Day 29 - sunsetIt seems to be my karma in this lifetime to be faced from time to time with tough decisions – and this one is up there in my Top Ten Tough Decisions Of All Time. I spent most of last night agonizing over it. The
night seemed hotter than usual in my cabin, and I was – literally and metaphorically – sweating over my options.

It had been just a week since I declared my intention to head for Tuvalu. My weatherman had assured me it was possible, although certainly not easy, requiring me to cut directly across the prevailing winds. And
I wanted to believe it was possible, not least because Tuvalu has become synonymous with the human impact of climate change, which is the key message of this stage of my row as we approach the crucial summit in Copenhagen. I knew getting to Tuvalu would be challenging, but I was prepared to put in the hard work to make it happen.

However, a few things had changed during the course of the last week. I had discovered that the coordinates I had for Tuvalu were for the westernmost island, not the capital Funafuti, which is the easternmost island. This would make it much harder to reach the capital than I had realized. Then some brisk easterly winds had halted my progress for 36 hours while I waited on the sea anchor – this had two implications. First, it would only take a few more days of such winds to put Tuvalu beyond my reach. And second, if I had to use the sea anchor on a regular
basis to stop westward drift, it would take me much longer to get to Tuvalu. And time was limited – by my water supply.

Since my watermaker stopped working I’ve been relying on my reserves of water, but some of my water bags had leaked. And my water consumption is much higher than it has been on my previous rows, due to the heat. So less water supply + higher water requirement = bad news. I do have a backup manual watermaker, but I was already going to have to row 16 hours a day to maintain the necessary tight control over my course, so then pumping water for 2 hours a day (manual watermakers produce water drop by drop, rather than a steady stream) was not an attractive option.

So the worst case scenario was pretty bad. There was now a substantially increased risk of running out of water, and possibly missing Tuvalu altogether and spinning off into the great blue yonder. Oh, and the food situation wasn’t looking too good either. I was concerned.

After churning all this over and over in my head for half the night, part of me still resisted changing my mind. I wanted to go to Tuvalu! My imminent arrival had been announced on the radio, I was due to meet with members of the government, we had storage arranged for my boat… and of course I wanted to find out more about how they plan to be the world’s first carbon neutral nation.

I was unbearably hot in the cabin, so I went out on deck to cool down. I looked up at the stars and the setting moon. They helped me get a sense of perspective on the issue. Ultimately, although the message is important, it helps if the messenger is a) alive, and b) has not had to rely on some fossil-fuel guzzling means of transport to come rescue her if/when she seems in danger of disappearing over the horizon with no water and no food. So, it seemed, the choice was clear. The sensible, responsible thing to do would be to change course for Tarawa. I could reach it relatively easily (or as easy as ocean rowing ever gets) well
before I ran out of sustenance – and without having to rely on outside intervention.

So I swallowed my pride and admitted to myself that it made sense to change course. First thing this morning I rang Ricardo, my Lisbon-based weatherman, and we talked it through. He was totally supportive of my decision. Then I spoke with Nicole, my program director. She, too, fully supported me – even though this meant that a lot of the fantastic preparations she’d lined up for Tuvalu were now moribund, and she’d have to start over again with Tarawa. By the end of today she had already worked miracles – people had been informed, flights were booked, and plans were coming together.

I feel hugely relieved by this decision. It has been a tough one, but the cold dread and anxiety of what might happen if I missed Tuvalu has been lifted from me. It would otherwise have hung over me every day until I made – or failed to make – landfall.

So now it is all suddenly very imminent, and the energy levels in TeamRoz have skyrocketed. With just 300 nautical miles to go, I am hoping to arrive in about 2 weeks, around Sept 9th, so this doesn’t leave much time – and lots to do. On Sunday Nicole and Conrad (our filmmaker, who by the grace of the many generous Rozlings is going to come out to Tarawa to film my arrival) will leave Hawaii for Tarawa to start lining up the multitude of logistical arrangements.

