Is it possible to have a moonbow? Like a rainbow, but created by the light of a bright moon rather than by the sun? If so, I think I’ve seen one tonight. But maybe it was just my eyes playing tricks on me.

It’s a beautiful night. Dead calm – just the slightest rolling swell on the ocean. Above, cumulus clouds encircle my boat, while the sky directly overhead is completely clear, as if the clouds are shying away from the brighness of the moon. It’s nearly a full moon, and it’s highlighting the stacked piles of cumulus in dramatic monochrome. A sprinkling of silver reflections dapples the black ocean waters.

A few silent birds were flitting around my boat, as if wanting to roost here for the night, but lacking the courage to make a landing.

And on the western horizon, where some rainclouds were lurking, it really did look like a moonbow. An arc, darker above and lighter below, and maybe just a hint of colour. If anybody can tell me if this is a known phenomenon, I’d love to know.

Other stuff:

I think today was the hottest day yet. I didn’t take a temperature reading, but with the complete lack of wind it was devastatingly baking out here.

Speaking of hot, This Outlander book is pretty racy stuff. Several times I found I was rowing rather faster than usual during particularly, ahem, engrossing parts of the book, and had to cool down by taking an ocean plunge – the ocean rower’s equivalent of taking a cold shower. Blimey!

At least one spider Alf spotted today. He lives!

Thanks for all the comments, quotes, suggestions and words of encouragement. All very much appreciated!

Huge congrats to my good friends Sam and Ella on the birth of their first child, Nell Freya Truscott Allpass. Delighted to hear the good news! And at over 9lb it looks like she’s off to a flying start to emulate the athletic achievements of her parents.

Suwin – congrats on your plastic straw epiphany. Yes, they are insidious things. And so unnecessary. The headdress that they gave me when I left Tarawa included some plastic drinking straws, as part of their point about sustainability. Let’s ban the straw, or even go back to paper ones (are they still available?), which at least are biodegradable.

I hear from Brennan that the Eco Heroes website was an unexpected victim of the Iceland volcano. Yes, seriously. Brennan’s co-coder, known online as Evil Bobby, was on vacation in Amsterdam with only occasional internet access when the volcano struck. So his part of the delivery unavoidably fell behind schedule.

But hopefully it has gone live today. If you have pre-registered, you will have received an email to let you know what to do next. And if you haven’t pre-registered, please go immediately to and sign up!

Despite the ferocious heat, I made some good progress south today. These conditions won’t last forever, so I’m making the most of them while I can. Cairns? Thursday Island? Madang in PNG? Who knows? Don’t forget to place your bet in our arrival date/time sweepstake!

[Photo taken today for my friends at YachtPals]


