This morning at about 3 o’clock I was seriously reconsidering my career options. Surely there have to be easier ways to spread the good green word.
It was early last night when I went to bed – about 8pm, a couple of hours after sunset. It was windy and the waves were scary-big, so bed was the safest place to be – “safe” being a relative term.
By 9pm my boat had been knocked down twice already, meaning that big waves had knocked her over to an angle of greater than 90 degrees, but not all the way over to upside-down. Imagine someone abruptly rotating your bedroom through 90 degrees. It’s not that much fun.
On the second knockdown a torrent of water came gushing into the cabin through one of the ventilation holes, which I had pressed into service as an outlet for my satphone antenna cable so I could put a patch antenna on the cabin roof. Clearly I was going to have to remove the antenna so I could close the ventilation hole. But getting out of my bunk and going out into the wild night was about as appealing as root canal surgery.
Taking my knife between my teeth in time-honoured fashion, I reluctantly ventured out onto the darkness of the deck. It was wild out there – blowing a gale, boat pitching, water flying everywhere. I velcro’d on the ankle leash for safety and turned back to the cabin roof to cut down the antenna.
But something else caught my eye – one of my spare oars was flapping uselessly, the spoon broken right across, hanging on only by a few wood fibres. This broke even my Atlantic record, when I didn’t break my first oar until Day 12 (I think).
Sigh. Grr. Still, nothing to be done about that now. I had to get on with the task in hand. I wanted to get it over with and get back into the cabin before another big wave came along and tried to wash me off the deck. I cut the antenna free and threaded the long, springy and unco-operative cable back through the ventilation hole, then ducked back into the cabin and slammed the hatch closed behind me.
The boat was knocked down twice more during the night. I spent most of the night lying awake, safety-strapped to my wet bunk, flinching at the sound of onrushing waves, and generally hating ocean rowing. But I also kept reminding myself that this too would pass, and that I’ve survived worse. (For the record, a full capsize (3 times in 2007) is definitely worse than a knockdown, but I really do not recommend either as a fun way to spend a night.)
Luckily things always look better in the daylight. I had to do a lot of sorting out today – drying my bedding, airing the cabin, pumping water out of leaky lockers, restoring to their rightful places the few objects that had not been adequately tied down or stowed. In the process I finally found the salt (hurrah!) and by the end of the day the boat was looking even more shipshape than before the chaos of the night. And I officially crossed out of the dreaded Leeuwin Current at 113.7 degrees E, and re-crossed 30 degrees S, having lost some ground to the north yesterday. All in all, quite a satisfactory day’s work.
So maybe I won’t quit ocean rowing just yet.
I just hope tonight is quieter. The forecast is for the wind to drop right about now, which would be VERY welcome, because I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since…. since I left land, really.
JackFlack – let me know what difficult thing you decide to do in solidarity with me. Even better if it has an eco aspect to it. How about having a cold shower every day for the next 4 months?!
dmr1965 – love the quote: The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea. ~Isak Dinesen.
Thanks for the nice comments about my photos. A 360 view of the sky is one of the perks of the job! I did used to be quite seriously into photography, so maybe it’s something I’ll get back to in Life After Rowing.
The great refrigerator debate: I did look at getting a little 12V refrigerator, but decided I have more than enough stuff to lug across 4,000 miles as it is. Also unlikely I could run it continuously until the fresh food ran out – not enough electricity. It would really only have been to satisfy my craving for a cold drink from time to time.
Hmmm, while I’ve been writing “other stuff” 2 big waves have come and clobbered me pretty hard. Not juggernauts, but their younger brothers. I do hope tonight is going to be a quiet one….
Photos: the broken oar as I found it
I’ve now wrapped a bungy around it so I don’t lose the broken part – just in case
Kiran Prathapa, Lucie Petrickova (Adam Henton, Simon Henton, Lucie Henton ), Geoff Gassner, Penrallt Coastal Campsite, Nancy Wilhelms, Janet Maher, Larry Grandt (for Kevin), Michelle Pitman, Monica Wilcox, Jo Fothergill, Jay Peterson, Russ Neal, Bradley Kehoe, Peter Wilkinson, Chris Walroth.
Yesterday’s picture has now been added – Windswept Roz. Grateful thanks for miles sponsors – did they have to be such rough ones? ! !
