Rainbow over the Ocean
The ocean is not VERY much like a box of chocolates, being considerably larger and very much wetter, but it IS like a box of chocolates in the Forrest Gump sense, i.e. you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get.

Having spent more than 365 days at sea (I’ve rather lost count of the precise number since my anniversary), I can safely say that no two days have been the same. There is an infinite number of permutations of wind speed, wind direction, current speed, current direction, wave height, wave frequency, wave steepness etc.

Every day it is a challenge to try and figure out the best way to handle the conditions so as to get the best combination of miles covered and an accurate course. There are some days when I could happily cover 50+ miles, but they would all be in the wrong direction. Not much point in that.

And other days when I claw my way seemingly inch by inch across the ocean. And very occasionally it’s just neutral, like rowing on a lake on a calm day. But that is VERY occasional. It’s happened maybe once.

Sunrise Clouds

I sometimes find myself resorting to the weirdest rowing techniques. Yesterday I was mostly rowing with the right oar only, kind of working against the rudder. If I rowed with both oars, the boat would swing round to a different angle to the waves and I would end up on the wrong course. Hard to explain – you would have to try it to see what I mean.

I haven’t discovered any real science to it. I wouldn’t be able to conjure up a flowchart that said, “if this and this, then do this”. It’s more a case of trying various things and seeing what works best.

And sometimes you just have to negotiate a compromise. Mother Nature is a tough negotiator, though, and usually ends up getting the best of the bargain. Often I have to go with her plan, and hope to negotiate a better deal the following day. Ultimately, though, it’s her show, and I just have to take what I’m given and do the best I can with it.

So I might have wanted the chocolate with the caramel filling, but if Mother Nature gives me the strawberry cream (yuck), then I just have to decide that strawberry cream isn’t so bad after all. In fact, come to think of it, where’s my chocolate stash….?

Dawn over the Indian Ocean

Other Stuff:

A glorious sunrise today. Sun in the east, rainbow in the west. Spectacular!

I hear that my visitor (albeit a rather dead one) was a needlefish, and that they can leap at speeds up to 38 mph. That could have been really painful if it had been me and not my bucket that copped it! As to how the fish got into the bucket, Patricia, who knows? It either rode in on a wave crashing over the side of my boat, or it jumped and just happened to land plumb in the bucket.

Rico – interesting that you should suggest I need a nom-de-row (or rame). My friend Mariya, who loaned me Woody the Pirate, suggested I needed a pirate name, which seems like a similar concept. Captain Courageous was a very generous suggestion. At the moment I merely aspire to be Captain Competent, but I agree that’s not very exciting. Or maybe, inspired by my Zen Dog role model, I should aim to be Captain Zen? Or Skipper Serene? Any other ideas warmly welcomed!

Jay – thanks for the beautiful quote on success by Ralph Waldo Emerson or similar. Something to aspire to indeed!

Beverly – I am MOST impressed with your 4-hour ergo marathon! Thanks for showing solidarity and sharing the joys of seat rash! 🙂 Yes, I do some stretching, although it’s not that easy on a tippy rowboat. My favourite is to stand with one foot on either side of the footwell, just in front of the hatch to my sleeping cabin. I hang onto the “rollbar” over the top of the cabin, where all the antennas etc are mounted, and do a cat stretch. It feels SOOOO good! Loved the limericks too. “Launch” and “paunch” was an inspired rhyme!

I used to call myself homeless. Now I prefer to say that I am a citizen of the world. Happy Mother’s Day to all American Mothers (the fourth Sunday of Lent Is Mother’s Day in UK). May your children be happy and successful and never give you grey hairs by rowing across oceans!

Sponsored Miles:

Gratitude to : Patti Lauer, Geoff Young, Kenny Runnerduck, Todd Lowe, Geoff Young, Valerie Price, Doug Grandt (for Linda) and Wolfgang Stehr.

30 Comments

  • Aww Roz, Without meaning to you reminded me of all sorts of important things today… Forrest Gump – Lots of people are saying my life is very much like it – hence one aspect of the film… Your “Sunrise Clouds” photo above is very “Hudson River School” of painters – Church, Cole, Cropsey and the like… My parents were great collectors of Hudson River Painters – Had the largest Cropsey known to exist – Niagara Falls with a Rainbow – so your photo of that was special to me too… Great Truffles by a small firm in Washington DC called Kron… I am not a huge chocolate fan, but these are spectacular – and those chocoholics that I know from around the world, say that they are the finest chocolates in the world… So as you are preparing for your “Homecoming Row” next year, I will arrange to have some delivered… And your description of a few good miles compared to tens of bad miles reminded me of my favorite Confucius saying that translates into, “It is far better to walk down the right road than run down the wrong road.” And all of this reminds me of a humorous story that I look forward to sharing, SOMETIME, as to why your choice to change your lifestyle, and go in a different direction was VERY wise – not being happy with the way things were… And why anyone who faults you for making that choice doesn’t matter… As the old saying goes – “Those that mind, Don’t matter, And those that matter, Don’t mind!” So, Thank You for all of these “Memory Box” gifts today!

