Onboard electronics can be both a blessing and a curse.

First, the blessing. Today was brain-boiling hot, with nary a breeze to ease my sweaty discomfort. At 3.20pm the thermometer was registering 42.7 degrees centigrade on deck. Not sure what that is in fahrenheit, but in plain English it’s bloody hot.

So the electric fan that has been doing such sterling service in my cabin got pressed into action out on deck. Luckily it has a nice long lead. Its brand name is “Roam”, which seems appropriate – surely few fans will have roamed so far.

The fan really helped, as did regular spongings of water from my bucket. The water was warm – everything is – but still better than nothing.

But now the curse. Tonight I rowed for a couple of hours after sunset, enjoying the slightly cooler air – until the snoozles kicked in. I had bathed and brushed and flossed and had no sooner got into my cabin than the phone rang.

To understand the full impact that this had, you need to know that my phone NEVER rings. Only a handful of people have the number, and as it’s about $10 a minute to call a satphone, and I’m hardly ever in the cabin to answer it, understandably the phone is really only for emergencies.

So this was not good.

It was my poor long-suffering mother, wanting to know if I was still alive. I was able to reassure her on this point. But apparently my positioning unit has not been reporting my whereabouts, and I had been too busy trying to stay cool to tweet as much as usual today. So one way and another, there had been no news from Brocade for 18 hours.

Time was when sailors would set off around the world and nobody would hear a peep out of them until they arrived – or didn’t – at their intended destination. Months could go by with no word. But not any more.

So in future, to save my mother from more worry, I will try to be more regular with my tweeting. I know Twitter has been appropriated for many things, but is this the first recorded use of Twitter as a marine safety tool?

Other stuff:

This afternoon, and more frequently around sunset, I saw schools of small fish breaking the surface of the calm blue ocean. They were only a few inches long, and if conditions hadn’t been so deathly calm I probably wouldn’t even have noticed them amongst the waves. The fish were silver, and were jumping clear of the water. They looked a bit like sardines – could they be? Or what kinds of fish live at the Equator and behave like this?

I managed to make some progress south today. Am now less than 40 miles from the Equator. Fingers crossed I don’t get pushed north again,

There is a little spider who has been with me since I left Tarawa. I don’t know what he is finding to eat, but he still seems pretty full of energy. I managed to grab this photo of Alf, but he moves fast so it’s hard to catch him on camera. I hope my little stowaway manages to survive the voyage. It’s nice to have the company.

I found the Alan Alda quote I was looking for the other day – I love this one:

“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.”

19 Comments

  • Good luck Roz! Sounds like it’s going great so far. Really looking forward to seeing you when you’re back on land. All the very best for the crossing, we’ll be watching every single day and sending you good vibes!

    Mike x (Project Torpedalo)

  • Hi Roz, took part in a beach cleanup for Earth day and what do you think I found the most of in the sand? Cigarette butts. Second most were plastic straws. As the hours passed and I kept collecting these straws an epiphany came to me. Why the heck do adults need to use straws? Fine for little kids to use them to avoid messes from happening but really, how difficult is it to actually sip from a cup? Why not make take out drinks (if you must get one) with lids like coffee cup lids with a lift up area to sip from instead of having to use a straw. I, for one, vow to try to never, ever use another one for the rest of my life.

    I also wish there were some way to force every single person to do 2 hours of community service picking up litter. If people were made to clean up after someone else, they’d think twice about littering.

    Anyhow, that’s my rant for today. Very happy to hear you are well and have clean company with you on your journey. Just hope he finds a little something non-human to eat! 🙂

  • Nice to hear you have a friend. Unfortunately even if he survives the journey I doubt he’ll be let into Oz fro Biosecurity reasons. It’s the same over the ditch here in NZ. There are strict laws on this.

  • Hi Roz, so nice to see that you have a little friend along for the ride. It’s funny how something as tiny and creepy as a spider can become a traveling companion. I hope the other kids on board don’t get too jealous.
    Glad to see the southerly progress I was starting to worry about all the westerly direction you’ve been heading. Oh yeah Marilyn and I love the hat what a great improvement over the baseball cap. Wishing you fair winds and calm seas.

  • Roz, so glad to hear you are alive & well. What a wonderful quote…reminds me of a similar one by Andre Gide, “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

    Alf is a cute passenger 🙂 A couple years ago, I had a grasshopper hitch a ride with me during a 5-mile open-water crossing with my kayak. He rode atop the compass as my navigator. I was so charmed by him, I focused on good paddling technique to minimize splashing him overboard. Whenever I find myself getting “lazy” with my paddling, I imagine a grasshopper sitting on my compass and it helps my stroke. Funny how the little things help get us through the bigger things. Peaceful journey and safe seas. aquaphoenix (Traverse City, MI – USA)

  • Evening Roz,
    Mums what are you going to do? No conundrum there. It is a hard switch to turn off for a loved one. If your middle name was boomerang… well maybe. At least it was not a reporter doing their future “ last brief interview”.
    To convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit, use this equation:

