Friday, June 05, 2009

Day 12: Trade Winds and Poop Decks

Today the trade winds arrived. Or in fact, they arrived last night,
which gave me a few handy overnight miles but didn't let me get much
sleep as the waves are now considerably bigger and the boat is a-rocking
and a-rolling. As I sit here in the cabin writing this blog, I can hear
the waves crashing against the side of the boat. And working at my
computer is making me feel a little more queasy than usual.

In these stronger winds there will be more west and less south in my
course, although I'll keep doing my best to push on down across the
lines of latitude towards the equator.

Meanwhile, what to do about these unruly boobies? For most of this
afternoon, no fewer than three of them were hanging out and chuntering
away to each other on the roof of my forward cabin. When I wave my arms
at them and try to shoo them away, then just look at me in all
innocence, as if to say: "It is obviously our god-given right to perch
where we like, so why is she getting her knickers in a twist?" And they
just carry on sitting and preening and pooping all over my solar panels.

[Postscript: I just went outside to furl away the sun canopy, which was
flogging in the wind, and there are my three feathered friends, sitting
in the darkness, hunkered down for the night. Looks like they're here to

Other stuff:

Please remember to go and follow UNEPandYou on Twitter. For every new
follower before Friday, they will plant a tree to help reduce climate
change – an easy way for you to do something positive to help. Happy
World Environment Day!

I've just emailed my latest video update to Dawn the editor for her to
pop it into one of our prepared shells. It should go online shortly. You
may notice a couple of amusing things in it:
1. Yes, I do hold my nose before I jump in the ocean. I know it's
wussy, but what can I say. I hate getting water up my nose.
2. And yes, I do forget to take my baseball cap off before I jump
in. But I managed to retrieve it after I surfaced, so there was no
increase in marine pollution. Phew!

Mitch – you asked what is my absolute favorite food...and how many audio
books do I have on my ipod? (and do I have a backup ipod):
1. At the moment my favorite foods are the chocolate syrup from
Wilderness Family Naturals, and the rawfood falafel crackers made for me
by Marlene Depierre. But not together!
2. I got 100 audiobook credits from, and $500 of
audiobooks from Plus the books from Leo. So I've got
plenty! And I now have a rather embarrassing total of 6 iPods….

Special hello to Susan and the Montessori Community School in Honolulu.
I hope you enjoy your ocean studies this summer – and thanks for showing
your solidarity with me by doing 10,000 steps a day!

Thanks for all the comments and warm wishes winging their way to me
across the waves. Much more welcome than the poopy birds! Thanks also to
John Dunning, Ellen Leanse, and all others who are helping to spread the
word about what I am doing and why.

Weather report:
Wind - substantial increase, to 15kts or so, from the E
Swell/waves - also a substantial increase, to 6ft+ with white breaking

Weather forecast, courtesy of

Easterly trades increase later tonight and reach the 20kt range by early
tomorrow morning. As trades increase, they may be shift in direction and

Forecast below is for a SWerly course.
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft)
04/1500-04/1800 E-ENE 7-15 4-5
04/1800-06/0300 E-ENE 15-20 4-5
06/0300-07/1200 E-ENE 18-23 5-6
07/1200-10/0000 E-ENE 16-21 4-6

Partly cloudy with a slight chance of rainshowers.


  1. If you can tie some string or wire from the bow cleat to the back of the cabin, just an inch or two above the deck, the birds would be frustrated in finding a place to land. many sailors(myself included) do this to stop them from landing on a sailboats spreaders or booms. I love all the ways to follow you this time. Good luck with your southing.
    Alex Nislick (alexnis on Twitter)

  2. Anonymous8:34 am GMT

    well it looks lik your camera survived the dunking from a few days ago.


  3. The birds do appear to be a problem if they are pooping on the all important solar panel. Alex did make a great sugestion about the string. What type of video camera is onboard?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Roz, your 4 minute YouTube "Eco-Adventurer" will make a nice concluding slide -- which I just now finished -- in my "Save a Polar Bear" presentation to the Girl Scouts of Troop 32618 in San Ramon, California. Show time is 7 PM PDT (5 PM yours) this evening (Friday). We'll be pulling for you. Ironically, it is the girls' ice cream social.

    I will start by asking the girls if they would like an adventure, camping, in a row boat, on the ocean, alone, without ice cream. We'll be thinking of you ;-D

  6. awesome, just awesome

    also, submit ideas for solving the climate crisis to the new ideas gallery for the climate project:

  7. Anonymous4:06 pm GMT

    Roz, loving this every single time. And those birds: what are they thinking? Can you imagine what it must be like for them to catch a glimpse of this tiny speck of an island, high from the sky, curiously fly toward it, and realize that they've found a way to (a) rest their weary wings and (uh-oh) find a way other than unrelenting flapping to get where they are going (ha!!). Now, if anyone starts nesting on The Brocade I think we'll have to start setting some boundaries – but I love this theme that's growing as birds find their way to the boat, and I wonder if you're in any way getting accustomed to the sharp smell of guano in the morning? Perhaps they are totems of this voyage; by the end of the tale we will all, perhaps, see and understand who they really are. LOVE. e.

  8. Roz,
    I just want to say that I think you are brilliant. I pledge to walk everywhere I go this week in honor of this noble cause.

    Keep up the good work. Those boobies are probably saying the same, albeit in a messier dialect!

  9. John Kay5:21 pm GMT

    Suggestion - if you still carry your fishing rod - tie a small weight to the line and flail at the birds. They won't be able to see the line and that is more likely to drive them off than is something they can see coming.

  10. Anonymous6:24 pm GMT

    Or you could simply accept the birds as part of your journey and appreciate the company and the unique opportunity to observe sea bird behaviour. Remember, you are entering their habitat, uninvited, and they have no idea about your noble cause. So, yeah, just chill out, and let them hitch a ride and perch on your boat. This is a unique opportunity for you to learn from them, and for you to help nature and the environment in an unexpected way. (And they are sooooo cute!)

  11. Brand new to your adveture but plan to follow you along the way all the way from the deep South. Much success and we're all with you here on land!

    Birmingham, AL

  12. Sindy Davis11:55 pm GMT

    You do realize that just the shadow of the birds on the solar panel is an issue, right?

    Well, it's late Friday and the weekend is starting. I'm headed to Temecula, CA for some wine tasting. Not really envious of that Gorp you're so wonderfully snacking on. My Savage Hat and Roz Pedometer has arrived, but not the T-Shirts. Carina is working on those.

    I checked out the water temperature where you are and it's about 27°C. Almost bathtub warm. Do you wear googles to protect your eyeballs from burning? We'll have to get you some wrinkle cream when you get back to LA!

    I'm listening to The Shack by William P. Young. Makes me tear up while driving - not good! The book is good though.

    Take care! -Sindy

  13. Trying to focus on the positive side...
    Hopefully those big waves tossing you about will also do you the favor of washing the poop off the solar panels. (Unless the poop would get washed back onto the ROWER [oh, that would be SO not good].)
    Best always,


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