whale under boat

After all my whingeing and whining recently, I just had to share this
smile-inducing contribution from Rozling Richard in Austin, Texas. It
cheered me up no end on a rainy Pacific Sunday night. I hope it does the
same for you, wherever you are.

(With apologies to The Village People and YMCA)


Young girl, you’re out there all alone,
I said, young girl, with just your trusty sat-phone,
I said, young girl, ’cause you’re so far from home,
It can seem to be real lonely.

Young girl, you’re surrounded by friends,
I said, young girl, we’re along ’till the end,
I said, young girl, winds will change again
And you will head for Tuvalu.

Oh yes we’re stuck in the I.T.C.Z.
Oh yes we’re stuck in the I.T.C.Z.
Oh the rains will fall and the winds will blow,
And everything will seem real slow.

Oh yes we’re stuck in the I.T.C.Z.
Oh yes we’re stuck in the I.T.C.Z.
It can seem like a jail,
Until you lasso a whale,
And head for some iced cold ale.

Oh yes we’re stuck in the I.T.C.Z.
Oh yes we’re stuck in the I.T.C.Z.
You must go east to get west,
Yet still you feel blessed,
And Tuvalu would be a real rest.

(fading out)

Although, given the nautical nature of my enterprise, maybe we also need
some alternative lyrics for ‘In The Navy’?!

[photo: Another shot of one of the whales that came to visit a few days
ago. This photo is having to be uploaded to the blog separately by Evan,
so please make allowances if there is some time lag between seeing the
text and seeing the photo.]

Other Stuff:

Francois, thank you for the stats on shark populations. They are truly
shocking, and I will share them here so that other Rozionados can goggle
at these figures:
From François Schiettecatte
I just heard podcast # 54 and wanted to put some figures to the number
of sharks which are disappearing from the oceans. In 2006 the estimate
for sharks killed for the fin trade alone is 38 million, and estimates
for the total number of sharks killed every year range up to 100
million. Shark populations have declined by 70% worldwide in the past
two decades alone, and the East Coast of the United States has seen a
90% decline in shark population since the 1970’s. Worldwide sharks kill
about 10 human beings a year. Sourced from This Week in Science
25 November, 2008.

So, we kill an estimated 100 million of them each year. They kill 10 of
us. Is it just me, or does there seem to be something a bit out of whack
here? Not saying the numbers should be equal, obviously not. But do we
really need to kill so many of them? And what does this do to the whole
ocean ecosystem when you all but remove the top predator?

Ocean update: Today started out calm, got livelier from mid-morning to
late afternoon, and then died away to dead calm again. This has allowed
me to make some more progress south. I’m now within just a few miles of
3 degrees North. I mentioned to Leo in our last podcast that I wanted
the doldrums to be more doldrummy, i.e. how I’d imagined them, as a
region of mostly calm seas and no winds, with just the occasional squall
to liven things up. Well, it looks like I might have got my wish, for
now, at least. But the forecast for tomorrow is for winds from the
southwest – not good at all.

Thanks for all the very positive feedback on the super-duper new
revamped rozsavage.com. I’m glad you like it! Just a reminder, if you
find any glitches, broken links or other bugs, please zap us an email to
info@rozsavage.com. If only the awesome Evan and the Archinoetics
(sounds like a 60s rock band) could revamp rozsavage herself as

Speaking of awesome, it’s high time for a long overdue THANKS A MILLION
to my amazing and ever hardworking program director, Nicole. Apart from
her guest appearances on the podcasts while Leo was away, you might not
have heard so much about Nicole recently, but she has been working away
behind the scenes, putting heart and soul into supporting the
multitudinous aspects of TeamRoz’s operations. She is now based in
Hawaii, and worked long hours alongside Evan last week to help implement
the new website. She has also been super-busy working on our long-range
plans for the last quarter of 2009, including the book tour and the
climate change conference in Copenhagen. Thanks to her efforts, there
are some seriously exciting plans in the pipeline, which I am just
itching to share with you but it’s a bit premature. I’d like to invite
all the Rozlings to share with me in thanking Nicole for her good work,
I couldn’t do what I do without her!