  • Morning Roz and Rita,
    Well wouldn’t you know. A one of a kind woman sees a rare of rarest, Moonbow. Your instincts rule.
    Here is what Wikipedia says:
    “Moonbows are most easily viewed when the moon is near to full (when it is brightest). For other than those produced by waterfalls, the moon must be low in the sky (less than 42 degrees and preferably lower) and the sky must be dark. And of course there must be rain falling opposite the moon. This combination of requirements makes moonbows much more rare than rainbows produced by the sun”.
    Looks like the Cousteau team did a underwater film off Nauru (the island planet)- 1992. They produced a you tube video (on google earth also) of the transparent sea life (90% body mass of sea water) that over habitat the area. So keep your blues wide open when you pass by. Could be the brain candy treat during that day swim?
    You will love this quote from the Cousteau web site home page:
    The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed. (they must have had a Savage in mind ?)
    – Jacques Cousteau
    BBC world had a radio program on plastics this early AM. Not posted to their web site as of yet. It was a heart full, kind of program.
    Word for the day: plebiscite- (PLEB-uh site)
    A direct public vote on an issue of importance.
    Treasury of women’s quotes:
    Remember always that you have not only the right to be an individual; you have the obligation to be one. You cannot make any useful contribution in life unless you do this. Eleanor Roosevelt
    My mother once defined me as “someone who never has an unexpressed thought.” She gave me what I’ve always considered excellent advice when she said, “There is a difference between telling the truth and telling everything you know.” Katryn Carpenter
    There is nothing more beautiful, I think than the evanescent fleeting images and sentiments presented by a language one is just becoming familiar with – ideas that flit across the mental sky, shaped and tinted by capricious fancy. Helen Keller.
    Ok pirate joke for the day:
    So there’s this Pirate with a parrot. And this parrot swears like a sailor, I mean he’s a pistol. He can swear for five minutes straight without repeating himself. Trouble is, the pirate who owns him is a quiet, conservative type, and this bird’s foul mouth is driving him crazy. One day, it gets to be too much, so the guy grabs the bird by the throat, shakes him really hard, and yells, “QUIT IT!” But this just makes the bird mad and he swears more than ever. Then he gets mad and says, “OK for you.” and locks the bird in a cabinet. This really aggravates the bird and he claws and scratches, and when the guy finally lets him out, the bird cuts loose with a stream of invective that would make a veteran pirate blush. At that point, he is so mad that he throws the it into the freezer. For the first few seconds there is a terrible din. The bird kicks and claws and thrashes. Then it suddenly gets _very_ quiet. At first the guy just waits, but then he starts to think that the bird may be hurt. After a couple of minutes of silence, he’s so worried that he opens up the freezer door. The bird calmly climbs onto the man’s out-stretched arm and says, “Awfully sorry about the trouble I gave you. I’ll do my best to improve my vocabulary from now on. By the way, what did the chicken do?”
    You are pulling two oars and a dream every day, for the planet. A big hug of thanks Roz. Years ago you awoke from a fog. You cracked the glass ceiling. You took scissor in hand to all the ropes and rules. Then wrote your own. Bravo wave cutter. Next time you see a rainbow or moonbow. Take a moment and lean backwards over the solar panels- face up, carefully now captain. Now you will be greeted by a BIG HAPPY SMILE , from all of use to you. True that – cool winds to your shoulders, friend power to your heart!
    Row on water rocket, Bill

  • Roz, In addition to being able to observe rare opticall phenomena, did you remember to pack a star chart? Wow, what an opportunity you have to view stars! I would bet there is an iPhone app for such? You’ll end your trip with dozens of constellations as your friends. Steve

  • Hurrah for Aardvarkstraws!! That is for the USA. But probably more companies need to know about them. What about Australia? The UK? Any campaigners willing to take on the challenge?
    In case anyone is having difficulty reading the whiteboard alongside Roz in today’s picture, it says “Wish me luck, Yacht Pals.

  • Right on Steve- star gazing for Roz on the big open screen. Whoo ho.Apple app – great idea , did you find one?

    Kevin – thank you , nice resource to pass along.I will share with many friends.
    Thank you for keeping us main lander folks informed Rita.I am so very happy to recently Roz. Then to discover the gift your daughter is sharing and giving to us all. One day , one mind and heart at a time.

  • Moonbow, nice find Roz. Yes there are a few star apps for the iPhone. I found “Planets” to be one of the better ones. Has a nice 3D star chart. Plus it’s Free. 🙂
    Go Roz Go!

  • Go Roz! And Bill, love your message (and joke)…yes, only the rarest of the rare would see a moonbow (and be seen by one, too).

    Sending warm wishes from rainy Silicon Valley,


  • Is it just me, or is the GoRozGo fundraiser chart a little wonky? I think the total was higher on a previous day, and now it’s back down to the $60 total.

    Rozters, we need to jack up that pathetic total. That’s just sad. You’d spend that on one concert ticket. I’ve made one guess already that was perhaps a bit pessimistic about how many days it would take Roz to conquer opposing currents, so I think I’ll make another one that’s a bit optimistic to balance that out. Every little bit helps, people. And you’ll get more satisfaction from entering the GoRozGo contest than you would from a losing lottery scratch-off.

    Enter now and put Roz in a great mood at the start of tomorrow’s hot day!

  • Roz,

    You most certainly did see a moonbow. While they are quite rare “in the wild” there are places near water falls where they occur regularly during full moons. The mist from the falls coupled with dark skies (read away from cities) that are clear so the moon’s full intensity falls on the water droplets in the mist from the falls and you have a moonbow.

