I'm now within 10 degrees of the International Date Line, and 11 degrees
of the Equator, and I'm starting to wonder just where I'm going to land
up. I'm really not too fussy, so long as it has an airport, a
restaurant, and a bar. A bar with beer, and lots of it.

I've been aiming for Tuvalu, although it's far from ideal – very
difficult for my shore team to get to, most likely nowhere to store my
boat, and very little infrastructure. Beer situation currently unknown.

There are lots of other options – the South Pacific has lots of islands
– but there are also very big gaps between the options, so if I miss one
I could be out here for a long time. Which would not be good. I have
places to go, people to see. With my book coming out on October 6 and
the march to Copenhagen (for the climate change summit) setting out from
London on October 24, I'm keen to be back on terra firma long before
then.

I don't have as much maneuverability with a rowboat as, say, sailors
have. I can influence but not totally control my direction. Say the wind
is blowing me west (as it is) and I point my boat south (as I do) then I
end up going southwest, or south southwest, or west southwest, depending
on the strength of the wind and, I suppose, the strength of my rowing.

For the last couple of weeks the east wind has been strong –
consistently around or over 20 knots – so my trajectory has been west
southwest. On my current bearing I would miss Tuvalu, passing too far to
the north.

But here's the joker in the pack, or in fact two jokers – the Inter
Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), and the Equatorial Counter Current.
Both will come into play soon. But both are shifting and changing all
the time – see the latest forecast at the bottom of this blog. The
previous forecast was that I would be spared the worst of the ITCZ, but
alas 'tis not to be. It has moved, and now lies in my path. And we won't
really know how it will affect me until I get there. As far as rowboat
voyages go, this is uncharted territory, and the variables are too
complicated to predict with any degree of certainty.

So who knows? I'll keep pushing south as much as I am able, which is the
best way to keep my options open. Failing Tuvalu, other options are
Tarawa, or somewhere in the Marshall Islands, but both would leave me
with a tougher task for Stage 3 of the row next year, which I very much
hope will end up somewhere in Australia..

I should know by now that oceans are no respecters of human schedules.
I've never yet been on an open ocean voyage, either by sailboat or
rowboat, that ended up where it was supposed to be, at the time it was
supposed to be.

And that's just the way it is. To paraphrase Winnie the Pooh's comment
on heffalumps – you never can tell with oceans. .

Other Stuff:

More wildlife encounters today. I found a dead squid tucked behind my
sea anchor. I think he must have arrived at the same time as the other
two. He was looking a bit dried out and crispy. Not very appetizing.

Then there was a very pretty flying fish that flew in and bounced off my
neck while I was rowing. I would have taken a picture but he was still
very much alive, and it seemed more important to keep him that way than
to ask him to wait for a photo opp, so I swiftly chucked him back into
the blue.

And tonight, towards sunset, there were some birds being very excitable
and noisy, diving down at some fish within a few yards of my boat. The
fact that the fish were huge mahi mahi, about 10 times the size of the
birds, didn't seem to deter them in the slightest. Needless to say, they
didn't catch one, and I don't know what they would have done with it if
they had.

My, what an inquisitive lot you are! Answer 7 questions, get 14 more…
I've made a note of them for future blogs. I don't have time to answer
them all now, but here are some of the quicker, shorter ones.

Someone asked if I have children. Oh do pay attention! I said yesterday
that I don't, and I can assure you that the situation has not changed
since then.

Have I had my appendix removed? No. Let's hope appendicitis doesn't
strike while I'm at sea.

How do I get connection in the middle of the ocean? Satellite phone.
Very expensive, and when used as a data modem, very slow.

More answers coming in future blogs, including the answer to the Number
One Most Frequently Asked Question Of All Time – what do I eat? If I had
a dollar for every time I've answered that one….!!

But seriously, it's nice to know you care. Keep the great comments
coming. Thank you!