I’d like to take a final opportunity to enjoy some “alone time” before I make landfall. Call this my Walden time. So I’m going to go incommunicado and take a few days out from social media, and hand over to Nicole to do the blog. Her life is going to be much more interesting – and hectic – over the near future anyway. She will be posting updates on this blog from tomorrow until Sept 2nd, when I’ll return from my self-imposed exile, and from then until my arrival Nicole and I will blog on alternate days. Amongst the trials and tribulations of an expedition program director, she’ll be sharing details of the preparations for my arrival, her first impressions of Tarawa, and how she is being assisted by celebrity contacts (thank you to author J Maarten Troost!).

I hope you’ll enjoy these final stages with us. I’m really excited to see how everything develops over the coming 2 weeks. Nicole and Conrad are going to have their work cut out – to find boat storage, boat transport, accommodation, even internet access – and, of course, a source of ice cold beer! So join with me in wishing them huge amounts of good luck in pulling all this together in an impossibly short timescale. They are going to need it, but if anyone can pull off a miracle, it’s TeamRoz!

[photo: Go west, young woman! Tonight’s sunset was a bit drab, so here is one from the archive…]


  • Safe and sane is how we (the collective Rozlings)need you to be! Your decision is a wise one and based totally on logic, which seems the only appropriate criteria for being solo in the middle of the ocean! Good for you and waiting to hear more about your trip whenever you emerge from “Walden time”.

  • Glad u made that choice. The fact that you feel at peace with it, and that all your advisers agree, confirms that it is the right one. I’m sure the path will be great either way.

  • Hi Roz,
    Knowing how much you wanted to go to Tuvalu, and why, we have a pretty clear picture of how tough this decision was. And while the Tuvaluans will be dissappointed, surely they will understand. There are legions of people who now know that Tuvalu exists as a direct result of your attempt.

    Thank you for what you are doing. You’ve made a difference for me and my family. Fair winds and following seas to your destination…you have earned this!

    Rozta’ Bill

  • I’d been hoping you’d come to that conclusion, but didn’t want to say anything discouraging. This is your row, and it was your decision to make. I think you knew this was coming for a couple of days now, but couldn’t bring yourself to admit it. It’s a courageous decision to make, and I’m proud of you. You’ve done a fantastic job against overwhelming obstacles, and have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Bravo!

    Safe journey, Roz.

  • What a very difficult decision to have to make. But you’re making a difference just by being out there and doing what you’re doing, so much better to be safe than sorry.

    I’m sure the Tarawans will be delighted to see you! Perhaps you could even visit Tuvalu (as part of a speaking tour?) before you head off again on Stage 3.

    Enjoy your own personal Walden time. And the very best of luck with the next 300 miles.

    Good luck Nicole, too! Looking forward to reading about how you’re getting on with all the arrangements for Roz’s arrival.

  • Hey Roz,

    I just read about your decision. And it ist right to change course. Being a sailor myself, I know that it is not appropriate to act “proud” at sea. The Pacific is no duck pond. Your decision is reasonable.
    Keep on going – And like yesterday…. here is an HUUUGE pack of good vibes.

    Bye from Hamburg, GE


  • Roz, Here is today’s Pure Moxie du Jour for you.

    Great and clear thinking, sometimes you must make the decision to go to plan B and realize that plan A would be have been a better outcome, that is why it was plan A to begin with. But if it is not safely, or sanely possible, then plan B is the way to go.

    Glad to see that nearly 100 days at sea and you are still sane!

    Pure Moxie du Jour
    August 28, 2009

    “You’ll seldom experience regret for anything that you’ve done. It is what you haven’t done that will torment you. The message, therefore, is clear. Do it! Develop an appreciation for the present moment. Seize every second of your life and savor it. Value your present moments. Using them up in any self-defeating ways means you’ve lost them forever.”

    Wayne Dyer
    Author and Speaker

    Roz, the above is not to say you should go to Tuvalu, just that you should get in your boat and row!

    The above quote along with one of my favorites below really puts things into perspective.

    “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”

    -Conrad Hilton
    (American Hotelier, 1887-1979)

    These above thoughts together, are pure magic.