    BTW, There is lots of stuff written about fishermen being “impaled” by Needlefish… So, “Let’s Be Careful Out There!”

    • After extensive research, I have found zero cases of needle fish attacks upon ocean rowers. Although one fish seamed to poke fun at one rower in the North Atlantic, the fish was definately NOT a needle fish and was probably a lost clown fish.

      Additionally, since there have been more people in space than people that have rowed ocean(s:) ,,, astronauts have a far greater chance at getting impaled by a needle fish…

      If polynesian lore serves my memory… Needle fish and individual humans have an un-stated agreement; “You don’t eat me, and I won’t poke you to death”…

      Laws of Nature… Just sayin…

  • This post does prove that you have seen forrest gump… What about the similarities? … Just sayin… Row Roz Row! Rainbows and Angels! What a fantastic story!

  • Mike in Florida, your sponsored miles should be coming up in the next few days if Roz continues to achieve good mileage.

    • @d9af093cfe929083ea9270ba4c02b5e6:disqus Please don’t hate me for saying this, …How do I say this? It goes back to my security planning days when I was carrying huge amounts in rare Gems & Jewels… It is very risky to even hint of future, general movement or location plans… Let Mike and others see their miles pop up when they pop up… I know the mileage points do not include specific locations, but with known departure/starting points, they do narrow the possible locations quite a bit… Especially when people have already figured out ways of plotting Roz’ course by buying miles at various distances to create a map for themselves… Just thinking about Roz – so please forgive the concern…

  • The chorus of a folk song to cheer you up:
    Don’t you sailor don’t you row
    And certainly don’t you swim
    Cause if you aren’t careful
    You’ll end up insid of him
    He’ll eat you up and spit you out
    You better stay away
    Heed the sign that says “beware! The Beast of Pirates Bay!
    Written and sung by Voltaire.

  • Hey Roz glad all is going well out there wishing you all the very best. Your friend Matt McFadyen

  • Today is Mother’s Day in the U.S. So I’ve written a few
    limericks in your honor, Rita. Joy and rapture! No one is immune to the attack
    of the limerick. |: 0)

    Without her no doubt it could not be done

    Her daughter rowing the world as one

    Or is that two?

    A mother so true

    With Rita the job is surely more fun

    To Rita our kindest thoughts from above

    For she has a treasure trove

    Of generosity, help and support

    Always holding down the fort

    For her daughter Rosalyn, with love

    Lastly, a simple prayer my daughter taught me from her school.
    It’s supposed to provide strength in all situations:

    Straight as a spear I stand

    Strong are my arms and legs

    My whole heart is warmed with love

    Happy Mother’s Day from California, Rita! In my eyes you’re
    an inspiration and shining example of what it means to be a parent: support,
    flexibility, love. I have two young daughters and I hope they too pursue their
    dreams in life. (But I think they’d be NUTS to row around the world in a purple
    boat!) Take care. –Bruce

    • Hey Bruce: Your child’s prayer did just remind me of another child’s prayer – that reminds me of something I touched on earlier… People who are comfortable with what they have, what they have achieved, and what they haven’t, are the most amazing people… Kids see this – we all should… Here is my prayer story… A little girl I knew told her mother one Christmas day, “Mommy, I prayed that Santa Claus would bring me a pony this morning.” (He Hadn’t!) Her mother said, “Well, I’m sorry God didn’t answer your prayers!”… The little girl looked puzzled at her mother’s response and said, “Oh Mommy, He Did! He just said, No!” That little girl is now considered the finest Wedding and Portrait Photographer in America – One of the finest in the world…

  • BEFORE THE MAST:
    THE TALE OF SKIPPER SERENE

    There comes a time,
    Sometime in or after her teen,
    When a girl needs to explore
    Our globe of ocean blue and green.

    So, this story is about, a girl
    who, once corporate-weaned,
    Set off for adventure,
    In her rowing machine.

    Can’t be done, cried the skeptics,
    Their voices shrill, in a scream,
    Oceans are dangerous and vast,
    And the risks are obscene.

    But, sometimes an inner voice,
    Or maybe some inherited gene,
    Overcomes one’s reluctance,
    And makes us even more keen.

    So, with Larabars for sustenance,
    And bean sprouts for cuisine,
    Our courageous young captain
    Set off into worlds unforeseen.

    It’s not easy to live,
    For many months sans latrine,
    Packed in a silver/purple box,
    Like an oily sardine.

    The sun burning down,
    The need for sunscreen,
    Waves tossing one around,
    Boobies and their lack of hygiene.

    But despite all the skeptics,
    And the tough daily routine,
    She conquered the Atlantic,
    With a relatively calm mien.