Aww Roz et al… Couldn’t sleep much last night – kind of sore post-op… Thought about your “sleeping” situation a lot… For future reference, There is one hugely complicated solution to the bedroom suddenly being turned 90 Degrees – or more… So I won’t go into that one… But, There is a much easier solution too… Line/fill the compartment – top, bottom and “sides” with inflatable mattresses – lightweight, water/moisture resistant, and come in all different sizes from crib to king to assemble to fit the area needed – inflated just enough to leave a center cocoon for Roz to slide into to nest… (They can be “glued” or velcro-ed to the interior surfaces of the compartment.) Then when the bedroom rocks and rolls, you will simply rock forward and back, and side to side, sort of snug in one big pillow… Cover each one with a cotton flannel mattress pad – and it should be ALMOST cozy… Not perfect, BUT, no more surprise bumps and jolts… (When I was in the coma, They had me in an airbed to roll me from side to side those 28 days… I think this could work for the North Atlantic crossing.)
P.S. Post comatose gray matter failure… I left out why this might be …better than the current set-up… From experience, NOTHING is tougher to do than to try to sleep “strapped” to bedding, and this might eliminate the need for strapping…
Sounds cozy Richard, but how would Roz get to all the stuff stowed in the compartments of the cabin & how would she motivate herself to get out of bed in the morning? 😉
Hey Dear Pippa: My thought is that the mattresses would be glued/velcro-ed in place (leaving corners ONLY “unglued” to make it possible to get fitted sheets over each mattress quickly and easily) – inflated by a small solar powered air pump (available from camping/outdoors catalogues) just before “retiring” – the one on the bottom could stay inflated for the quick breaks she takes every 3-4 hours or so… When she gets up in the morning, deflate them, remove the bedding to dry-out, leaving access to everything else in the compartment during the day as needed until retiring again…
LOL … imagine crawling into a pup tent lined with flotation devices. I like air circulating around me for the evaporative, transpiration cooling effect … especially given the humidity level out there! Roz, do you have any clue what the humidity is? Near 100% I suppose.
Best wishes from Warren Vermont (44 degrees 5 min North). It is snowing on the crocuses.
Randy and Nancy
I seem to remember you fixing oars in the past, Roz, but can’t recall how. Will this on be fixable if needed?
Hoping for a better nights sleep tonight.
A silly question perhaps but why do you need salt when you’re surrounded by the sea?
RE: Cold drink…..wonder what the water temp is 100′ below you? If you lowered a water bottle down on a cord while not rowing, would it not chill down for ya? From New Hampshire USA bright cool and breezy.
By the by, you are amazing. In the middle of the ocean, in a storm, in pitch black dark…..you have the courage to crawl out of the safety of your cabin to fix a problem on deck. Not my worst nightmare, but darned close.
Watching each and every day – stay safe.
Re your reply to JackFlack, ever since you introduced http://ecoheroes.me/ I’ve been looking for simple ways to make incremental changes. Inspired by you and your courage and bravery, I created a badge http://bit.ly/EcoHeroColdShower and regularly take 3 minute cold showers … invigorating … and if you can survive that, you can take on anything that comes your way during the day.
Rozlings, check it out and do it in honor of Roz … you’ll like it!
Row bravely, Roz!
Thoughts with you
Doug & Roz,
As you know I always take 2 minute showers in cool, not cold water. Again thank Roz and Ecoheroes for that.
Maybe we should take saltwater showers while Roz is at sea?
Hey Stan! You aren’t close enough the ocean to get a saltwater shower … so, go jump in a lake ;-D Seriously, I suppose your 2 minute cool shower has similar carbon footprint** to my 3 minute cold shower. In either case, our energy level is maximized … whooooieeee
** 19% of California’s energy consumption (fossil fuel combustion) is related to transporting (pumping) and heating water.
