Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 24 - Danger: Low Flying Fish

This morning when I went out on deck, it was dotted with the little
corpses of about 10 flying fish. It was my solemn duty to give them a
burial at sea, by picking them up and rather unceremoniously chucking
them over the side. It's a sad and rather slimy chore, and a sure sign
that the seas are getting rougher.

Most of the fish, as far as I can tell, don't arrive by flying –
although occasionally this does happen, as I know from the times when
I've found myself on the flight path and have been struck on the side of
the head by a flying fish, to our mutual surprise.

No, most of them come up through the scuppers. The scuppers are six
little oval holes arranged along the sides of my boat at deck level,
each with an elasticated trapdoor. The idea is that these trapdoors act
like valves, allowing water to escape from the deck but not allowing
water back in.

But it doesn't always work that way. Forceful waves sometimes burst up
through the scuppers, bringing a flood of seawater and a few unfortunate
flying fish, seriously spoiling their day. One minute, there they are
swimming along, minding their own business. The next moment they're
lying thrashing on my deck, probably failing to appreciate its fresh new
coat of paint in Seattle Grey.

If I'm on deck when they arrive I try to throw them back in before they
asphyxiate, but I rarely succeed. My attempts to pick them up send them
into a frenzied wiggle that makes them impossible to get a hold of. So
they die. Over the side they go, to be recycled as somebody else's
dinner. That's life.

Other Stuff:

Hmph. Most indignant. Back to business as usual today, with a full day
at the oars. But I wonder why I bother. I did the same number of miles
today (full day of rowing) as I did yesterday (2 hours rowing before
sore bum stopped play). So I can only console myself with these facts:
1. I would have gone even fewer miles if I hadn't rowed all day
2. I'm still 24 hours closer to my goal
3. It could be worse – I could be a flying fish randomly washed up
on the deck of a passing rowboat.

The good news is that the posterior was perfectly well-behaved today and
caused no trouble. Time is a great healer – as is hydrocortisone. And I
reconfigured my seat cover too, which may also have helped to some

I can't find my shower gel. I had about 6 tubes of Mint and Tea Tree
Shower Gel – my absolute favorite – to use when I've finished my current
tube. And I can't find them. They're not in the same locker with all the
other toiletries, sun cream, wet wipes, toothpaste, etc. So if they're
not there, lord only knows where they are. Probably hiding out with my
second deck bag and Kestrel wind gauge, wherever those ended up. Maybe
on board, maybe not. Sigh. Amazing how easy it is to lose stuff on a 23
foot rowboat. I swear some of these lockers have black holes in them
that swallow my stuff and spit it out into a parallel universe.

Thanks for the comments on yesterday's blog about the list of
adventures. Peter Corless – your idea of the Welsh B&B sounds absolutely
wonderful. I know a couple of fantastic B&B's in Devon that would
probably serve just as well. Must add that to the list!

Also great to hear from cousin Juliet, adventurer Leven Brown, Michelle
Urquhart from NZ, and Sindy and her new t-shirt – and everybody else as
well, of course! Thanks for all the feedback – I can't tell you how much
it means to me to know that you are all there and pulling for me!!

Weather update:

Position at 2040 HST: 14 46.950N, 164 46.429W
Wind: 15-20kts ENE
Seas: 6-8ft ENE, rough
Weather: sunny, hot, few clouds

Weather forecast, courtesy of as for yesterday


  1. The sea takes no prisoner. Be careful, be wary.

  2. Hello there... .I just started following your adventure... GOOD LUCK!!!

  3. Hi Roz,
    I, too, have recently started following your blog, thanks to Facebook. I'm filled with admiration of how you can come up with cool details day after day from your 23-ft. boat in the ocean. Keep on rowing and especially writing. Your Chicago fans are pulling for you.

  4. I am heading to Hood River tomorrow and will rally some of your fans there. Arlene says Hi. 20 years celebratation of the Guac Off (Yes Guacamole instead of Texas Chili_ - too much fun! Keep both your oars in the water and bum padded!

  5. I happened upon your blog by accident and now am an avid follower...Keep it up! I live in New York City where the closest I seem to get to the outdoors is an occasional walk through Central Park. What you're doing is an extraordinary endeavor and I wish you great luck and good health!!

  6. Anonymous5:24 pm GMT

    hey interesting post.Keep up the good work

  7. Anonymous6:20 pm GMT

    Roz, I've been following this journey and finally have to say thanks for the incredible inspiration to persevere! Now when confronted with my own struggles and annoyances throughout the day, I think of your determination to "just keep on rowing"! The zen perspective is very motivating!
    Too bad about the fish. Maybe the ocean was making an offering for your bum...a little fish oil? Good luck finding your gels!

  8. Hi Roz, I LOVE reading your blog and following your adventure. I'm sending you positive and healing energy from my cube!! I was wondering if you had a chance to download any data from the thermistors/temperature loggers... Please let me know if you need any further info on using those. I totally understand if you don't want to deal with one more piece of equipment though! much aloha from Hawaii!

  9. Anonymous8:19 pm GMT


    Can't find your jel,,,

    Well, Duh! It is on the boat

  10. Good to see you made some progress today! Sorry about the shower gel, though. :(

  11. So your avg/miles per day is up over 30. Good job!! I'm not sure I'm liking Dean Koontz' Velocity much. My mind is wandering too much when I listen to it. Weather is starting to warm up here in LA. The sun will come out on July 1.

  12. Anonymous10:20 pm GMT

    Incredible! We can all live vicariously!

  13. Been following for a while, amazing work with just what you've done so far. Keep it up!

  14. Been following you for a few days now. I'm rowing with you so move over a bit. You're amazing sore bot and all.


  15. Daniel Dion4:58 am GMT

    Hey Roz, regarding wanting to go everywhere in that Johnny Cash song, if you come to little town of Gravelboug, Sk, Canada, you certainly have a place to stay. There are only about 1200 people here and I teach in a school where there are only 23 students. I'm pretty sure I'm the only Roz Savage fan in town, although I've introducing the kids to you adventure. Good luck with the row and if ever yon come to Gravelbourg, know that you have a place to stay! Daniel

  16. Anonymous5:06 am GMT

    Funny/sad about loosing the shower gel. I live in a tiny place and relate to that. There must be a parallel universe it all settles out?

  17. Anonymous5:22 am GMT

    Hello Roz!!! I've been following your adventure for over a year now and have become quite familar with your story and "on deck" habits (such as listening to audiobooks on you iPod).
    As such, I have a book recomendation for you. I've read it myslef and think it might be something you'd enjoy since it is quite humorouse and in some ways resembles your story. It is called "The Undomestic Goddess" and they do have it on audible. Be sure to let us know what you think

  18. Roz,

    About those black holes, I'm pretty sure I have a few of those too. If you figure them out, please let us know.


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  20. Anonymous5:03 am GMT

    Roz, while you are swimming with the fishies do you ever think of sharks?

  21. I think it's really funny when people try to sell you frivolous stuff while you are on a dangerous mission to row across the Pacific Ocean. A quilted handbag is just what you need - not!

  22. It is amazing how easy items can be misplaced if not stored properly. Ship shape storage compartments for the rowing adventure seeker.


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