Was I really ever worried that there would be nobody to greet me in Madang? Did I really think I was going to skulk quietly into town and then go and buy myself a solitary beer of celebration?

Really? Really??!!

Nothing could have been further from what actually happened here this morning. An estimated five thousand people came down to the harbour to greet me to Madang. About twenty canoes, paddled by people in traditional costume, escorted me the last half mile to the dock. A helicopter buzzed overhead, shooting video and photos. Once on dry land I must have shaken about 1000 hands, everybody wanting to touch me and congratulate me. It was phenomenal. I feel like I have 5000 new friends.

After officially finishing my row around 11pm last night, I spent the night on board the Kalibobo Spirit. I wasn’t allowed to step onto dry land until customs officials could be on hand to clear my paperwork, but spending another night at sea was no hardship – the Kalibobo is a luxurious cruiser. I walked into my cabin and felt like I’d died and gone to heaven. After a very long, hot and exhausting day, it was sheer luxury to have a hot shower and then sink gratefully into bed – quite possibly the most comfortable bed that I have ever slept in.

Not that I had much time to appreciate it – I was asleep within about 2.3 seconds, and the next thing I knew it was 5.30am and time to get up for my ceremonial arrival.

We towed Brocade back out to sea and after a quick phone call to Mum I took up my oars again, and re-rowed the last segment of my row. The first local people to congratulate me were a few fishermen, out early in their outrigger canoes, who formed an orderly line to pass close to my boat and shake my hand.

They were just the first of many. As I neared the harbour a flotilla of about twenty canoes, all decked out in traditional garlands of leaves, came out to join me and escort me to the dock. I hope you’ve seen the photos that Mum posted earlier, and seen how splendid the boats and their paddlers looked. Everybody was smiling, especially me. I kept stopping to wave to the crowds, who waved back enthusiastically. I wish I could find a way to row and wave at the same time, but I’m still working on it.

As I got closer to the dock the crowds on the shoreline thickened. Schoolchildren in uniform created blocks of colour. As I rounded the corner towards the Madang Resort the harbour wall was absolutely packed. The estimated number is five thousand people, and I don’t think that is any exaggeration.

We completed the formalities on the dock, and then I was free to step ashore. I was met by the Governor of PNG, who explained the meaning of the traditional garlands and string bags that various well-wishers placed around my neck. As we moved through the crowd everyone was reaching out to shake my hand or touch me. It could have been overwhelming to be surrounded by such a crush of humanity after 46 days at sea, but in fact it felt great.

Sir Peter Barter, former PNG Governor and my new guardian angel, guided me to a PA system and I said a few words. A group from the Technical College, standing beneath a very impressive banner depicting me, my boat, and words of congratulations on my environmental mission, sang a song about PNG – possibly the national anthem. There was more handshaking and gift-giving, and then Sir Peter extricated me and showed me to my room at the Madang Resort, from where I can see my boat, now moored in the lagoon. There has been a steady procession of people all day, coming down to see the boat, and as I’ve walked around the resort yet more people have shaken my hand and congratulated me.

Tonight I’m having dinner with the Governor and Sir Peter, and the diary is already filling up fast for the rest of my month here. There’s a lot I plan to do – diving, exploring, meeting people and giving talks about my adventures and environmental mission.

It has been a day to remember, for sure. Spectacular. Thank you to everybody who has played a part – everybody here in Madang, the Governor Sir Arnold Amet, Sir Peter Barter, the staff at the Madang Resort, Alan Murray at Murray PR, and of course my wonderful, indefatigable invisible crewmate – my mother.

And thank you also for all the messages of congratulations that have been rolling in from all over the world. Thank you for your love, empathy, kindness and support during this third and final stage of my voyage. I feel very lucky that you are there for me through the highs and the lows, the trials and tribulations, and at last the final joyous celebrations at the successful conclusion of this 4-year/250-day, 8,000-mile, 2.5 million oarstroke epic adventure. It’s beenโ€ฆ special.

38 Comments

  • Fantastic – we’re so thrilled, and so proud to have been a small part of your gargantuan effort. D & T

  • Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! So happy for you! I wish all your Rozling fans (and Rita, of course) could have been there to greet you too, but it sounds as if you weren’t short of well wishers! Enjoy your time there.

    8000 miles. Phew …

  • wow, it’s already been four years???!!! seems like just yesterday we were hiking in peru… crazy… how time flies when you’re rowing across oceans ๐Ÿ™‚

  • How very very thirlling, Roz ! What could be more indelible ?!
    Now the dreams and next adventure…!
    Cheers,
    Currin

  • Rose? “no Roz, like Rosalind”

    Well, this started with your rescue and continuation of your row to Hawaii.
    An exercise in literary magic. While in those Islands, however,a spell of some sort was placed on the old R.V. Brocade and during that next part you seem to hit little black holes which spit you out God knows where. I guess it was best to hit P.P.N G. than to chance the next worm hole dropping you on Ayers Rock. Before you are swept away totally. Let me tell you that you have done a hard job of work and done it well. I salute you and hope you decide to row around the US raising money (we have quite a bit) And to lovely Rita. Love you, mean it. I’ll apologize but I’ll not repent. Someone must keep the books balanced.