    The next ocean took longer,
    And difficulties set the scene,
    But in three years she became,
    The Pacific girl rowing dean.

    Now one more challenge is selected,
    Requiring even more than caffeine,
    To conquer an even bigger chunk,
    Of expanses aquatic, and marine.

    So, this is the ongoing story,
    Of a rowing reigning queen,
    Who has earned the new title,
    Of courageous Skipper Serene.

  • There is a young woman name Roz

    She knew her own way to Oz

    She did it alone – No Tin Man, No Scarecrow Nor Lion

    Under The Stars of Orion

    The Waves were her only applause

    • {There is that bloody Post-Comatose typo problem again.}

      There is a young woman named Roz

      She knew her own way to Oz

      She did it alone – No Tin Man, No Scarecrow Nor Lion

      Under The Stars of Orion

      The Waves were her only applause

  • Hello Roz, I hope you’re well. Thanks for sharing these glorious photos. My favourite time of day. I hope all your tomorrows are better that your yesterdays because you’re awesome…or oarsome! If @d9af093cfe929083ea9270ba4c02b5e6:disqus ‘s mileage calcs are correct then mine are not far away but I do agree with @423d2266746de2219f414f9c3dd66c83:disqus and am happy to just wait and see. About your “spotty botty”…sadly the only viable solution to that is to keep it dry…yeah right!…as if! All I can say is BTDT and applying copious amounts of barrier cream does work. If you have any I think it would help to at least minimise the problem by drawing most of the moisture away from your skin. But then again, for someone who didn’t know (but I do now and apols to everyone) the difference between needles and flying fishies, it’s just a suggestion. Have a great day and don’t forget to keep well hydrated. Thinking of you with respect and admiration…..Sam xx

  • Roz, I wish for you placid-lake-like rowing frequently, punctuated by exciting and exhilarating challenges … they say crises build character … not to say you are not already a character … in a good way: a very charming, exuberant and inspirational character with a lovely sense of humor. Although you did not mention it, one of the chocolates that you have encountered, especially when you left Waikiki and in the ITCZ (Rico, care to elaborate?) is the liquid-filled sort, typically with distilled spirits, which send you and Sedna in a drunken-spider tripping trammel. I hope you don’t indulge in that “special” selection of chocolates … at least not more often than would suffice to remind us all the true nature of your challenge.

    caramel filling
    surpasses strawberry cream
    rum center squiggly

    Row soberingly, Roz!

    BTW, our iMatter March in Sacramento was what I hope will be a tipping point in the galvanizing of a youth movement not seen since the ’60s and ’70s … OF, BY and FOR the KIDS. Here are the first couple of reports in the McKlatchy Newspaper chain in the Central Valley of California …
    http://bit.ly/iMatterBeeStory and http://bit.ly/iMatterBeePix and this is Alec’s mother’s Huffington Post commentary published yesterday http://bit.ly/MarchingOnMothersDay

    Victoria concludes: I am proud that my children, and tens of thousands of young people around the world will be celebrating this Mother’s Day in a new way this year, by raising their voices for an even more devastated Earth: “Live,” they will shout, “Live as if our future matters.”

    Mothers and Fathers, listen as your children challenge you to live in new ways. There is no greater maternal calling than to make simple sacrifices now that will benefit your children’s future. March with us.

  • Thank you for the gorgeous pictures, Roz! I hope you’ll be enjoying many more moments like this, chocolate-with-caramel-filling moments, than strawberry-cream ones 😉
    Wishing you the calmest of seas, the friendliest of winds, the best possible weather for your undertaking, which I find amazing, inspiring and rather bonkers ;-))

    How about Captain Daredevil?

    All the best from Manchester, UK.

  • Thanks Rita, for the heads up on the mileage. I am kinda busy this week with recording, so I needed to know. And your daughter sure is busy, so maybe you’ll read this and here’s an idea.

    What about a video I could buy done by Roz on Rowing? I’m a hapless self-taught rower (like in everything else self-taught but not so hapless – i.e. piano, fly fishing) I know she can’t make it during her Voyages but perhaps someday in downtime. I could just learn so much just from studying her rowing – Anywhere on the web with video of her rowing? It would be like a great lesson in video form, I’d buy it for sure… Still blown away by that 72 mile day! Must be great to have a “hyrdo-dynamic” boat – Mine is a tender – when the wind’s up I move across my lake like a hurricane’s path over ocean, in little short angular tacks. The boat doesn’t like holding a straight course…I aspire to wooden boats one day.

    Anyway, my “Roz Rows” screensaver gets better and better… thanks Roz for that great ocean sunrise and rainbow. Worth the price of admission just for these pics, let alone your great blog writing…

    Later, as always: Mike in FL

  • Roz, It is my 67th birthday today. I am so glad to be healthy and alive and to have you inspiring my life and my dedication to improving the environment I am a restoration architect working in California.

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