Joan Rivers once said something like, "That's what I hate about
housework. You do it, and then six months later you have to do it all
over again." That sort of describes how I feel about 4 degrees 30 North.
I row through it, and the next day I have to do it all over again.

I very nearly got to it last night – just a third of a mile away. But by
this morning I'd drifted northeast, further away from it. I slogged into
a headwind all morning, making less than 3 miles in 5 hours of rowing,
but finally making it to the south side of the line.

But my sense of achievement was short-lived. This afternoon the headwind
strengthened until I had little choice but to put out the sea anchor,
and watched the GPS screen as my hard-won miles were slowly eroded away
until once again I was north of 4 degrees 30 North. My route for the day
looks like a big looping letter J, last seen heading northeast, directly
away from Tuvalu and back towards Hawaii. Sigh.

The day was enlivened, if not enhanced, by having to go over the side.
This was my first swim since the glom-fish now identified as a remora
attached itself to my right buttock a few weeks ago. I'd been none too
keen to renew his acquaintance, but I didn't have much choice. The
tripline to the sea anchor had got itself snagged on the towing eye on
the prow of the boat, where the main sea anchor line is permanently
attached. I managed to reach over and grab hold of the tripline from the
cockpit, so I would have been able to pull the sea anchor back in, but
my worry was that if I left it as it was the tripline would eventually
chafe through and break – and that would be very bad news.

So, in I went. And yes, I got glommed. Eugh. They seem to go for the
thighs and buttocks. Obviously not chest men. But whatever part of me
they target, I wish they wouldn't. It tickles in a rather sinister way,
and makes me feel quite violated.

As I write, I am still on the sea anchor, the wind still blowing hard
from the southeast and a succession of black squalls passing overhead.
I'm sitting in the cabin, listening to the rain drumming on the hatch
and watching the little arrow on the GPS screen. I am going the wrong
way, but for now, there is nothing I can do about it. Except maybe turn
off the screen.

In Alchemist-speak, I guess the next few degrees of latitude will be the
part of my quest where I am "sorely tested" (see yesterday's blog).
Unlike the boy in the book, I doubt I'll be able to talk the wind into
helping me. But what I can do is "master the lessons we've learned as
we've moved towards that dream" – in my case, not to build up hope
(leads to disappointment) or anxiety (leads to despair). I try not to
think ahead, as it tends to lead to thoughts of "How will I ever get
there?" but to focus on the positive, doing what I can, day after day,
to reach my goal, and trusting that I will get there – all in good time.

[photo: Last of the whale shark photos – appropriately enough, his tail,
plus his own fair share of glomming remora fish]

Other Stuff:

A ray of sunshine on a rainy day – a personal message from Paulo Coelho,
posted as a comment on yesterday's blog:
"Dear Roz
Nicole just wrote me about your adventure – in fact, a creative way to
raise consciousness. Congratulations for being who you are, and thank
you for your comments on my book.
Much love
Paulo"
Needless to say, I am totally starstruck. Overwhelmed. Gobsmacked.
Chuffed to bits. How weird and wonderful – this web of connections being
woven from a little rowboat currently sitting under a big black cloud in
the middle of the Pacific.

Nicole emailed me the first review of my book – and it's a goodie! "Bold
and invigorating" – great stuff! As blurbs and book tour take shape, the
book seems more and more real. I've derived so much pleasure, and
learned so much, from books, it would be wonderful to give something
back. I really hope that a few lives will be touched by my modest
contribution to the world of literature.

And, dearest Rozlings, I'd like to ask for your help. All copies of
Rowing The Atlantic that are pre-ordered on Amazon will get counted
towards the best-seller lists on the week of publication (October 6). So
if lots of people pre-order, there is a chance that I might get into the
Top 50 bestsellers that week – which in turn generates more sales. So if
you would be so good as to spread the word amongst your family and
friends, ask them to buy copies for themselves and as Christmas
presents, I would be most grateful.

As an added incentive, if you can email me your acknowledgement from
Amazon, I'll send you one of my special, signed Larabar bookmarks. I'll
probably munch my way through around 400 Larabars this voyage, so jump
in soon and reserve yours while stocks last! We'll set up a special
email address for this – I'll confirm it tomorrow.

Eco Champs of the Day – TUVALU! Committed to being 100% solar powered by
2020. If they're still here and not underwater.

Quick answer to quick question:

Q: Roz, it looks like you will be passing very close to Baker Island and
Howard Island, which are currently about 270 miles to your SSW, directly
between you and Tuvalu (you will obviously be closer by the time you get
this). They are both uninhabited, but if you happen to see one of them
by chance, would you consider making a stop just to go for a walk?
A: No, absolutely not. Nice in theory, but no way in practice. I doubt
that either island has a nice convenient jetty, so I'd have to beach my
boat. Too high a risk of damage. A walk would be nice, but not at this
price.

Weather report:

Position at 1930 HST: 04 31.922N, 175 18.972W (compare with position at
0730 this morning – 04 31.670N, 175 20.679W – yes, I'm going the wrong
way!)
Wind: 10-20 knots SE
Seas: 4-7ft SE
Weather:sunny and hot this morning, mostly squalls this afternoon and
into evening

Weather forecast courtesy of weatherguy.com

Using your position from Day 56 from Feedblitz blog email, you reported:
05 08N 175 29W as of 19Jul 2220HST. This is almost due east of your
position yesterday. It is interesting to note the wind direction is from
the NE, you are rowing south, and the current is heading east your
overall motion is towards the east.

As of Monday, 18 July 2009. Wind predictions will still be with an
added level of uncertainty due to the naturally occurring spatially and
temporally variable conditions in the equatorial regions. According
measured data over your area, there is NE winds 7-12kts 05N and north
veering clockwise to E 7-12kts to 03N, then veering to ESE 7-15kts south
of 03N.

You are almost through the southern boundary of the ITCZ. According to
satellite imagery, there is minimal convection south of 05N. The further
south you get the more accelerated the east flowing current will be up
to possibly one knot. Any progress eastward should offer a better line
up on potential landing spots in the southern hemisphere. However, at
some point, you should be making some southward progress.

Sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy. Isolated rainshowers, squalls,
and possible thunderstorms.

Forecast (low confidence due to extreme variability in Roz's position
and the fluctuations in wind direction/speed in the Doldrums)
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft) est
20/1800-23/1800 NE 7-15 2-4
23/1800-25/1800 E 5-10 2-4

30 Comments

  • Tomorrow will be a better day, I feel it in my bones. BTW, did you have any sense of the eclipse as the sun dimmed? Tomorrow, the crescent moon may be visible up until 20:57 when it sets. Happy viewing and happy rowing, Roz.

  • Your persistence will achieve victory in the end Roz.

    "Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean." -Christopher Reeve

    “Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are.” – Bernice Johnson Reagon

    ~ Gregory

  • That was lovely of you to trace a big J in the Pacific. I think you can end the big sweeping dramatic flourish off to the northeast now, though.

    I guess the ITCZ is not going to let you off so easily. As the cops say, if it's not a good time, it's a good story, though. I'm sure you'll make the best of it. As UncaDoug said, tomorrow (today now) will be a better day.

  • Another fundraising idea. You could auction off a nice print triptych of the whale shark images. Even if they're fairly low-res images, with Genuine Fractals software and some efforts with Corel Painter can do wonders. (I'd be happy to volunteer to do that with any images you want to try.)

    I've got my Amazon pre-order confirmation all ready when you've got the special e-mail!

  • I just happened upon your blog here and all I can say is WOW!! How wonderful of you to be sharing with the rest of us such a fantastic undertaking. Best of luck on your great adventure!!

  • You have had so much success with your progress so far that, from an outsider's viewpoint, you are still way ahead of the game compared to what you had to overcome on your last leg. Hang in there. We *all* have faith in your eventual success. You have many of us taking a few extra pulls at the oars for you, at least mentally.

  • OMG that is SO COOL that the author you are worshiping at the moment stopped by your blog and COMMENTED. I'm completely jealous. In a good way of course.

  • i read your blog everyday, i save it for my last stop when i check in every morn, unlike the news, i prefer the big smile you put on my face. often times in the day i flash on your reality and mine, so different then my everyday moments. and your sheer bravery… out in the big blue sea alone amazes me… i love alone time, but you have taken it so far out of my comfort zone that it's almost a tingling sensation. i enjoy you having contact with the authors as you row, to be so well connected in your little boat must be surreal~ signed bookmarks, yep, you are a marketing genius at sea!

  • Hope you have a life jacket (or PFD, Personal Flotation Device, as we are supposed to call them over here in the states because they don't actually keep you alive, they just keep you floating. And you can float and drown at the same time, let me tell you). I couldn't imagine going over the side of a boat where you are without one of those or some kind of tether, otherwise I would be too scared of losing my craft. How deep is it where you are? Very? I must check my atlas.

    You remind me of the weeds in my garden. I pull up a whole bunch of them, only to have them grow right back in. I'm sure you'll get through the area eventually, as I will eventually have tomatoes thanks to the squash vines smothering all the weeds. I hope you find your squash vines soon. You put a smile on my face, and I have recommended you to all my Blog buddies.

  • When I read, the other day, that you're now aiming for Tuvalu instead of Tarawa – I began to think to myself… why not pick up Amelia Earhart and Fred Noon on your way through? Too far south? 🙂

    I'm a longtime Rozling but I've been a lurker. I can't keep up with your daily postings so I seem to do a once-every-few-days catch up routine where I read a few of your posts in the a row. I feel I'm behind and so I never really participate. Truth be told, I've not yet read the post that I'm now commenting on. I'm still on Day 54 or something. But that's ok, right?

    I wanted to let you know how you've inspired me, even if only in a small way. I recently began running quite a bit. Just a few months ago I finally broke through the 'few miles at a time wall' and am now focusing on running at least 6 miles each time I get out there. Then I had a few week lull. I didn't run at all. I couldn't get motivated.

    Finally, I had a break through. I don't need motivation. And you helped me to recognize that. Each day you get up, row 10,000 strokes or more, eat, sleep, bat around a few boobies (the birds, not your – oh nevermind), blog, do an audio podcast and/or video, and whatever else you find time for. You have a routine. Rather than getting myself motivated to actually do something, I've discovered I just need a routine. Why do I need to be motivated to run today? It is on my schedule so I'm just going to do it.

    What really drove this home for me is that, unlike my running, you sometimes don't see much results from your rowing. A bad current, a nasty headwind, or a night's sleep could have an adverse affect on your goals. Even without motivation I see the benefits of my running. So I'm going to stick to it, get into a routine, and go for a run whether or not I'm motivated that particular day or not to do that. I may also apply this to other things I want to accomplish.

    Thanks Roz. Looking forward to keeping up-to-date with you and know that while I might be lurking, I'm definitely a Rozling.

  • Here's a bit of info about Howland Island from Wikipedia; "There is one boat landing area along the middle of the sandy beach on the west coast together with a crumbling day beacon." I'd go there! I mean, it's such a rare opportunity and an adventure to boot! It would be very interesting to see the landing strips that Amelia Earhart was supposed to land on, and never did. Very interesting piece of history.

  • Rozsavage.com is still not showing up when using Internet Explorer. There are some script that is causing the site not to show. If disabled, it will fix it. switching the top horizontal menus to css instead of moo menu or trans menu, disabling html editor may also fix it.
    I have dealt with this issue as a web developer and i was able to fix it by trying the fix i mentioned.
    For those who have not read my post yesterday. I am a web developer.

  • I was going to say again what I had written a week or two ago, that by downloading the free Firefox I can now easily copy with rozsavage.com and posting a comment. Then I realised that users of Internet Explorer won't be able to see Antonio's comment above, or mine. All I can say is spread the word if you hear of people not being able to access the site. It would a shame to miss out on what has happened, what is happening – and what is yet to come. Greetings and thanks to all our readers, comment-ators, Rozlings etc. Rita Savage.

  • Roz, I think it's probably a good thing that you can't see the Roz Tracker today. It's _killing_ me with angsty (presumed) empathy. So, you just do what you do best and row, and I'll sit here and pull my hair out and bang my forehead on the desk and swear at currents and wind so you don't have to.

    Sidebar: The popular news was featuring a story last week in which a study found that cursing/swearing is good for your health, so keep that in mind.

  • I, too, am in awe of you and what you are doing. I am thankful each time i check in that the ocean still brings adventure to those that embrace Her. I turned my back on the ocean and regret it from time to time. Knowing you are out there always brings a sense of purpose to my day, like Roz is the sunshine that burns off a fog.

  • Joan in Atlanta … it's killing me too, especially the L@#$y equatorial fringe satellite connection that has us looking at her four-hours-old 6:33 AM breadcrumb …

    sodding arrrgghhhhh! [I have no idea what that means]

    Ahhh … as I am typing this, the latest 10:35 breadcrumb was just posted on RozTracker … Roz has lost nearly 15 miles drifting NNE in the past 24 hours.

