Dictated by Roz at 20.42 and transcribed by her mother Rita Savage.
Position: -08.44295S, 153.37978E
I seem to have chosen a lot of audio books about apocalypse and its aftermath. I don’t think that this was a conscious decision. Maybe it just means that there are a lot of post-apocalyptic books around at the moment. Or maybe my subconscious was playing tricks. Either way, it has resulted in some very interesting listening.
What were the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Was it war, famine, plague and something else – things have been pretty much covered in my listening programme anyway.
Plague was covered in Pat Murphy’s “The City, Not Long After.” Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Mars Trilogy” touched on over-population and flood which naturally led to war and famine. And today I started listening to “Dies the Fire” by S M Stirling in which everything electrical or mechanised suddenly stops working worldwide at a single moment in time which is very bad news for the people who happen to be in aeroplanes. Add in Cormack McCarthy’s “The Road” this rapidly leads to food shortages, anarchy and violence. But “Dies the Fire” is, so far at least, less bleak than “The Road”, given that “The Road” is out there at the far edges of utter bleakness and despondency, this almost goes without saying.
There are many cultures that predict that some dramatic changes will occur in 2012 – some of them good, most of them bad. I don’t really want to comment on those one way or the other, many previous rumours about the end of the world having been greatly exaggerated. But it is interesting that so many different schools of thought have homed in on that particular year. Why this preoccupation with the end of the world as we know it? Is there a general sense that something has got to give, that we can’t sustain so many exponential curves all at once: population, consumption, financial growth, CO2 levels and so on. That we are going up and up and up the wave, and unless it flattens out soon we are going to topple off it?
I don’t know any more than you do about what is going to happen. But I do know that no matter what happens to the world at large, one day (hopefully distant if I don’t go swimming again) my personal world is going to come to an end. It was partly this realisation that got me out of the office and onto the ocean – the knowledge that I did not have an infinite supply of tomorrows, and if I was going to do something worthwhile with my life, I had to get on with it. I suppose that if the whole world does go to pieces a small rowboat in the middle of the ocean is probably one of the safest places to be; although it would be a bit miserable to come back to dry land and find that everybody was dead and the bar was shut.
Other Stuff: Today was hot and calm until a downpour just before sunset. So I wriggled my hot, weary way west as much as I could. I have been trying to make a bit of north as well to get away from Woodlark Island. Pretty name, but I am not keen to go there in a rowboat. Every time I stop rowing the current pushes me south again. I don’t really want to go head to head with the current. In my experience current usually beats rower. So I am hoping that as I head west, the current will swing around in my favour, as predicted.
I was taking a short break between rowing shifts today when something large head-butted the bottom of my boat. I looked over the side and thought I caught a glimpse of a large grey shape in the water. A shark? I don’t know. Any suggestions about what kind of creature might behave this way.
The battery life of my GPS (Garmin 276 T) seems to be in a terminal decline. On a day like today as I inch my way across the ocean, I like to take the GPS out into the cockpit and watch the numbers clicking down. It is very motivating, but the battery which used to last for up to six hours now hits its limit at about two and a half, even if I turn the brightness down. I’ll need to get a new one for the Indian Ocean anyway as they no longer sell the charts that are compatible with this one. Any recommendations for a marine GPS? I like the Garmin for its size and low power consumption, so something similar would be good.
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