Wow Doug, Scary statistic – especially with all the hot air in that State… ONLY KIDDING!!! BUT, BUT, If my community based, renewable energy – Wind, Solar, Geo-Thermal, Hydro and Bio & Waste Fuel – Generating and Delivery, “Bucket List”, Non-profit biz – that I thought up in the coma, literally, gets rolling here – as it appears to be, little by little, community by community, we can reduce THAT 19% to 0% quite easily…
Richard, I want to know more about your projects (the one you mentioned yesterday and this one which you mentioned before). Are you on facebook, we can connect over there. Please friend me at http://www.facebook.com/Doug350 and check this out when you have a few minutes: http://thenextfrontiermovie.com/
Hey Doug, Kind of a long and interconnected reason why I am not on Facebook – has to do with trying to sort out the Coma financial mess, I have been advised by attorneys to keep anything about all this “Out Of The Social Medias”… It also “Is Not Me”… Except for being a Rozling, I find it very odd to go through a middleman for personal communications – don’t even like cyberspace for the same reasons… But, Feel free to contact me directly though – email@example.com…
BTW, Touching on all the questions/comments here regarding Roz’ Course Tracking… It is a bit worrisome not being able to track our friend – it makes us feel safer knowing where she is… BUT, I assume someone of her team has a very accurate idea as to where she is at any given moment…
Roz, I’m so glad that you are doing what you are doing and I hope that tonight gives you more peace and less rock’n’roll! (Wow, am I getting old or what? Less rock’n’roll?!?)
P.S. I included my picture so all you commenters can see that I’m joking about getting old. 😉 Although, as a “mom” to five kids… I do feel it!!
Wow Jen, You can ask Pippa and others here, I wrote a novel here the other day about how women are at their best when they reach 40 – Comfortable with who and what they are, What they have achieved – and what they haven’t, What they have – and what they haven’t, Where they are heading and the like… I am guessing from your photo that you have not reached the great age of 40 yet – in spite of being the mother of five which seems amazing… So, Wow, Again, When you reach 40 you will REALLY be amazing!!! By the way, Having been in the Gem & Jewelry Investment Biz my whole life, Emeralds being my favorite and my birthstone, love the “Nickname” too…
Richard – I have this amazing opportunity to be a foster parent, adoptive parent, guardian, and biological parent that allows me to be there and be a rock for children of all ages! And you’re right. I’m nowhere near 40. I figure by the time I’m 40 I’ll have at least 15 children! 😀
I absolutely love emeralds. I’ve always thought diamonds were a bit of a crock and overvalued. Emeralds have true character (opals, too, although they are just a bit weak for all their flash). Thanks for the compliment!
Wow!!! Amazing Dear Jen… You are a tough act to follow, and you are “nowhere near 40″… You will be so amazing when you reach 40, No one will be able to stand anywhere near you… ONLY KIDDING!
Jen, inspired by you (and Pippa’s squid pro quo) … since you showed us yours, I’ll show you mine ;-D … and this is after helping raise three boys who exceed me in height by 3″ to 5″. This is what 63.85 looks like … feels great! BTW, that’s Bill McKibben’s hand ;-D … but I digress …
Yes! Let’s have LESS Rock’n’Roll4Roz at least for the next few months, Mr. Poseidon, please!
You look great!
Dear Roz: mist & moonlight inland at 34s19′ 148e19′ No spare oar blades, that screw onto the shaft? hope that you get enough sleep: it is the one thing that counts.
Power of 10
There’s a social network model theory stating if 10% of members of a group hold an unshakable conviction their view will eventually win out. The U.S. civil rights movement took off when African American populations approached 10% of the total population. The 10% threshold applies to the environmental movement as well—when 10% of the population has unshakable conviction that there is a REAL problem changes will occur. And they will occur rapidly because the network behavior is nonlinear, moving faster as it approaches 10%, and like wildfire thereafter. So, we need10% who really mean it and the rest will follow—makes the task more doable.
Roz’s message will resonate with a lot of people if they know about what she’s doing. So Jay’s original post is excellent (excerpted):
1) Get her on Oprah (A wide audience for our Ocean Rower should not be missed) https://www.oprah.com/ownshow/…
2) Get her on the Ellen Show (Ellen’s My Hero Project is perfect for Roz in many ways) http://ellen.warnerbros.com/sh…
3) Sign the petition for Roz’s Project (The Olympics is global, multinational and multicultural, a perfect place to effect change) http://www.gopetition.com/peti…
4) Donate a(nother) mile or a blog or a sat phone call to her mom… (message me if you would like to do this with via US tax exemption)
6) Diminish or stop all together the demand for single use disposable plastics. Recylcle only when use is unavoidable.
10) Get out of the car further and enjoy that bike ride or walk to work.