And thank YOU, my dearest Rozlings, for all the words of encouragement
during my recent travails. These have not been easy days, but your words
really help to give me strength. It’s good to be reminded that the
mileage isn’t everything, and that sharing my adventures, its ups,
downs, and wiggly bits, is what it’s really all about, and hopefully
inspiring a few people along the way.

Rozta’ Bill, thank you so much for the analysis of my progress so far.
That really cheered me up. I don’t get to see the big picture very
easily, my GPS only shows me the last 3 days, and the lists of lat and
long coordinates in my logbook don’t make it easy to visualize how
things are going overall. So I really appreciated the overview. Thank

Achates, Prime Minister of Reality? I am immensely honored by the
title. I do always try to tell it as it is, or the way I see it,
anyway, and I try to see clearly, and I don’t have any agenda other
than trying to spread a bit of clearsightedness to others. So I thank
you greatly for your accolade. I take it as a great compliment.

Cece, thank you for sharing my story with the inmates in Santa Rosa.
Funny, several of the books I’ve been listening to here include
accounts of time in prison (Nelson Mandela, and a couple of works of
fiction), and I’ve seen a lot of parallels between my imprisonment on
this little boat and their plight. Especially the ones in solitary!

Jonathan Grimaldi, thank you for the encouraging words, and for the
dollars. Both much appreciated!

Naomi, thanks for the offer of matching up blog questions with answers.
Nobody is doing that at the moment, and I’m not sure there’s a need. But
in the future there might be. I’m planning to produce a book of my blogs
from the Atlantic crossing (2005-6) and if it goes well I’ll do the same
for the Pacific. I’ll keep you posted and give you a shout if I need
help. Thank you!

John H, the birds are last month’s worry, as you correctly surmise. Got
bigger worries on my mind now than poopy boobies… now it’s loopy lats
and longs!

Quick answers to quick questions:

Q: How many birds are with you now?
A: None on board at the moment. There was quite a gathering all around
me yesterday, though, scores of brown noddies (I think) swooping and
hunting for crustaceans. Nice to have the company!

Q: Do you take any days off or partial days? It seems that a body needs
a break from time-to-time.Does the weather dictate those days off?
A: I did take a couple of days off earlier in this row, when, not to
put too fine a point on it, my butt was just so sore that I could sit
on it only with the greatest discomfort. As it happened, conditions at
that time were very favorable and I was still making good mileage
despite not rowing. Apart from that I just take breaks during the day,
sometimes dictated by weather (squalls) and sometimes dictated by a
temporary breakdown in motivation!

Weather report:

Position at 2130 HST: 03 04.432N, 175 45.502W
Wind: 0-20 knots, S-E
Seas: 2-6 ft
Weather- mostly overcast but bright

Weather forecast, courtesy of weatherguy.com:

Feedblitz blog email reported your position as: 03 36N 175 08W as of
29Jul 2200HST (6hrs ago). Eastward motion is the preferred direction
while in the equatorial counter current.

As of Thursday morning 30 July 2009. According to measured data, there
is ESE-SE winds 7-17kts in your area with moderate to light rainshowers.
South of the equator, more of the same. Uncertainty remains, as
previously discussed. Forecast is for wind direction to shift more
ENEerly 5-15kts today then, SE 5-15kts on 01 Aug becoming light and
variable and possibly SW 5-15kts.

According to satellite imagery, there is light to moderate convection
with heavy rainshowers and squalls overhead and south to the equator.

Sky conditions: Mostly cloudy. Scattered heavy rainshowers, squalls,
and possible thunderstorms.

Forecast (low confidence due to extreme variability in equatorial
regions and naturally occurring small scale fluctuations in
direction/speed in the Doldrums)
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft) est
30/0600-01/0000 E-ENE 5-15 2-5
01/0000-02/0000 ENE-SE 5-15 4-6
02/0000-02/1200 Variable direction 1-5
02/1200-03/1200 SW 5-15 2-5

Next Update: Monday, 03 August


  • Awesome photo, Roz! You’ll be happy to know that when I received your email with this photo, I was with a number of people from the Surfrider Foundation and Captain Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. I showed them all your photo, to rave reviews, and we all had a great chat about how truly amazing and dedicated you are!

    We had all just watched “Food, Inc.”, an amazing documentary in the spirit of “Fast Food Nation” and “The Omnivores Dilemma” that exposes the unbelievable corruption and problems in the food production industry, and the health problems they’re creating in society. Scary stuff.

  • Thanks, Nicole! Roz certainly has a difficult task in solo ocean rowing through the equatorial unknown, but handling the logistics, details, long-term planning and all the arrangements for a book tour, not to mention rounding up funding and grant applications? That’s a whole ‘nother realm of daunting task, and it sounds like you’re doing a bang-up job. Plus, you were great as the substitute-Leo on the podcasts.

    The I.T.C.Z. song was great. The I, T and C are easy enough, but exactly what body position to you have to contort to to represent a cheerleader-style Z?

  • Nicole, _T_H_A_N_K_ _Y_O_U_ from me too! Given all that is going on, you seem to keep a smile and great attitude. Seeing you do the podcast thing with Roz was really nice.

    Joan, I’m _T_H_I_N_K_I_N_G_ … the body contortion for “Z” … how about Steve Martin’s “King Tut” stance: right arm forward and up, bent in right angle zig zag fashion (a la Roz’s recent course), fingers pointing horizontally forward … and left arm down and back, bent in similar right angle zig zag fashion with fingers pointing horizontally back — the hot stereotypical Egyptian Pharaoh disco move.

    Ancient Egyptians were seafarers too, eh, or did they do it in the Nile with a thumping drummer?

    Roz, you are a daily inspiration to all of us in so many ways. Just reading and seeing your Roz-acity everyday on the blog and RozTracker is truly Ros-pirational.

  • I think we Rozzers should get together someplace and do a video of the ITCZ song & dance. I laugh just thinking about it.

  • Delighted you liked the song. As they say, “Everything has a time and a place”, and this seemed like the time and the place for a song. I like Sindy’s suggestion of a group song-and-dance session. My vote might be for the port of Sydney 2010 for your triumphal arrival. We can always re-tweek the words, or come up with new songs.

    For Joan and UncaDoug. I had the same problem, trying to figure out the “Z”. I finally pulled out an Iyengar yoga book that I hadn’t used in years, and found the closest thing that seemed to fit: Virabhadrasana, The Warrior Pose. It is actually similar to what Doug described above. Right arm straight forward, and right leg forward and bent at the knee. Left arm straight back, and left leg straight back anchored on the floor. Head turned right, in direction of right arm. With a little practice, you can make the “C” to the right, while rolling into the “Z” Warrior Pose, and it becomes a fluid motion. The Warrior Pose is devoted to strength, power, and endurance, all of which seemed appropriate under Roz’s current circumstances. Of course, I hate to think about what would happen to a group of people trying this, after a few drinks. Couldn’t someone have named the intertropical convergence zone better, foreseeing that it might inspire a song?

    Safe rowing, Roz. You’re an inspiration to the world.

  • Roz,

    thanks for posting François Schiettecatte’s statistics on the devastating effects of shark finning. It’s good to be reminded that despite the best efforts of global environmental groups and individuals, this barbaric practice still continues. If I can be so bold here as to make a plug for a movie that highlights this problem further: The movie is called Sharkwater, by oceanographer and director Rob Stewart. It’s available on Netflix or better yet you can purchase it on Amazon. Go to http://www.sharkwater.com for much more info on what you can do to help bring awareness to this problem and help save sharks.
    Thanks so much.

  • Administrator (Evan?) thanks! Works just as I envisioned it. Yay!

    Richard, Virabhadrasana, The Warrior Pose, that you describe seems a bit like some Tai Chi or Kung Fu type postures, which involve whole body movements … which I REALLY like, but in the tempo of YMCA, ITCZ — like you suggest — could end up in a pile of bodies tangled on the deck. The King Tut move is difficult, but only requires waving of arms and no legs. Just thinking out loud … I am not pushing King Tut, and have not pride of “authorship” here …

    And I have another idea for doing a video with low carbon footprint … I would love to be in Sydney, or London, or where ever … but to get people from all round the globe would be a simple task if we teach each to record them doing the routine, then we splice individuals and groups into a single video … Surely we have the talent within this diverse global community! We could even get Roz to do the routine on Brocade and wouldn’t that be a hoot! Those boobies will have a place, as will all the other characters. Again, just thinking out loud, so to speak ;-D

  • UncaDoug,

    I have no pride of authorship either. We’re a community here, everyone gets a vote, and I will always defer to the collective wisdom. I like your idea of not having to move the legs. The simpler the better. Anyway, Roz gets a bigger vote than anyone else. Maybe the ITCZ will “tell” her how it wants to be portrayed. I’m at the point in “The Alchemist” where Santiago is listening to the desert, so maybe the ITCZ also has something to say? The idea of Rozlings, all over the world, singing together, is appealing, but I truly hope Roz will be out of the ITCZ before long, and that all of this (song included) will just be a more pleasant memory than what she is going through now.

  • Wow, what talented people you have following you this time! I can just see the group in Tuvalu – I can picture everyone there falling all over each other as they sing along(: :). Hooray for your passing the 2/3 point!! You are now twice as far from Hawaii as from Tuvalu… and only 3 degrees from the equator! Have you ever crossed the equator before? I still have the 180 Meridian certificate (Domain of the Golden Dragon) for when you cross the date line. I also still have the paddle – mounted on my wall. I hope to get you to sign it someday!!

  • The website is so buggy. It’s terrible. The designers should find another job. Stop using wordpress theme templates. pleazze. code it by hand if you know how otherwise hire a pro.

  • The website seems fine to me, bearing in mind that it’s still being tweaked. So, “Anonymous”, are you willing to stump up the necessary to hire another professional – or do you fancy volunteering yourself?

  • It does boggle the mind how far this carnage has gone, mostly because people fear sharks so they get few defenders here on dry land. There are movements to try and control the number of sharks which are killed but this is very hard mostly because of enforcement issues (the ocean is a big place.) This has already had an impact on ecosystems from what I understand, the most obvious one being that there are a lot more stingrays around, which has knock-on effects of course.

    Congratulations on seeing that whale-shark, I have never seen one but they look quite beautiful, at 8 feet the one you saw was a baby.

  • Hi Roz,

    Just checked the RozTracker…you’re 209 miles south of your position on 7/13….still making progress. Just keep rowing…wishing you strength, and courage, and a more agreeable climate.

    Rozta’ Bill

  • ….btw, had to go look up “whingeing”…must be a British thing, “crying out.” Well, I’d say you’ve earned the right. Richard’s ditty on the ITCZ is right funny, though….glad it cheered you up.


  • Question for Evan. Is it possible to add Roz’s icon to the button that turns the media flags on and off? There are times when the icon covers interesting squiggles on her track – or perhaps give it a button all to itself?

    I hope you plan to identify the lines of Lat and Lon at some stage – when you’ve caught up on your sleep!

  • Rozta’ Bill, when I saw your post, I wondered if the RozTracker on my laptop is broken since I haven’t seen any gps markers since 2:38 AM … so I checked July 13 which is an excellent benchmark of when Roz began wandering, zig zagging, progressing backwards … it marked the end to what was a very steady trajectory of SW progress. Yup, 208.8 miles to her last gps marker. So I conclude your RozTracker must be broken too! Well … or the global satellite network is broken … or there just ain’t no coverage in the ITCZ (just can’t get that tune out of my head, Richard).

    Frustrated from being in this 15-hour black hole of Roz’s unwhereabouts, I’ve spent the past hour enjoying the photos that Joan mentioned are under the MEDIA tab. (Thanks Joan!)

    What struck me in this photo is how isolated Roz is among the mountainous seas, unable to see the “whole picture” as she focuses on catching the next stroke, pitching and rolling on a liquid roller coaster, attention glued to the compass to maintain a bearing.

    And she took time to tweet “drat this south wind. in cahoots with current also going north?” 2 hrs ago … yet there is no trail of breadcrumbs on the RozTracker. (Evan, can’t you PLEASE fix that? … he pleaded in jest.)

    Is there a lesson here for me? Pondering … there is a lesson … something to do with instant gratification, something to do with expectations, something about Roz, something about the reality of her row, something about the missing camera crew and “survival” choreography.

    Craving some input in the past hour, I discovered rozsavage’s photostream on flickr. Amazing! I learned a lot about Roz from the photos she took … anybody who has not yet discovered this, please check it out, click slideshow then click the center of the first photo to read what Roz wrote.

    The first photo is entitled “Line of Death” … there is a lesson here.

  • Well, Roz there is another lesson here … as I was finishing my post above, you tweeted so quiet out here you could hear a fish flatulate. 48 mins ago … variability, unexpected surprises, irony … can fish really do that?

  • Anonymous comments August 4
    Why make such negative comments? identify yourself, maybe there is a job for you there!!!
    Evan and the team are working hard to solve the glitches, Today everything is working fine on Chrome, thanks.

  • I like the new look – I wasn’t able to check it out until today. I’m sad that we can’t leave comments on your blogger blog anymore, but this is only one more click away, so I’ll get over it. 🙂

  • Looks like you had a very productive and peaceful moonlit row. Up past all the rest of us, you rowed while we slept. Way to go, Roz! I love how descriptively you write, and posted the following on my FB page along with a snapshot of RozTracker as of yesterday morning 02:48 AM (Aug 4) — making a right turn due west. Presumably you have headed due south many miles since then.

    Day 72 – A Hard Day’s Night
    After sunset the skies cleared and the moon shone clear and bright, highlighting the billowing upper contours of the scattered cumulus. The wind had dropped away to not even a whisper and the ocean was silent and calm. The gently lapping waters reflected the moon in a bright path of ripples to the horizon. http://rozsavage.blogspot.com/2009/08/day-72-hard-days-night.html

  • I find it funny you reference the Village People, as I just accidentally saw them in concert on Sunday.

    I also find it kind of a bummer that you blogspt blog isn’t accepting comments anymore…even more so because this comment box was not working for me at all…and it’s still not really doing what it’s supposed to. ARGH!

    But I wish you luck out there.


  • Love the new website – definitely runs a lot smoother – –

    FYI – Sarah Outen arrived safely in Mauritius after 124 days. Both of you are amazing in what you accomplishing both on the water and for your “causes”.

  • Some responses and updates:

    1) If you don’t like the site or are having trouble with it, and you’d like to help Roz (and the tech team) rather than just rant, then please submit the issues you’re having through the contact form. If you’d rather make unproductive comments about how you dislike WordPress, then I’ll direct you to the New York Times or Wired magazine, both of whom use it.

    2) To John Kay – I totally hear you about Roz’s icon obscuring the path. I’ll see if I can get that in the next release. Might be a little while though, so for now, just switch into map view (rather than satellite) and zoom all the way in.

    3) For those of you still going to Blogger to view Roz’s blogs, we suggest you come here instead as this will be the place to see comments, as well as other news stories Roz-related that aren’t her blogs (such as contests, promo’s, media events, etc.).

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