that it distracts
from getting into a zen-like meditative state? No, not any more –
because I don't let it. But the ocean itself often interferes with
zen-like meditative state by being constantly rough and splashy!
Been doing much inner soul searching and having discussions with God?
Did enough of that during 103 of silence on the Atlantic to keep me
going for a while. Still check in regularly, but even in the Bible they
drew the line at 40 days and 40 nights!
Why do I row without clothes? Why not?! But seriously, because:
a) clothes chafe
b) clothes get in the way of applying sun lotion
c) clothes get sweaty and smelly, and/or soaked in saltwater, and I
have limited laundry facilities
d) easier to go to the bathroom with no clothes, while still
maintaining 3 points of contact with boat
e) it's too bloody hot!
And thanks for all the feedback on my questions yesterday about
meridians and the equator. A quick digest of the responses:
Where the prime meridian crosses the equator: they cross in the Gulf of
Guinea at a point about 380 miles south of Accra, Ghana, and 640 miles
west Libreville, Gabon.
(Thank you Michelle Driskill-Smith and aquaphoenix)
(And I quote SV Billabong): I couldn't find the name of 0 180, but you
do drop the NSEW designation as no clarification of hemisphere is
required (you're right on the edge).
(Thanks to Tom B): Regarding your 0deg N/S and 0deg E/W…not sure about
the answer. But I do know you'd be a "Goddess" on the "Degree Confluence
Basically, (from the site) "The goal of the project is to visit each of
the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world,
and to take pictures at each location."
There are A LOT of points along your path that nobody has been to
before! You would rack up quite the list if you managed to take a
picture showing your coordinates at each point of confluence!
And if you happen to hit 0deg N/S and 0deg E/W at the same time AND get
a picture…I don't know what will happen! (parties? people fainting?
children named after you?!)
(And to JohnH for this): I do not think that there is a specific name
for the point where the date line crosses the equator, but if you do
cross at that point you will be entitled to the title of "Golden
Shellback". Crossing the equator at the Greenwich Meridian (360 miles
out in the ocean south of Ghana, Africa) you would be entitled to the
title of "Emerald Shellback". So maybe we should name them the "Golden
Point" and the "Emerald Point"?
Very good ideas for the names, JohnH, although a bit too sensible for my
tastes. I'm trying to think of something a bit more entertaining, but am
feeling rather devoid of inspiration. Any offers?!
Position at 2035 HST: 12 46.240N 167 49.211W
Wind: 15-20kts E
Seas: 7-10ft E
Weather: sunny, some cloud
Weather forecast, courtesy of weatherguy.com:
As of Monday, 22 Jun 2009. The easterly trade winds bump up a notch
above 20kts and seas increase to the 10ft range until tomorrow. Then
abate to below 20kts, increase again on the 25th. Seas 7-10ft.
Sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy with variable cloud cover next
five days. Very isolated rainshowers. The Inter-Tropical Convergence
Zone (ITCZ) has quieted down since last report. This is an area of
converging winds from the northern and southern hemisphere which can
cause convective activity which increase the chance of heavy
rainshowers, thunderstorms, and lightning. Presently, the ITCZ lies
Forecast below is for a SWerly course.
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft)
22/1800-23/1200 ENE-E 17-23 7-10
23/1200-25/1800 ENE-E 13-18 6-9
25/1800-27/1800 ENE-E 17-22 8-10
To answer some of your follower's questions regarding moon rise and set,
and time zone. On June 23, the moon rises about 6:50 AM (HST) and sets
8:39PM. New moon was 22Jun and the next full moon is on Jul 06. So the
night skies should be dark next couple of weeks. The time zone Roz is
currently in is one hour behind Hawaii time (HST). She will cross the
next time zone upon passing 180E/W.
Next Update: Thursday, 25 June