Day 87 - chartYou might be wondering what the latest news is on my selection of Island X – will it be Tarawa? Or will it be Funafuti in Tuvalu?

I wish I could tell you. The question is still being hotly debated in TeamRoz. It would be the million dollar question – except that our budget isn’t that big. It’s at least a fifty dollar question though.

Distance-wise, there is not much in it. 482 nautical miles to Tuvalu, 517 to Tarawa (approximately). But on the ocean not all miles are equal. Some are upwind, some are downwind, some are across-wind. Although the ocean may look flat, it is more accurate to think of it like a ski resort. Downwinds are like well-groomed ski slopes. Upwind I’d need a chairlift. Across the wind I’d be cross-country rather than downhill skiing. I’m not sure what the ocean equivalent would be for off-piste, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to try it.

On the one hand, I would prefer to go to Tuvalu:
a) because it would set me up better for making it to Australia next year, and
b) because it would be better for my climate change message – Tuvalu being the current “poster child” of climate change thanks to their recent announcement that they intend to be the world’s first carbon neutral country, with a target date of 2020.


From where I am now, I am doubtful that it is possible. Given that the winds are generally E-SE, I suspect that I would get pushed too far west before I could get far enough south. For example, see the RozTracker for the last couple of days. My bows have been pointed as south as they can be, but the best I can do is 90 degrees to the wind – and the wind has been from the south, so the best I can do is west. No nicely groomed ski slopes heading the way I want to go.

There is a fine line between being adventurous and taking unnecessary risks. If I got tempted into trying for Tuvalu, but ended up missing landfall altogether, or having to be towed some significant distance to make it into port – either of these would NOT be cool. I would definitely be off-piste (and piste off).

But then will I end up cursing myself next year – if I find myself heading for Papua New Guinea instead of Australia? Will I wish I’d tried a bit harder for Tuvalu?

So, when in doubt, postpone the decision until there is more information available. Even if I was set on Tarawa, my plan would still be to push south beyond the Equator to get south of all these tricky old currents and weather systems, and then to take a sharp right and row downwind to the west, before looping up slightly to get to Tarawa, which lies just north of the Equator. By happy coincidence, this is also initially what I would do to get to Tuvalu.

So I’m going to go south as much as I can, and see what longitude I’m at when I reach the Equator. By then I’ll have new weather information and can make a better informed decision.

Of course, this doesn’t make life easy for Nicole and the rest of TeamRoz who are planning to come out and meet me. The suspense continues. Meanwhile, I am heading rapidly towards tomorrow – the International Date Line is now just about 35 miles away.

[photo: My rather old chart donated by Captain Vince of the White Holly, printed back in the days when Tuvalu was still called the Ellice Islands. But hopefully they’re still in more or less the same place, although they might be getting smaller as the seas rise…]

Other Stuff:

Thanks for all the messages from the Rozling community. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we were all able to assemble, from all around the world, and get together in one room for a huge party when I finish this row? I would love that! Maybe we can figure out a way to do it in virtual reality.

Naomi – don’t worry about your knees. I try to take the strategy of NOT worrying about things – just preparing for them. Only time will tell if your knees will bear up. But do take some painkillers and anti-inflammatories with you just in case… and if your walk has to turn into a drive, well, never mind. It won’t be worse, just different!

I especially enjoyed this message, which I think also came from Naomi, although it was a bit difficult to tell from the way it was formatted in the email I received: “I thought of you when I read this today on my FaceBook page: “The difference between “try” and “triumph” is the UMPH!” Isn’t that just a GREAT message?!

Hi to Carol, Greg, Sue, Brennan and Conor – thanks for your messages!

Weather report:

Position at 2300 HST: 01 23.451N, 179 25.178W
Wind: 0-20kts but generally around 15kts, S backing to E during the day
Seas: 3-6ft, SE, quite steep and choppy at times
Weather: mostly blue skies, some cloud – cumulus and cirrus. Could see some rainclouds around but they kept their distance several miles away.

Weather forecast, courtesy of

Latest tracker reported your position as: 01 31N 179 02W as of 18Aug

As of Tuesday 18 Aug 2009. According to measured data, there have been SEerly winds up to 7-12kts over your position and some light rainshower activity. The heaviest of rain was north of 05N. Lighter SEerly winds are to your west to Tarawa with heavier and widespread rainshowers. South of the equator there are stronger ESE winds 17-20kts. The SEerlies shift to Nerly 5-10kts by late tonight. Then shift to SEerly and increase in speed to 15kt range with 20kts possible. Winds return to Eerly and abate to 5-12kts by the morning of the 21st.

Widespread clouds with deep convection are north of your position along the ITCZ axis. West and south of your position, skies are partly cloudy with minimal convection.

