Dictated by Roz at 22.24 Tarawa time on Saturday May 29th and transcribed by her mother Rita Savage
Position: -06.92651 149.12079
I saw half a dozen ships today, but after watching another glorious orange moonrise I looked around the dark ocean and saw the lights of another three ships. All this traffic is making me rather nervous.
I am now about 90 miles, or roughly three days away from the straits of Vitiaz, a fifteen mile wide corridor between Papua New Guinea and New Britain. It looks like these ships are heading to or from those said straits. I planned to try and shoot straight down the middle to keep a safe distance from the lands on either side but maybe that isn’t going to be such a great idea to be right in the middle of a major shipping lane.
Probably my best bet is to try and get through the straits in daylight and keep to the easterly, ie upwind side of the strait where I am unlikely to get swept ashore. Once through the straits, I guess that the ships will take the shortest route, so if I stay a bit further offshore I should be OK.
It would be spectacularly unlucky to get squished by a big ship at this stage. I know of only one incident of an ocean rower being hit by a vessel and that was by a relatively small fishing boat that hit a couple of guys rowing across the north Pacific back in 2001. It sliced their boat almost in half but did at least stop to pick them up and nobody was hurt.
I don’t think too much about these scenarios. I keep my Sea-me radar enhancer on all the time and put my lights on at night. If I see a ship heading straight for me I can let off a marine flare (note to self to re-read instructions on flares). Even through the straits there is plenty of space for everybody. I have just received a message from Mum to let me know that shipping in the channel has been asked to watch out for a small silver rowboat. This is very reassuring.
Realistically, my chances of getting hit are very small. It would be like being hit by lightning or meteorite or golf-ball-like hailstones. One of those unlucky freaky accidents that are statistically to improbable that you know it was just our time to go.
But it might still make for a couple of sleepless nights.
Other Stuff: It was yet another baking hot day, with only a late developing breeze to cool me down and help me on my way. Mostly it was another slow slog across the Solomon Sea.
I am getting really rather fond of my little yellow fishy entourage. When I pause from rowing, it’s fun to watch them taking time out to swim flipping and flopping at the water’s surface. They are loyal little chaps who have kept me company for many hundreds of miles now. I wonder what they will do when I am finished?
As of tonight, 224 nautical miles to go to Madang.
Roz’s Ebay Store:
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