    Texino

  • Thanks for carrying us along on another amazing voyage and being so open about sharing your thoughts. You do what many dream of and you inspire people to be better.

  • Congratulations Roz, thank you for sharing this amazing event with us, you are so awesome!

  • No doubt that the earth has its boundaries but the human spirit is limitless. You proved that big time Roz. Bravo! And cheers for the wonderful Spirit of the Roz!

  • Roz, you and what you have done are very special. The past few days, I have had to keep pinching myself (figuratively, of course, else I’d be black and blue) — what an unbelievable ACCOMPLISHMENT and what an unbelievable WELCOME — and I experience what Jan described yesterday (that “old man thing”) as I read your reflection on the day. Thanks to Joan for posting the link to Jan’s blog about meeting you.

    http://j.mp/RozPlesBilongMi

    Happy rejoicing, Roz!

  • Congratulations Roz. What a really well executed and “professional” voyage. Great to see how you handled the currents and the conditions. Great work by all your support people too, and also thanks to Lee Bruce your weather man for the email to me about how they were advising you re the currents. Thanks also to Rita for all the reporting, without which none of us could have felt so in touch with your voyage. Enjoy your time in the spotlight. Best wishes that you can convert it into a fulfilling future for yourself and the planet. I am sure you will find a lot more to do :-).

  • Well you deserve all the accolades! All those miles, what a journey!! So glad you were so successful! Best to you: have fun enjoying your new friends, your Rozlings are behind you. Waiting for the auction of your oars!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Roz – Congratulations – You Did It! I am so, so happy that the people of PNG gave you this amazing welcome. It certainly makes me want to visit there. Enjoy your cold beer, visiting with the wonderful citizens, resting some (I hope), meanwhile knowing what an incredible accomplishment this is. I can’t wait to catch up when you get back to the Bay Area, take care, Bonnie

  • Fantastastic Roz! I shall tell my Kids tonight what you have done and we Will look at The globe and trace your route and be amazed.

  • HOOOORRRAAAAHHHH! What a wonderful welcome for a truly spectacular feat. Well done Roz. Lots of love from Daisy, Jonathan and our own water baby Freya. xxx

  • Hey Roz, someone is listening: “California could become the first state in the nation to ban plastic shopping bags, a move that has the support of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
    The Assembly passed the bill on Wednesday and it’s now before the Senate.
    Schwarzenegger issued a statement after the Assembly vote, saying, “This bill will be a great victory for our environment.”
    I got this off of MSNBC, great news!

  • Congratulations, Roz! Enjoy your well-deserved celebration, rest and relaxation. It has been splendid to follow your voyage. So happy for you, and for all you are doing to help heal our planet.

  • Hi Roz! Big, big, big congratulations!
    You shared the dream when we met on a Ray Mear’s Bushcraft course in October 2004 of rowing the Atlantic. You cracked that epic journey and now you’ve cracked an even bigger one. You deserve all the congratulations possible for your gutsy determination to live the dream. Proud of ya! I’m sure your much loved Dad would have been proud of you too.

    Congratulation also to Rita, your Mum, for her indefatigable support and encouragement.

    Much love from Malcolm and Mary, xx hug,hug

  • Prayed, lit candles, and offerings for you the entire way Roz so happy now rejoicing at your mighty sacrifice and ultimately reaching your goal…congratulations and you truly are one woman to ride the river with

  • Hey Roz,

    Major Congratulations! An amazing journey, and you have pure moxie for sure! To decide to do something different with ones life is one thing, to decide to row the Atlantic, that is fantastic. But to complete the row of the Pacific Ocean over a 4 year period of time, that can only be described as phenomenal!

    Your future is surely to be as bright as your past if not more.

    I look forward to see what you are doing with your experience and what is next on the Horizon. I seem to remember some where in the past blogs that you are considering to keep rowing West. You do realize that you will eventually come full circle if you just keep rowing, finishing where you started, don’t you? haha.

    Have a wonderful time at the resort and keep blogging.

    Steve T.

  • Well done Roz!
    PNG did a far better job of welcoming you than us laid back Aussies probably would have done!
    But WHAT ABOUT THOSE PRESENTS! Environmentally friendly bilum bags and reusable yabob pots! Perfect symbols of your message and presented by people who are more affected by than effecting the pacific …sad to say that lots of that garbage you saw probably came from Australia ๐Ÿ™
    Once again hearty congratulations from your alternate destination. Jim Bell (Australia)

  • Roz- Well done. We at the Los Angeles Adventurers” Club salute you and are looking forwrd to your next visit. I’m back recently from an 11 day Nat Geo qualification in Tawali, PNG. What an amazing country. See you at the club soon, I hope. There’s talk of you speaking at our annual event, NOHA if you’re avaliable in Oct. Larry Schutte (I’m the guy that helped you with your AV the last 2 visits). 323-574-3216

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