Day 88 - sunsetIt’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 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!]

Other Stuff:

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 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…

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!

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…)

Weather Report:

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

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


  • Roz you are England’s true rose and much more of a star than even Posh Spice! Now, I have a candidate for eco champ. The natives of New Guinea. They eat people! That’s right and then use all the extra parts as decorations or to calcify the soil. Now that is a novel idea and it cuts down on overpopulation too. Ta.

  • Congratulations on crossing 1degN, Roz and thanks for sharing the spectacular sunset! Avast! It was a sailors delight. Obviously, it can’t be seen in the photo, but according to, as the sun was setting, the moon preceded it by about 10 minutes (~2 degrees).

    Hoping your sunrise today is also spectacular, but not a sailors warning. Follow the orange yellow brick road.

  • Lovely sunset, Roz. Thanks for sharing that. It’s making me look longingly forward to our October vacation on the Gulf of Mexico.

    I wish you could see the Roz Tracker while it’s being wonky, as it is this morning. It looks like you’ve slapped a speedboat motor onto the Brocade and that you’ve been whipping back and forth across the equator just to show off. For those of us who are making guesses at your IDL crossing it’s quite a tease. And now you’ve thrown additional teasing on top of that! Cheeky monkey.

  • Joan you make me LOL for real! You have an uncanny way with words ;-D

    It looks like you’ve slapped a speedboat motor onto the Brocade and that you’ve been whipping back and forth across the equator just to show off.

  • Roz, I have come to the conclusion that every human has one irrational fear, whether they know it or not. The ocean is mine. Everything about it makes me nerves. I can’t imagine crawling into the water in the middle of that huge ocean with who knows what swimming under me. I think that is one of the reasons I love reading your blogs so much. If you can do what you are doing then it stands a chance we can do anything. Thank you for sharing your life with perfect strangers. Even the little things you do out there amaze me and I love that sunset!. Please send more.
    One more thing, I was listening to NPR the other day and a man was talking about how he made predictions on the technology progression of our society. Here is his information: Ray Kurzweil is an inventor and the author of several books, including Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, and The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. And here is the link:
    Since I have found that new technology development could directly affect our global health, this could be of interest to you. It may not apply but it still maybe interesting.
    Hope you are feeling well,
    Jennifer Berger

  • Hello Roz.

    Dunno how it works, exactly, ’cause I’m not a chemist; but it does work!

    Paddling & hiking off and around the coast of British Columbia,I most often used a propane camp stove for cooking. After weeks, sometimes months of exposure to highly ionized saline air and moisture the tubing and jets turned black with sludge. This in turn seemed to react with the propane and produced a weaker flame. Similar to your problem?

    Cheapest, easiest solution I found to correct this was to disassemble the tubing, pour some baking soda – calcium bicarbonate – into it and the heating disc, soak them overnight in fresh water, then clean them out in the morning. The only tools I needed were a toothbrush, a length of string (fishing line) and a piece of rough cloth. The cloth was knotted onto one end of the string then used like a pull-through used to clean the barrel of a rifle. A quick rinse with fresh water and some hefty lung power to blow them dry left them “clean as a whistle”
    and the end result was a beautiful hot flame to continue cooking with.

    Lately, I have been using a collapsible solar oven that works very well, it just takes a bit longer to cook things. Not much different from a toaster oven, only doesn’t need electricity.

    Hoping this info useful in prepping for the third leg of your journey, -Achates

  • Hi Roz,

    Ron gave you the details on how to clean your stove, but you probably don’t have baking soda. Try a drop of detergent, what ever you use to wash your dishes, and about 1 cm of toothpaste in a bowl or cup of fresh water with a lid. Let it sit for a day or two, since you are not using it anyway, and clean as Ron recommended. Bon Appetite!


  • GPS UPDATE – Everyone, the problems with Roz’s GPS provider continued again last night. Our apologies for chaos that occurred on the map and statistics from all the extra points. Hopefully this will be resolved soon.

  • Oh Gosh, Roz, there are a lot of us lurkers out here. I featured you on my blog over a month ago, and I know some of my readers are following you. As for your purpose … we’ve switched to reusable grocery bags, we already own two hybrid cars but now we are grouping our errands to use the cars more efficiently. Of course, we recycle. And we’ve raised the thermostat for the house during the day to 79F, and are trying to wean ourselves from it on all but the most humid days. It’s a small token, we know, but the consideration of eco-saving is now one of our “household words”. I’m not much of an athlete, but I’m a champion rooter! Ra! Ra! Roz!


  • Congratulations on your 1 degree crossing. I was going to give you a lecture on how the more parts there are, the more that can go wrong, but I will not torture you with it. Have your friends tried some kind of solar oven? I always use my car to dry stuff during the summer, herbs, flowers, as a warm place to rise bread. However, I have not tried to cook anything in it. Before summers end I am going to see if I can melt cheese in it.

    Rah Rah Rah! Fizz Pow Boom!

    Good luck.

  • Roz,

    Beautiful picture. Thanks for taking the time and effort to share it. It is such an honor and pleasure to follow you on your journey. Thanks for inspiring me and so many others!

    Congratulations on crossing 1.0 North – – I am excited for you as you approach the equator and the dateline.

    Wishing you fair winds, following sees and more (non-pooping) guests.


  • I’m thrilled with the Tracker’s fantasy stats today. I’m sure Roz is very proud of her 130 miles of progress, nearly due south, in about 9 hours. Huzzah! Talk about UMPH.

    Also, I realized I forgot to express my regrets over the demise of your primary water maker. R.I.P. little water maker. After virtually witnessing your fortitude and resourcefulness last summer, it seems like a minor problem this time around.

  • Day 83 – The 7 Habits of Reasonably Effective Ocean Rowers

    4. Ability to attach a lanyard to almost any object – to prevent accidental losses overboard.

    Roz, I am sure you have already considered this … but … Joan and Ron said something that should be acknowledged and I will value-add my 2 cents worth … I brew solar tea on my deck while I work in the yard … add a tray of ice and voila … a gallon of brisk ice tea! If you were to add the ingredients for your freeze dried evening meal or your morning porridge to the kettle, add the lid and tie it down with lanyard in a nice sunny spot … solar brewed porridge (an elegant steamy brunch sans champagne) or piping hot beef stroganoff if that’s your fancy … no fuss no muss. The rocking motion of Brocade will keep the mixture agitated so you wont even dirty a stirring spoon. Uhh, does the kettle have a lid? If not, a small square of aluminium foil … a do-it-yourself MacGyver crock pot.

  • Tweet: yayy! i’m so far west i’m east! crossed the IDL at 15:57:03 hawaii time. (52 minutes ago)
    As promised, another batch of your favorite number of beta carotene forward-looking incentivizers sprinkled before you to get you to where you are going. Follow the orange yellow brick road ;-D

  • Roz, having just watched your Week 13 RozCast “Spirituality” I have to say ironically that I am happy there was no chit chat with Leo today … Better to have heard it this way, although a bit bitter-sweet to see and hear your announcement. You are a bold and courageous and selfless angel. Also praying that Fortune and Neptune will favor the bold. Bunches of carrots will continue to be sprinkled southbound ahead of you every hundred miles, and there will be a bobbing bonus bunch awaiting you as you cross the equator. ;-D

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