Day x - barnaclesI was none too keen on the idea of going over the side to scrub barnacles off Brocade’s bottom, but my little bit of underwater photography a couple of days ago had shown that the barnacle situation was getting serious, and I was concerned that my underwater hitchhikers might be causing extra drag and slowing me down. And obviously with a high-speed, hell-for-leather expedition like this (???!!!) every second counts. So it was time to overcome my abhorrence of strange leech-like fish attaching themselves to my nether regions and brave the waters once again.

I put on a pair of lycra shorts to protect myself from any particularly 
personal assaults, and took the plunge. I could feel some fish tickling
 around my legs, but it wasn’t too bad at first. Then I saw the first of 
the little remoras, wiggling away as hung on to the side of the boat. I
 don’t know what it is about these small grey fish, but I just find them
 absolutely repulsive. There is something about their wiggliness, as well 
as their tendency to suction onto me, that gives me a bad attack of the
 heebie-jeebies every time I see them. I squealed girlishly, shuddered, and pressed on with my de-barnacling chores, working as quickly as I 

I was shocked by the condition of the outside of the boat. I’ve never 
seen it like this before. I’m used to the gooseneck barnacles, but not 
the amount of green growth, presumably algae of some sort, that is
 flourishing on Brocade’s once-lovely silver paintwork. She looks like 
she’s been at sea for about 3 decades rather than 3 months. This is
 going to take some serious cleaning up when I get to Island X.

Barnacles duly removed, I put my foot on the grab line and pulled myself
 up onto the deck using the oars as handrails. Something came with me. It 
was a 3-inch remora, attached to my right calf. Yeeeuch. The silly 
creature hung on until I was all the way back on board and it had no way
 to return to its natural element. I have to confess to a very petty 
revenge – I left him until he was almost at his last gasp before I 
returned him to the ocean. But I suspect I’ll have no more luck training
 remoras not to cling than I did training boobies not to poop….

[photo: Barnacles – and not the sort to be found in yacht clubs around
 the world, propping up the bar with G&T’s from 11am onwards….]

Other Stuff:

After a couple of days of good southerly progress, today the wind moved
 from the East into the Southeast, slowing me down. It was a very light 
wind, so I was still able to make some southerly progress, but not as 
much. I generally row at right angles to the wind, so if the wind is 
from the East then I can point due South, but if it is Southeast then I
 have to point Southwest – so today my course has been more West than
 South. But that’s fine too. The forecast is for the wind to shift back 
to the East early tomorrow – so it would be nice if that turns out to be

Twitter panic – sorry for any consternation caused by a random Tweet
 that was generated by my Dopplr account, saying I was returning to San 
Francisco today. I don’t really use Dopplr any more, but must have set 
up some general dates on my account many moons ago, in which I thought
 that Stage 2 might be ending around now. Please be assured, I am NOT 
returning to San Francisco today. The row goes on!

Thanks, as ever, for a lovely batch of comments. I am now reaching
 terminal discomfort in my cabin after responding to various TeamRoz
 emails and writing this blog (try sitting with a hot laptop on your knee
 in a rolling cabin in sweltering equatorial heat after a long day’s 
rowing) so will cut this short – but just wanted to let you know that
 Mum is now back online and emailing me the comments on a daily basis.
 Thanks to Nicole for standing in while Mum was e-ncommunicado – and 
thanks to Mum for yesterday’s blog. Yes, we did have to airdrop Mum and
 a hairdresser out in mid-Pacific just to get that photo done…!

A quick thank you to Doug for the hike report – and for the
(financial) carrot. Yum!

Weather Report

Position at 2245 HST: 01 25.599N, 178 39.425W
Wind: 0-10 knots, SE
Seas: gentle swell, 3-5ft, SE
Weather: clear, hot and sunny, with a band of small cumulus clouds 
passing over during the afternoon

Weather forecast, courtesy of

As of Thursday morning 13 Aug 2009. According to measured data, there 
have been Eerly winds up to 7-12kts over your position and some 
rainshower activity to your north. SEerly winds 10kt is south of your 
position to the equator. The SEerlies eventually shift to Eerly 10-15kts
by today. A further shift to the north will keep the winds north of 
east until late on the 15th. Then shifting to SEerly for a brief period 
before returning to Eerly by the end of the forecast period. The widespread clouds mentioned in last report have cleared to partly 
cloudy skies with minimal convection.

Forecast sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy. Scattered moderate 
rainshowers. Ocean currents should be light SSWerlies (flowing towards the NNE) at
 about 0.1 to 0.2 kts in your area to about 00 30S. To the north of you
 beginning at about 3 30N there is a band of Eerly flowing current of
  about 0.5 to 0.7kts. South of the equator along your longitude there is
a band of Werly flowing current of about 1.0kt.

