Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 28 - Comrades in Oars

Day 28 – Comrades in Oars

Since Nicole sent me some excerpts from the Golden Gate Endeavour blog,
I've been thinking quite a bit about my friends Chris Martin and Mick
Dawson as they row across the north Pacific from Japan to San Francisco.
And, sorry guys, but mostly I've been thinking I'm happy I'm not you! I
think that rowing an ocean in a pair would be a very different thing
from rowing as a solo.

Mick already has two Atlantic crossings under his belt (both in pairs)
and two failed solo attempts on the Pacific – both of which ended up in
a liferaft. So in determination to succeed this time he has enlisted
Chris Martin, who was the one other solo entry when I did the Atlantic
Rowing Race in 2005.

They are rowing in the shift pattern commonly used by pairs – two hours
on, two hours off, around the clock. I tried this on the Atlantic, and I
found it brutal. The human body (well, my human body, anyway) does not
take kindly to being roused from sleep at godforsaken hours of the night
to go and row. Nor does it respond well to never getting more than about
90 minutes of sleep at a time (it takes a while to get down, and then to
get up again - especially as the north Pacific is decidedly chilly so
the guys are wearing a lot more clothes than I do).

They described in their blog what it is like at changeover time, with
one man desperate to get to sleep and the other trying to drag himself
out of sleep. The resulting lack of coordination resulting in a snack
bar thrown by Mick to Chris landing in the poo bucket. Not good.

I really felt for them. At least my body, sunburned, aching and abused
as it is, gets a decent night's break from rowing and a chance to
recover. And when conditions prevent rowing I get the whole cabin to
myself rather than having to share with a large hairy-arsed crewmate.
Still, each to their own.

Even though Mick and Chris are many hundreds of miles north of me, it's
nice to know they're there. Gives me a feeling of comradeship. So a big
AHOY to the guys, and wishing Mick third time lucky. If you'd like to
follow their blog, it's at goldengateendeavour.com (note English
spelling of endeavour).

[photo: looking out for Mick and Chris – the view north from my boat,
showing the solar panels and aft hatch on the roof of my sleeping cabin]

And a note on ocean rowing:

To put it in context (and this is all from memory, so I hope I'm more or
less right) about 300 people in the world have rowed across an ocean.
Most of those crossings have been in pairs, and most of them have been
on the Atlantic, as contestants in the Atlantic Rowing Race. About 25
people have rowed solo across an ocean, of whom 6 have been women.

Not many people have rowed the Pacific. In contrast to the Atlantic,
most of the Pacific crossings have been solo rather than in pairs. The
ones I can recall are:

Sylvia Cooke and John Fairfax in about 1966, from East to West
Peter Bird, E to W
Gerard d'Aboville, W to E
Jim Shekhdar, E to W

Alex Bellini, E to W, although I'm not sure if his attempt counted
because he got picked up about 65 miles short of the Australian coast,
frustrated by repeated failures to punch through the currents that
whoosh up and down the Australian coast.

And a Frenchwoman, Maude Fontenoy, rowed about half the Pacific, from
Peru to French Polynesia.

I'm sure there are a few more that I can't remember. The definitive
statistics are at www.oceanrowing.com.


Other Stuff:

Conditions continue rough, with winds of at least 20 knots coming from
the East. I am rowing south, across the waves, which means they often
strike me broadside and give me a drenching. And it's challenging to row
efficiently in such rough seas. But it will be worth it in the end if it
sets me up well for Stage 3 next year, coming in to Australia.

Lazarus the Stereo finally died today. Bit the dust. Kicked the bucket.
Went to the big West Marine in the sky. I'd been managing to coax him
into reluctant action for the last week or so, since he developed a
rebellious streak and decided to ignore all button-pressing. But now he
flatly refuses to work. At all. From now on it's the Aquapac + earbuds.
Thanks to Aquapac for the free gear – seriously much appreciated. Need
to feed my audiobook addiction!

Crave of the Day: a glass of nice cold, ice cold milk

Rave of the Day: the walnut pumpkin rawfood crackers made for me by
Marlene Depierre. Just tried them out for the first time today. Very
yummy indeed!

