People often ask me if I get scared, being alone out on the ocean, so I thought it might be worth blogging a few thoughts on the subject.

First of all, yes I do get scared, even after all this time at sea. Since I set out from Fremantle I’ve been in some big waves, and the boat has been knocked down four times as well as subjected times beyond count to those cruel waves I call juggernauts and boatfillers. This is especially unpleasant at night, when I’m inside my cabin attempting to sleep. After a couple of clobberings I find I’m bracing myself every time I hear an oncoming wave, and really wishing I was anywhere else.

When that happens, I have to try and rationalize my fear away. My boat has suffered worse onslaughts before. I have survived worse nights before. Provided I stay in my cabin, strapped to my bunk, there’s not too much harm I can come to. If I get really scared I can put my crash helmet on. It’s not really rational to be scared in that situation, but I don’t think I’d be human if I wasn’t.

Then there’s fear of serious problems. That was the kind of fear that clutched at my heart when I realized my solar panels weren’t working properly. The problem wouldn’t have been fatal, but would have had a major impact on the enjoyability of this voyage. Luckily I was in a position to do something about it, by pulling in at the Abrolhos for repair. It would not have been wise to push on regardless and hope for the best. Many fears can be allayed by facing up to the issue and taking appropriate pre-emptive action.

Then there are the 3am fears, the kind that haunt those vulnerable hours of the night. Such as: 1) Being run down by a container ship. 2) Having my arm bitten off by a shark. 3) Being attacked by pirates. The chances of any of these things happening are minimal, but the potential downside is huge. I just have to remind myself that I’ve done all I can to prevent them… and it also helps to remind myself that these fears always seem so BIG at 3am, but generally vanish come the first rays of the morning sun.

It helps to have faith. There are lots of things an ocean rower can have faith in – God/a god, a good luck charm or mascot, the strength of their boat, their own ability to cope, or the belief that what they are doing might contribute something to their own personal growth or to the greater good of their fellow humans. Any or all of the above. They all help put the fear into perspective, and make it more bearable.

Happy Socks

And if all else fails, I find that putting on a pair of happy socks (credit to Sarah Outen’s mum) and singing “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” helps too!

Other Stuff

Tonight is thankfully extremely un-scary. It is quite and calm, and I’m looking out across a dark, silent ocean with a beautiful crescent moon painting a path across the gentle waves, and the stars twinkling a reminder of the grand cosmic scale of the universe. Right now, fear seems very far away, and I wonder how anybody could ever imagine the ocean a scary place.

A respectable 42 nautical miles today – not as spectacular as yesterday, but a heck of a lot more comfortable.

I am delighted to report that my experiment with the draft-sealing tape around the galley locker hatch was a resounding success. I have now extended the experiment to two further hatches, and have now used up all the tape.

I was using today’s mild conditions to dry out various lockers, and discovered to my chagrin that water had got into my Oats2Go and some of my sprouting beans. Unfortunately the beans had swelled inside their bags and burst out of them, making the worst mess I’d seen since a tube of shower gel and a bag of nuts both exploded in my rucksack during a flight last year, creating a nutty green gooey mess all over everything. I have done my best to salvage the Oats2Go – see photo.

Our latest Roz Roams podcast with Vic Phillipson is now live.

Good luck to Alec Loorz. I’m glad to see someone holding government accountable for the trashing of our planet, and wish him all the best with his campaign – and those in the other 24 countries holding marches tomorrow. I was most impressed with the young people I met in Copenhagen at COP15 in 2009. Their passion and eloquence gave me hope for the future. Go Alec!

Uwe – thanks for introducing me to the idea of the Big Five for Life. Now I’m pondering what my Big Five things (to do, see, or experience) would be. Hmmm, material for a future blog.

Bruce – thanks for the limericks. Limericking is horribly contagious, isn’t it?!

Photos: happy socks courtesy of Smartwool at Sea To Summit (please overlook toes in dire need of pedicure!)
Oats2Go drying out in the sunshine

Sponsored Miles:

Doug Grandt, Lance and Kay Mamiya, Bradley Kehoe, Dennis Baum, Charles Uyeda Jr., Sindy Davis, John Ash, Larry Grandt. Not many names today, but some of these have sponsored quite a number of miles each, for which many thanks.


  • Thank you for this Roz (it’s what I enjoy most): “It is quite and calm, and I’m looking out across a dark, silent ocean with a beautiful crescent moon painting a path across the gentle waves, and the stars twinkling a reminder of the grand cosmic scale of the universe.”

    • Roz, Alec’s mother Victoria wrote her first commentary for Huffington Post:

      My favorite sentence is: ‎”This year my children are celebrating my “special day” in a way that is far more meaningful to all of us: they’re taking action to confront climate change, the most urgent crisis faced by their entire generation.”

      And she concludes: I am proud that my children, and tens of thousands of young people around the world will be celebrating this Mother’s Day in a new way this year, by raising their voices for an even more devastated Earth: “Live,” they will shout, “Live as if our future matters.”

      Row for the future, Roz!

  • Agree with UncaDoug…so nice to hear of those moments of peace and tranquility that, I am sure, make all the rest so worth it…after your sometimes frightening words of rock and roll waters, can almost “see and feel” along with you those magical starlit evenings…again thanks for sharing some of these quiet moments of reflective observations with us…hope all is getting dried out and you are settling into a peaceful day and evening rhythm of rowing and rest…

  • Yeah, It MUST BE really rough out there… Time to lounge around and do her toenails (See Picture Above)… Only Kidding!!! Never thought I would say this about the women’s solo ocean rowing world’s record holder… Very Cute!

