What do I eat?

This is, without a doubt, my most FAQ, and just goes to show that at the
end of the day we all, no matter what we do for a living, all have to
eat, sleep and perform other bodily functions, and it is our shared
experience of those functions that most unite us. The Queen of England,
Cameron Diaz, the Dalai Lama, peasants, priests and ocean rowers –
everybody has to eat. So why what I eat should be of especial interest
I'm not sure… although I suppose I do have a few unusual constraints, as
obviously the food I bring on board has to be compact, relatively
un-crushable, long-lasting without refrigeration, and nutritious enough
to support unusual physical demands. So here goes.

While at sea, my diet is 99% raw, mostly organic, and very nearly vegan.
Eeek, that sounds horribly virtuous. So I would also like to add that
what I eat on the ocean and what I eat on dry land bear very little
resemblance to each other. If only they did, I would probably be much
healthier and live much longer. But I wouldn't have nearly as much fun.
I tend to look on my ocean time as a chance to detox and undo some of
the damage that I inflict on my body (especially my liver) while ashore,
where I indulge in – well, pretty much anything and everything. A true

So here's how it breaks down – and I think you'll find it's actually a
lot yummier than it initially sounds. In fact, I find these foods a lot
tastier and more satisfying than many restaurant meals ever manage to

Larabars – fruit and nut bars made in Denver, available in most
wholefood stores in the US. No added sugar, unprocessed, raw, non-GMO,
gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan and kosher. And very good. My
favorites are Peanut Butter Cookie, Pecan Pie, Banana Bread, Apple Pie,
Ginger Snap and Jocolat (Chocolate and Chocolate Coffee flavors). I'm
saving all my Larabar wrappers from this trip [see photo] and we're
trying to think of something creative to make from them.

Rawfood crackers – these were made for me by Marlene Depierre, a friend
of a friend who lives on Maui. Rawfood crackers are made by germinating
grains such as buckwheat, sunflower seeds, or nuts. These are then
whizzed in a food processor with whatever you fancy to make different
flavors – herbs, spices, sundried tomatoes, the pulp you have left over
after making your carrot juice, whatever. The mixture is then spread on
trays and "baked" in a dehydrator, a low-temperature method of cooking
that keeps the enzymes alive. Marlene has given me 9 or 10 varieties,
all beautifully vacuum packed and labelled. My favorite amongst her
creations are the walnut pumpkin crackers, and sweet crackers made with
buckwheat, dried fruit and chia seeds. (Chia is the latest superfood, of
Mexican origin.)

Beansprouts – I grow these in a Sproutamo pot that I keep in a string
bag in a shady corner of the cockpit. I got 3 different bean mixes from
Sproutpeople in San Francisco – their Beanie mix, Peasant mix, and San
Francisco mix. Sprouting is dead easy – just soak the beans for 8 hours,
rinse, and water a couple of times a day. After about 2 days you've got
beansprouts. I like to mix them with some tamari almonds or sunflower
seeds, tahini, and some nama shoyu sauce. Rich in enzymes, vitamins,
minerals, protein and fiber.

Dried fruit and nuts – I get through tons of these. The nuts were
provided by Wilderness Family Naturals (and a few additional treats from
Living Nutz – their Bodacious Banana Bread Walnuts are especially good).
I chose these suppliers because they soak the nuts and then dehydrate
them at low temperatures – as with the rawfood crackers, this kicks off
the germination process which makes the nuts extra-nutritious, and also
easier to digest.

I've also got some emergency rations, in case my voyage takes longer
than expected. I didn't want to spend much on these extras, as I hope
not to need them. So I've got a load of quinoa and two bottles of olive
oil (extra virgin, cold pressed). It might not make for the most
exciting diet, but if that was all that stood between me and starvation
it would be very adequate, quinoa being high in protein. I also brought
a few cans of sardines and kippers, just in case I get major protein
cravings. I used a few cans in the first couple of weeks, but haven't
felt the urge since.

I've also got some rations left over from Stage 1 of the row, that I
brought along for lack of anything better to do with them – sachets of
oatmeal and dehydrated expedition meals. In fact, some of the expedition
meals date from the Atlantic. But they last forever and are handy for
backup rations.

I do have a cooking stove on board, but I haven't used it so far. The
weather has been way too hot to even think about cooking hot food. But
it would be useful if I needed to use the expedition meals or oatmeal.

