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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11 Comments

  • Quote of the day: This is very reassuring.

    Roz, Forrest Gump said life is like a box of chocolates. Reading your blog is like a box of chocolates, but more complex and ironic, like hot and sour soup, or sweet and sour giant shrimp — yin and yang — and combined with your knack for understatement, you have me in “stitches” while trembling in anxiety. Beginning have some insight as to why you refer to your mum as “long suffering.”

    As you make your way toward the narrow Vitiaz Strait, I’m inspired to gift you a haiku … or two.

    flipping and flopping
    yellow fishy entourage
    swimming reassured

    BIG SHIPS PLY THE STRAIT
    asked to watch for little boat
    very reassuring

    Watchful rowing, Roz!

  • The description of the world as you see it sounds glorious.For being such a small spec on the ocean, you have been fortunate thus far. Thank God for your Mom, keeping a solid watch out for you. Your position does look bit tricky,non the less, being the fantastic navigator you are,I’m sure you will plot this just right..but be prepared as always ,safety first, your radio, call on out there, scream if you must. All the courage is yours today , praying here for your strength and safety Roz. AmyinAustin

  • Sleepless nights? Roz won’t be the only one! Rita – the long-suffering mother. This was literally true the night she was negotiating the Molakai Channel before arriving in Honolulu. Her weatherman and I were up during the night to update her on navigating, while I updated reports on her blog site. This time we just have to wait each day for her to send through a message. Not much longer now.
    The people of Madang in Papua New Guinea are looking forward to greeting her arrival, and being helpful with logistics for her stay there. More of that after she gets there. Rita.

  • Hey Roz
    Well done. Watchful rowing is the operation of the day. Hope you have good weather and very watchful folk on part and starboard watch, aboard those ships to boot. It’s really quite amazing to have witnessed your journey from afar. Rest well sojourner, and row well. Norm

  • Hi Roz! I just found out about you and your journey across the Pacific a few days ago. I wish I had heard about you before. I don’t know how you keep up the mental and physical strength to do what you do, but I’m so glad you do! You’re such an inspiration to us 40-something women! You’re amazing!

  • Hi Roz, it scares the beejeezus out of me when I have to sail at night and I see a green and red light coming at me. Don’t care for that at all! It wouldn’t be fun if you were hit by a bow wake. So, no sleeping for you, I guess. Well, I’m not going to make it to Madang for the greeting. This leg of your journey is incredibly quiet: the launch, the blogs aren’t totally personable, and your crew won’t be in PNG for you. I am terribly impressed with what you have done, but isn’t the reason for all of these is to get the word out? I’ve been doing my part and you have more followers, but something is different about the spirit. What’s happening here? -Sindy

  • David–thanks for the post of local preparations for Roz’s arrival…I am sure the canoe flotilla will be a welcome site…but now Roz, you have your last little tricky maneuver up the coast…yes UncaDoug, Roz remains the mistress of understatement–in the tradition of her countrymen/women!

    Roz, may the rowing gods keep you alert, the currents favorable, the breezes light, and ocean going lights tiny…as with all long distance treks, the home stretch always seems to have its own unique little challenges…another chapter or, hopefully, just a paragraph in your journey…be safe!

  • Sindy, I think that Roz is really feeling the fact that she cannot be in direct communication with her website, and with her followers. Receiving warmed-up contact is not the same!
    Grateful thanks to David Lambourne for the link to what the people of Madang are doing to welcome Roz. Sir Peter and others are doing a fantastic job of making arrangements for her. The Madang Resort where she will be staying looks a beautiful place. I used Google Earth to take a look at it. I just wish I could be there to enjoy it too! Through Melanesian Tourist Services, shipping in the Straits are being asked to watch out for the little silver boat.
    Jan Messersmith will be supplying photographs of Roz’s arrival so that, hopefully, we can share in seeing Roz completing her Pacific crossing. Very grateful to all involved in planning the welcome in Madang.

  • Dear Roz, it’s wonderful you do this trip, I encourage you very strongly that everything turns out well for you and get to port without problems, I imagine those lonely nights in the dark, amidst the great waters, waters that often we frightening, and you give a good fight there, that value, since I met you’ve lived your story and your journey as their own, I think working here and you land somewhere beyond the immense ocean, that great spirit will have to finish your great accomplishment, I hope to get something from you, save your experience and thus better able to live this life, enjoy it and not harm our beautiful planet, god bless you and get ready to port, an embrace of this wonderful country called Chile I look at the horizon and think of you, somewhere in this, as I would like to help you to arrive as soon as possible and not delay ….. strength, encouragement, a hug …. and move on …. .

    a friend of the ocean

    Alexi

  • Heads up when you’re in a shipping lane. Daytime passage and radar reflector mandatory. Better safe than sorry. Remember what happened to the Princess Taiping the replica Chinese Junk that sunk last year.

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