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.
Day 9: Locked in Battle
20 Aug 2007, The Brocade
The weather and I seem to be locked in a bizarre kind of tug-of-war. I make some progress away from the coast, then the weather comes and blows me backwards. I laboriously claw back the ground I lost, then the weather comes along again and shows me who’s boss. It is now over a week since I left from Point St George, and I am still not out of sight of land.
[Comment: the map on the left was created retrospectively by my friends at Google Earth, using the coordinates noted in my ship’s logbook. You can see the problems I was having making headway away from the shore. All rather wearing on the nerves, as well as the muscles.]
Today was a good day – a gentle day of long, lazy ocean swells and light winds. The cupwheels on my wind instruments spun slowly as I paddled along listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. So it was with a sense of indignation and incredulity that I heard the forecast for tomorrow when I rang Rick my weather guy this afternoon. Take a look at the Weather tab on this website to see what he had in store for me.
[Sadly, the weather information has been lost in the transition from one blogging platform to another, so we will now never know what Rick had to say. But we can infer from what subsequently happened that it was nothing good!]
But he’s usually right, and towards nightfall the wind was already starting to build. As I got ready to retire for the night I was extra-careful to make sure that I was ready for whatever may develop over the next few hours. Shutting up shop for the night is quite a time-consuming routine – stow oars in their Quickfist grips, remove pad from rowing seat and place inside cabin, stow anything that could get swept away by waves (drinks bottles etc), put sea anchor out (quite a task in itself, involving the chute, floats, various clips and carabiners, and ridiculous amounts of line), put navigation light on, bid goodnight to Wilson and clamber into the hobbit hole, securing the hatch firmly behind me.
[Remember Wilson? He was my pet volleyball, as given to me by Rich Crow, the helicopter engineer who had extensively refurbished my boat for this voyage. Just to reinforce my status as a Castaway!]
So now here I am, hunkered down in the hobbit hole, tapping away on my laptop. I’ve got a few data downloads still to do, before crawling into my sleeping bag and trying to get some sleep. If the forecast is right it could be a fairly rough night.
21 Aug 2007
Today’s photograph was taken by Wayne aboard USS Momsen – grateful thanks to him.
Looking at Track, we can see that Roz is continuing to move south and slightly west, which is good news. With so many sending out positive vibes, good wishes and prayers, she is making progress. Most encouraging to read messages from so many parts of the globe!
(Picture: Photographer photographed.)
[Comment: Thanks, Mum, for posting this additional blog entry. The crew must have found my website and emailed it through to her. I’m ashamed, though, that my cabin hatch appears to be open. A big no-no! No matter how calm the ocean appears to be, I should NEVER leave the hatch open – as too many crews have found to their cost. One mischievous wave and you’re in big trouble, with no way to self-right. Don’t try this at home!]
Other Stuff (posted 2013):
It has been a busy week of meetings and get-togethers. On Thursday we had a meeting with the Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit about their upcoming focus on the oceans. Various things to follow up on, although HRH will probably be rather preoccupied just now with impending grandfatherhood – Kate’s first baby now overdue, and everybody holding their breath!
Also a good week for meeting adventurers – on Thursday Alastair Humphreys was in town for a speaking gig, so we made the most of the opportunity to catch up and compare notes on the challenges of making a living out of being an adventurer. (If you’re looking for something fun to do this Sunday, check out Al’s ideas for #microadventures. Then on Friday night Emily Penn and Dave Cornthwaite hosted a picnic for various ocean-minded people, including Ed Scott-Clarke of Plastic Shores, and my partner, Howard Lack of Plastic Oceans. A fun, ocean-y, non-plastic-y evening was had by all!