    Have a very productive weekend and keep thinking about the tools you have to work with and what you want to make happen

    Make it happen!

    I am trying, no strike that, I going to make it happen… will you?


    Pure Moxie du Jour

  • Roz, with you 100% in your decision. As promised, your favorite number of carrot$ (plus bonu$) will be $cattered in a golden trail westward before you, showing you the way to Tawara. Carrot$ will be scattered ahead of you as you cross the following longitudes:

    178 00 … 23 carrot$ + 7 bonu$ carrot$ = 30 carrot$
    177 00 … 23 carrot$ + 7 bonu$ carrot$ = 30 carrot$
    176 00 … 23 carrot$ + 7 bonu$ carrot$ = 30 carrot$
    175 00 … 23 carrot$ + 7 bonu$ carrot$ = 30 carrot$
    174 00 … 23 carrot$ + 7 bonu$ carrot$ = 30 carrot$

    Every 3 nautical miles (3 minutes of longitude) easy to follow and easy to $pot

    My spiritual emissary Bugs will be there in spirit to greet you with a cheery Ehh, what’s up Doc? so tip your cap and flash him a big $MILE as you pass the minutes.

    Fellow Rozlings, please get a supply of carrot$ at the carrot$ $tore and together let’s make a very clear, wide golden trail for Roz to follow to Tawara. (Carrots of any size will help improve her eye sight.)

  • Carrot$ Errata, Roz. My math is not so good this early in the morning.
    Carrot$ will be $cattered every 2 nautical miles (2 minutes of longitude)

    Oh, one more thing: the carrot$ that were previously $cattered on a southerly course
    to Tuvalu are now magically rescattered westerly before you toward Tawara.

  • I couldn’t admire you more for making this decision, Roz. Striking out to take the toughest course to Tuvalu was a bold and difficult decision, but changing your course to Tarawa based on some very real safety, wind probability and environmental decisions, to me, is an even more difficult and admirable choice because it takes a sacrifice of a very different kind.

    It reminds me of Everest climb leaders who have to make the decision not to summit if the hour has grown too late or the conditions become too unfavorable. Leaders who cannot let go of their pride or their primary goal have lost their lives and others’ in not being able to make that hard choice. It’s not an equal comparison in all aspects, though, because you’ll still get to summit, it’s just a different summit. All of those Pacific islands are giant mountains with their base at the bottom of the sea, so I think the term really applies.

    Row safe, Roz, and enjoy those Walden days.

    Take it away, Nicole!

  • Glad to hear reality coming back into your decision instead of the HUGE outside influence of the inexperienced and the wannabees..
    It is all so entrapping to the ego, but then it becomes like a parasite to your soul after a while.

  • Roz, in line with your awareness building purpose in this stage, I just have to add one simple thought:

    I see a metaphorical message in your decision: Faced with insurmountable forces, you changed course, as humanity must change course to stem insurmountable forces of another kind.

  • You have accomplished so much – Changing your final destination does not diminish your message. Swift travels to your new destination.

  • Roz wrote the above blog BEFORE she had read the comments from yesterday’s blog, and was delighted to see that a number of the Rozlings had approved of her changing her plans if it became necessary to do so. She phoned me this morning (UK time) to ask me to mention this, and to say a big THANK YOU for your loyal support and understanding. It has not been an easy thing to do to go back on what she had previouly decided. I am personally hugely relieved that she has made the decision to head for Tarawa. A big thank you too to Nicole, who has had to hastily make alternative arrangements – she is doing a grand job. Grateful to all, and best wishes from Roz’s Mum.

  • Well done Roz! You have put Tuvalu on the map for many who didn’t know it existed and turned eyes to this amazing place. We’ll be watching and cheering them on just as we have you. Your reasons are true to your goals and you aren’t disappointing anyone.
    Way to go! Way to go Nicole too!

  • Rita, I think most — if not all — of us are relieved, as you and Roz have both expressed. Hugs and love to you both, as well as TeamRoz ;-D

  • Change is very hard. You embraced it and made decisions based for what YOU believed, that alone proves your integrity & stength in your values. Had you stayed on course with Tuvalu, you would have compromised your values and finished based on societal expectations. Aloha Roz!

