Today I was listening to the audiobook of "Left For Dead" by Beck
Weathers, an amateur climber who was caught up in the infamous storm on
Everest in May 1996 when many climbers lost their lives. He was given up
for dead, but later staggered into camp alone, horrendously frostbitten.
He survived, although he lost both hands and his nose. Even as he was
being med-evacced from the mountain he'd quipped, "I knew this trip was
going to cost me an arm and a leg…"
What I found most interesting about the book was not the main drama
itself, but his motivation for adventuring. He'd always battled with
depression, and found an escape in the mountains – partly because of the
need for total focus, and partly because it gave him an external
standard by which he could measure himself successful.
But it came at a price – he neglected his family terribly. His wife had
been pushed beyond even her quite exceptional levels of patience, and
was going to give him an ultimatum when he returned from Everest. He
would have had to choose between her, or the mountains. As it was, the
choice was taken out of his hands (so to speak). Ironically, the
catastrophe probably saved his marriage.
This got me thinking about why people go adventuring. Some people, like
Beck, go to lose themselves. Others go to find themselves. Some
onlookers might think that adventure is all very well, but it's not real
life, is it? Others would say that adventure is as real and intense as
life ever gets.
I suppose, like any other kind of experience, an adventure is what you
choose to make it. Depending on your natural tendency, everything you do
can be a learning experience. If you're always on the lookout for ways
to be a better person, every little thing that life offers you can be an
opportunity. Or, if you're not so open to change, you could be climbing
mountains or rowing oceans and still not really learning anything about
Having adventures doesn't make you a better person. It's not the
experiences you have, but what you choose to do with them.
And here endeth the sermon!
[Editorial note: It's not my fault. Both my parents were preachers. I'm
now at that rather frightening age when not only do you realize that
you're turning into your parents, but you actually don't mind that you
are… With all due respect to my lovely mum!]
[photo: The Booby is Back. This guy has been making a nuisance of
himself the last couple of days. Landed on my fore cabin yesterday and
noisily resisted my attempts to shoo him away before he started pooping.
He also keeps landing on the water just where I'm about to put my oar
in. As Chris Myles commented, they really have to be the stupidest birds
on the planet – birdbrains indeed!]
Today has been rather discombobulating. It got off to a good start. I
woke early and started rowing under a bright moon and a sprinkling of
stars, then watched the sun rise in a blush of pinks. But the rowing was
hard going – a lot of work for little reward. My first 3 hours of rowing
netted me just 3 miles to the good. It was going to be a long day. The
situation wasn't helped by a couple of squalls. Both created strong
winds and downpours that had me diving for cover. In their wake they
left an unnatural calm, when the ocean felt more than ever like
So this is the ITCZ. I'd better just get used to it, and win my
southerly miles where and when I can. Meanwhile, I've crossed over 175
degrees west. Just 5 degrees, or a tad under 300 nautical miles, before
I get to the International Date Line. Got to keep pushing south though,
through the labyrinth of currents, winds, and squalls that awaits me.
I recorded a new podcast with Nicole this morning. You can find it via
the RozTracker. We have a good old natter about the huge human impact of
rising sea levels. This is affecting all the Pacific islands – including
Tuvalu and Tarawa – as well as many other parts of the world.
Thanks for all the fantastic comments on the blog and Facebook – and for
the offers of accommodation during my writer's retreat next Jan-Feb.
I've had some very tempting offers, and of course I want to accept them
all, but in the interests of actually getting some work done had better
try and control my enthusiasm for travel. I will ponder as I row and
respond soon to all my wonderful would-be hosts very soon.
I'm also grateful for the updates on the G8 summit. I wish there was
better news on China and India. Hmmmm….
Thanks, Tawita, for extending a welcome to Tarawa. If/when I end up
there I very much look forward to meeting you and your compatriots!
Fraid I won't be much use as a lawyer, though – my degree didn't include
anything of any practical use. Happy to barter day trips on a rowboat
Doug Grandt on FriendFeed – thank you for the Bimini Bobbity Boobity
Moon. Love it!!!
Quick answers to quick questions:
Q: Roz, do you ever see any passing boats or ships of any kind?
A: I haven't seen any for many weeks now. The last boat I saw was a
fishing vessel about 500 miles from Hawaii. Since then I've had the
ocean all to myself. Excellent!
Position at 2120 HST: 06 47.032N, 175 04.677W
Wind: 5-20+ knots, E-ESE
Weather: all over the shop
Weather forecast, courtesy of weatherguy.com
As of Thursday, 09 July 2009. Expect widely variable wind speeds and
direction while in close proximity to the ITCZ. NEerly trade winds
continue around the 10-15 kts, but veer to ENE 10kts by tomorrow
morning, then back to NE 10kts by tomorrow night. Periods of lighter
winds. Seas to 2-6ft.
Sky conditions: Mostly cloudy with low level clouds. Isolated
rainshowers, squalls, and possible thunderstorms. Wind speeds in these
ITCZ: The Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) has heated up just
south of your present location. Convective clouds have increased
producing squalls and thunderstorms. The axis of the ITCZ is centered on
05 00N between 170W and 180E/W. The northern ITCZ edge is about 06 30N
and the southern edge near 02 00N. As of this morning, winds south of 07
30N to 03 00N were from the NE direction at about 7-22kts. In squalls
and rainshowers winds were 40kts.
Ocean Current: Still looking for the current to become ENE or Eerly
flowing at about 06 00N in the North Equatorial Counter Current. This
current extends to about 01 00N. There are periodic fluctuations in
Forecast below is for a SWerly course.
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft)
09/1800-10/0000 NE 10-15 4-6
10/0000-10/1800 ENE 7-12 3-5
10/1800-11/0900 NE 7-12 3-5
11/0900-13/0000 E 2-7 2-4
13/0000-14/1800 ENE-NE 5-10 3-5