Forecast sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy. Scattered, light to moderate rainshowers.

Ocean currents: No significant change from last report

Forecast (low confidence)
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft) est
18/0800-18/1200 SE-E 5-12 2-4
18/1200-19/0000 E-N 5-10 2-4
19/0000-19/1200 N-SE 5-10 2-4
19/1200-19/2100 SE 7-15 2-4
19/2100-20/2100 SE 10-20 3-5
20/2100-21/0600 SE-E 10-15 3-5
21/0600-23/0800 E 5-12 2-4

Next Update: Thursday, 20 August


  • Maybe you need to consult the I Ching or something. Given the state that you are in, it seems like any effort that you make will help you. I feel a kinship of sorts with you, I am also putting off a major decision until the last minute. I suppose I will just have to see which colleges I get into and take it from there. Be forewarned, writer J. Marteen Troost says that Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea is the worst place in the world. Of course, that is a matter of opinion, but still. So maybe Tuvalu would be best.

  • Hey Roz,

    Love what you are doing! We are trying to recycle more, carpool more (when we do have to drive) and use less water (especially hot water). We wash clothes with cold water, and I have started taking cold showers, especially after a hard workout (I am a rower too), and I actually find it refreshing.

    A tip for all the rozlings who do have to drive, especially on long trips. After telling them about it for just about ever, my parents (i am only 16) realized the benefits of cruise control. On a trip from our home in Pittsburgh to Toronto, my mom used cruise control on the highway, and her fuel economy went from 28 to about 36!

    Looking on the Roztracker, on the subject of your destination, if Tuvalu becomes impossible, but you still want to get below the equator, what about Nauru? It is at longitude 167 and about .5 degrees below the equator. You could go right past tarawa and go the additional 440 or so miles to Nauru. Albeit it is a very small place, with little infrastructure (its only about 8 square miles), but they do have an airport and a few important environmental and health related issues. Their natural resources have been depleted, and their people are among the most obese in the world, with 90% having a higher BMI than the world average. Just another option.

    Row on, row hard, we’re all pulling (metaphorically 🙂 for you!

    Pittsburgh PA, USA

  • Golden Shellback! Now that would be a cool tatoo! Read on for some fun maritime tradition within reach for you. You will of course have to creat your own ceremony without all the kaos usually involved in such crossings. The ceremony of Crossing the Line is an initiation rite in the Royal Navy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and other navies which commemorates a sailor’s first crossing of the equator. Originally the tradition was created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long rough times at sea. Sailors who have already crossed the equator are nicknamed (Trusty) Shellbacks, often referred to as Sons of Neptune; those who have not are nicknamed (Slimy) Pollywogs. The two-day event (evening and day) is a ritual of reversal in which the older and experienced enlisted crew essentially takes over the ship from the officers. Physical assaults in keeping with the ‘spirit’ of the initiation are tolerated, and even the inexperienced crew is given the opportunity to ‘take over’. The transition flows from established order to the controlled ‘chaos’ of the Pollywog Revolt, the beginnings of re-order in the initiation rite as the fewer but experienced enlisted crew converts the ‘Wogs’ through physical tests, then back to, and thereby affirming, the pre-established order of officers and enlisted. Like the old physically- and emotionally-intensive boot camp, the “Crossing the Line” ritual deconstructs then reconstructs the initiates’ experience from newbie outsider into the experienced military fraternity.The eve of the equatorial crossing is called Wog Day and, as with many other night-before rituals, is a mild type of reversal of the day to come. ‘Wogs’ – all of the uninitiated – are allowed to capture and ‘interrogate’ any shellbacks they can find (eg, tying them up, cracking eggs or pouring aftershave lotion on their heads)This is not a thing that a true shellback will ever have happen to them. The wogs are made very aware of the fact that it will be much harder on them if they do anything like this.After crossing the line, Pollywogs receive subpoenas [1] to appear before King Neptune and his court (usually including his first assistant Davy Jones and her Highness Amphitrite and often various dignitaries, who are all represented by the highest ranking seamen), who officiate at the ceremony, which is often preceded by a Beauty Contest of men dressing up as women, each department of the ship being required to introduce one contestant in swimsuit drag. Afterwards, some wogs may be “interrogated” by King Neptune and his entourage, and the use of ‘truth serum’ (hot sauce + after shave + ?) and whole uncooked eggs put in the mouth. During the ceremony, the Pollywogs undergo a number of increasingly disgusting ordeals (wearing clothing inside out and backwards; crawling on hands and knees on nonskid-coated decks; being swatted with short lengths of firehose; being locked in stocks and pillories and pelted with mushy fruit; being locked in a water coffin of salt-water and bright green sea dye (fluorescent sodium salt); crawling through chutes or large tubs of rotting garbage; kissing the Royal Baby’s belly coated with axle grease, hair chopping, etc), largely for the entertainment of the Shellbacks.Once the ceremony is complete, a Pollywog receives a certificate [2] declaring his new status. Another rare status is the Golden shellback, a person who has crossed the equator at the 180th meridian (international date line). When a ship must cross these lines, the ship’s captain will usually intentionally plot a course across the Golden X so that the ship’s crew can be initiated into the Golden Shellbacks.The rarest Shellback status is that of the Emerald Shellback (USA), or Royal Diamond Shellback (Commonwealth), which is received after crossing the equator at the prime meridian.