  • Great Blog Roz.. I’ve long been interested in working with fear, and being proactive rather than reactive to this incredibly powerful emotion. Over the last few years I’ve been moving towards my fears rather than away from them, and it’s been amazing. Keep up the good work Roz.

  • BTW Roz: You do write visually and beautifully – a la my friend Laura Hillenbrand of Seabiscuit and Unbroken fame…

    And speaking of my referring to you and your writing as “Goddess”, That you are “Adored”, “Beautiful”, “Sweet”, “Cute” and on and on… There is never anything attached to my feelings for others… They are “Unconditional, No Strings Attached!” Having had Cancer for 38 years, Being as close to death as I have been, quite a few times, has taught me that, “We” have no time to play with our emotions or the emotions of others… These are the Gifts of Cancer and the like… To be honest, even before Cancer and being near-death “showed” me this – going back to very early childhood, I never quite understood how one person’s feelings for you should have any affect on your feelings for that person… When there were connections, conditions, whatever you want to call them, it felt very …contractual – remember, my father was an attorney when I was very young… “I’ll care for you, If and only if it is mutual, And so long as I get to say it before you do…” blah, blah, blah type of thing… So, No Worries, You are just stuck with being cared for and about by a cyber-friend…

  • Roz, love the title, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway! I think that’s exactly right. Don’t suppress fear; take it out, look at it, admit it and then put it up and get on with things.

    Of course that’s easy for me to say, it’s not possible for me to get run over by a container ship full of sharks and pirates!

    One of my favorite quotes: Pray to God, but row for the shore.

  • Love the toes! Those stars sure are plentiful and bright out of sight of land aren’t they! Never a dull moment, water seeping in and all, hope the bean sprouts are not all growing at once!! Glad you are happy and well.

  • Hey @Rita:disqus: It’s American Mother’s Day, 5/8, where you are… I know “Mothering Day” in England was on 4/3 this year… Just wanted to let you know that Americans think you brought a great woman into this world too… Happy Belated “Mothering Day” and Happy (American) Mother’s Day!

  • Hi Roz, I hope you’re well. “….looking out across a dark, silent ocean with a beautiful crescent moon
    painting a path across the gentle waves, and the stars twinkling…” I got a mental picture of that and it warmed my heart reading it. I’m wondering if you can actually see the Southern Cross from where you are?

  • Some things in life are bad
    They can really make you mad
    Other things just make you swear and curse.
    When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
    Don’t grumble, give a whistle
    And this’ll help things turn out for the best…

    And…always look on the bright side of life…
    Always look on the light side of life…

  • Having worked in a sticky tape factory for 6 months I have far more knowledge about pressure sensitive adhesive than I’ll ever need, so here’s some for you. Continue to press down on the tape to encourage a better and better seal. It’ll help guarantee continued good results. Trim off any tatty ends with a knife to prevent the elements getting a foothold and round off any square ends on the outside to achieve same. Sorry to hear about Oats to go. Hope they are salvageable. Cheers, Jim Bell (NSW Australia)

  • Hey Roz & Rozlings… Yesterday when you “Googled” “Roz”, Our Roz was number 3 on the most searched list of “Roz”… This morning she is number 2!!! Moving Up In AND AROUND ON this world…

      • Sweet @9ded466cb37f14648c547bf3da0e14bf:disqus: It sounds like you have you hands and mind full on this Mother’s Day too… Glad to hear that you are comfortable with the way things have and haven’t “eventuated” – love that word!!! Look at JUST ONE THING that HAS “eventuated” for you that hasn’t for thousands of other Rozlings… You have had the chance and honor to meet “Amphitrite Savage” and June… Most of us can only imagine what they must be like from that wonderful picture aboard Sedna… To say nothing of having the gift of “Pre-Teens” – difficult at times or otherwise…

        • Funny Richard! They weren’t my “Pre-Teens” (no kids here) but I did enjoy them most of the time. Yes, I’ve been blessed with the actual “eventuates” in my life. xx

          • @9ded466cb37f14648c547bf3da0e14bf:disqus Oops… Well, Being able to give the little gifts back to those who gifted them to you, Is a great gift too…

  • I LOVE the red toe nail polish, Roz – a woman after my own heart (& I never get a pedicure!)
    I’m so glad the conditions have become more comfortable. Sorry about the Oats though!
    I had to deal with some difficult pre-teens last night & it’s left me reflecting about my dreams and expectations at that age. In some ways life has been so much more adventurous and eventful than I had imagined & some things I expected just haven’t eventuated (& that’s ok) but in other ways I recognise that I can expand by thinking, my scope of experiences & my understanding of others (people, places & perceptions) by investing (time, emotions & finances etc) in other peoples experiences & lives. I feel privileged to have met Roz & June and to be following Roz’s continuing adventure.
    (Great to read Darling Richard’s & UncaDoug’s etc comments too!)

  • That JimBellofBelmont knows his stuff… I used the same tactic during Hurricane Charley in 2004 to keep water entry down on a cracked window. But you do have to manage it; especially now that you’re out of tape… Relieved to hear the water intrusion has stopped and that you’ve finally hit some calm waters. Enjoy that for now. Sorry you lost some food. But you’re unphased and that keeps me amazed and thankful!

    Hey I wonder what your total miles are… Are u counting from Freemantle or from the last re-launch at the islands? Just wondering if I’ll ever notice when my sponsored miles come up this month… but I’ll be reading everyday even if late.

    later, Mike in FL

    • Mike, the total of miles since leaving Fremantle is a bit over 500, but that includes looping loops and having to repeat some miles. I feel that those of you who have sponsored miles are putting yourselves alongside Roz as she rows, with the ups and the downs, backwards and forwards. Probably about 200 since leaving Abrolhos islands, but not in a straight line.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *