To herald the publication of my next book, Stop Drifting, Start Rowing: One Woman’s Search for Happiness and Meaning Alone on the Pacific, I am revisiting some of my blogs from the Pacific crossing, adding a postscript either with additional details or a kind of “if I’d known then what I know now….” comment. Here we go, with my first ever videocast…..

Day 3: This is my Boat

Roz Savage
14 Aug 2007, Pacific Ocean

Video blog – possibly the first ever to be sent from a rowing boat at sea. [Or it was then…. things have moved on a bit in the last 6 years!] It began as a video clip was sent out into space by satellite phone; picked up by a passing satellite and beamed down to a computer somewhere in England; uploaded to YouTube; embedded in this blog. Of necessity it has to be brief. Enjoy!

Sweating away in the cabin to deliver a video blog

Comment: Oh my word, if only you knew what I went through to post these videos from the ocean….!! From (most) places on dry land it’s so easy – decent bandwidth, dependable connection, comfortable working conditions.

From the ocean, first of all you have to create the video. Take Sanyo Xacti video camera out of waterproof case (they hadn’t brought out the waterproof version in 2007) and set up on camera mount. Set video rolling and jump back onto rowing seat to record action – I’d have to edit that bit out later.

Record other segments of rowing seat, watermaker, cabin, etc.

Splice these segments together on the camcorder – I found this easier and less battery-intensive (electrical power being at a premium) than editing on the laptop – and working on the laptop also made me seriously queasy on a tippy, seasicky boat. But editing on the camera was still fiddly and time-consuming.

Upload from camera to laptop via USB cable. 

All this while the boat is pitching and rolling, and temperatures in the cabin vary up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Then, the hard part. Uploading. Take out satphone and connect to laptop via a USB cable. Open up Skyfile app. Try to connect. Try again. And again. Eventually achieve connection. Start uploading. Go out to row for a couple of hours, in vague hope that upload is continuing. Come back in to find connection dropped about 3 seconds after you left it alone. Basically, nothing has uploaded. Start all over again. 

Repeat ad nauseam. 

But strangely, it was absolutely worth it. I had the feeling that a lot of people were vicariously enjoying my adventure, wishing they could be out there on the ocean, suffering the setbacks, celebrating the triumphs, living the dream. And so I persevered with errant technology and dodgy satellite connections, for the people who cared, who were willing me on, who were coming into the office each morning and sneaking a peak at my progress before they got down to work for the day. 

For them (you) I would willingly run up a $10,000 satphone bill in 3 months.


Other Stuff (posted in real time, i.e. today)

Good luck to Ray Zahab! Fantastic guy, amazing adventure, great website! (And anyone with an R and a Z in their name has to be onto something good! 🙂

Also a big hurrah for Plastic Oceans (of which I am a patron) – congratulations on an amazing mini-premiere at UNESCO’s 27th meeting of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. It was wonderful to be there and to see the delegates of 150(ish) countries sit up and take notice of the damage that uncontrolled plastic pollution is doing to our seas – and human health. Keep up the great work, @PlasticOceans!!




  • Sure am enjoying this reprise series, Roz. I did not know you then, and it is nice to take the time and go back in time with you. Thank you!

  • Unfortunately more sophisticated gear doesn’t necessarily make it easier… it just leaves one with the problem of greater choice, but the worries of failure will stay the same unless one can afford to professional equipment (which is way beyond most people’s budget unfortunately). So, having never rowed an ocean yet, documenting it causes me more sleepless nights than any potential threat I might encounter…

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