Weather report:

Position at 2130 HST: 10 52.484N, 170 27.400W
Wind: 20 knots E
Seas: 6-8ft E
Weather: overcast morning, sunny afternoon, some small clouds

Weather forecast, courtesy of weatherguy.com

As of Monday, 29 Jun 2009. The easterly trade winds 20+kts hanging on
a little longer. Expect a brief period of lower winds then back to
20+kts. Seas abate to 8-9ft.

Sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy with multilayered clouds of low
to mid level. Very isolated rainshowers.

ITCZ: The most active part of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ)
has drifted westward to 175W between 2N and 8N. There are widespread
areas of wind 30-40kts in heavy rainshowers have been measured. These
systems are often times accompamied by thunder and lightning. You may
observe these conditions. There are some holes in this activity of
lesser conditons.

Forecast below is for a SWerly course.
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft)
29/1800-30/0600 ENE-E 17-22 8-9
30/0600-30/2100 ENE-E 12-17 6 -7
30/2100-04/1800 ENE-E 17-22 8-9

Next Update: Thursday, 02July

17 Comments

  • Roz you are extremely amazing. How many Oceans are you going to cross? Are you going to row around the Cape Horn?
    Tarawa or Nauru might be an option of completing this leg of you row.

    ~Gregory

  • The hotel near the airport at Tuvalu has a full bar, but as I have said really a bad place to store the boat or get to and from.
    Nauru is a disaster. You have a couple of Samoas at hand to the south, but Tarawa seems a good bet from here. I don't think this is going to be a picnic, and I truly admire your courage.

  • I found a review online for a hotel on Bikenibeu, Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati.

    "The Otintaai is run buy the Kiribati Government and is the largest and best equipped hotel in the Gilbert group. I lived at the hotel for 3 months.

    The rooms are simple and have a bathroom A/C and balcony. Nothing flash and there is usually no hot water but you don't really need it.

    The restaurant serves a variety of local and western meals and is ok. This hotel was expanded for a Pacific Island Conference to house heads of state, That said they don't have what you might call a presidential suite… The service is laid back just like everything there but the friendliness of the locals will amaze you.

    Being in Kiribati is what you go there for not a ClubMed experience.

    * Liked — Evenings at the bar on the lagoon"

    Regards, Gregory

  • I have no first hand knowledge, but Fungafuti Wharf on the Tuvalu island of Fongafale looks like it would have adequate storage for your boat. The island has an airport. Also on the island is the Vaiaku Lagi Hotel. Again, no first hand knowledge, but as far as beer is concerned, their website offers the following:

    RESTAURANT

    Excellent meals are provided at reasonable cost with European, Italian, Indian, Chinese, and Local dishes. The fish is caught daily straight from the lagoon and is a speciality. A selection of beers, wines, spirits, and soft drinks are served from the bar during meal times.

  • Roz, you can save some of those questions for your Evoca recordings while Leo is in China. I just listened to last week's podcast yesterday, and yes, it was a really good one. Tell Leo to stop stepping on the end of your sentences, though. [grin]

    I also wanted to send along the compliment that I'm always impressed with how well put-together every blog post is. I know you must be completely knackered by the end of the day when you're writing. I've read all of your posts from last year and this leg, and there's never a hint of "I just don't want to bother with this tonight," and that has got to take massive mental dedication on top of your physical efforts. Thanks so much for that.

  • First off, I agree entirely with Joan's comment above.

    Roz, I have been keeping an eye on Tuvalu, Bikini and other islands on the RozTracker map. Your post validates my concern that you may just 'schuss' right through the middle and end up in Santa Cruz (PI, not CA).

    When is the point of no return for drawing a different vector from your quiver … give up on Tuvalu and go for Bikini?

    Watching the influence of the easterlies reminds me of when my son took Judo long ago … pondering your post today, it occurs to me that all you can do "practice judo" on the trade winds … you are going with the flow, but you need to direct that energy — within your finite capability. [YEAH, like you really needed ME to tell you THAT!]

