The trying times continue. I have now been stuck on the same small patch of ocean for the last 5 days. I advance a bit, the current pushes me back. I push again, the current pushes me back again. Repeat ad nauseam. I could use a good stiff breeze to help get me out of here. It will arrive eventually. But I don’t yet know when.

Meanwhile, I decided that if today was not going to be a good day for miles, maybe it could be a good day in some other ways. I donned face mask and snorkel and hopped overboard to scrub barnacles.

It didn’t really need doing, in truth. The rudder had a few outcrops of goosenecks, and there was a row of them along the chine (the pointy ridge that runs the length of the boat’s bottom), but other than that the hull was miraculously barnacle-free.

I shudder to think what noxious chemicals must be in the antifoul paint that was applied in Fremantle, as there have been many more barnacles in previous years. Or maybe it is just that we brought the line of the antifoul up higher above water level. After seeing my boat in the water, Ben the boatbuilder suggested that we could do with a few extra inches of paint. So we did. Could well have been $350 extremely well spent if it means I don’t have to go overboard very often. On a calm day like today I don’t mind, but in rougher conditions I feel very vulnerable.

Having got all salty during my dip, it seemed a good time to finally wash my hair. For the first time in nearly three months. I am not really a slob. There’s just not much point in washing it out here, and it’s a bit of a hassle. But oooh, it did feel good to sluice my scalp with cool fresh water, and wash and condition using Green People‘s lavender-scented organic baby products.

As I dried out on deck afterwards, the fishy chaps put on a show for me. The water was oily-calm, so their antics were easily visible. A school of at least twenty fish flopped around near the surface, about fifty feet away. I couldn’t see what they were, only their splashes. The mahi mahi put on an even better show. They have been a bit hyperactive the last couple of days – not sure why. They jump about six feet in the air, then belly-flop back down into the water. One leap today was so impressive I actually gave him a well-deserved round of applause.

And so, as the sun sets, I bob around out here, rather hoping that a nice brisk easterly will put in an appearance (can wind “appear”?). Miles would have been nice. But failing that, a clean hull and clean hair are better than nothing.

Other Stuff:

Thanks for the feedback on the theme of community (and for the jokes!). I’m having a few thoughts myself too. It’s all percolating…

Yes, Raven, I’m aware of the transition towns. It is indeed a move in the right direction, although from what I hear even in those towns they could do with higher levels of engagement from the citizens. Do you live in a transition community?

Stephen Stewart – where on the Columbia River do you live? I spent quite a bit of time in Hood River/White Salmon back in 2006-7, and still go there when I can. An absolutely gorgeous part of the world. I even did some rowing training on the Columbia in a smaller rowboat than this one. The Pacific Northwest seems to be an exceptionally “green” part of the world. Great to hear about all the projects underway there.

Don Lindsay – happy to hear that we have seen the beginning of the end of “highway jellyfish” (what a great phrase! aka plastic bags). Thanks for the good news.

Quote for today, from Joko Beck, Zen teacher – directed at myself and my present trying circumstances: “If we have been aware of the process of our lives, including moments that we hate, and are just aware of our hating – ‘I don’t want to do it, but I’ll do it anyway’ – that very awareness is life itself. When we stay with that awareness, we don’t have that reactive feeling about it; we’re just doing it. Then for a second we begin to see, ‘Oh, this is terrible – and at the same time, it’s really quite enjoyable.’ We just keep going, preparing the ground. That’s enough.”

Sponsored Miles:
Thanks to Sylvia Wheeldon and Paul Taylor – Roz still reclaiming lost miles – another nine to go to get back to where she was a few days ago.

Latest Podcast now available.


  • I’m glad you’ve got some lively company out there at present. I see you wore your safety gear to go overboard with – Rita would be pleased.

    ps. How’s the leg Rita? I hope you have lots of people looking after you.

    • Yes, thanks, I do have kind people helping me – mainly with shopping and removing rubbish – sorry, garbage! I do try to be as independent as possible, and don’t wish to be a burden to friends. Next Monday I return to the hospital to learn about the next steps  . . . 

      • Howdy Rita,  Does the rubbish go in the dust bin?  Garbage in the garbage can?  Basura en la caja?
        It is great to have friends, Rita and I’ll imagine the like to help out.  All the best wishes for a speedy recovery.   Stephen

        • How about trash in the trash can? Litter in the litter bin? Or here we put our rubbish in the wheelie bin.But, please, not in the ocean! 
          The richness of the English language. Thanks Stephen and all other well-wishers.

  • An Irishman walks into a bar and orders 3 drinks in a row at the same time.
    He does repeatedly for a month until the bartender finally gets enough gumption to ask him why he does this.
    The Irishman says, Since I can’t be with my brother here in the states we decided to drink like we are all together. One drink is for my older brother, another is for my younger brother and the third is for me.
    About a month later, the Irishman starts just ordering only 2 drinks side by side. The bartender is fearing something happened to one of the Irishman brothers, finally asks him.
    The Irishman replies, No my brothers are doing fine…

    I just decided to stop drinking.

