Internet Image of Whale Shark

When she found out what I do for a so-called living, a woman once said to me, with a look of awe in her eyes, “I wish I could see the things you’ve seen”. It made me realize that I have indeed seen some pretty amazing things. Here are my Top Five.

5. The Junk Raft: not wanting to disparage the Hunks on the Junk by placing them fifth, but as mere humans I felt they ought to cede priority to the natural wonders to follow. Nevertheless, by any standards the Junk Raft, made from 10,000 empty water bottles, a grid of yacht masts, and the fuselage of a Cessna aircraft, was an amazing sight, and all the more welcome because it also represented a long-awaited fresh fish supper and a resupply of fresh water. (Pacific Stage 1, between San Francisco and Hawaii)

4. Low-flying squid: I didn’t know squid could fly, until three of them thudded onto the deck of my boat, missing me by inches, leaving a horrible mess of squid ink and gelatinous corpses. People have asked why I didn’t fry them up as calamari for my supper. Take it from me, they did not look appetizing. (Pacific Stage 2, between Hawaii and Kiribati)

3. Electrical storms at night: as I was struggling through the doldrums just north of the Equator, I found great consolation in the almost nightly spectacle of towering cumulonimbus clouds, lit from within by flashes of lightning. Simply stunning. (Pacific Stage 2, between Hawaii and Kiribati)

2. Moonbow: I hadn’t even known that moonbows existed until I saw this one. There was a bright full moon in the east, and on the opposite horizon a raincloud. Voila – a moonbow. Like a rainbow, but in black and white. (Not sure if this was Pacific Stage 2 or 3)

My photo.

1. Whale shark: still the coolest wildlife I have ever seen. It was a Sunday morning, and I’d had the sea anchor out overnight. The wind had changed, so I pulled the sea anchor back in. A baby whale shark, *only* 8 feet long, attracted by the big red and yellow object, followed it right up to my boat. It then spent the next 20 minutes swimming laps around me, occasionally breaking the surface, while I ran from side to side of the boat, all the better to watch it. A very special experience. (Pacific Stage 2)

There have also been the turtles, dolphins, and whales, which are always a welcome and “wow, cool” sight. And on this voyage I’ve really enjoyed watching the aerobatics of the storm petrels. Today the wind has been gusting up to 30 knots, and they have been loving it, swooping and skimming and zipping along at phenomenal speeds. Down at sea level, I have not been reveling in the conditions, nor zipping along, emphasizing the point that no matter how long I spend out here, this is very much their habitat, not mine. I can only watch and wonder and marvel.

Other Stuff:

Less marvellous, I’ve been seeing more debris in the ocean the last couple of days. Yesterday I saw 5 or 6 pieces of rubbish within the space of 15 minutes, and today passed close to a big ball of rope and netting. It wasn’t exactly a “ghost net”, as it was a tight bundle and couldn’t have ensnared wildlife, fortunately. Interesting that I am seeing more at this halfway mark of the voyage, possibly providing evidence for the 5Gyres theory that the debris congregates in the centre of each ocean.

Natalie – Alcatraz had good food? I won’t even ask how you know that… I suspect that these days prisons serve up mostly junk food and preservatives. Even prison isn’t like it used to be….!

Jacob – good to hear from you. Interesting to hear the Africa famine linked to ocean activity. But not surprising. Now that I have rowed around most of this world, I can tell you that although it is a big world, it is nowhere near as big as we think it is – or not big enough for the way we treat it.

Thanks to everybody who has been campaigning for the plastic bag ban. It would make me deliriously happy if London (or even better, England) bans the bag forever. Banning the bag is a seriously good start at saving the environment.

Quote: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” (Origin disputed.)

Sponsored Miles: Thank you: Julian Gall, Karen Morss, Jennifer Bester, Kamas Industries, Christopher Schmidt and Peter Bromley.

19 Comments

  • Yesterday a total of 22 signatures were added to the petition http://bit.ly/PlasticFreeOly. As of 7:30 this morning (PT), 14 more have been added. A great start to August 14.

    Roz, for your enjoyment and to keep your finger on the pulse, here are the latest comments on the http://bit.ly/See_Your_Signatu​re

    Joan in Atlanta: Please be a good influence on the world and the attendees of the Olympics, and set a new standard for future Olympic cities. Ban the plastic bag. (#1,872)

    Anonymous: Please ban plastic bags, we don’t need them with so many safer alternatives. (#1,868)

    Krushna Chandra in India: Its easy to ignore plastic pollution now… but for how long? Before we know it, it might just be too late…Nature Drive Group (#1,867)

    Terry in Lincolnshire: Plastic bags are not only a danger to wildlife BUT also to farm animals, Marine Conservation, National Farmers Union, RSPB & many more organizations are against plastic bags as they are against Balloons & Chinese Lanterns.Oceans, rivers, countryside hedgerows & dykes are littered with these items & they are mostly just left, these plastic bags, balloons, lanterns will be in & on our worlds environments for hundreds of years.Thank GOODNESS for voluntary groups of people. (#1,862)
    Patrick in Belgium: Please ban useless plastics, get a green alternative. (#1,859)

    Nina in Florida: With the Olympics being viewed around the world, please PLEASE make way for the distinction of plastic bags for this upcoming Olympics and all future Olympics to come. Many people around the world will be ecstatic if this were to be the way of the future… as well as all the creatures on this planet who mistake it for food, get tangled in them, and die from them. Thank you, your time and considerations is greatly appreciated. Nina (#1,857)

    Row appreciatively, Roz!