  • Roz,

    Love the idea of all gathering…however, that may be harder than the obvious. I have a feeling there a lot more of us than you are aware. I, for example, have followed you since the mid point of your Atlantic crossing…but have never commented. I have been sharing your adventure with friends and acquaintances for sometime now. In fact, my kids are likely tired of hearing of your progress over our dinners. They have, however, begun to look at our world through different eyes, eyes that see opportunities for conservation and care of what God has given us. Thanks for being such an inspiration…and applying your won special “Umph” to a world in need.

    Richard in Virginia, USA

  • Evan and Nicole,

    Is there a way to capture each visitor’s geographical location using standard tools? It would be cool to see a google map with a “pin” or a “balloon” marking each unique visitor (IP address?). How to capture Twitter and Facebook user locations? I know I may be dreaming large, but just had to ask. The global expanse of this entire Rozling community has got to be extraordinary! Wouldn’t it be fun and interesting if Archinoetics could put a pair of gazing eyeballls for each of us on the RozTracker, all eyes on Roz!?!? Sorry, Roz … semper ubi sub ubi, at least virtually ;-D

    • UncaDoug – it’s definitely not a difficult thing to do (as Connor P suggested), and in fact it used to be a feature on Roz’s site. What ends up happening, since Roz is just so darn popular, is that it looks awfully like a population density map of the world. Perhaps the best way to do it will be to put pins on map places just for people who comment. I’ll add that to the feature request list.

    • Our apologies for the chaos in the statistics on the tracker this morning. There are problems with the servers at the company that serves us the GPS data. Not sure what’s going on, we’ve got a query in and will hopefully hear back soon.

  • It would be interesting to know which countries are represented by Rozlings – each week there are visits to her website from over 100 countries. Unfortunately we do not receive details of most of them. Only a few with the higher numbers are listed – USA, UK, Australia, Canada, NZ. Spain, France, Switzerand, Germany show up fairly regularly, but sometimes more exotic ones like China, Indonesia, Mexico or Swaziland. I have not named them all, but perhaps readers of this message in other places might like to chime in and say hello.

  • Hi Roz,

    It is interesting reading your experiences. This last post gave me a vision of a whole different dimension of the ocean.

  • Doug and Rozta Bill, what is betting shirts? I’ve never heard that expression.

    It’s around 7:20 AM Hawaii time at her most recent tweet. I’ll bet that she crosses IDT Friday at 3:30 AM Hawaii time, right at 1 degree latitude. Whoever guesses closest wins. Losers kick in $10 to Roz fund. Winner gets what?

  • Love the ‘umph’, it’s so appropriate! Great words to live by.

    And I want to come to the party too, pretty please.

    P.S. To Richard in Virginia, USA. Mid-point of the Atlantic? That’s where I joined Roz, too. I THOUGHT I’d seen you somewhere before!

    Caroline (UK)

  • Administrator – actually, the seismographic affect was kinda cool and exciting ;-D

    Connor, Rita and Admin – for the mean time, we could just ask Rozlings who comment to show their location, like I will do below (latitude and longitude optional).

    Joan – I have no idea what Rozta Bill meant by “betting shirts” but I took a chance in assuming that it meant who ever wins, gets everybody else’s shirt … so the next time we meet, the losers will give the winner the shirts off their back … so be sure to semper ubi sub ubi [please refer to my previous post on Day 85 – Barnacles on my Bottom] ;-D

    Now, since the rules of the game have not yet been announced, it will be up to us competing Rozlings to subjectively or indiscriminately decide who wins after the actual crossing occurs. My lucky guess is” tomorrow — that is today’s tomorrow an instant before the crossing — August 20 at 23:23:23 Roz will cross IDL, and if you insist that we identify the latitude, hmmm … 00 41N exactly ;-D

    Hayward, CA, USA
    37 40N, 122 02W

  • Hello Roz I Think your party would take more like the stadium in London maybe Wembley there in the north west. I think it can hold up to 90,000 people that should do for a starter lets think big. And at the same time we will ask every one to leave just $1 dollar in the basked. That should cover the communication expense. Then I could stop by and visit some of my distant relatives in Swindon while I was there. My granny was born at Harold on the Hill 1890. She was also quite the adventuresses like you, she drove an ambulance in London back in the day 1914 in her 20’s. She also had a ticket for the first crossing of the Titanic.
    She was quite psychic and trusted here intuition not to get on the ship lucky her or was it luck at all. I trust you know were you are going even if does not feel that way sometimes. I had a few of my friend’s comment that I seam to be holding a lot of energy for you and your journey. I believe if we all did that we can bring you home safe and sound to the island of mother natures chose. Sorry would like to say your chose but you understand that way more them most. Not often do people ever get to experience nature in its fullest especially by choice. I think that is were the saying goes, By the grace of God I think in your case we should add By the Grace of God, wind and Booby birds.
    In closing while in meditation this morning I stopped by for a visit out there in the big ocean via the energy plane and it came to me to ask permission to share something with you. I will contact your support team to see how best to do that. If that is ok with you. What was shared with me was a short experience about keeping the energy body aliened with the physical body through infinity breathing. Just know we are here for you on all levels. I paddle a 6 man outrigger canoe here in Hawaii, just let us know if you need one of our Brothers in Tahiti to drop you off anything. Dale

  • While entering the domain of the Golden Dragon (crossing the IDL) by rowing is a mighty accomplishment, having been so close to crossing at 0 LAT, 180 LONG without an attempt would never be considered by any master of the seas. I am confident, as long as there is a party and libations involved any vessel of the Commonwealth of England or Australia would welcome an opportunity to induct (party)you into our highly traditional societies. Probably need one of the rozlings with naval contacts to make the proposal. A Shellback for sure as you approach the equator but a Golden Shellback! TeamRoz needs to look up and order the certificates on the web unless the Royal Navy takes on the task. Since these are unofficial but highly prized membership societies, like the Queen can choose who shall be knighted we who guard the gates of these domains can choose who shall be be inducted. You my lady have earned belonging to the society of whichever domain you choose to cross. But IDL at zero is an awesome x to shoot for. Gonna take an extra “umph” south at this late stage.

  • My estimate for the IDL is 8/20/09 at high noon Hawaii time then a down wind, down current cruise to Tarawa. Just think you might get to relax a little in the next few days if that is possible with all the other worries other than navigating. If I win you’ll have to row the Gig Harbor heritage row at Tacoma Narrows with me next year! Or at least race me. :-}

  • Something doesn’t add up. The Roztracker page gives the distance to Tuvalu as 676 nm versus 511 to Tarawa. Anyway, all the best for an early landfall on whichever you choose. Cheers!

  • Roz, Good to see that you still are thinking with a rational mind,weighing the risks against the wishes.I met a women that you mentioned in a blog the same day that you mentioned me. KIKI Foley. We met up in Santa Monica this past week, and had a common denominator of us both connecting with you on the same day.How weird is that? Yes , I will be there at the Rozling party. Need help with this? Let me put on my thinking cap.I pray for you at every moment that I gaze to the sky. I was on the Pacific this past week, in Malibu , saw some ocean rowers out for a workout in a double, had the pleasure of telling them about you. Hang on,your almost there.All the best for you today and tomorrow. Amy

  • Admin, I think Ned’s issue is the distance to Tuvalu which he states is [currently] 676 miles … Roz states that it was 482 miles last night. Accounting for the difference in times of each, the actual distance to Tuvalu on RozTracker as of 2320 HST was about 682 miles. The 482 she mentioned above in today’s post appears to be a simple typo, and I fear she may be making an invalid decision on that basis. Please refer to Joan’s and my exchange at the very end of Day 86 – World’s Biggest Sensory Deprivation Tank

  • Dale Belvin – I think your Granny must have been born in Harrow-On-The-Hill! I was born, raised and lived there until I moved to California.

  • Hello Rozlings,
    Joan and UncaDoug, “betting shirts” is what men’s teams do in crew competition….the women aren’t allowed as their sport is in the NCAA, which does not allow gambling…find the reference here: (Wikipedia)

    My bet is that Roz will “row into tomorrow” at 5:20pm HST on 8/21 and at 0.45N.

    Roz, would you be willing to give up a hat that has been part of your voyage to the winner?…and anyone who places a bet gives money (I think it oughta be more than $10…the transaction cost is probably > $3.50)

  • Roz!! You are so close to the intersection of the IDL and Equator, how cool is that! Ok, it’s mid-August now and you should be nearing your destination. I will send thoughts to get you closer to Tuvalu. -Sindy

  • For Unca Doug – Roz uses nautical miles, not statutory miles – I think that that probably explains the difference. I see that others have already noted this.

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