  • Hi Roz,
    Changing course for Tarawa is wonderful news….I was hoping you would do that all along, but did’nt want to say so, as you were so keen on Tuvalu. I am sure there a few thousand sighs of relief going on right now, from all your loving fans. It made my day a lot brighter. Lots of love and best wishes on your new course.

  • Dear Ms. Savage,
    We have just received an emergency message from your program manager, Ms. Nicole (we find her a very delightful and efficient person to work with), that you are changing your destination from Tuvalu island to Tarawa. We have immediately put emergency plans into effect here at Pacific Cold Beer Transportation Corp. Please be assured that your cold beer will safely be transported from Tuvalu to Tarawa and will coolingly be awaiting your arrival at your new destination. No problem – it is our pleasure and privilege to play such an important role in your courageous project!
    Our best “Great Rowing!” wishes from the team here at Cold Beer Transportation Corp.!

  • H’lo Roz,

    Since you started Leg 2, Tarawa has always been your choice option. Back in June you stressed this fact again, but with an alternate objective – to cross the Equator first, then beetle over to Tarawa. Wise choice. Bathymetry (my bag) showed you were in a general corridor favorable for Tuvalu destination; but that Ol’ Wind Bag upstairs chose to be obstinate. The southern Booby did a tap dance on your dome to wake you up. Which way was its beak pointing when you next saw said Booby? Now your motor is missing on a cylinder or two, your fuel is running low and the mechanics of ocean rowers all calling you to Tarawa. Current stats say you can make it there in ten days or so. Go there, recondition your motor, and get a full body overhaul. After completing two thirds of your Pacific objective, the final lap is going to be a doozer! With you 300 percent – mind, body and soul. -Achates

  • Roz, I linked to your blog via Laureen H, who lives near me. (I’m a “box dweller” near the marina.) I spent part of last night reading your adventures. I applaud what you’re doing and wish you strength and endurance, whatever route you have to take.

  • Better safe than sorry. I know it’s hard to change your heart once it’s set on something but life’s winds must be obeyed. The last thing any of us want is for your story to end in tragedy. Be at peace with the universe and it will be at peace with you. Good fortune Roz. I’ll be watching you come in with the tide.

  • Hi Roz,

    In addition to bringing awareness to the world, you demonstrate strong decision-making abilities. That is the basis for the former…..

    Sometimes the wind does not change in the direction that we want but it does change. It seems wise to follow this new course and wait for the new-found joys to unfold.

    Peace and harmony to you….


  • I feel for you. I know how tough it is to have to change ones plans when one was really hoping for something. I’m sure you will get to see Tuvalu someday. Peace.


  • Good on you mate! Now see if you can run over that coconut! He’s got a few days head start on you but not your gumption ,or oars :-). Jim Bell Australia

  • The most important lesson I’ve learned from the ocean is humility. It doesn’t care how I feel about it. It doesn’t let me do what I want to do all the time. It just is. So you have adapted and that is a wise course, Roz. You inspire us all to push ourselves (sorry I forgot about the rowing – to pull ourselves!) And the waves teach us something as well. There are troughs we fall into. But they are always followed by crests. Keep on keeping on, Roz. Fair winds.

  • Dear Roz
    Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!
    I had been wondering how to tell you to read your last few blogs, to listen to what the ‘Rozlings’ were saying, to listen to what nature was telling you so clearly, to stop being so STUBBORN!
    But I don’t have to ‘cos you’ve done it all by yourself!!!
    Go west, girl, and just glide into Tarawa.
    And remember the Royal Navy saying: If it can’t be fixed with duct tape or WD40, it’s a female problem!!!
    The Portsmouth News has finally done an article on your second stage – when you crossed the Equator. I’ve sent the paper to your dear mum, as promised.
    Wishing you all the very best & God speed.
    luv, Steve

  • I am so relieved. I’ve been watching the RozTracker and you’re traveling almost directly to Tarawa. Seems a much more logical destination than Tuvalu and I’m so glad you’ll be heading there with purpose.

