Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 30 - Rowing Naked in the Rain

Day 30 – No Such Thing As Bad Weather?

The British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes once famously declared, "There
is no such thing as bad weather – only inappropriate clothing." I may
beg to differ. My clothing today was eminently appropriate – as usual I
was au naturel – but the weather was decidedly bad as far as I was
concerned.

I was woken this morning by a teeth-rattling blow to the side of the
boat from a big wave, which was shortly followed by a torrential
downpour. I lay on my bunk for a while, procrastinating. I'm usually at
the oars by 6am but this morning it was 7.30 by the time I put blade to
water. It was heavily overcast and I could see more bad weather
approaching from the East.

I'm not sure if it was hail or rain – the wind was throwing it at me so
viciously that it felt like bullets (not that I'd know) but maybe it was
just rain. Very hard rain. And that's the way the day has gone. Cloud,
rain, and more rain. With a few bakingly hot intervals.

I'd been prepared for this kind of thing once I get to the
Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, but that is supposedly still a couple
of degrees away to the south. To be honest, I'm not quite sure just what
the ITCZ is going to bring. In my mind it's some kind of meteorological
Twilight Zone, where anything could happen. Squalls, doldrums, flukey
and surprising winds. I guess I'll find out when I get there. (See also
the latest forecast from weatherguy.com at the bottom of this blog –
interesting.)

Looking at my current course, I'm not sure which I'll cross first – the
International Date Line (at longitude 180 degrees) or the Equator (at
latitude 0 degrees). It would be pretty cool to cross both at the same
time – a bit like being at the North Pole or the South Pole, it would be
a very special set of coordinates.

A few questions if anyone is inclined to do some research to satisfy my
curiosity:

1. Does that place have a name? The place at 180 degrees W and 0
degrees N?
2. Is it correctly 180 degrees W or 180 degrees E? And is it 0
degrees N or 0 degrees S? Or neither – does it drop the W/E and N/S
designation?
3. And where does its opposite lie? The place where the prime
(Greenwich) meridian crosses the Equator? Is it somewhere in Africa?
What country? Is there anything to mark its location? Or is it in the
ocean?

I get fascinated by this stuff, like celestial navigation - anything
that reminds me that we're living on this spinning ball, whizzing
through space, running laps around the sun while the sun itself hurtles
through space.

Is there a Google Universe yet, like Google Earth but bigger in scope?
Now that really would be something, to look back at our solar system
from, say, the middle stud of Orion's Belt.

Oooh, I'm suddenly feeling very small indeed….

Other Stuff:

A very special hello to Bernadette in Australia – today's Pull Together
Champ! She wrote this comment on my last blog:

Thanks to you Roz I am now walking to work each day. It's about 5.5kms
which I used to drive (if it's pouring with rain I take the bus which is
also how I get home unless I feel extra energetic). I figured if you can
row across the oceans to help save the planet the bare minimum I can do
is get up early and forgo the daily drive. I've found it quite a joy
actually and am also developing a nice audio book addiction.

Great going, Bernadette. I'm SO proud of you! Reading your comment has
made my rowing seem so much more worthwhile. Thanks for sharing.
Everyone else – please check out pulltogether.org. I'm encouraging
people to try and match my 10,000 oarstrokes a day with 10,000 steps,
preferably by walking instead of driving for short journeys. Even if you
can't manage to do 10,000, every bit helps – it all helps reduce your
environmental impact. Good for your body and good for the planet!

Great also to hear from my friend Olli – what are you doing in Austin?!
Anyway, good to hear that you're still on your bike, and saving on paper
towels too. Keep spreading the word!

Answers to questions:

When do I decide it's time to retire and batten down the hatches? Pretty
much a gut feel When I start thinking, oooh, this is a bit dicey, that's
about the time! But so far the boat has felt really solid. There have
been some big waves (like the one this morning) but she hasn't even
hinted at going over. Long may that last!

Do I have any pets back on dry land? No, I don't – mostly because I
don't have a home so I don't have anywhere to keep one! One day I'd love
to have a mynah bird, or parrot, or some such. And teach it to say all
kinds of rude things!

Do I have a tether? Yes, I do. It's err, around here somewhere. I don't
use it much.

UncaDoug – I'll see if I can spot the moon tomorrow. Totally overcast
tonight. Please don't count on me though – got a few other things going
on here, so want to manage your expectations on moonspotting!

And thanks for all the comments and sympathy I got on Facebook and
Twitter this morning when I Tweeted about rowing naked in a hailstorm.
Especially enjoyed Peter Hatley's comment:
Think of it as God giving u acupunture, but using hail instead of
needles lol

OK, all for now. Just finally:

Crave of the Day: Cornish cream tea (inspired by message from Dr Aenor
about being on holiday in Cornwall)

Rave of the Day: beansprouts with rawfood chocolate syrup. Sounds weird
but I'm not kidding – it's really good!


