I always enjoy, at the end of a chapter of my life, to look back and reflect. What were the highlights? What were the moments of drama? What went well? What could have gone better? And so, as I draw the line under Stage 2 of the roz and first beerPacific row, here is the ocean-rowing equivalent of my Oscars speech…

Special thanks to:

1. The animals – for making this such a memorable voyage. I will forever remember the Hawaii-Tarawa voyage for the incredible number of wildlife encounters – and how close the wildlife came to my boat, as if they were making a personal visit to say hi and welcome me to their domain. I saw more pelagic critters on this leg than I have seen on both my previous major rows – combined and multiplied by ten. The final tally was something like this:

– whale shark (1)

– other sharks (dozens – thankfully not too close, apart from one that swam right under my boat)

– whales (a dozen or so, species unknown)

– dolphins (dozens)

– turtles (3)

– squid (3, on deck, very messy)

– remoras (any remoras is too many)

– pilot fish (regularly hanging out in the shade of Brocade)

– brown noddies

– booby birds (how could I ever forget? They came, they saw, they pooped)

2. The Rozling community – for being such active participants in my adventure. On this voyage, more than ever, it felt like we had a real dialogue going, rather than me being permanently in “transmit” mode. I could really feel the love, support and positive energies pouring through the slender umbilical of my satphone/data modem. Thank you so much for making the last three and a half months so special. I love you all!

3. TeamRoz – how could I have done it without them? I might have managed the rowing bit alone, but there is so much more to an ocean rowing voyage than just rowing. Nicole, of course, gets special mention, for putting in an amazingly productive and effective summer’s work. She always gives 110%, and I cannot find the words to express how much I appreciate her support in all shapes and forms – logistical, administrative, and emotional. And a good therapeutic laugh from time to time as needed. Enormous gratitude also to Mum, Rick Shema, Ricardo Diniz, Hunter and Traci Downs, Evan Rapoport, Ian Tuller, Conrad Wade, Daisy Hampton, Dawn Pasinski, Leo Laporte, Laureen Hudson and Sinead Martin for their energy, time and support over the summer.

Over the course of the next few blogs I’ll be posting more retrospectives on Stage 2 of the Pacific row – favorite memories, favorite Rozling moments, dramas, triumphs, frustrations, favorite foods, favorite books and lessons learned. I hope you’ll join me as I look back over this summer’s success!

 

Other Stuff:

TeamRoz left Tarawa on Tuesday. Just before we left I had a meeting with the President of Kiribati (of which Tarawa is the administrative center), who told me about the impact that climate change is having on his people, and what he intends to do about it. I’ll be blogging about this in due course. Stay tuned. It was a fascinating opportunity to find out at first hand how climate change is a very real and immediate threat to these fragile islands on the edge of the world.

Apologies for the lack of blogs and Tweets recently. Trying to get online in Tarawa was problematic, to put it mildly. I was still having to Tweet from my satphone, just as I did on the boat, and blogging would have challenged the patience of a saint.

We are now in Fiji for a few days – an unavoidable stopover while we wait for Friday’s flight to Hawaii. I was in culture shock last night when we arrived. After the extreme simplicity (and poverty) of life in Tarawa, Fiji is a big step back towards a US standard of living. In some ways it is a relief to be back within reach of a decent internet connection and decent fresh produce, but I wouldn’t have missed my Tarawa experience for the world.

I will tell more when I blog about my meeting with the President, but for now I would just like to express my huge gratitude to all the wonderful people that we met in Tarawa, who gave me such a warm welcome and made our time in their country so memorable. Thank you for the memories.

APOLOGY: I am profoundly embarrassed. I have been unavoidably offline for the last week, so had no idea of the row brewing over something I wrote in my last blog. I was not at all familiar with the US connotations of “Aunt Jemima”, and am horrified that some people interpreted this as a racial slur. Nothing could have been further from my intentions. During my all-too-brief time in Tarawa I developed the greatest respect and love for the people there.  Apologies for any offence caused.

14 Comments

  • Welcome back to civilization Roz. We will stay tuned with you and working actively against climate change inducing behaviors. Your deed is so great that we will always feel falling very very short of it. And we hope God lends us life to follow next stage. It was like reading a Nobel prize writer throughout. I am so addicted that I have read the Atlantic and first stage Pacific blogs. Thank you so very much!
    ALEJO from Colombia

  • Roz, so happy to hear that you are back in relative civilization and to watch the video of your arrival in Tarawa. How gracious and spontaneous you were in response to the greetings you were given–it’s not an easy thing to be both at once and you did it beautifully! My gratitude for how you are helping us to see the real important things about climate change and how it touches real people in real, and vulnerable, places far from our concrete jungles and ivory towers. I do hope your stay in Tarawa receives appropriate media coverage and I am looking forward to hearing about your meeting with the President of the islands.

