I should have lassoed the whales.
About noontime I heard a "whoomph" and looked towards the sound to see a
whale spouting a misty fountain out of its blowhole, about 10 yards away
from my boat. Then there was another, and another. I'm not sure how many
there were in all – they were circling around me and doubling back,
swimming all around and underneath the Brocade, so it was difficult to
do a headcount – but there must have been at least a dozen, surfacing
and spouting and stopping by to check me out.
It was the first time I'd seen whales on this stage of my voyage, so I
was very excited. It was the second good thing that had happened today.
This morning I had emerged from the cabin after an early morning squall
in time to witness a beautiful golden sunrise, and a double rainbow cast
against the western sky.
So if I believed in omens, than I looked all set for a good day. But it
was not to be. As the afternoon went on the wind strengthened from the
southeast. This meant the best course I could make was southwest, but as
the force of the wind increased I was able to make less and less south,
until my course over ground was due west. This is not the way I want to
So I had the choice between going where I didn't want to go quickly –
rowing west – or going where I didn't want to go slowly – putting out
the sea anchor and going north. It's obviously better to go slowly if
you can't go the right way, so out went the sea anchor.
It's a shame – today has brought some of the sunniest, nicest weather
I've seen in a while and it would have been lovely to row along watching
the sun set over the ocean. But the wind wasn't going where I wanted to
go. The whales, on the other hand, were. If only I'd thought to lasso a
couple of them as they passed under my boat…
[photo: a passing whale – and I wasn't using the camera zoom – he really
WAS this close to my boat!]
I worked hard today to get down to 3 degrees 30 N, and succeeded. But
now, alas, am looping north again – already nearly back up to 3 degrees
31 N. That's just the way the cookie crumbles…
Calling all poetically inspired Rozlings – Nicole has discovered a grant
scheme that will give $10K to a nonprofit cause. She posted details as a
comment on yesterday's blog, but for those of you who receive this blog
via Feedblitz and so may not see the comments, here is her message – and
there are more details about the scheme ALL the way down at the bottom
of this blog.
"To enter, we have to submit a poem (4-8 lines) as part of the
quick and easy application. The poem should express the heart and soul
of the service mission.
You Rozlings have shown such wonderful creativity and have embraced
her cause with such enthusiastic support, that I'd like to ask for
your help. Will you please send your poems to firstname.lastname@example.org and
help us win $10,000 for Roz to continue to spread her message? We'd be
To get your creative juices flowing, consider Roz's message of "If we
all PULL TOGETHER, we can save the world."
Please submit your entries by August 10th, that will give me enough
time to incorporate the poem into the rest of the grant entry.
Today's Eco Champ is Meg: "Whenever I go out to eat I always try to
bring my own water bottle if I know the drink will come in a disposable
cup. I have an abundance of these things due to my former career as a
high school 1600 meter runner and the drug companies who always try to
get my mother to put in a good word for procrit or zoloft or quackadril
(I made that last one up, but you get the picture). I just fill one up
and then have that as opposed to spending $3 on a soda. It saves me
money on dental work as well. One less piece of trash in the world."
Well done also to the Anonymous commenter (the guilty-feeling
SUV-driver?!) on switching over to organic and cutting down on
takeaways. I'm always horrified by how much Styrofoam and plastic is
involved in takeout, so that's a big win. I'd have made you an Eco Champ
if I knew your name!
Joan – well done the sushi bar server on the extra-large portions as a
reward for your plastic frugality. They say virtue is its own reward,
but extra seaweed salad is good too! That's my favorite as well – I've
got the seaweed here, but no sesame oil. Too bad!
Astrid – thanks for the messages from you and George. Lovely to hear
from you. I wish I could tell you what species the little birds are, but
I don't have a reference book here, and alas the Young Ornithologists
Club of Great Britain did not equip me with the necessary knowledge….