    Nicole tweeted an hour ago: Horrendous satphone signal made call with @rozsavage nearly impossible. She's ok, still on the sea anchor. Needs a bit of luck! #rozsavage
    See nics_dolcevita tweet

  • Aloha, Roz "Mahatma" —

    Never underestimate what ONE committed soul can do. You are one committed soul … going north, south or wherever. (Maybe a reason you are being blown back from the progress you intend is because there is danger in that path at this time? Praying for added stamina for you.)
    I thought this Gandhi video might be a welcome distraction if you find yourself having to cast anchor again: Gandhi'sRhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVwCeGxTN-A

    Not so crazy that I thought of you as I watched the Gandhi video, really. It made me think that great things get accomplished often by the ONE brave soul that dares to believe big and DO what they've been inspired to do (I remember you saying in your RoxWalks interview in Honolulu that the idea "really found you" — i.e., inspiration.) You're changing total strangers with your grit, stamina and who you chose to BE. And you're changing us for the good. Today I decided I'll wash out my plastic "take-out" container from the office cafeteria and reuse it for lunch here every day from now on until it falls apart. And the fork, too. I will not throw away another plastic fork, spoon or knife. I've been getting these plastic take-out containers and forks/spoons/knives virtually every day at the cafeteria for years and throwing them away DAILY. Never again. (I met a guy on the train a while back who told me that if we used just one less napkin a day the impact on the planet would be profound.) Thanks for your videos … where I learned that the overuse of PLASTIC is the number one threat to Mother Earth. I actually "knew" this, but it is in seeing you and hearing you as you DO this amazing rowing thing that it's finally gotten through to me to the point of action.

    I'm off to pre-order your book (hope to get one of those LaraBar autographed "book markers" … great idea, btw) and look forward to reading it in October. Oh, and congrats on the early good reviews!

    Warm wishes (and a couple of hugs and high fives sent along with 'em).

    Naomi in NY

  • Sorry to be barging in again like this 😉 … but you might really like this one too. It's Gandhi's OWN LIVE VOICE — perhaps within it there is something to inspire you (from one world changer to another!) … at this particular point where you are in the middle of the PACIFIC (I still am amazed when I think of where you are and what you're doing)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSWzFz-tGrM&feature=related

    okay, I'm done for the day. 🙂

  • That's how I feel sometimes with my horse. I feel like I'm getting nowhere with her, but the next day I always see progress. Don't give up, and I love your pictures.

  • Maybe consider redefining what you see progress to mean. You would have lost more had you not paddled for little or no gain. Progress could also include making your negatives smaller.

  • Hi Roz,

    A request from a supporter of independent stores and especially independent bookstores: could you please count the orders that come through independents too? I no longer buy anything through Amazon, as they do nothing for local communities and I, living in a small place, feel it essential to support our small, local proprietors.

    I hope you come to Asheville on your book tour. Know that I will be buying your book – but not from Amazon.

    Keep up the fine work.
    Best,
    Laurey Masterton
    Asheville, NC

  • Hi Roz,

    Roztafarian Bill, here. Looked up remora on Wikipedia…turns out, while they may be ticklish, they only want to hitch a ride…I was worried they might be looking for something more, like lunch. Well it turns out that might be the case but it is only in an indirect (ahem, unmentionable) way.

    You and your fans can check it out…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remora

    As I am GMT-5, by the time I read your blog you are preparing to write a new one. I hope you've had a better day.

  • Good morning! (GMT here in Yorkshire) Yes, Bill Spinks, I share the same problem of being in a different time zone from Roz, and have to remember that her day is beginning as mine is ending.
    Thanks Naomi for the links to the YouTube on Ghandi, but Roz cannot view them at sea. When she sends a few seconds video clip for us to see, it costs her about $90 for those brief moments on the satellite phone. A few minutes of YouTube would be prohibitively expensive. Keeping us up to date with her daily experiences is costly, and all donations are very much appreciated. See her home page on rozsavage.com. Thank you all for your support for my daughter. Rita.

  • Thanks, Rita (ROZ's MOM!) for that very useful info … didn't realize the satellite thingy involved is so very costly (even for Roz to do her Blog!) and will refrain from sending Roz any more YouTube videos. 🙂 I'll definitely be chipping in for her "communications fund" and will scoot on over to http://www.rozsavage.com right now, too. Rita, you must be so proud! (My daughter, Liz, just won the gold medal in the World Games two days ago in China — she and her fellow members of the US Parachute Team — and I am tickled pink. (And YOUR daughter isn't just doing this because she fancies the "sport" (!) … but is doing this to WAKE UP THE WORLD to turn from being professional consumers to healers of our only home — Planet Earth. Such a noble mission!)

    Roz … thank you for keepin' on keepin' on. Because you are BEING the lesson that with small, repeated actions great things get accomplished, it's awakening me to do likewise. Also … LOVE your writing style. I'm adding you to my blog today and telling friends and family all about your mission on my Facebook page too. 🙂

    Naomi in NY

  • Minette to Roz. You can imagine how delighted I was to picture your "beauty parlor at sea" and the rejuvination of clean hair! God bless your PROGRESS and reward your patience. Dawn and I send love.

Leave a Reply to Naomi Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *