It’s that stage of the journey. The stage when Stuff Breaks. I hesitated before telling you about these things, as I didn’t want to cause any consternation, but hey, I just can’t keep a secret from my Rozlings. But before I go on, I’d like to say most emphatically DON’T PANIC!!! There is no need for airdrops, rescue missions, or even advice. These matters are NOT serious, and will have very little impact on my ocean lifestyle.
About a week ago, my cooking stove stopped working. It was a veteran of Pacific Stage 1, and despite Scott’s heroic achievement in cleaning it up when it looked to be beyond salvation, it had never regained its nice, strong, clean blue flame. I hadn’t used it very much, being mostly on my rawfood diet, but just recently had rediscovered the joys of hot porridge or a hot dinner at the end of the day. But the flame was yellow and sooty, and soon my kettle was coated with a thickening layer of black.
And then the stove stopped working altogether. Propane was coming through, but it wouldn’t light. It probably needs no more than a good clean with a gas stove maintenance kit – but I don’t have one on board.
But it’s really no big deal. On the Atlantic I managed for 3 months without a stove after my camping stove (very different model) broke. Freeze dried food can still be reconstituted – it just takes longer. I’ve had several delicious curries since the demise of the stove, that suffered not at all from being served at a very warm ambient temperature rather than piping hot.
Mick and Chris of goldengateendeavour.com are now on their THIRD cook stove, so that shows just how vulnerable these things are when exposed to salty ocean conditions for extended periods.
The second casualty is – yet again – my watermaker. It isn’t the same problem as on the San Francisco-Hawaii leg. I do try not to make the same mistake twice, so after that bad experience, when the watermaker locker flooded and caused the electric pump to corrode, I have two spare pumps on board this time. So, naturally, this time the pump is still in fine fettle, but something else has gone wrong. Not quite sure what it is. The pump runs but neither fresh water nor waste brine emerge from the two outlet pipes.
I spent a couple of hours this morning trying to fix the problem – first of all on the phone to Spectra Watermakers in San Rafael, then underneath my boat, braving remoras to check the through-hull intake for any possible blockages (jellyfish have been known to get sucked in and cause a problem), then mucking around in the bilges to dismantle, clean and reassemble various pipes and filters. But all to no avail.
But no worries. I have enough water on board to keep me going for a couple of months – and I hope to be making landfall well before then – and also a manual watermaker kindly donated to me by the Hunks of the JUNK raft with whom I traded food for water in mid-ocean last year.
So (sigh), this is just the way it goes. Even the most robust equipment is rarely designed to spend several months at a time exposed to such harsh conditions.
The good news is that Lazarus the Stereo, having been extremely temperamental almost since Day 1 of this row, is being good as gold at the moment. But I’ll say that in a very quiet whisper, as it seems that I no sooner praise a piece of equipment than it packs up on me…
[photo: Yet another sunset – but this one is pretty dramatic, don’t you think?! I wish I could share the Pacific skies with you more effectively. One little rectangular photo just doesn’t do them justice. They are often spectacular, frequently breathtaking!]
I see there is a lot of speculation going on about when I might cross the International Date Line and/or the Equator. As I write, I am now 58 nautical miles from the Equator, having crossed 1 degree North this evening (woohoo!), and 13 nautical miles from the IDL. Current course is southwesterly…. But when I pick up the oars in the morning I might change course to aim more for one than for the other. In fact, I know I will be – but I’m not quite ready to tell you about my decision yet, as there are some external dependencies. Sorry to be such a tease, but all will become clear in due course. So for now you’ll just have to carry on guessing…!
Meanwhile, there is a special International Date Line Sale going on in the Store at rozsavage.com. So it would be a great time to mosey on over there and check out the special deals, which also raises a bit of money to support my projects. And we’ll just rename it the Equatorial Sale if that becomes more appropriate!
Eco Champ of the Day (and we haven’t had one for a while – where are all the Eco Heroes?) is Connor. Thanks for your message, Connor! Here is what he had to say…
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!
Great job Connor – and thanks for sharing!
Richard in Virginia – a loyal but lurking Rozolyte – thanks for your message, and for introducing yourself at last. I find it so strange, but also very flattering, to think that there are people like you that I will probably never meet, but in some small way I am a part of your lives. Thank you for speaking up!
Doug – thanks for the carrots. I hope my rate of carrot consumption is going to accelerate over these final stages. Chomp, chomp! (And good for my night vision too…)
Position at 2300 HST: 00 57.786N, 179 47.233W
Wind: very variable. 10kts E this morning, 0-8kts S-SE this afternoon (was rowing into a headwind for a while), then back to the E
Seas: 3-5 ft
Weather: generally fine and sunny, some cloud, including one huge raincloud this afternoon that was probably responsible for the headwind
Weather forecast, courtesy of weatherguy.com:
Latest tracker reported your position as: 01 31N 179 02W as of 18Aug 0641HST.
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