How can I describe the aloneness of being out here? I suppose it is something that very few people experience, apart from solo sailors, climbers, polar explorers and of course ocean rowers. Who else can look around them and know that there isn’t another soul within hundreds of miles?

Often I feel this as a good thing. Like when I’m rowing along naked. I can be fairly sure that I won’t get caught unawares – which would be most embarrassing.

Occasionally I am aware that my solitude could have its downsides. To be dramatic, I could topple overboard, fall on the boat and hurt myself, or be attacked by some monster from the deep. On a more mundane level, I don’t have anybody to discuss decisions with, or to rub sun cream on my back, or prepare a meal while I carry on rowing.

Or, as today, I would love to have someone to tell me joke and enliven an otherwise very monotonous day.

It has been a beautiful day, in a relentless, hot, sunny, equatorial kind of a way. But I have found myself scanning the water and the horizon to find just anything to relieve the monotony. A ship, a bird, a creature – even a piece of litter. Anything, something. But there has been nothing.

Just me and my audiobooks.

A couple of good ones today. “Birds of a Feather”, by Jacqueline Winspear, which I think was recommended by Joan in Atlanta (sorry – wish I’d kept a record of who recommended what). A good juicy murder mystery set in 1930, which had me getting nostalgic for an age I never knew, when groceries came in greaseproof paper and brown paper bags, and packed lunches came in whicker baskets, and the remedy for all ills was a nice cup of tea. (Cue tea cravings).

Then Alan Alda’s “Things I Overheard While Talking To Myself”, in which the actor shares his 70 years of accumulated wisdom – which is considerable. I chose this book earlier this year after having a dream about Alan Alda. Not quite sure what he was doing in my dreams, but there he was. Then when I was speaking in Seattle for National Geographic there was a rumour backstage that he was in the audience. But if he was he didn’t make himself known. But I hope that one day I meet him. He seems like a wise, funny, self-deprecating guy who just wants to leave the world a better place. I think I’d like him.

Other Stuff:

I continue to meander my way along the line of latitude at 1 degree North. I’m a bit bored of it now, to be honest. I’ve been here, more or less, for about 3 days, heading west but not managing to make any south, despite constantly rowing with my bows pointed S or even SSE. Unfortunately the forecast is for winds out of the south, so the situation is unlikely to improve in the near future. Sigh.

Remember you can bet on my date and time of arrival in our contest. See button in top right of my website. At this stage, your guess is as good as mine. Possibly better.

I’ve been diligently wearing my new sunhat – see photo – given to me by Liz Fischer. It may not be the hippest piece of headgear, but after getting quite bad sunburn on the sides of my face after wearing baseball caps last year, I’m grateful for the sun protection. And, as I say, there’s nobody out here to see me.

Interesting to hear about the ash cloud in northern Europe that has halted most flights. Although I’m sorry for everybody’s inconvenience, wouldn’t it be nice if some people found they don’t need to fly as much as they thought they needed to? Would save a lot of fossil fuel.

By the way, I’d just like to point out that I’m not actually lonely – just very alone. But it made a good title for the blog.

13 Comments

  • Hey there Roz,

    you are a marvel. Stuck at 1 degree. Headed West. A marvel.

    thank you for sharing this journey with us.
    Laurey in Asheville

  • You want a joke, Roz? Here’s one you’ll like. (NOTE: This is for Roz’s eyes only; nobody else is to read it).

    A successful rancher died and left everything to his devoted wife.
    She was a very good-looking woman and determined to keep the ranch, but knew very little about ranching, so she decided to place an ad in the newspaper for a ranch hand.
    Two cowboys applied for the job. One was gay and the other a drunk.
    She thought long and hard about it, and when no one else applied she decided to hire the gay guy, figuring it would be safer to have him around the house than the drunk.
    He proved to be a hard worker who put in long hours every day and knew a lot about ranching.
    For weeks, the two of them worked, and the ranch was doing very well.
    Then one day, the rancher’s widow said to the hired hand, “You have done a really good job, and the ranch looks great. You should go into town and kick up your heels.” The hired hand readily agreed and went into town one Saturday night.
    One o’clock came, however, and he didn’t return.
    Two o’clock and no hired hand.
    Finally he returned a round two-thirty, and upon entering the room, he found the rancher’s widow sitting by the fireplace with a glass of wine, waiting for him.
    She quietly called him over to her..
    “Unbutton my blouse and take it off,” she said.
    Trembling, he did as she directed. “Now take off my boots.”
    He did as she asked, ever so slowly.. “Now take off my socks.”
    He removed each gently and placed them neatly by her boots.
    “Now take off my skirt.”
    He slowly unbuttoned it, constantly watching her eyes in the fire light.
    “Now take off my bra..” Again, with trembling hands, he did as he was told and dropped it to the floor.
    Then she looked at him and said, “If you ever wear my clothes into town again, you’re fired.”

  • THAT was great, John! I must pass it on.

    HELLO, Roz! I’m just in awe that you’re OUT THERE again. Even tho I’ve known this third leg was coming, just to know you’re back out there leaves me in awe, what can I say?! Each morning on the train I think of you and send out all the good vibes I can possibly muster. Now I’ll picture you UNbored and being inspired in phenomenal ways … so much so that you’ll have to jot down notes when you put your oars down for a break. The sunhat is a great idea, rather than the caps — your face will thank you. Funny, I was just going to order that Alan Alda book myself (as, at your suggestion, I joined audible.com and am beginning to load up on “audio books to walk by”).

    Back later w/ that joke. Sending you love and a big high five!

    Naomi

    Of course, you knew your wistful mention of having someone tell you a joke would be met w/ us telling you jokes . . . so I’ll send one along soon.

  • Yes, Roz, that was one of my recommends. I love the way Winspear works the collateral damage of the mental toll the war took on everyone in England after WWII into the story, and she’s got great character development. Cracking good stuff!

  • Good day Roz,
    What have you done with your hands? Ouch. Those waves and oars are working you about. Can you rig any type of extra pads for those hands?

    From the book – The gentle Art of Being there. – by Fay Angus

    A friend is someone who is there when you need them, and still there when you don’t.
    A friend is someone who will take your hand in theirs and say, ” I believe in you!”
    Friends are the guardians of each others hearts and they exchange the keys of trust.
    If gratitude were gold your storehouse would be full, because with each loving act of kindness I’d return in coin to you.

    You have thousands of folks and friends you have never meet Roz. They are in your corner of support.

    Here is your word for the day:

    Incandescent(in-kan-DESS-unt):

    very bright and hot, as light or fire. Also- masterly or Dynamic. especially with regard to individual creativity.

    I would say Roz, you are a woman with no glass ceiling.

    Any chance you can go much stronger toward the south w? If the woman gods can help you pull south of Nauru and out of the coral. I pray the currents will slow and waves might flatten.I believe you will have your first guest , sooner than you think.

    Be well.

  • John has inspired me: A world-class ocean rower (blond, sunburnt, blistered hands, relatively petite for her size:), a oversized polar bear, and a tall bowlegged weathered immaculately crossed-dressed cowpoke … walk into a bar. Bartender looks them over, one-by-one, frowns and says: Is this some kind of a joke?

    Best I can do Roz, the others are off color. Wishing you visions of cool white polar ice, polar bears and Antarctica, a soothing cooling breeze and some serious southing soon.

  • Since I know you like a good beer….

    The owner of Coors, Anheuser-Busch, and Guinness had met in the states for a conference on their industry. At the end of the conference they all decided to go out to tilt a couple back and have a beer at a local bar.
    The Coors owner order himself a Rocky Mountain Coors.
    The Anheuser-Busch owner order a cool Budweiser.
    And the Guinness owner orders a Coco-Cola…….

    The Coors and Anheuser-Busch owners queried the Guinness owner about his decision.
    The Guinness owner replied, “Since you guys to change your mind and decided not to have a beer I figured I wouldn’t either.”

    Cheers!

  • Belatedly, I’m loving the new chapeau, but have to know, is it a Tilley?
    http://www.tilley.com/detail.asp?catId=1&gender=u&extractBy=CategoryId&id=1&productNo=T2

    At some point when you have web access (I dunno, when you make landfall . . .) at least this site will provide amusing reading!

    Reading your blog avidly, cheering you on, and doing my bit–the other day I may have persuaded my apartment complex manager–never seen without a Starbucks cup in hand as she patrols the property–to consider a reusable coffee mug–and let her know I had seen a good brand in the size she needs–24 oz–at a local store–crossing my fingers that she does the right thing and saves upwards of 23 lbs of trash per year! She’s actually an avid recycler and composter–so why not?! Praying for a cool breeze for you!

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