On my previous voyages, the RozTracker has been one of the most popular pages on my website. It made it easy for occasional visitors to see at a glance where I was, and for the regulars to see whether I had had a good day’s mileage or… not.

So it was with great reluctance that this year we decided not to post my position online. And with great delight that I can announce that from now until the end of my Indian Ocean voyage my position will be posted several times daily on this website.

Pirates Ahoy

The reason for NOT posting my position was safety. Back in January, when I was busy with the planning stages of Eat-Pray-Row, terrible stories were coming back from the Indian Ocean. Pirates were running rampant, rapidly expanding their area of operations and becoming increasingly aggressive. Four Americans were shot and killed. A total of over 300 people were being held hostage. The situation was serious.

I sought advice from maritime organizations and shipping companies. The experts said, “Don’t go.” That wasn’t the advice I wanted to hear, so I proposed a compromise. I would go, but not advertise my position online. They agreed that, if I really insisted on pursuing my plans, this would be a sensible precaution.

I also had to change my route. Initially, I had intended to row to Mumbai in India, but this would have taken me through the Arabian Sea, the most dangerous area of all. So I investigated other options – Zanzibar, Madagascar, Goa, Cochin. But they were all within the area dominated by pirates.

Maternal Concern

My mother has been remarkably phlegmatic about my ocean rowing exploits over the years, but this was too much even for her. After she had received a phone call from a man at the UKMTO (United Kingdom Maritime Trading Organization, during which he had terrified her with dire predictions of what awaited me, she wrote me an email that ended, “As if rowing across oceans wasn’t bad enough, now this???” My mother is not given to excessive panic nor excessive punctuation, so those three question marks meant that she was far from happy. A compromise solution had to be found.

Ultimately I decided to stick to the safer waters of the southern hemisphere, but to leave Mumbai on my website’s home page as a decoy. My destination has been a closely guarded secret, known only to a handful of people.

But now, nine months later on, as I near the end of my voyage, we have decided after much deliberation that it is safe to go public. The pirates have not continued the expansion of their operations, confining themselves mostly to the area north of the Equator, with only a few forays to the south. And I am now so close to land that they are unlikely to find me before I make landfall.

Destination: Mauritius

Yup, just like everybody else who rows the Indian Ocean (with only a few exceptions), I am aiming for Mauritius, a beautiful island off the eastern coast of Africa. I am now about 368 miles away, and hope to make landfall in early October.

I am aware that the Woodvale crews were not so coy about their destination, also Mauritius. Good for them. Each crew has to make their own decision, based on the information available to them. Sarah Outen was also open about her destination, but that was two years ago, before the rapid increase in pirate activity. I consulted the experts, and based on their advice made a decision that was acceptable to them, myself, and my mother. We will never know what might have happened if I had decided otherwise.

Final Countdown:

So now you know, and I hope you’re getting as excited as I am for this final countdown. It feels like forever since I parted company with terra firma in Australia’s Abrolhos Islands on 4th May, and my feet are yearning to feel solid ground beneath them once again. I also have a feeling that they may well propel me in the direction of the nearest bar soon after landfall!

On the one hand, it’s hard to believe that this is almost over – that my world of sea, sky, dorados and yellowfins will soon be just a memory. On the other hand, I CAN’T WAIT!!!!! ūüôā

You can see ROZ’S ROUTE here. Each dot links to the blog from that day.

Other Stuff:

Making good progress. Conditions benign.

I hear from my mother that our fundraising campaign to raise her airfare has been a fantastic success so far – thank you all so much! I think we now have almost enough to cover her costs. The next segment goes towards a full-body massage as a treat for me (and oh boy, do I need it!), and after that any further sums go to charity. You’ve been absolutely fantastic. I’m sure I speak for Mum as well when I say that your generosity has made us feel very loved.