    Also want to let you know what an inspiration you’ve been to me. Lately, when I think of doing something and it occurs to me how difficult it might be, I think “Roz is ROWING across the Pacific. If she can do THAT, I can do THIS.” Enjoy your break and we’ll all be here when you get back.

  • I did not think Tuvala was really attainable when you made the decision a few days ago. The currents had been pushing you west for a while so Tarawa seemed to me to be where you would end up going. You can see where the World War II battle was at Tarawa.

  • Dear Roz;
    You have achieved your primary objective for the year: crossing the Equator. Reaching Tuvalu would have been the ‘icing on the cake’ but not essential. Of course it is a shame not to be able to do everything that you want but this isn’t be the first time you’ve had to change your plans and it certainly won’t be the last. Perhaps your expectations were influenced by your spectacular arrival at Oahu.

    Any landfall by rowboat on a tiny island in the South Pacific will be an achievement, whether guided by electronics, Rick Shema, Ricardo, or dead-reckoning.

    Take a few days to adjust and we look forward to your virtual return, mentally adjusted, refreshed, and somewhat more relaxed!
    Love from us both;
    John and Patricia

  • Roz,

    Your decision shows your high level of pragmatism and intelligence, two traits which any true adventurer uses to the best of their abilities. After all, your true destination is at the end of Stage Three of your journey, so all you’re really doing is changing the starting point of that stage.

    Besides, this just means you get to the cold beer sooner. 😀

  • Perhaps there is a another cause the gods were pulling you towards. There are a lot of young girls on Tarawa who need the example of what a woman can do when she puts her mind to it.
    There are a lot more people in the world who are ignorant to the degradation they are enduring to survive.

  • I read “The Alchemist” last night as a result of this blog. This passage struck me when I learned of your “new path”

    “The closer he got to the realization of his dream, the more difficult things became. It seemed as if what the old king had called ‘beginner’s luck’ were no longer functioning. In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his perisistence and courage. So he could not be hasty nor impatient. If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path.”

    No choice you make would be wrong if you follow the signs. Your dream (as I understand it) is to cross the Pacific. The ocean has persistantly given you the signs.
    That shower (you’ve probably been in enough water to actually want a bath)and cold beer await your arrival in Tawara.
    Oh, and by the way. Will we get to know your (land)travel schedule, that we might try to get to meet you?

  • While the people of Tuvalu may be disappointed that you are unable to come, they are certainly continuing to support your voyage, and hope you may some day visit. They understand what you are doing is for the whole planet, not just Tuvalu.

    Tarawa in Kiribati was a logical choice due to the climatic conditions. will continue to publicize your journey.

  • Once I read your decision, it felt like a huge relief inside. I can’t count how many times I zoomed the RozTracker back and forth between your boat and Tuvalu, and just wondered how you could possibly achieve that, especially with a broken watermaker. I am so happy for you!

    The wind which had been your adversary for the past few days suddenly becomes your friend!! No? Is this what we call paradigm shift? I think there is something for me to learn there.

    Also a quote from Churchill: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

    It was truly a courageous decision.

    By the way, you will have to cross Equator back again. Why don’t you weave in and out a few times? Judging by what happened the last time, each time you cross that magic line (Equator), it is a moment of celebration for all the Rozlings! 🙂

  • Good girl. 🙂 Now I can stop worrying about you, and go back to working on another poem or song or something, and you should ENJOY the next two weeks of solitude, getting yourself balanced and centered, in preparation for returning to the world of people and chaos. 🙂 What you have accomplished in the last three months is spectacular! And you’ve set yourself up just perfectly for next year and Oz! In your honor, I’ll eat a Lemon (my favorite!) Larabar this afternoon.