  • Despite not being able to move forward it sounds like you got the type of day you needed.  You got some chores done . . . but most importantly you had some much needed time to enjoy . . . watch the fish . . . and clean up a bit.  Ohhhhh how good clean hair can feel when you’ve let it go a bit!

    • Now, Jay … you KNOW Roz cannot browse the web … and this is particularly interesting … so allow me …

      “The sessile [fixed in one place; immobile] lifestyle of barnacles makes [censored] reproduction difficult, as the organisms cannot leave their shells to mate. To facilitate genetic transfer between isolated individuals, barnacles have extraordinarily long [thingamabobbers]. Barnacles probably have the largest [thingamabobber] to body size ratio of the animal kingdom.”

      Row unsessile, Roz!

      • In other words, if a barnacle wants to buy you a drink, or take you to dinner, DON’T do it.  The barnacle has ulterior (thingamabobber) motives.  Better stay away from the barnacles.  Just sayin’ ….

        • Rico, your comment raises an interesting point — a koan:

          How would one determine whether the barnacle is gonochoric, androdioecious, or hermaphroditic — and if the latter, the barnacle’s gender or gentler persuasion — and whether it is predisposed to thinking with its thingamabobber?

          Can a barnacle be judged by its operculum and carapace, or by its maxillary glands?

          Scrape discerningly, Roz!

          • All I’m saying is that if you’re going to “get involved” with a barnacle, better do it in international waters.  This whole issue sounds so complicated, that I’m sure that most countries will have enacted laws against interspecies relationships between humans and barnacles.   🙂

          • Hey Roz! do you really allow that kind of talk on your blog? Ha ha! 😉  Levity is great stuff, especially after a long day at work. Thanks guys.  Dare I say I saw on Rick Steves travel program they are good eatin’.  Uh oh!  did I say that?

  • I like knowing that you’re able to have these “spa days” … you know, take a swim, get your hair done.    🙂

  • Roz, your mention about Ben the boatbuilder reminded me of the one about “Pedro The Boat Builder”. Certainly too salty for this blog, but I’ll tell you after a few pints.

  • Wow Roz, you really have traveled a lot on land and sea. I live (and work) near the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.  Lower Columbia River.  Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon.  White Salmon and Hood river in the Columbia River gorge are in the middle of some beautiful country. Glad you had some time to enjoy it.  That’s great you had a chance to row on the river.  What sort of boat?  Hope you make some miles today. Fair winds.
    After a great hike (trek) or long row or climb its great to sit at the summit and look at the view.  I’m sure you have a great view from your boat.   

    • A friend of mine took his kayak down the Columbia from Cascade Locks to Vancouver, Washington and then years later  from Vancouver to Astoria, Oregon where the Columbia meets the Pacific Ocean. Lately he has been leading trips down the Willamette for the Willamette Riverkeeper. I missed the Vancouver to Astoria trip due to work,  Bleah!  Oh well, someday.

  • Hi Roz,

    I’m so glad to see you’re not burnt to a crisp so far. And that you’re no longer rattling around like a pea in a bucket. BTW, I’m not fond of babies, prefering them out of sight and mind. But even I think using them in Green People‘s lavender-scented organic baby products is a bit much. How many babies per bottle?


  • Three ocean rowers die in a car crash, and they go to heaven to an orientation.

    They are all asked, “When you are in your casket and friends and family are mourning upon you, what would you like to hear them say about you? The first girl says, “I would like to hear them say that I was a great person of my time, and that what I did was inspiring and really meant something.”

    The second girl says, “I would like to hear that I was a wonderful example of how to live life and and ultimately, I was a teacher, and I had made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow.”

    Stretching a bit to be seen, the last girl replies, “I would like to hear them say… “Look! She’s moving!”
    Row Roz Row!

  • What has big sharp teeth, a tail, scales, and a trunk? … A barracuda on holiday

    How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb? … Fish

    Why are fish so gullible? … They fall for everything hook, line and sinker

    Two fish swimming under Sedna, one says to the other “There’s some nice shade here!”, the other says, “Holy Whale, a talking fish!”

  • Roz –

    …StinsonBeach here.

    I know you probably won’t like this but having lived on a boat in the BVI’s for awhile, Palmolive dish soap works in salt water. I suppose it’s not the most eco-friendly of products, but considering it breaks down in sea water to completely come out of your hair & off your skin, my guess is it’s not too bad. It’s – or was – the only one which does/did.

          xos, -rocky

  • While you are cleaning your carpet, it’s desperately
    important that you don’t get it too humid ; doing so could lead to not only
    bacterial and mould expansion but also to the backing on it possibly
    separating. Keep in mind that if your carpet hasn’t dried completely within
    twenty-four hours, the risk is high for these things to occur. 

  • My dear ocean rower, Roz – What you describe is so much life..some days it feels that no matter how hard we try, we are stuck..and then all of a sudden we have a breakthrough and..and then we see the big picture and see that all along this was part of the takes patience and a clear are such an inspiration.  May the force always be with you.  Your fan in Florida, Erin

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