I finished listening to “Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change

Quote for the day: “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

Sponsored Miles: Thank you to : Mark Dyson, Megan Lutz, Bonnie Sterngold, David Cameron, Nick Perdiew, Alexandra Stevens, Jeffrey Green, Peter Lisker. Sponsored beyond Roz’s destination: Megan Lutz, Sally Phillips, Rolando Cuadrado, Chris Ferreira, Wayne Batzer and Gail Brownell.

A very special thank you from Rita for the loving generosity shown by Roz’s friends donating funds for me to travel to be there when Roz arrives. Sorry I have not been able to acknowledge them all individually.
Special mention to Poppy (8) and Joseph (5) for the joke they sent along as well: Why did the Dinosaur cross the road? Because the chicken hadn’t been invented.
Rita.

32 Comments

  • I CAN’T WAIT!!!!! also. ¬†Best o’ luck during the final countdown.
    Thanks for the tip … “Spiral Dynamics” sound like a must read.

    We Rozlings love you two!

  • Hurrah…now we can follow every oar stroke :).( even if they are a bit weather beaten!)…Good luck, god speed and looking forward to the news that finally you have set foot safely on land ūüôā
    David Church

  • Roz, you don’t usually use exsessive punctuation either, you must really want to get to dry land!!!!!
    I am thrilled that you are near the end of your voyage. Is there a special drink for ocean rowers? Perhaps a VERY DRY martini?
    Damn the pirates, full speed ahead!
    Have I missed any cliches?
    Seriously I won’t know what to listen to on my Saturday morning walks. The end of a major endeavor means change and a new goal, good luck with yours!!!!!

  • WOW!!!¬† Roz,
         That is fantastic news!  Will you be shouting LAND HO! from the crows nest when you spy land?
         Here is to hoping the pirates electronics fail due to salt water and that they run out of fuel close to home.
         It is great to be able to see your course on the Roz tracker since I have only been following your logs since July of this year.

    Dear Rita, 
         I am so glad you will be able to meet Roz when she makes landfall.           
                                                                          All the best,     Stephen

  • Thank you for taking us along on your amazing ride of the planet. I am deepy richer for having this experience. Do enjoy the rest of your time at sea. No matter the exact date, Your bay area group will set up celbrations when you are safely back on land.

    You are always so enlightening, so inspiring, many of us will continue to follow your more land-based adventures. But, for now, know that several of us will continue to care for you and send you good vibes in anticipation of you making land fall.

    You know, now we will have to go back to that globe at Chrissy Field and take pictures from the other side. Party to follow…

    Somehow, The Universe is more correct today. I wish you peace~

    Don’t give up on the Philosophy Fridays neither, those will sorely missed.
     
    Row Roz Row!

    ~Jay

  • I agree with the other Stewart. Although I’ve been following you since the start of the Pacific.¬† Claude Stewart

  • I don’t have anything against India, but I’m much happier that Mauritius is the spot for your first shower and massage and drink and hug from Mum and caramel latte….

  • Roz, I recently read a book called, “Golden Bats & Pink Pigeons” by: Gerald Durrell. Its actually how I discovered YOU & Your adventure! After I finished the book I used Google Earth to find the Island of Mauritius as well as Round Island and others, when after I found them, I got caught up in marveling @ the ocean depths in places… as I headed east-ish I came across a symbol of a ship pushing through the water and as you might guess, the rest is history. You were around Day 60 or so when I discovered you….. Its funny how things work? Small world after all… ^_^

  • Roz, I am so excited for you. Following your journey has brought me great excitement and filled me with hope and awe. You’ve inspired me throughout these months and I couldn’t be happier for you.

    May this last leg of your journey be a safe one. I am sending love, and well-wishes for the rest of your journey.

    GO ROZ GO! 

  • Ahoy, Matey;
    You know Roz, what with Philosophy Saturday, and the excitment of your voyage ddrawing to a close (as well as the 360 capsises) we’ve all¬†missed International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which was on 19th September! but enough of that, row well Roz, the landlubbers in Mauritius are getting the welcome mat ready…yo ho ho and a bottle of rum, and all that…(shiver me timbers, I’d better snap out of it….!)