And of course a few treats. Chocolate syrup from Wilderness Family
Naturals (made with organic cocoa beans and organic agave nectar) and
some Meyer lemon marmalade made by my friend Karen Morss at Lemon Ladies
of Emerald Hills, CA. Both are good with the sweet rawfood crackers.

Even though this diet is much more nutritious than what I eat on dry
land, I've got multi-vitamins and minerals, supplied by Biocare, just to
be sure I've got it all covered.

And that's about it. Before the Atlantic row (my first) I carefully
compiled spreadsheets of daily rations broken down by carbs, protein and
fat, and calculated every meal down to the last calorie. Now I take a
much more relaxed attitude to it, and just eat as much as I want to,
when I want to. I eat frequently throughout the day – 7 or 8 snacks
during breaks in rowing shifts.

All this food is nutritionally very dense, so it doesn't take up much
room. I could easily have fit twice as much food on board – probably
more. I could in theory live on this boat for over a year without
resupply. In practice, though, I wouldn't want to. I'm quite looking
forward to getting back to dry land and enjoying that other essential
food group – cold beer!

[photo: my collection of empty Larabar wrappers so far. Any creative
ideas for some piece of memorabilia we can have made with them?]

Other Stuff:

Yesterday's calm conditions were clearly a One-Day Special Offer only.
Today the trade winds are back in business at 18 knots or so, and
pushing me west again. As I approach the single digit latitudes I'm
intrigued to see what's going to happen in the ITCZ…

No attacks from the local wildlife today. Phew. Thanks for all the
sympathy and ribaldry at my expense. I hope there will be no further
unwarranted intrusions upon my person. By my posterior is not how I wish
to be remembered for posterity.

CG – love the suggestion of the bootie-fish. Made me LOL! Also good to
know about Bikini Atoll. Still hope to get further south though.

Hi Tanya!!!

Thanks, Lily, for your comment. Nice to know you're there and following!

Hi Jen. I can't wait to find out what you're plotting. Will row faster
in anticipation…

Weather report:

Position at 2115 HST: 10 05.283N, 171 18.589W
Wind: 18kts E
Seas: 6-8ft E
Weather: mostly sunny, overcast towards sunset

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


  • Greetings!

    I've seen many things made from wrappers: purses, wallets, bracelets, picture frames, etc. (I don't know what you do when you're on land, or what sorts of items you like so I don't know of which patterns or ideas to give you!)

    I was wondering about what other opposites you have from water to land. You said as far as your eating goes that you are more of a 'opportunivore' on land. What are some other aspects of your life that change when you reach land?

  • Roz- Just wanted to say hi! Hi! Hola, Bonjour, Aloha, Love, Light, Happiness, Peace, Zen, Joy Joy Joy. Look forward to paddling with you again soon! -Mariya

  • I like the bag idea… depending on how many you have, you could probably make a reusable grocery bag.

  • Thanks for sharing more details of your food. What amazes me is the planning and all the considerations that went into being self sufficient for such an extended time. Every day I am in awe, every day, more awe …

    On another subject … I submit … since the overwhelming opinion is not to include Bikini Atoll, "Roz Sans Bikini" it is! No Bikini Atoll is the natural choice …

    "Roz Finds Bikini Glowing In The Dark" news headline would illuminate her accomplishment globally … but naturally, the coolest headline might read "Roz Drops Bikini For Buffer Destinations" and may rouse more attention and bring more gazing eyes to view Roz's causes.

    As the full moon approaches I visualize Roz rowing a course with no Bikini at all on a darkened night-time ocean illuminated by a bright white moon. Speaking of moons …

    Check out this mundane headline today in the UK:

    Global Observation Distribution for 2009 June 22 New Moon:

    "Observations came from longitudes as far east as Tokyo in Japan and from as far west as the mid-Pacific Ocean area …

    "Our special thanks go to Roz Savage who made several observations over three nights while on the second of three legs of her attempt to row solo across the Pacific Ocean from the United States to Australia. She left the Hawaiian Islands on May 24th 2009 heading for Tuvalu onboard her craft the "Brocade."

    THANK YOU ROZ and CONGRATULATIONS, again and again.