Bruce, I believe what you describe is true. I used to think it was 2% from what others said back in the 70s. I believe we have long passed 2%, and we aren’t there yet … but soon we will have that tipping point.
Argh! So sorry an oar broke so soon. That blows. At least the Juggernauts held off until you were through with the sea sickness days.
Speaking of photography, if you feel like writing a post that’s really photography-related, I’ll have a good excuse to link to it from the magazine’s Facebook page. We’re over 30,000 followers now.
Roz, I <3 you! How many times can I say it: you are inspiring!
I finally cleared my backlog of books, and read your Atlantic book! I really enjoyed it!! That, combined with your launch, has led to many great and inspiring conversations with friends and coworkers! In solidarity, I also ordered an EasySprout from Sproutamo when you launched. Last night I harvested my first batch of sprouts! A salad mix, which required rinsing twice/day, but I enjoyed that too… I like projects. So I had a fresh and crunchy home-grown dinner out of my little counter-garden last night! Each time I looked in my EasySprout, I thought about your sprouts… out there somewhere… happily swelling and growing too!
(Not that it matters exactly which Dennis I am… I suppose… but this is Dennis in Oakland. Of (formerly) Dennis and Amber. Just to put myself in context.)
Roz, I cant wait for your next post – I am just glued to your blog when you are in the ocean…. This is the best way to spread the word! You are amazing!
Yeah Doug, I lived on a boat one Summer, thinking it would be wonderful, amazing and romantic, when it just turned out to be hot, humid and stagnant-stinky… BUT, from Roz’ description, The Rockin and Rollin COULD cause some fairly major injuries – while asleep an unprepared for it… Sort of like, Air Bags in autos aren’t any fun either, BUT they save a lot of lives when things go wrong unexpectedly… Humidity Bad, Broken appendage or neck – from Roz hitting something or something hitting her, Worse!
Social Networking, specifically Facebook and Twitter “makes money” by generating a “buzz” with news. The simplest, easiest and quickest way to promote Roz and her efforts is by clicking on the “share” button (top, left) of each blog. By sharing her story with your social media friends and “like”-ing, “share”-ing, or commenting… Roz slowly climbs up on search engines and broad-based media sites such as Google, CNN and BBC.
…I ran the numbers in my head and worked out how long it would take to get to Antigua at this snail’s pace. About eight months. Unimaginable. The math depressed me. .. I anxiously watched the red ensign flag hanging limply from the short mast that supported my navigation light. I longed to see it flutter to signal a returning breeze but it sullenly refused to move. My rowing was regularly punctuated by long, despairing sighs as I wondered what I had done to deserve such unhelpful weather, and imagined the other crews opening up an enormous lead over me…
In my opinion, there is nothing more exciting than being a part of a whole for a phenomena of change. The beginning of such force is happening right now. This is the call for your assistance. Please support Roz in this simplest of all motions- click share … one stroke at a time… Row Roz Row!
Juggernauts, eh? One sip of brandy & they go away. Oh … forgot U don’t have that frig / ice for your drink! Now, Roz … we’ll have no negative thoughts going on (rules, U know) It would be very inconvenient for me to fly out there & do a splash down alongside … just to give U my power talk. Remember: Bottom side down! Jimmy-in-Dallas :-))
Hi Everyone, I’ve really enjoyed catching up with the Girl at Sea and all you guys commenting away. The usual bunch is out there I see!
I am writing the weekly(ish) newsletter again – an email that will come replete with links to the blogs, podcasts, sponsors etc with a few of my jolly words thrown in. I know there’s lots of ways to keep up, and this is another one! just a little regular reminder to check in….
If you want to join the mailing list just go to
and put your email address is. Sorry this is so long, we’re still working on getting the ‘join us’ box on the website. Send it to all your friends.
and I look forward to more words of wisdom. The finest will surely make it to the newsletter!
After all this time, I just now subscribed. Thx ;-D
All the fun comments are fun in a fun way but I try not to forget the reason you are out there.
So far all the conserving I do has been economically advantageous to my family and I (I think they are getting tired of me reminding them to save electricity, water, gas etc…Possible mutiny in the future). You have inspired me to take an extra step and work on other ways to conserve starting with reusable bags for groceries and biodegradable trash bags for the house.