  • AWESOME ROZ!

    You are going to *laugh* because I was guessing either Mauritius or Madagascar!

    I have to say it has been wonderful following you through each of your rows and this one in particular.

    Row Roz Row . . . you’re almost there!

  • Roz, I was just taking in the map on¬†http://bit.ly/RozOzTrax¬†and am in awe of what you have accomplished in this 141 days (so far). Words do not do justice to what I am looking at!! And … to then take in the entire globe … the expanse of the Pacific … plus the Atlantic. ¬†Posting some screen shots as a reminder. It has been a long row, and I congratulate you … now bring it home safely, Roz!

  • Excellent….I send an extra boost of energy for the final laps. You should be so proud of yourself; you are an inspiration to all of us.

  • Mauritius is Awesome :). I went there for our honeymoon and loved the little island. Good luck with the rest of your voyage!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauritius
    Mauritius is the only known habitat of the now extinct but ever grand Dodo Bird. Being large and flightless they were easy targets for¬†decimation by us, you and me … Let’s not let this happen to the planet in entirety…

    Roz, your friends at Surfrider Foundation and Barefoot wine and bubbly released a wonderful video about ocean ecology and what everyday actions can do to turn the tide of single use permanents and toxic tumble weeds. 

    One Beach,
     http://youtu.be/yP-GXSryNKs 

    Row Roz Row

  • I must say you are very good at keeping a secret!

    ¬†I’m out farming most of the night and look forward to your post first thing in the morning. Now I need to get out a map and find Mauritius.I’m going to crescent city diving this weekend and I will think of you when I”m out on the ocean.Good luck

  • Well, you had me fooled, but I’m no pirate, except in my fictional novel (pub. 2006), “The Last Renaissance Man,” (a book only in part on the English piracy of era 1695), mostly about the music of Sir Henry Purcell(!) — of all things from an American composer! (no wonder it didn’t sell!) —
    I guess you fooled the pirates, as your still here and safe. U know, I did wonder how in the world and why in the world u would row past all those lovely islands and land all the hellish out of the way in Mumbai! I figured u would at least change plans and beach in Sri Lanka or Kerala in India or even the Maldives (that’s where I would go!)

    But then I seldom get out of the swamps of FL these days! Enjoyed this incredible learning experience for me and to know someone that confident and level headed as you… May your Last strokes go to the tune you most wish as you “Row that last bit home to the “Farther Shore!” — Congrats yet again! I always knew you would make it with “indispensable assurance”…

  • God Speed Roz!¬† I will continue to pray for your safety but am glad you are past the pirates!¬† Most of them bear no resemblance to Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow.

    .-. .-. .-.

  • Roz, Very excited for you, very relieved about the route you’ve chosen. ¬†Wishing you a very safe passage for the remainder of your journey– Jonathan

  • Spent a wonderful honeymoon at the St Geran in Mauritius. Your mother will love it. Hopefully you can get routed via South Africa and spread your message there. Beware of the coral reefs – don’t cut your foot.

  • So, it is Mauritius after all. When Roz stated during the first part of her crossing that she was a thousand miles from any other living person, I concluded that¬†the only logical destination would have to be Mauritius, because she was too far from Java at that time, to be headed for Diego Garcia or the Maldives.¬†Not too long after that, she indicated she was half-way, confirming the relatively short (still¬†well over 3000 miles) distance to Mauritius instead of Tanzania or Kenya.

    But then, maritime info suggested Mauritius is gale-prone this time of the year, and I wondered if she was tricking us.

    Wishing you a safe passage to those beautiful shores,

    FK in Belgium 

  • ALOHA ROZ FROM OREGON!¬† SO excited for your blog and to¬†SEE your progress!¬† have missed that on this voyage with you!¬†¬† Sending lots of love and rowing energy… Hugs to your MUM!¬†¬† Stay strong… Smile…¬† ALOHA!

  • It makes me feel closer to see where you are and I can send Reiki to you and the water around you more effectively!¬†

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