Forecast (low confidence)
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft) est
13/1200-14/1800 E 5-15 2-4
14/1800-15/1500 E-ENE 5-15 2-4
15/1500-15/1800 ENE-E 5-15 2-4
15/1800-17/0600 E-SE-E 5-15 2-4
17/0600-18/0000 E 5-10 2-3

Next Update: Monday, 16 August


  • Seafarers of old, were they so bold?
    Scrubbing their bottoms, bottoms of gold.
    Tenaciously tending barnacles old
    Lest in neglect their vessels were slowed.

    Latin vernacular, said to be true
    Words ’til today ring true as the blue!
    The seafarers’ motto everyone knew,
    Scrubbing their bottoms cleaner than new.

    “Semper ubi sub ubi” didst they mutter
    Ne’er foe nor merchant ever did shudder
    Seafarers seething deep in sea clutter
    “Always wear under wear” who would wonder?

    Row rapidly Roz!

    [credit: hand-painted dory on Lily Lake, photo Aug.11]

  • I tivo’ed Nim’s Island and watched it this weekend. Have you seen it? Jody Foster, agoraphobic writer, makes her way from San Francisco to an uncharted island in the South Pacific to “rescue” Abigail Breslin (aka Nim). She flew from San Francisco to Borneo and then to Tuvalu (which I totally know where it is because of you) and then chartered a boat, flew in a helicopter, and finally rowed (!!) to Nim’s Island. Needless to say, it made me think of you.

    Hope all’s well and sending you all my best thoughts for an equator crossing soon.

  • Hi Roz, Nice photo of you with Mum (Rita) glad to hear she is up and about again.
    Reading today’s blog sent me to wiki answers. Remoras (suckerfish) are only hitching a ride!!!! they do not feed on or harm the host, they eat scraps the host has discarded, this may not make you feel any different towards them.
    Take care.

  • Hi Roz,
    Glad to hear you’re still hanging in there! I hope the winds and waves change for the better and stay that way. You’ll be in some fairly historic waters soon. Many battles in WWII were fought out that way. And you may run across the latest expedition searching for Amelia Earhart, who vanished out that way. I guess rowing in the digital age has some advantages (remember what I posted about omens months back!).

  • Roz; If you still have any of the ubiquitouis Bag Balm handy you will find that it inhibits remaoras somewhat. They slip off you! /Best, John.

  • Hi Roz, Song Producer Bill, here…

    Looks like you’re no more than about 5 days from tomorrow…I’m pretty excited about this. Tried to get Randy Newman to write a song for you (he wrote, “You Can Leave Your Hat On” you know…from his 1972 album “Sail Away.” I even told him you were rowing nekkid (that’s how we say it in Georgia.)

    I figured “rowing naked into tomorrow” should gin up some pretty loopy lyrics and would be a shoe-in for him….he’s not biting, so far…must not be feeling well. Sorry.

    Rozta’ Bill

  • Hi Roz,
    I absolutely love the ocean but I am always uneasy entering it for I fear invading something else’s turf. I admire your courage, wits and ambition.

    Your story sent my head reeling. You see I love the authors, “Esther and Gerry Hicks”. The main subject of their books is the “Law of Attraction”.

    One of the first analogies “Abraham” uses to describe resistance is a row boat. Abraham talks about how difficult and a waste of time it is to paddle upstream. It is much easier to paddle downstream and go with the flow. You however are paddling in different waters. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to paddle the ocean, you see for some reason I have yet to conquer paddling a boat. I have tried a few times without success. I don’t seem to have the strength and coordination. It frustrates me just thinking about it for I would love to do it.

    Whoops I am I was thinking about where I want to put my paddles so to speak. I absolutely love the ocean, for me personally, it is my home. I was also thinking about how the Law of Attraction works then suddenly I came across your blog, Upon My Soul. It actually made me weep. You truly are a inspiration!

    I wish you well with your journey and look forward reading your updates.

    Respectively yours,
    Nancy Wentworth

  • John, I’ve got a ten oz. tin of Bag Balm beside me right here … wondering how many flagons or fathoms of remaoras’ remorse Roz can eek out of that! It’s a gooey conundrum: it’s either unfathomable or it’s insoluble, or it’s both.

  • Wow, I can certainly see (now that the photo is up) why those barnacles needed to go. Do they come off fairly easily? Are they suctioned to the hull or sort of bio-glued?

    Unca Doug, there was a gorgeous crescent moon over Atlanta around 5:40 a.m. this morning and I thought of you while taking the dogs for walks and a run.

    Rozta Bill, thanks for the effort. Newman’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On” is a longtime favorite. Maybe Leon Redbone would be up for a try?

  • Thanks, Joan. Each night last week as I drifted off to sleep in a brisk chilly fresh breeze on the deck under a brilliant Jupiter and magnificent brush stroked Milky Way punctuated by occasional streaks of Perseid meteors, I watched the quarter moon rise in thinner and thinner slices. Glad you saw it last night. In two nights it will have vanished … New Moon will occur at 00:02 HST Thursday, 20 August according to Look for the first glimpse of the crescent on Friday (very faint) and Saturday (usually visible but still faint) … hoping you have a glorious clear sky to the horizon ;-D

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