Keep safe and keep inspiring!
this is what I looked like when I first met Roz a few years ago, Tramping in New Zealand. She soon took me into her world and I’m still there.
it looks good on ya ;-D
I worked wind turbine maintenance for 4 years. Some of the turbines are downwind of a garbage dump. Acres of the ground is covered in plastic bags to the point where it looks like it snowed! Yuck!
You don’t realize how tiring the wind is until you get back in the truck and relax, of course the ground wasn’t tipping 90 degrees.
uuurrrrghh! broken oar! blast!! well, at least you’ve got the others, and woohoo!! you’re heading in the right direction!! love that quote about salt water-it’s the truth. Hmm.. love the idea of doing s.th. in solidarity with you…ugh-cold showers? well…..I do need to cut down on my water usage after all…let me contemplate that….hmmm…
My backseat two cents: What about rotating the oars 90 degrees in their locks? This way they would cut through the weight of the water coming in horizontally. As it is now they’re flat to the wave direction, absorbing tons of energy.
Bruce, I see your point – waves hitting them as they are can snap the blades… But, My guess is that if the blades were turned horizontally, and a wave was then to come over them – pushing that side of the boat’s bow or stern down, it could flip her or swamp her very quickly – to say nothing of snapping the blades in that process too… Sort of 6 of 1 and a half-dozen of another – But this way seems a little less risky to this ocean sailor… Broken Oar, Capsize or Swamping in Mid-Storm, I’ll take the Broken Oar… It will be interesting to see how wrong Roz and her Rozlings tell me I am here – In other words, You could well be right!!!
Hell Roz: I’m just sailing the Pacific. Keep going and I can’t wait to catch up reading your posts when I get to some wifi again. take care. Nick Black
Oh goodness – I honestly don’t know how you do it. I can ride my bike to the ends of the world – and even take my children with me – but the thought of being out on the open ocean scares the pants off me!
I hope things settle down for you!
Hi Roz, Amazing that you persist, after being knocked you about by the juggernauts, their younger brothers, cousins and sisters… Unfortunate that the oar broke. It sounds as though the sun and the 360 panorama, infuses you with the energy to take yet another stroke, get through yet another day, or night. My hat is off to you.
Be safe, Roz! Amelia and I are sending you our best energy!
Tomorrow here, today where you are, is Earth Day 2011. I’ve had the good fortune and privilege to meet Jane Goodall and Sylvia Earle, both of them are among my eco-heroes. I have followed your expeditions via web postings for some time. While I’m not in a position to contribute vast sums (or any) to your venture, I wish you God speed and all good fortune for a successful outcome. I am in awe of your accomplishments.
Sorry. I didn’t understand what the attachment thing before. I meant to send this Earth Day greeting along to you.
Did someone answer Roz on the Ken Follet books? Pillars of the Earth is the first one. Then World’s End, then something about giants…
Sindy, a couple folks have listed titles by year, forward and reverse chronology. Totally covered from all angles ;-D
Jess and I are following along Roz – sending some good weather your way! Glad to see that the xGate system is working for you. Happy Easter =) Chris Bray
Roz, I am posting comment #51 on this Day 9 while you are now probably enjoying your lunch break … 12:25 PM WST. Just want you to know that Earth Day events today in my building and in the park across the street and buzzing with adult and kid activity … that and the buzzing here among these comments is phenomenal and very inspiring … calm waters and wrong currents be damned … the community surrounding us is a quantum level greater than before. Tipping points are coming ;-D
Row audaciously into the future, Roz!
OMG, Roz, just read your last blog – not the best circumstances under which to wish you a Happy Earth Day. Do take care and know that there are so many of us out there that have you and your brave undertaking in our thoughts and prayers on a daily basis. Godspeed…
keep a lookout for those pirates Roz, if you get into any trouble call me & i’ll send over Johnny Depp arrrrrhhh!!!
Take care Roz. I’m following your blog and sharing it with my two teen-aged daughters. Don’t change careers yet, you are an inspiration. – Arvi Perez
One word: Awesome! and to be able to post a blog and to do so after such a night and recovery! $10 each month beginning May3rd (I’m disabled on SS) for the duration…. I can afford that at least! I want you to be able to SatPhone your Mum whenever you can…the poor lady! (shades of the first Pacific voyage?)