    F=(9/5 x C) + 32 …..(1.8 * 42.7) + 32=108.86 F ( ouch.
    It is time for evaporator cooling friend. Wet down your cloths (shirt)and place a wet wash cloth under your hat. As the water evaporates ( changes states)and it pulls heat from your body.25 years of outdoor work experience- no theory. Same as a swamp cooler on a house. Good for about a 8-9 degree reduction.
    The small fish. Well the little ones are taught to jump by the larger ones. At fish school, ha ha.
    Alf was pointing out the leak from that rusted screw. Or that is where he is getting his h20? Hmmm If Alf could just hold the book open and read you stories till you fall asleep. That would be pulling his weight. All Captains need a good night sleep.
    So the leak stopped fixed? More darn rain on the way,
    Drats. That darn humidity adds about 8 addition degrees of discomfort.
    Joy to read you are taking down some good southern west ocean real estate. I think the winds will stay favorable and give the waves a rest. My , that rainbow was some nice spirit candy. Is the rainbow, larger, filled with bolder color and last longer than flat land RB’s?
    I scored the signed baseball cap from the ebay store. It is already on my hat self and ready to for wear. I am going to enjoy it.
    Word for the day: Menagerie – (muh-NAZh-uh-ree)
    A group of wild animals collected for exhibition; any exotic grouping of people or elements.
    Quote of the day- by: Belva Davis
    Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.
    By Harper Lee
    The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.
    Anonymous-
    When a man asks what you think of him, fool him and give him your honest opinion.

    To your journey, bill

  • Hiya, Roz … just checking how you’re doing. Glad you have some great advice givers here … to help “cool” you down a bit (although “cool” probably isn’t really available out there at present, just bringing down the temp 10 degrees or so is probably just as welcome — w/ that tip about wetting your clothes down and putting a wet cloth on your head under your hat).

    Just watched a great PBS special on a man I’ve come to love, Woodie Guthrie, and thought of you. He was a solo voice who has touched millions in positive ways over many years. Without Woodie’s idea to build a sloop that would go up and down the Hudson River w/ passengers, the industrial wasteland that the River had become in the early ’70s would NEVER have been cleaned up. He was and is full of hope and ACTION … Yup, he reminds me of you.

    You are making a huge difference to the world, Roz. Believe it. One oar stroke at a time is enlightening others to see that THEIR “one oar stroke at a time” will bring them to their (our) destinations too!

    xx Naomi

    ps: so glad there are people WAITING for you in Australia!

  • It’s late here in NY … I was thinking PETE SEEGER … but typed “Woodie Guthrie.” Yikes. Time to hit the hay and get some rest! It’s Pete Seeger to whom I was referring … (although Woodie Guthrie was one of HIS mentors!)

  • Hi Roz, nice to see you back out there. It’ll be great to track an 05/06 rower again. Been quiet since Mick and Chris…
    I’ll be checking you out daily now as will everyone else I’m sure, you seem to have built up quite a fan club!

    Smooth seas and fair winds..
    Take care
    Justin x

  • “Far better a harmless LITTLE spider,than a big MESSY booby,I would say”!!! 🙂
    Stay COOL Roz!!! and yes wetting your head covering and clothes will keep you cooler through evaporation!!! Just an affirmation on that to you. I work outside in the summer and winter and during those 105-109+ deg.F days of summer here in CA. I can tell you for a surety it helps a lot…Beautiful photo thankyou Roz.
    Heading for the Farralons for some photography and a little fishing in June,believe me Roz,your rowing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans really comes into perspective everytime I go out just to the Farralon Islands for one day.
    Be cool,be safe,
    Dana

  • Sneaky Argh Spider – Tropical ship-based arachnid,
    Identification: Look for pronounced limp (l-i-m-p, pronounced “limp”) and tendency to grab at things with one foreleg. Often has parasite nestled on a shoulder.
    Behaviour: Sneaks on board ocean-going vessels and mimics legitimate passenger behaviour to avoid detection. When no-one is looking it spins its web around the ship’s binnacle in an apparent attempt to mislead the helmsman.

    Spiders originated as marine species and it is to be expected that some never quite adapted to life on land. The Arg spider was first noted on pirate ships, hence its popular name.

  • Suwin Chan: I agree with you 100%. I am going to ask my mayor and city council to ban straws along with plastic grocery bags, which is currently being discussed. (The only issue might be milk shakes.) As for litter clean up, the new mayor of my town started a Keep Hayward Clean and Green Task Force which does a monthly litter and graffiti clean up. More and more residents are volunteering as they see us out in force every 4th Saturday morning. High schools, college students, sororities, community organizations … parents bring their kids. People usually spend about 2-3 hours, and they get to meet the mayor and city council members who come out regularly. Check out http://www.hayward-ca.gov/citygov/meetings/khcg.shtm

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