  • Here's another question to add to your list, and maybe the Weather Guy can help out with this. On the ocean, with a day of good visibility, how far away can you see distant weather events, like storms? For instance, could you spot a storm in the ITCZ when you're still a full degree of latitude away from it?

  • Hi Roz

    I have sat and read your blog every afternoon since you started your trip. Your blogs make me chuckle especially "the attack of the killer squid"

    Keep up the good work and stay safe.

    Amy @ Camidge & Co Solicitors

  • Hi Roz,
    I discovered your blog 2 weeks ago and now look forward to reading about your adventures each day. You are living proof that 40 is not old – not even close! If you're ever in the Houston area, look me up. I'll buy you a steak dinner… with cold beer, of course. 🙂

  • Hello Roz! Thank you for allowing some of us to live vicariously through you! I sent an e-mail to "The Ellen Show" (they are on hiatus at the moment, but surely planning near future shows) and suggested they contact and/or look into your adventure(s)… and your causes, of course. A few calls from Ellen on the SatComm and the whole world will know why you are in a rowboat in the middle of an ocean. (But make sure they pay the for the call ha, ha!) Take care and please, please keep yourself out of the water unless absolutely necessary because the closer you get to Australia, the BIGGER the sea life gets (and that would include the "bootie-fish" species) and as I am sure you know, even some really small jelly fish (box) can be deadly! Remember what they say about getting too comfortable… On a lighter note, going forward you probably will never be able to say "bottoms up" at a pub without thinking of this leg of your vogage!!! Take care! Nancy in Hollywood, FL

  • Stroke. Stroke. Stroke. Eat. Stroke. Stroke. Stroke. Eat. Repeat as necessary.

    I'd love to try some of that food. It all sounds so delightfully exotic to a Midwest boy like me.

  • I just noticed your Tweet. Congratulations, Roz, on crossing the 10th parallel. Now that you are inside the 10 degree box headed toward zero-zero you will probably "jump forward" before you go "down under" … I predict you will cross the IDL precisely three weeks from now and will jump from Thursday noon July 23rd … to Friday noon July 24th … a day gone missing. You can tell people that was the day you were in Bikini. Beam me up Scotty ;-D

  • Although you have remarked that you are not making as much southing as you would like, it is impressive how consistent your progress has been. Almost none the curlicues, circles or spirals that were a part of your last voyage. Congratulations on getting below 10N – Keep up the great work.

  • It's amazing how the internet has turned "six degrees of separation" into more like "two degrees of separation." I see people comment on your blog that I know of from other blogs and such. And as another example, I've done business with Karen from Lemon Ladies when my own lemons were not producing enough. I love these kind of connections!

    Cheers! I can't wait to read your book. And hopefully I'll be able to actually meet you at one of your speaking engagements.

  • Roz,

    The more I think about what you're accomplishing the more inspired I become … I don't know if you can access this link, but anyone who is reading the comments should be able to http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/07/02/2614470.htm … this lady is about to turn 100, still out there doing weight training and competing in hammer throw … this is where I want to be when I'm in my 90's … and still having big adventures like yours Roz … be sure to ask the locals about the impact of Sea level rise, changes to local reefs caused by warming and ocean acidification when you do reach the shallows … may the blessings of the universe be with you

  • Hearing about the healthy foods has made me decide to go check out our local health & natural food shop to see if they have any of these items. They sound delicious!
    *taks a sip of wine in your honor*

  • Roz, do you see sharks fins? Whales? Other large/intimidating animals/fish? And, how big would you say the biggest swells are that you've experienced so far? My dad tells me stories about crossing the equator when he was in the Navy and the swells at the time were like several stories high from peak to trough.

    Love the blog, Roz. God bless.

  • Roz,

    Wow all that food sounds.. ummm .. gassy. I guess you are lucky to be alone!!

    The wrappers can be "recycled" into fishing lures (for trolling). The fish seem to love the shine and treat it like a small bait fish.

    have fun

  • Hi Roz,

    I like that you are going to do something creative with your wrappers. I haven't thought of anything creative, however, you may appreciate what my friend did with all his saved Crown Royal Whiskey velvet bags. He took them to a seamstress and had pajama bottoms made. They were really awesome!

    Maybe you could make some sort of Japanese paper lantern out of the wrappers and sell them or auction them off. I am curious about larabars now…going to have to try them 🙂


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