I’m so excited. I finally managed to not only see some fish, but get a photo to show you. This picture was taken this morning, when the water was beautifully calm and as I glanced over the side of my boat I saw some fishy shapes moving beneath Sedna. It wasn’t possible for me to get any idea of distance, so I don’t know how big these fish were. But here they are, anyway, for your delectation.

It is rare that the water is calm enough for me to be able to see so clearly. This brought to mind a rather cliched metaphor, but like most cliches, it has some truth in it.

A lot of the people are like a choppy ocean, all froth and noise and ripples and waves. You can’t see past the surface because it’s going ten different ways at once, reflecting what is around them, just as the ocean reflects the colours of the sky and the clouds.

But when the surface is calm, you catch a glimpse of the hidden depths, and what moves there, the life beneath the surface, and the ocean’s true nature is revealed. When you meet those rare people who are calm enough, and brave enough, to let you glimpse their true nature, it is unforgettable.

Today’s quote: The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.
(Emily Dickinson)

Other Stuff:

Funny day today, with the wind wheeling around the clock and going from non-existent to twenty knots. So the day was a mixture of rowing and chores. There was a locker that smelled as if something had crawled inside and died. I traced the problem to a bag of coconut milk powder that had leaked and absorbed seawater, turning the powder into a smelly white paste with green bits where it had gone mouldy. With apologies to the fish, the contents had to be dumped overboard.

Electrical system behaved itself today. Still keeping everything crossed….

Thanks for all the top tips on staying warm. I do have some very nice Smartwool merino items on board, but had held back on using them a) because they are too nice to trash, and b) because I couldn’t quite believe that they would be effective when wet. But inspired by the vision of Currin pedalling around Dunedin in sandals and socks, I will give them a try!

Tommy – for the North Atlantic, I will get hold of some GoreTex waterproof socks as you suggest to go with the merino. And Natalie, thanks for the sensible advice on keeping ankles and wrists warm. Makes sense, as when overheated it is so nice to run cool water over wrists. Janice – I do indeed have Deep Heat on board. Could be a bit messy, but will give it a try – and I love that smell!

Rico – interested to hear about your visit to Biosphere 2. Have you read the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson? If you’re interested in long-term space colonization, I think you would find it interesting. Let’s just hope we figure out how to take better care of a planet before we start screwing up another one.

Gregory – very good question about ventilation in the cabin. It’s not easy letting in air, but not water. I have two mini-hatches below the main entrance hatch, which have protective covers on the outside shaped like inverted scoops, and screw-in lids on the inside. So if it’s not too rough I can have them open, and it’s quite hard for water to get in. But if it’s really rough they have to be closed up, and it does get rather stuffy in here.

Currin – interesting to hear about the adventurous Emperor Penguin. A penguin after my own heart! They are such gorgeous creatures – I was delighted to see a beauty in Antarctica earlier this year. But somehow there is something just wrong about penguins turning up in Wellington….

Susie – thanks for the limerick. Loved it! Hope you like the “fish that glow” in today’s photo!

Sponsored Miles: Bill Spinks, Tom Grimmett, Richard Miller, George Cathcart and Newport Harbor Nautical Museum/ExplorOcean supporting Roz with a generous number of miles.

(Mentioned by Roz yesterday – and the author added a comment to the blog.)

11 Comments

  • Good evening, Roz. I love the fact that you finally saw your friendly fishy followers, and I love the under-current theme this evening: “A lot of the people are like a choppy ocean, all froth and noise and ripples and waves. … But when the surface is calm, you catch a glimpse of the hidden depths, and what moves there, the life beneath the surface, and the ocean’s true nature is revealed.”

    It is similar to a talk I heard on NPR last night which had different messages at different levels. I tuned in about halfway through, and I am just now listening to the entire speech by Cecile Richards … http://bit.ly/lFD9Q1 … who I think you should introduce yourself to next time you are in NYC.

    Cecile has an incredible message. I will find the transcript and send it to you through Contact.

    Read, write and listen “below the surface.”

  • The dear penguin now named “Happy Feet” is not doing so well, and is in the Wellington Zoo hospital, having the ‘sand’ pumped out of its stomach.  Being in this totally different environment, it does not have any snow to eat, and ingested sand. Critical condition, everyone is sad, but holding out hope. If it recovers, it has offers of free-rides back to its ‘home-ice-land.”  Christchurch, (what is still standing) has an Antarctic Research Centre and may provide further assistance, until it can make the return trip. Still lots of questions…! As some Rozlings may know, NZ does have several of its own breeds of wild penguins, and they are carefully protected, and serve as tourism attractions.

  • An additional thought to your well worded cliché, sometimes it is you, yourself that needs to be calm and not choppy to see the depths of character (or lack of) in others. When we have so much going on in so many directions, being very choppy; how can we see anything past our own choppy waters?
     
    An additional thought about your little school swimming below you, they are lovely and perhaps they see the hull of your boat wondering about the big fish that is swimming above them. Yes, it is a silly thought, but who knows what fish think and I really don’t think that it’s a ‘big fish’ story.  (just me with an active imagination) Perhaps they will band together on days that the waves aren’t working for you and push you along. They too may be rooting for you. (Like I said, an active imagination.)
     
    Q’s: How are your hands doing? Have you read, (listened to), the Alexander Smith series ‘No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency’? Is anyone tracking the levels of success that you have been able to grow your own food while in the middle of an ocean? And all of the extraneous questions and data that could come from such a project?
     
    Have a great row day and say hi to the fish.

  • An additional thought to your well worded cliché, sometimes it is you, yourself that needs to be calm and not choppy to see the depths of character (or lack of) in others. When we have so much going on in so many directions, being very choppy; how can we see anything past our own choppy waters?
     
    An additional thought about your little school swimming below you, they are lovely and perhaps they see the hull of your boat wondering about the big fish that is swimming above them. Yes, it is a silly thought, but who knows what fish think and I really don’t think that it’s a ‘big fish’ story.  (just me with an active imagination) Perhaps they will band together on days that the waves aren’t working for you and push you along. They too may be rooting for you. (Like I said, an active imagination.)
     
    Q’s: How are your hands doing? Have you read, (listened to), the Alexander Smith series ‘No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency’? Is anyone tracking the levels of success that you have been able to grow your own food while in the middle of an ocean? And all of the extraneous questions and data that could come from such a project?
     
    Have a great row day and say hi to the fish.

  • I was kayaking at the lagoons of El Nido today with Leigh and her visiting family, and thought back of our kayaking early morning last July. No comparison to your ocean crossing, but there is something meditative about rowing inside a serene and peaceful lagoon.

    Been following your blog and say hello to your fish fellow travelers!

  • Great photo Roz. It is nice to have calm conditions to row in.  Question for you Roz. I kayak along South Carolina practically every day. I often get a little frightened or startled when I see alligators or water snakes. In the marshes along the coast and coastal water I encounter a few sharks.  Is there anything that frightens you while rowing?  Whales, sharks, giant squid – Or is their more fear with the electrical system?

  • I was kayaking at the lagoons of El Nido today with Leigh and her visiting family, and thought back of our kayaking early morning last July. No comparison to your ocean crossing, but there is something meditative about rowing inside a serene and peaceful lagoon.

    Been following your blog and say hello to your fish fellow travelers!

  • Hi Roz, Those fish look like flying fish that are not flying but swiming because they are fish and they swim! A flying submariner?

  • On the theme of people being like water, here’s a quote from one of my all-time favourite films: Kung Fu Panda. ‘Your mind is like this water, my friend. When it is agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear’ – Master Oogway.

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