Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Day 10 - Avia Non Grata

Last night I was woken at about 2am by a bird scrabbling to keep its
footing on the skylight just above the head of my bunk. I was quite wide
awake, so I got up and rowed for half an hour or so, just to get tired
again, then went back to bed and slept relatively soundly.

But when I got up again at 6 this morning, I found the boat in a
horrible state. The bird who had alighted on the skylight had evidently
told his friend to come on by, here was a handy place for a sleepover.
When I went out on deck I found the two of them, a mature booby and a
younger one still acquiring its adult plumage, perched on the fore cabin
and looking at me guiltily, like two naughty teenagers caught smoking
behind the bike sheds.

And quite right that they should feel guilty. They had made a hell of a
mess. I don't mind feathered friends dropping in, but what makes them
think that it's okay for them to poop all over my boat? Why, with a
whole ocean to do it in, did they have to liberally dollop their
droppings all over my cabins? The whole boat stank of guano, and long
white streaks ran across Brocade's pretty silver paintwork. Not a flying
(no pun intended) start to the day.

I swore at them and shooed them away, and spent some time, nose wrinkled
in distaste, scrubbing away the evidence of their visit. I know there's
a superstition that it's good luck to get pooped on by a bird, but I
think I've had about as much good luck as I can handle for the immediate

[photo: playing the innocent - the two culprits. I will spare you the
photo of what is hidden beneath the sun canopy... but it wasn't pretty.
Or fragrant.]

Other stuff:

A nice day, with high wispy cirrus clouds giving me hope that the trades
might be about to kick in. But despite my best efforts, another day of
slow progress. 10.5 hours of rowing, 20 miles covered. Sigh. Still, at
least I've got a good book to listen to – Cold Mountain. A contrast with
Hot Ocean.

Crave of the Day: nothing, really. Even getting used to drinking very
warm water. Only wish would be to instantly eradicate the soreness of
the skin on my bottom and the sunburn on my back.

Rave of the Day: Cold plunges into the ocean at the end of every rowing
shift, and rawfood falafel alongside beansprouts with tahini and nama
shoyu sauce for lunch. Mmm, mmmm.


Wind: 5-12kts from the East
Swell: 5-8ft from the East
Other: sunny, hot, with cumulus and cirrus clouds giving occasional
relief from the sun

Weather forecast, courtesy of
(with feedback on my lament that it's not easy to maintain a southerly

Easterly trade winds slowly increasing tomorrow and increase to the 20kt
range by June 4th.

Forecast below is for a SWerly course. Proceed the most southerly course
possible. Since leaving Hawaii, you have made more south progress than
west by about 50% in distance. So hang in there. You are doing great!

Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft)
02/1800-03/0900 E-ENE 8-13 3-4
03/0900-03/1800 E-ENE 13-18 3-4
03/1800-04/0000 E-ENE 15-20 4-5
04/0000-08/0000 E-ENE 18-23 4-6

Continued clear and sunny with little chance of rainshowers.


  1. The birds have provided quite a bit of entertainment on the second leg of the Pacific crossing. Never a dull moment rowing.

  2. Cheryl Moore8:50 am GMT


    I love reading your blogs and you are an inspiration during my runs. Tonight as I was finishing up a longer run, I felt like slowing down and trodding the last mile. However, I thought to myself, would Roz finish up a long row session only giving 1/2 the effort? I decided you would not and that got me to moving at a decent pace again. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  3. That boat is going to drift on you if you don't get used to trailing a warp or clipping yourself in. It's plain safety and sense. For a kow it all, your are fairly easy to take, and it would be a terrible loss were you to become seperated from you craft by any of the 1001 accidents that happen at sea. Please see to it and clip on for the sake of your adoring public.

    Your Friend Texino

  4. The boobies saw you are making a bee line to Tuvalu and offered simple distraction on your poop deck as you wax poetic ... 20, 19, 18 parallels of poop on the wall ... 17 parallels to go ... take one down ... have a great row ... yada yada yada ...

  5. Anonymous2:16 pm GMT

    I am at a Military Conference showing off your adventure to lots of folks. Of course, I mention that you have PowerFlares on board. Everyone is amazed at your courage and stamina and mental acuteness. Keep up the great row. One sailor mentioned he knew about cleaning up poop decks. John Dunning - San Jose, CA

  6. Roz, just two words for you... Super Lube!

  7. Are you sure those are the same birds who pooped on your cabins? They really do look very very innocent.

    I got my Savage Pedometer in the mail yesterday. Works great, looks stylish! All the cool kids should get one.

  8. Anonymous8:05 pm GMT

    I'm pretty sure that's a female Great Frigate bird and her offspring. There are some interesting facts about them on Wikipedia. They got their name from their pirating behaviour of stealing food from other birds. Even though they are ocean birds, their feathers aren't waterproof, and they can't take off from water. They parent their offspring the longest of all birds, and nests once every other year, producing only one chick. They can stay aloft for a week. I wonder if the baby frigate bird was using the Brocade as a perch while its mom was out catching food and feeding it. It's too bad they made a mess, tho. I love bird watching, thanks for the photo, they were probably wondering where you came from! lol.

  9. Anonymous8:08 pm GMT

    That tracker thingy is really great! It's a really fun feature of your blog!

  10. Anonymous9:14 pm GMT

    Roz, loving your posts, your humor, your equanimity and your FUERZA every dang day. And sharing widely. Sorry about the poopy Brocade but don't blame the problem kids for stopping by. How nice it must have felt for them to take a break, enjoy the ride. Enjoy Cold Mountain. I loved it years ago – the story and the great little sketches of nature, green things, life. LOVE to you, and N sends his best. xo xo from your devoted fan – Ellen

  11. Hello, all! Nicole here, Roz's Program Director.

    I just spoke with Roz this morning and one of the things we discussed was her safety. We want to reassure all of you: ensuring she is as safe as possible AT ALL TIMES is Roz's TOP priority.

    She uses a Dakine ankle leash to remain attached to her boat when she takes her (much needed!) cooling dips in the ocean each day.

    She will not become separated from her boat, not to worry!


  12. Anonymous11:55 pm GMT

    Roz, I followed you on your journey from CA to Hawaii last year... while in the midst of leaving CA myself (by CAR to the midwest of the USA). Now safely and happily living in Iowa City, Iowa - having left the madness of the Bay Area- and wondering if the quiet landscape of Iowa is the same peace and calm that you see on the ocean (sometimes). We do have our tornadoes and floods though as you have all manner of sea squalls too. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  13. Seems you had a bad morning. Do your best to enjoy the wildlife that surrounds you as your journey begins. Stay strong roz! I think what you are doing deserves the upmost respect! -mitch

  14. Anonymous2:18 am GMT

    Weren't you grumbling about the lack of wild-life on your first leg?

  15. Hey. I loved listening to Cold Mountain read by the author. C Frazier has a wonderful accent so the words and phrases just flow nicely. We get a lot of birds hitching rides on our sailboat from Catalina Is to Ventura Harbor. Interesting about the Frigates that they can't take off from water. I think it's kinda cool they found you.

  16. You're doing great Roz, you motivate us all - cheers from Alaska.


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