Thanks for all the brilliant comments. I've just finished reading the
latest batch. I love hearing who you are and what you're doing, what
challenges you're facing and how you face them. Your comments really
help remind me that there is a real world somewhere beyond the horizon!
A wonderful world with some wonderful people. Thanks for being there for
me.


Weather report:

Position at 2100 HST: 13 36.074N, 166 31.935W
Wind: 20+ kts from E
Seas: 10ft from E
Weather: some overcast this morning, occasional clouds this afternoon

Weather forecast, courtesy of weatherguy.com:

The easterly trade winds persist in the 20kt range throughout the
forecast period. Seas 5-8ft.

Temperature: Hot and getting hotter with increasing humidity heading
towards the equator.

Sky conditions: Partly cloudy and consistent cloud cover next five days.
Very isolated rainshowers. About 11-10N latitude, increasing clouds
approaching the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). These clouds
become convective clouds which increase the chance of heavy rainshowers,
thunderstorms, and lightning normally associated with the ITCZ.
Currently, the convergence area of the ITCZ lies between 11N and 4N

Next Update: Monday, 22 June

28 comments:

  1. Chris Kay9:26 am GMT

    To row on the ocean
    Is to dance with the ocean.
    But who leads
    Is up to you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interview Request

    Hello Dear and Respected,
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    regards.

    Ghazala Khan
    The Pakistani Spectator
    www.pakspectator.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Roz on your electrical system do you run a light at night on the outside of the boat? and how often are you able to wash off the salt from your body and do the water makers have enough storage to give you a "navy " shower...I read you every day and REALLY look forward to it each morning... All the BEST!
    BnT Ranch

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Roz,
    I have just seen the the news about "Round the Island race", and I thought to myself, I wonder if Roz has begun here second leg of the Pacific. Here you are 4 weeks into it! How on earth did I miss the start.
    Just read back through the last few days, (great put down yesterday, by the way!) Hope it continues to be a "flat" crossing for you.
    Sorry your stereo has finally given up the ghost, you will have to sing to your self to amuse the flying fish!!
    Take care.
    Row, Roz, Row
    Sandi (UK)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Roz,
    Here's a question you've probably addressed before, and if so, feel free to point me to the appropriate posting. I was wondering how you keep yourself from being sunburned to a crisp. And also how you protect your eyes from all the bright UV rays. Wouldn't the waves and splashing wash off the sun-screen? And does the salt collect on your sunglasses and make it hard to see?
    Pulling for you from Chicago...
    Janice

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello Roz,
    I've started following your blog recently, and found very inspirating, since I'm planning a running trip across the americas. I am very delighfull reading your attempts in the ocean, and wish the best luck ever! Best wishes from Brazil.
    André R.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Roz! A few months back you sent me (via my husband) a picture of you finishing Leg 1 wishing me best of luck on my PhD. Just wanted to report that on Friday I successfully defended my dissertation! I have the picture in my exercise room, so I think of you often and continue to follow your blog. Thanks for the inspiration and all you do to make a difference. I hope all continues to go well for you on your current journey.

    --Eve R. (Minnesota)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Still cheering you on... Praying for safety through the weather.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's a truly amazing thing you are doing - I see the magnificent emptiness around you in your photos, and I am almost jealous of your experience. You are definitely someone who appreciates the present.

    Good luck on your Fantastic Journey.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Roz,

    I'm a flat water Kayaker living in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. I have been following your travels since you launched in San Francisco. I admire very much what you are doing. You prove to the world the ordinary people can do etraordinary things by believing in themselves but also working with and caring for other people that love and support us. Keep on rowing!

    Jeff Wunrow

    ReplyDelete
  11. Appreciate the recent photos, Roz. Here's to hoping this camera has a long and productive life ;-D

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for the update and facts on prior pair and solo ocean rowers!

    I was wondering on average how many hours sleep do you get each night and how many hours do you spend rowing?

    Keep paddling on!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Roz,

    I hope you brought that towel I sent you. It's not fluffy but it drys real fast. I still can't believe you row through those waves. There's videos on U Tube showing them breaking over the top decks of US Aircraft carriers - a mere five stories above the water line. Hang in there!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Roz, if you want to participate in the ongoing MoonWatch project, let us know the cloud condition on the western horizon at sunset Monday through Friday, June 22-26. Monday, the crescent moon would be about 7-8 degrees above the setting sun, so doubtful you will see, but "not observed" is still a good report. Each day, of course, it climbs about 15 degrees and sets about an hour later. Report the local time you first see the crescent and its position relative to the setting sun, or simply "not observed." We can get your long/lat from RozTracker. If you like, I will report for you at http://www.crescentmoonwatch.org/report.htm ... please confirm you are in Hawaii Daylight Time Zone.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Roz - I know how much you love quotes so thought now and again I would leave one occassionally
    A quote from Lance Armstrong..re the pain you must be feeling
    "Pain is temporary. It may last a minute or an hour, or a year but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit however it lasts forever"

    Makes me smile there you are rowing away, I go and help mum in the garden and pull my back!! Who says ocean rowing is dangerous...more dangerous being in Beverley :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Today I am making Plum Jam and thinking of you. Will save a jar for your return! You are
    much loved, Lady!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Just saw your blog yesterday, and could not help but to sign on and follow you. In 67 years I have never learned to swim and am deftly afraid to submerge my head under water.I will be fulfilling one of my lifelong fantasies thru your efforts. God Bless
    http://earl-baldwin.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  18. Roz:
    Five days ago you mentioned ten things you wanted to accomplish, no. 7 mentioned getting to know the culture of the Navajo and Hopi tribes.

    I thought you might find this interesting. I have just been in contact with Dine Be Iina (DBE)which is an organization within the Navajo Nation, whose mission is to "restore the balance between Navajo culture, life & land." They support the "celebration of traditional weaving & sheep herding cultures."

    DBE has given me permission to photgraphically document the process of "from lamb to loom." I live in Phoenix so its about 1/2 days drive to get there. The beginning photography should probable start within 30 days. I'm hoping to publish a book and possible apply to NIH for a grant to make a documentary. If you have any interest I'll be posting some of the images online as their approved by DBI.

    I look forward every day to reading about your progress, in the desert you are in our thoughts.

    Gary

    www.pbase.com/garyallenbrown
    baffin@cox.net

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi :-)
    I am a stay at home mom that likes to get outdoors as much as I can. I have really enjoyed reading your blog. I look forward to "checking" on you everyday. Wish you luck and a safe journey.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Steve Smith10:10 pm GMT

    Roz -

    I have loved following your adventures for the past two season. What an inspiration you are!

    Sorry about your stereo failure - as one who has felt nature's rougher side - I know that nature and gravity always win. It up to us to accommodate her in our lives.

    BTW - could you post you actual temperatures? Hot, hot, hot is kind of subjective. I was once in London where 82 F had people passing out in the streets - seemed like a nice day to me! :)

    Continued good luck and following seas,

    Steve in California

    ReplyDelete
  21. I can't believ you are in the middle of the ocean completely dependent on yourself right now and I can hardly handle this simple life with my kids. I want an adventure!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think rowing in pairs would help the time pass. Chris is a very tough rower.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Aloha from O‘ahu .... thinking of you almost every day .. and can't wait to read you blog before bed time.
    God bless you + give you strength to accomplish your mission.
    Aloha

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hello Roz, my name is Bang Del. I accidentally found your blog today. I read your article and I was so asthonising and I was surprised how a woman like you are very brave the seas alone. I wonder, what makes an idea for you to make these decisions. Trully amazing. Now, you just in to the history of the world.

    ReplyDelete
  25. QUICK TIP #1: if you are hurting so bad for milk why don't you find any of the millions of sea cows lurking out in our seas and oceaii (the plural of ocean, FYI)? they are mammals, just like us. whenever i can't find a person to milk i take a swim!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Good grief 2 hour on 2 off sounds insane, and horrible. Surely a stint of 8 on 8 off at least every day or two would give both a chance to revive.

    ReplyDelete
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    click on the link below n win a I phone

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    ReplyDelete

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