Dictated by Roz at 22.48 Tarawa time and transcribed by her mother, Rita Savage.

Position:  -05.99745  147.96181

The Golden Shui

Today seems rather hectic by comparison with the calm of recent days. I was up and rowing before sunrise and as it got light I could see the outline of Papua New Guinea to the south west looming high on the horizon. As far as I can see it looks quite green and mountainous, a little like Hawaii.

As I got closer to the Straits of Vitiaz there was considerable marine traffic including the Golden Shui which got rather too close for comfort passing about 100 yards from my bow. A miss is as good as a mile, as the saying goes, but I would have preferred the mile thank you.

Then later there was a wild commotion among the fishy followers under my boat. A large shape lurked beneath. I got some fleeting footage on my video camera which might allow identification later on. I think it was a shark. As I was leaning over the side, filming, the critter made a sudden movement towards the bow of my boat, briefly breaking the surface of the water and making me jump about three feet in the air. It was like a scene from Jaws only smaller. Steven Spielberg has a lot to answer for.

Then this afternoon the wind picked up considerably resulting in the windiest day I have had so far. Probably only about 25 knots which is not that impressive but it was coming out of the south, and made for very choppy rowing conditions. The good news is that it helped to put me exactly where I wanted to be, to the north side of the straits and hopefully out of the main shipping route.

Tonight it is almost eerily quiet and dark. In daylight I could see land all around me, Papua New Guinea, New Britain, Umbai Island, and various low-lying rocks. Now it has all disappeared into the darkness. No lights, no ships, no moon yet, just the occasional flash of distant lightning, and my little boat, an oasis of light in the darkness.

As of tonight, 137 nautical miles to go.

Other Stuff: Steve Tomczyk asked if I had any comment about the oil spillage in the Gulf of Mexico. We have discussed it a couple of times on the Podcast and I suppose my comment would be this: It is a shame that we have chosen to rely so heavily on a source of energy that is a) going to run out b) concentrated in certain geographical areas leading to scarcity and/or war c) causing ocean acidification d) increasing the amount of co2 in the atmosphere e) creates particulate pollution that is damaging to human health and f) lethal to wildlife when a sudden glut of it is released accidentally.

At the time that oil was discovered, maybe we didn’t have alternatives but now we do, and the sooner we move to them, the better. The disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico is appalling but even that is minor in comparison with the bigger impact that carbon-based fuels and their combustion is having on our world. Let’s use this very visible symptom of the bigger problem to catalyse the change we so desperately need to the cleaner, greener fuels of the future.

Roz’s Ebay Store:

Turn your used plastic bottles into unique solar powered light fixtures with the Hymini Solar Powered LED Lamp.  The HYmini Solar Powered LED Lamps are marked down by 15% and are available at the Roz Savage eBay Store.  The HYmini Deluxe Wind+miniSOLAR all-in-one green charger and the HYmini miniSOLAR panels are also marked down by 15%.

11 Comments

  • Hey Roz, one of the things I like to do is roast coffee. I get green coffee beans from all over the world and like to try many different kinds. Last week when I was thinking about where you were headed I found some beans grown in Papua New Guinea. I ordered some from Plantation A/X Kuta and they roasted up nicely and makes some great tasting coffee. I know you don’t drink coffee but if you have friends that do you might turn them on to this.
    It sounds like a nice little country you are headed for and soon!

  • The Madang Resort (thanks for the link, Rita) looks wonderful, and it will be a terrific place for you to get your land legs back and spend a few days eating good food and enjoying the tropical scenery. This is also the time that you should allow yourself to truly rejoice in your successful conquering of the entire Pacific Ocean. What you have accomplished, alone and unaided at sea, is truly AMAZING and I can’t tell you how many times I have just gotten up and given you a standing ovation during the last few weeks. From San Francisco to Honolulu, to Tarawa, to Madang, you have paved a way across the entire Pacific Ocean, and reported on the current status of the seas. You have also fascinated us with your insightful and often humorous observations on life, the environment, and the relationships between humans and nature. And you’ve given us some excellent reading suggestions, to enhance our own appreciation of the world around us. You are a very unique person, Roz, and that uniqueness is clear to all who have read your book, your blogs, or heard you speak. You have very much to give this world, and I am honored to have been able to be along (on this blog) during your last two seasons. God bless you, and best wishes for these last few days of your Pacific journey.

  • Roz, i met you at taylor’s house for a dinner last year with my pal Ali, and you inspired us 40-something’s to row. We have placed first at our novice women’s regatta’s representing our club, Marin Rowing and whenever anyone asks WHY i got involved in rowing, I say, “it’s a story about a woman named Roz–got a few minutes…?” You are my hero, row girl, row. I applaud your strength and determination. /jessica

  • Well said, Richard. That’s a wonderful tribute to a wonderful role model. I second your ovation.

    And I might add that Roz has a wonderful way of describing the scene:

    Tonight it is almost eerily quiet and dark. In daylight I could see land all around me, Papua New Guinea, New Britain, Umboi Island, and various low-lying rocks. Now it has all disappeared into the darkness. No lights, no ships, no moon yet, just the occasional flash of distant lightning, and my little boat, an oasis of light in the darkness.

    Serenity rowing, Roz!!!

  • Hello Roz.

    A tech question to you: How well is your Solara unit functioning? Are you satisfied with it? Seriuosly thinking of getting one for my next kayak journey. SPOT is a bit too erratic for my needs.

    And, Claire, Another thing that Roz’s mission has accomplished is inspire me to educate those who do not read (are insufficiently informed) before becoming psst off at their deliberate ignorance. 😉

  • Roz phoned me Tuesday morning (her time)to say that all was well on her boat after a bit of an anxious night. She also said that all shipping that she was seeing was equally as large as Golden Shui.
    I have replied to Ron in Vancouver already by email.

  • I have spent a good amount of time collecting and reading books written by adventure travelers….mainly written in the 1920’s-1940’s. And mostly about travel and exploration in the tropics. So it is very fascinating to keep up with your story and compare it to the stories of those early adventurers. When I read your opening that you could see New Guinea on the horizon at first light….well, I got goose bumps! That was so like something I would read in those books written wayyy back in the day.

    When you get back on land, you should check out “Head Hunting in the Solomon Islands” by Caroline Mytinger. It’s about a couple of women who set off in the early 1940’s to draw and paint different natives of the tropics as a document. They pay their way around the world by doing portraits of the passengers of the various ships they went on.

    Anyway, that is probably not the best description, but I think you would find it entertaining. Especially comparing some of their struggles to those of your own.

    Cheers to smooth sailing from here on out!

  • Hi Roz,
    Wow just a few more miles eh! That could feel quite intimidating having a mammoth ship like that roll past. When I stop and remember your voice I can imagine the excitement you are apt to feel as each mile passes. Exhilarating, and quite amazing to have come this far. Blessings be with you, and may the winds and currents work in your favour. Wish I could be in Madang PNG as part of your welcoming party. Lets rebuild and restore the oceans. Norm of the prairies….

  • Hi Roz…
    I havent followed as closely this year…much less drama for you, it seems…no ITCZ to cast you hither and yon. But, what a quest over four years now, isn’t it?

    I congratulate you, admire you and am inspired by your passion and courage, and envy your adventurous spirit.

    Many blessings to you,
    Rozta’ Bill

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