  • Big cheers to your decision! I feel like you’ve actually got the best of both worlds going…having raised our awareness of *both* the islands…no matter which you land on. It has been an incredible journey. I cannot wait for you to get on land again, so we can know you are safe….and so we can celebrate vicariously with you! *Cheers!*

  • Looking good Hun…been with you every step/pull of the way so far! Not long now till that cold beer…looking forward to sharing one with you sometime soon. Heaps of love from us all…keep safe X
    p.s – think we’d need to work on those dance moves though!!?

  • (12:49 AM HST) – Looks like Roz has started rowing again.
    The past three hours she has averaged 2.4+ mph due west
    after drifting westerly at 1.25 mph over night 12 hours.

  • The truth, I had hoped you had chosen Tarawa, but admired you when you decided Tuvalu. That decision was enough to prop Tuvalu into public conscience, whichh it needs very much! But now, Roz, you can play it more into the future. We need you traveling and speakin up for the environment. Row, Rosita, Row, all the way to Tarawa. We’ll keep rowing with you!
    ALEJO, from Colombia

  • Roz:

    It was a tough, but right decision.

    Looking forward to your first blog from dry land and behind a beer.

    You are always in our thoughts.

    Gary in Arizona.

  • Hey there! On the Roz Tracker, it looks like the ocean has been pushing you in that direction all along. And right now you look all set up for a straight beeline to Tarawa. Good move on your part and this is probably what the other rowers should’ve done to complete their journeys. Amazing how that works out. I would love to meet up in Tarawa, but I’m still planning for the Australia arrival. I might actually send my husband (mechanical engineer) to Tarawa next year to help you get launched. He can create anything, build anything from nothing you’d imagine, and figure out all sorts of resolutions to problems. Last week a friend’s truck was overheating and Dion fixed it with a mini-maglite. Maybe this is a common fix, but I would’ve never thought of it.

    Be safe Roz, enjoy the solitude. Sing the Hawaii 5-0 theme as loud as you want. Probably not your favorite song, but you did great on that video.


  • Mauri Roz, and greetings again from Tarawa. I can’t imagine how difficult the decision must have been for you, but if there is anything I can do to help you and your team ahead of your arrival, please let me know. We’ll look at putting the welcome mat out for you around the 9th.

  • May your body, mind and spirit soar with exhiliation as you glide towards your destination in the living waters by the breath of the Great Divine!

    “There is great love for you here”! 🙂

  • Roz,
    I think you made a solid call. In my line of work there’s a phrase: “Leaning forward in the foxhole”. In short, it means making advance preparations to accomplish an implied or potential task. It’s a great thing – normally. But the hazard is that the preparations can get so extensive they COMMIT you to the task. So when the time for a go/no go decision must be made (if made at all) common sense is drowned out by the “need” to justify the time, effort, money, and resources involved. I’m happy to hear in your case the tail is not wagging the dog.


  • Roz, glad to see you back at the oars … good progress today!
    RozTracker shows you crossed 178 00 at 3:20 PM this afternoon.
    Scattered westerly … 23 carrot$ + 7 bonu$ carrot$ = 30 carrot$

  • Hi Roz, I am in awe of your great adventure and purpose. Ok, I have an idea for how to solve future water maker issues. Might even do away with the need for the ones that keep breaking down on you. I am not an engineer, but I am sure there is someone reading you who is and can tell us if this is even possible. Why can’t your water maker pump be connected to either the rowing or seat slide mechanism (assuming that is what you have). As each row or slide occurs there is a pump action. That way you don’t have to row for hours and then pump for hours. Seems like it would work to me and would not add much more than tubing to your boat design. Just my idea, maybe even been suggested before, but I can see it working. Keep the faith!

  • Congrats on making the tough, right decision. In aviation, we talk about the phenomenon of get-there-itis which has led so many pilots astray from good, pragmatic decision-making. I commend you on both your determination to try for Tuvalu as long as you did, and on your strength to make the decision to pull for Tarawa. I hope you enjoy every day remaining, and know that you will be welcomed by those who love you on your arrival.


  • 44.5 miles in the last 24hrs must feel really good especially since its all in the direction of a fresh water shower and a cool drink 🙂 Jim Bell Australia (8/29/09 12.03 PM Roz Tracker time)

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