But Walt, one of my Rozlings, tells me: "The bird looks like a storm
petrel. They are strictly pelagic coming to land only to breed. The
smallest of seabirds, they feed on planktonic crustaceans picked from
the surface while hovering." This certainly seems consistent with what
I've seen of their behavior – thank you Walt!
Hi Anthony – give my love to Marylebone! I was listening to a Sexton
Blake story the other day (hilariously spoofish, although I don't think
it's supposed to be!) and was thinking of Baker Street… happy memories!
Position at 2115 HST: 03 30.951N, 175 18.151W
Wind: 10kts this morning, strengthening to 20kts by evening, and veering
from E to SE
Seas: 4-6 feet E-SE
Weather: overcast morning, sunny afternoon with clouds and occasional
Weather forecast, courtesy of weatherguy.com:
Using last night's Feedblitz blog email (26 Jul), reported position was:
04 09N 175 04W as of 26Jul 2145HST. Making good progress eastward. This
is the preferred direction while in the equatorial counter current.
As of Monday 27 July 2009. According to measured data, there is ESE
blowing squalls with winds 20-40kts have been in your area. South to the
equator and east of your position to 171W, squalls continue. Otherwise,
winds have been mostly ESE 5-17kts. Uncertainty remains, as previously
discussed. Forecast is for wind direction to shift more ENEerly 13-18kts
then, NE 5-10kts on the 28 Jul becoming light and variable.
According to satellite imagery, there is over cast skies and deep
convection overhead and south to the equator. Embedded thunderstorms
possible. You can expect more heavy rainshowers.
Suggest rowing towards the east
Sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy. Scattered heavy rainshowers,
squalls, and possible thunderstorms.
Forecast (low confidence due to extreme variability in equatorial
regions and naturally occurring small scale fluctuations in
direction/speed in the Doldrums)
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft) est
27/1200-28/0000 ENE 13-18 3-8
28/0000-28/1200 NE 5-10 4-6
28/1200-01/1800 Variable direction 1-8
Next Update: Thursday, 30 July
The 2009 CTK Foundation Heart and Soul Grant Award Program
The Heart and Soul (H&S) Grant Award is a national grant competition
that provides the opportunity for one selected, eligible nonprofit
organization to win a $10,000 cash award and a professionally written
and produced song by the internationally acclaimed, Grammy Award-
winning group, Los Lonely Boys – all through The CTK Foundation
Philanthropic Fund. The intent is that both the song and the
accompanying $10,000 grant will help the selected nonprofit to better
publicize their important mission in their community.
The CTK Foundation is also pleased to announce that we have partnered
with Massachusetts-based musical instrument maker First Act, who will
be donating 3 full-sized steel string acoustic guitars (and signed by
Los Lonely Boys) for the Heart and Soul Grant Award runner-up winners.
The H&S Grant aims to:
Provide a grant to a selected nonprofit in the US, providing it with
assets with which to increase their reach and visibility
Underscore the importance of the "heart" of nonprofit missions,
especially in difficult economic times
How the H&S Grant Competition Works:
In every community across the US, nonprofits submit a poem, (4 -8
lines), as part of a quick and easy grant application. The poem should
express the heart of their service mission.
Nonprofits submit the grant application, with poem, to the CTK
Foundation, via the CTK website.
If selected, the poem will become the basis of a song, written and
produced by Los Lonely Boys and presented, along with a video of the
performance of the song, for non-commercial, community education and
The selected nonprofit will also receive a non-restricted $10,000 cash
grant from the CTK Foundation; this grant may be used for any purpose
that fosters greater understanding of the nonprofit's mission in their
The writing and submission of a four to eight line poem is a fun and
inspirational process for the nonprofits; in fact, based upon CTK's
experience with a similar, Texas-based grant event in 2007 and 2008,
nonprofits use the writing process as an opportunity to engage
clients, staff and volunteers in a meaningful activity (writing the
poem) that reminds everyone in each service organization about the
"heart" of their mission.