    Google brought me to http://is.gd/1j76w

    "Ju-no-ri, or the principle of gentleness, is the practice of maintaining a natural, relaxed posture and a clear, focused mind. These tasks are imperative in overcoming an opponent, especially when the opponent exerts his force. Strength is not enough–flexibility and adaptability are essential, and are key in using an opponent’s energy against him. In Judo, victory is achieved not by how much energy is exerted, but in how it is exerted. Observation is important; watching an opponent’s movement and responding to his action are crucial to using one’s energy efficiently.

    "According to the principle of gentleness, the most effective way to disarm an opponent is to adapt to his movement. If an opponent pushes you, for example, and you step back, he will lose his bearing. You can take advantage of this weakness and overpower him. The principle is to respond the opponent’s movement–if he pushes you, you pull him. If he pulls you, you push him. You must be focused and flexible enough to redirect your opponent’s energy to your advantage."

    Consider Bikini. We want to see you October 24 ;-D

  • continuing to send bright white light of strength and courage.
    we know you can do it! 🙂
    -Nikki & Aidan (age 10)

  • Bare bottom’d, blonde, blue-eyed, benign;
    Rows Savage, heading for the zero line.
    Matched by no marvel in Pacific scene;
    A silver rowboat on a sea of green.

    *After J.W. Burgon (“Petra”) and Peter Sellers (“Balham”).*

  • Beautiful view! 🙂

    So… at night… (and forgive me if this has been answered before as I'm new to your blog)… do you anchor and stay in one place…?

  • To Ice Cream 'n Pickles – anchoring with the water three miles deep is not practical – When the wind is in the wrong direction Roz can deploy a sea anchor – sort of parachute in the water – which can slow her drift in the wrong direction but generally she has to go where the wind will push her when she is not rowing (and sometimes even when she is rowing).

    Roz – I am sure it must be tough on you and perhaps even tougher on your support crew to not know your final destination and your ETA. As you point out there are so many variables with the ITCZ that is is not practical to make a prediction. I have faith that things will work out for you. Remember how the JUNK showed with fresh water at the most propitious time . . . Go with the flow for now . . .

  • Hi Roz, my vote is for American Samoa. Easy flight to/from Honolulu. It's larger and I'll see if I know anyone that can do boat storage. Hang in there – you are doing great. Do you have your celebration ready for "zero line" as John Kay so aptly put it?

    I'm going camping this weekend with my 2 rescue dogs at 8000' elevation in the southern Sierra Nevadas. It's their first camping trip and I'm pretty excited about it.

    Thinking about you! -Sindy

  • How about a "Where Will Roz Land?" pool? Readers donate $5 to your PayPal account for a guess on which island you'll end up on. From among the winning guessers, you draw a name for a free Roz t-shirt and autographed photo.

  • The obvious benefit of landing in Tuvalu is that, because it is in danger of being submerged by rising seal levels, it is global warming's ground zero. It would hard to find a more urgent example to hammer home the environmental message. The fact that the local airline's line of credit with its fuel supplier is maxed out could be a deal breaker, however.

  • Fascinating blog Roz. I wish I had the guts to do what you are doing. Love reading about it. My question is, when you eventually land, and find a bar with lots of beer, what beer would you like to be your 1st drink?

  • just spent hours reading your blog, found you from notables, i wondered what on earth is notable, omg YOU are! from a fat ole boring matron, sitting around languishing my days away, i have been mesmerized with your story, fortitude and tenacity. i cannot help but marvel at the technology that brings your sore red bum into my lily white world, plunked comfy in bed reading your incredible journey in such a real time frame.

    i am totally hooked on your endeavor and look forward to your book in oct. i am always fascinated with people that live FAR out of the box, climbing everest, swimming to antarctica, rowing from continent to continent, and to think you are so accessible just feels so wrong that i can wave hello to you on the high seas from the comfort of my home…

    as an avid reader i have enjoyed you chatting about your books, like i am just chit chatting with a neighbor on the street, so hard to fathom you are rowing across the world…

    i am happy i found your blog, i look forward to your postings and wish you a very fast, peaceful, "flat" voyage. you are one heck of brave person to have set such lofty personal goals, will be a treat to follow along…

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