  • Great to have you back, Roz … I hope you can really enjoy the beauty of the people and the land of Fiji! My good friends honeymooned there recently and got out into the country and were very touched by the joy and generosity of spirit of the locals. I hope you get to really relax and enjoy your “down time” from the ocean in the next day or so — before you hit Hawaii. Not bad going from Fiji to Hawaii, eh? Having lived on Oahu for six wonderful years (Lanikai Beach in Kailua from ’97 to ’03), I’m going to be there with you in spirit, for sure!

    Again, great to “hear” from you again and I look forward to hearing more details of your voyage, as well as your important meeting with the President of Kiribati.

    Also, do you have your schedule for the book tour yet? I’d love to know when you’ll be in NYC (if you will) … and also would like to extend a dinner invitation to you and a friend or two of yours to join me at the BEST raw food restaurant in the world, Pure Food & Wine, at 17th and Irving Streets. Consider it a victory dinner celebrating the success of your second leg across the Pacific. If your schedule is too tight, however, I’d totally understand.

    (Hey, maybe you could check in w/ Roxanne Darling (of Beachwalks.TV) when you hit Honolulu and do a follow-up interview w/ her. That is how I learned about your voyage, btw — stumbling on to her website and on the day she was featuring her interview with you just before you left Hawaii for Tarawa.)

  • Hi Roz, welcome back to civilization, I think. It sounds like your time on Tarawa was really special. I live on an island but it’s in Washington State, a far cry from the middle of the pacific. I too really miss the daily adventure when you are on the high seas. I applaud the wonderful things you are doing for our planet and you’ve inspired me to do much more also.
    Thanks again for all you do, you have my undying support!

  • Hi Roz,

    Congratulations again. Many times over.

    When I finished my bike trek across the US I was somewhat flummoxed by the barrage of “What Next?” questions. I still feel like I am in the middle of my ride (well, not quite THAT much now after 6 months.)

    You may have already dealt with this, as this is your third big adventure, but – sheesh – revel in the accomplishment and try not to get stirred up by the “Now what?” queries. We all know that you’re still in the middle of THIS adventure. Slow down, process this one.

    Way to go!!!

    Laurey in Asheville

  • Welcome Back towards the electronic world. Rest and recuperate Roz. You done good girl! How’s the sunburn receding? Agreed your Team Roz was extraordinary! Give my regards to your mom, sis and the team. I just bought some Larabars and wondered how you managed to open them without ripping em? I have had no luck on dry land, let alone rocking and rolling on the ocean. Indeed, Roz, we rozlings are behind you, around the world supporting you and your messages. I am looking forward to reading your Atlantic Row book and envision no seasickness while reading it, contrary to watching the You Tube versions which certainly did! Hopefully, see you this Fall on your book tour, Bev and Izzy (my lovely border collie)

  • You’re an amazing person Roz. get lots of rest and reconditioning for Leg 3.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on Laura Dekker from Denmark (Google that). She’s a very determined 13yo who wants to sail solo around the world.

    Enjoy getting back to civilization. Best of everything.

    John in Durango, CO

  • Glad that you are back to where the cultural meld is not so trying. Good on you for acknowledge the unintended racial thing. When people have very little productive society their religious beliefs take very large supernatural flights which can be easily snuffed by an unintended slight. Having been born to a people who balance their existence on the meanderings of the green sea turtle, I am well aware how highly superstitions are valued in a culture bypassed and pushed aside by the intrusions of “Real Life” so it goes

  • I am almost as entertained by the comment section as I am Roz’s blog. One of the aspects I find most amusing is how in her absence a number of people seem to get critically testy.
    Although, I am not religious and absolutely do not intend any comparison in any way shape or form, it does remind me of the story of Moses going up the mountain and away from the people he was guiding.
    While he was gone apparently anarchy and doubt concerning the mission ensued. When he came back he was shocked to see what had happened in his absence.
    Anyone with half a brain should have known the A.J. comment was NOT intended as a racial slur. Get real.
    These days many Americans seem so full of misguided self righteousness it’s becoming ridiculous at best.
    The good news is if anything it prompted a conversation and in the long run, that’s a start towards better understanding.
    Keep up the good work Roz!

  • Roz, dont worry about the Aunt Jemima thing !!! America needs to get over itself and stop being offended by every other word that is used by those outside of the country and in totally different meaning etc. The world does not center around good old US of A or the over the top sensibilities of its citizens. Stop being offended people, grow up and get a life !!!

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