    You had all the right elements to create the moonbow, dark, clear skies a nearly full moon and water droplets in those clouds on the horizon. You are one lucky person to be out there to see this. Of course some of us know how much you have put into making this “luck.”

    It is good to see you making southward progress.

    Best of luck and row well.


  • Hee hee – thanks Roz! Good luck for this leg and I’m enjoying the blogs already. I look forward to reading the story afterwards too.
    Big hugs, Rachel – YachtPals Journalist

  • Rachel, if you are looking for something to read – about Roz – see this: Roz Savage’s website has an Ebay Store for a number of items recommended or offered by Roz. One of these items is an e-book “Blogs from the Blue” selling at $3.25. If you enjoyed reading her book “Rowing the Atlantic”, you will be fascinated by this day-by-day description of her experiences in 2005/6, with additional notes from her journal and the news reports from the race organizers, Woodvale.

  • Hey Roz,

    Keep trying to get on the eco-heroes site. It keeps saying i’ll be contacted in 20 days. I hope to hear something soon as i can’t wait to star playing.

    Love your posts. Keep going. Keep rowing. Thanks!!!

    (Oh – in my cafe we have straws that are compostable. Toss them into a compost pile and they disintegrate. I’ll get the details to you soon.)

  • Water Rocket … hmmm … I like that, Bill.

    Roz, I saw a moonbow once while viewing a waterfall at dusk somewhere in the Sierra Nevada. Not quite sure where, but it must have been along the Tuolumne River because I go there alot. I had never heard of such a thing up ’til then. It was very special. Glad you had that rare treat, too. Very special, indeed.

    Love your description of the night rowing, especially: A sprinkling of silver reflections dapples the black ocean waters. Reminds me of a vision I had and mentioned in your blog not quite a year ago. Very nice — you have a way with words. Thanks for that.

    Happy rowing, Roz.

  • A sprinkling of silver reflections dapples the black ocean waters.

    Oh! Roz! Pardon my exuberance, but …
    do you realize this makes a nice haiku?

    sprinkling of silver
    reflections dapple the black
    ocean waters calm

  • Hi Roz, just wanted to say what a fantastic thing you are doing and keep up the hard rowing! I’m totally with you on the environmental issues and acts such as yours highlight these issues for many people who wouldn’t necessarily think about them otherwise (have just signed up to eco heros!).
    Also loved your book!! And looking at your book list, I have a suggestion, try My Ishmael, the sequel to Ischmael. Having read both the second one is my favourite and really truly cements your changed view of the world (also has an interesting plot twist at the end!).
    Give my best to the 2 Alfs (although as a zoologist/vet nurse I should point out that wherever you land they should not be allowed off the boat until being identified, as migrant, stowaway ‘alien’ species have been known to devestate ecosystems). Hope the weather cools a bit for you soon.

  • Hello Roz,i am following you again,every night i look up your blogs.
    Your mother Rita must be so proud of you and your sister,doing what you both are doing.
    Have you seen Jonathon and Kanoa who have been walking for nearly 57 days ,starting at Delaware going to SF.Jonathon rescued Kanoa(means life in Hawaiin)and now walks to make people aware about a microlending institution for people who do not have any securities,so they can borrow small amount to better them selves.
    PLease look up

    He too wants to make a difference.
    Take good care ,be safe.

  • Hi, Sara. Glad you mentioned Ishmael and My Ishmael. I have been meaning to recommend Beyond Civilization, also by Daniel Quinn. I recommend it highly along with Bill McKibben’s new book Eaarth which was released two weeks ago. They complement each other very well. To get a sense of Eaarth‘s message, read this book review and listen to Bill McKibben in this discussion and read this interview … lots of food for thought (and individual action) here.

  • Roz, yep, I remember lunar rainbows reported at Victoria Falls. A real privilege to spot one – you’ve earned it!

  • I’ve been telling my sixth graders here in Virginia about you, and they’re fascinated with the moonbow. (They also think I should try rowing across the ocean myself, but I think there may be an ulterior motive there 🙂 You are a HUGE inspiration to me!

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