Today has been a good day on board the good ship Brocade. I’ve passed a significant milestone, and I now have a clean bottom (!).

The wind dropped this morning and the ocean was relatively calm, so I made the most of the opportunity to scrub off the strip of barnacles that I hadn’t been able to reach from the cockpit. Even though conditions were favourable, I always feel vulnerable when I go overboard, so I stripped off and hopped in before I had a chance to think about it too much. (This strategy works well in all kinds of situations – e.g.bungy jumps, breaking bad news, going for a long run – really anything you want to get accomplished but don’t relish the task itself.)

It only took me a few minutes with my paint-stripping tool to evict my unwanted hitchhikers – and then about twice as long to struggle back over the gunwales and into the cockpit, but I succeeded eventually and inelegantly.

So I now had a nice clean hull – and a bath into the bargain. Both very good for morale, so even if the removal of the barnacles only has a marginal effect on boat speed, the energy boost from being shipshape again may have added a fraction of a knot to today’s progress.

This afternoon, to my great satisfaction, I passed 140 degrees West. I can’t say exactly why I place so much more importance on this milestone than on the half-way mark. Maybe it is because I have marked up the lines of longitude on the whiteboard in front of my rowing position – 4 columns of 9 numbers, and 140 degrees lies at the bottom of the second column, i.e. halfway as far as longitude goes, ignoring latitude. And because these numbers are in front of me all day, every day, they are my way of measuring my progress. Anyway, it felt really good to cross that number off my list – and celebrate with an extra Larabar in addition to my daily ration.

And even better, I discovered I had made a mistake in my rolling averages – my rough-and-ready way of estimating an ETA – and the error was in my favour. This was very good news. It made me think back to the disheartening day on the Atlantic when I had the opposite experience – discovering I had mis-plotted the position of Antigua by one degree, giving me an extra and unexpected 58 nautical miles to row.

So I’m feeling very cheery this evening and am starting to daydream of arrival in Hawaii – but I can’t afford to let my guard down or slacken off my oaring efforts. When I did the Atlantic there was a crew of two unfortunate men who capsized a mere 180 miles from Antigua. The boat refused to self-right and they had to be rescued.

It ain’t over til it’s over!

Other stuff:

Position at 2200 31st July Pacific Time, 0500 1st August UTC: 24 01.838’N, 140 10.624’W.

Woohoo!

Rick Shema (Weatherguy) describes Roz now as a “three digit midget” – she has under a thousand nautical miles to go! 992 nm. another cause for rejoicing.

On to the messages..

Sindy – an offer of a massage and/or spa day? You read my mind!! There is nothing I would love (or need!) more when I get to Hawaii. Although I pity the poor beauty therapist who has to confront my unwaxed legs, unkempt hair, and callused hands!

Mike – funny to think of you listening to the podcasts while mowing lawns – your world is so different from mine! You green, me blue.

Thanks to Gregg for a great message. That would be wonderful if you would post a printout of my blog at your work station. You never know what effect it might have on somebody.

Hi also to Bev, DogsDontPurr, Keizo, Gregg, John, Kirk (I already get up before dawn – but will try to remember to look out for the meteor shower on the 12th.)

And a special hello to Minette and Daisy – Minette, you would not be proud of my grooming at the moment. I have never felt so Savage in my life!

Click here to view [513469*Day 68 of the Atlantic Crossing%b] 6 February 2006: Black Monday – another broken oar.

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