      • And you are #1,875 … thanks for the great comment Stephen: I object to the word demand in this petition but believe that reducing our rubbish to as near zero as possible is imperative if we want to improve our condition. It is also important to me that the fellowship of the games is not diminished by focusing on things other than the games themselves.

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    wOW Roz, You get to see beautiful
    things and save the world at the same time, Stormy Petrels
    too?…lucky! Not to mention basking in 30 knot winds. Yikes! Beam
    me up Roz! I wanna see the birds and fish too. Guess I’ll have to
    head for the beach soon. Hope you see the green flash on your voyage
    to add to your collection of wonder filled sights. The stars must be
    beautiful out there on the ocean…no light pollution either. Have
    you heard of Captain Joshua Slocum and his boat the Spray? Ahhhhh
    yes, Alcatraz, beautiful island of the Pelicans, spoiled by a prison.
    Occupied by Native Peoples in the 1970’s.  Now a tourist attraction.  I used to row around it
    before work in the morning. Piloted many Alcatraz swims too. Woke
    up on the bay early one morning in a sail boat and the water and air
    around us was an amazing rosy orange pink color.
    Look Roz Look,  and Row Roz Row,   all the best,   Stephen

     

  • I agree, a plastic bag ban is necessary. Many people will never change their habits otherwise. There are plenty of green alternatives, plastic NOR paper bags are the answer.

    Project GreenBag is the sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags. 100% organic cotton, biodegradable, affordable, and made in San Francisco California.

    http://www.ProjectGreenBag.com
    http://www.facebook.com/ProjectGreenBag
    http://twitter.com/projectgreenbag

    • There are also bags for sale on Roz’s Ebay site, accessed from her website page. I have a quantity of them in the UK as well for non-US orders.

  • My mother rode out to Alcatraz with her father to deliver fresh fish to the prison, must have been the 1930’s. Whether the inmates or the guards got it she never said.

    • That is great,  wish I could go back in time and see Alcatraz and the San Francisco Bay at that time.  Also back before people arrived,  say 1,000 years ago.  Do you live in California?

  • I am so envious of all that you have seen in your time on the oceans of this beautiful blue ball we call Earth!

    Here’s a bit of positive news that I gleaned from the Hilo, HI paper (Hawai’i Tribune-Herald) about the Marine Mammal Center where I used to work and volunteer . . . 

    “The critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal is on the verge of extinction — with only 1,200 of the mammals remaining in the wild. But the species in distress may soon have a new ally. “The Sausalito, Calif.-based Marine Mammal Center is planning to build a $3 million rehabilitation center to treat the endangered seals at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority.”

    This over on the Kona side of the island where they will be doing this.

  • I spent the last two hours seaching for interesting stuff on Whalesharks, Moonbows, Squids, Electrical Storms and Storm Petrels. Even Five Gyres and JunkRaft. And although the video link below is a great description of dynamic soaring (of storm petrels and albatross), nothing quite seems to compare with the barnacle’s facts and figures:) btw wikipedia has two great pictures of moonbows or white rainbows, but further reading tells why Roz’s sighting is so much more rare than even those pictures.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonbow

    http://youtu.be/F4zEaYl01Uw 

    If interested, google, wikipedia and youtube are good places to start.

    The more we know about the earth, the more likely we take initiative in conservation efforts regarding her.

    Here is another great hint. Ckick on http://www.images.google.com and search for anything that you are interested in… like “Amazing underwater photography” or “amazing places, beautiful waterfalls, wildflowers” send them to each other… 🙂 This can be done while working out or while putting reusabel bags in the car seat with a note of reminder to bring it into store.
    Or making arrangements to get the bike outfitted with panniers. Although a thrift store backpack will do. Bring a lock (I forgot mine last time and had a double ride).

    Kicked that habit? How about switching back to bar soap instead of liquid gels that must be bought in plastic containers…

    Cheers all, Northern California is having some amazing sunsets of late. Just a little after 8pm, Then stay tuned to the sky to watch the satellites’s show at just a little after darkness (when their solar wing-reflectors are still in the sun’s rays, as they are higher up in the atmosphere) Take the family! It is one less sunset you will get to take them to and they will remember you for it!~Jay

  • Cynthia~ do a little research and be one of the first to offer volunteer assistance to taking care of of them! It was one of my most cherished memories in my Sausalito days at TMMC. They need around the clock help especially during mating season (that’s the research bit) It is an amazing organization! *Y*a*Y* ! What great news! If you live in SFBArea then they need the most help in February March night shifts mondays and tuesdays are the busiest. I used to teach harbor seals how to swim! You can too!

    ~Row Roz Row!

    • I wish I could volunteer with them again . . . I’ve put multiple stints with them since the late 8os, the 90s, and another period from around 2005 to 2008.  One of my rescues (a sea lion in a dairy barn) was featured on CNN news. These days I am on the road traveling full time in my camper-truck RV combo throughout the west doing different volunteer stints with different groups most recently at Valles Caldera National Preserve.

      • It’s great to have news like this from those of you who contribute comments to Roz’s blog. Means so much more when seeing familiar names coming up if we know a bit more about you!. Thanks Cynthia for what you do, what you say and what you are.

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