Weather Report:

Position at 2100 HST: 12 58.125N, 167 25.776W
Wind: 20+ kts E
Seas: 8-10ft E
Weather: think I've already covered this one!

Weather forecast, courtesy of weatherguy.com:

As of Monday, 22 Jun 2009. The easterly trade winds bump up a notch
above 20kts and seas increase to the 10ft range until tomorrow. Then
abate to below 20kts, increase again on the 25th. Seas 7-10ft.

Sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy with variable cloud cover next
five days. Very isolated rainshowers. The Inter-Tropical Convergence
Zone (ITCZ) has quieted down since last report. This is an area of
converging winds from the northern and southern hemisphere which can
cause convective activity which increase the chance of heavy
rainshowers, thunderstorms, and lightning. Presently, the ITCZ lies
between 8-10N.

Forecast below is for a SWerly course.
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft)
22/1800-23/1200 ENE-E 17-23 7-10
23/1200-25/1800 ENE-E 13-18 6-9
25/1800-27/1800 ENE-E 17-22 8-10

To answer some of your follower's questions regarding moon rise and set,
and time zone. On June 23, the moon rises about 6:50 AM (HST) and sets
8:39PM. New moon was 22Jun and the next full moon is on Jul 06. So the
night skies should be dark next couple of weeks. The time zone Roz is
currently in is one hour behind Hawaii time (HST). She will cross the
next time zone upon passing 180E/W.

Next Update: Thursday, 25 June

26 comments:

  1. Since searching in vain for crop signs on Google Earth is the farthest I go in regards to navigation, I must promise you to your surprise that I will not be able to answer your questions! But I will try to learn more about those numbers and directions because when I get stranded on that deserted Island, I want to know in which direction my volleyball and I need to go.

    By the way, that picture of the ocean really scares a wuss like me.

    Hey, you've inspired me to walk to work and start running. I'm also looking at some possible volunteer work for 2010, thanks for the inspiration! Please, PLEASE keep safe.

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  2. Hope you have a nice journey!?
    Yeah, I know. Nice compared to what.

    But Still :)

    Good Luck for the coming days

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  3. You are a real inspiration to a lot of people. Keep up the great blogs and twitters as it really makes everyone feel like they are a small part of your journey. Stay safe.

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  4. We call the point where the International Date Line (at longitude 180 degrees) and the Equator crosses the Roz line.

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  5. Roz,

    I couldn't find the name of 0 180, but you do drop the NSEW designation as no clarification of hemisphere is required (you're right on the edge). The opposite lies in the South Atlantic, tucked up in the nook on the Western coast of Africa.

    Are you a Pollywog or a Shellback? Do have any Equator Line Crossing Plans? It's usually reserved for sailors but you are definitely working harder than we usually do!! At least when we sleep the boat keeps moving, you stop!!

    You WILL cross the equator first, assuming you are heading for Funafuti, Tuvalu (It's at -8.5 S 179 E). We sailed up and down through the area a couple of years ago and stopped in Funafuti.

    NOTE: You should give yourself LOTS of easting when you cross the equator. Our 1800 nM trip from Majuro back to Fiji was the hardest leg of our entire 5.5+ 32,800+ Miles trip. The South East trades can be nasty, and we had a keel!!

    I'm sure you've got it covered but if you need a hand feel free to contact us

    Best of luck

    Chris

    ps. You know only woman have the luxury of rowing naked? I also used to be a rower (crew not ocean).

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  6. hey roz, small wonder flying fish keep hopping on board. heal well. gards, Shaw

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  7. Megan L in Chicago12:58 pm GMT

    Roz, I'm working on being more green and this is what Ive done since you started on this leg:
    -Installed two rain barrels so I can use rain water in my garden.
    -Set up two double compost bins. I eat a lot of veggies (local-from the Farmers Market) and I used to put the scraps down the disposal.
    -Put up a clothesline to use sunshine and wind to dry the laundry.
    -Put solar lights around my patio.
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Megan

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  8. Roz,
    If you are referring to a location on the earth, you use 0* N,0* E (because the degree symbol bumps me out of this web page, I am using the * instead). If you use it in a sentence, you do not need the north or east as in: the latitude of the equator is 0*, the longitude of Greenwich is 0*. I do not think that there is a specific name for the point where the date line crosses the equator, but if you do cross at that point you will be entitled to the title of "Golden Shellback". Crossing the equator at the Greenwich Meridian (360 miles out in the ocean south of Ghana, Africa) you would be entitled to the title of "Emerald Shellback". So maybe we should name them the "Golden Point" and the "Emerald Point"?

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  9. Roz, providing you don't get blown over to Bikini Atoll, extending your vector (Honolulu to current coordinates) to 180 W 0 N is 1,202 miles. If you maintain your average speed to-date, you should get there before breakfast Monday, August 3, so "rise and shine" early to enjoy the moment.

    BTW, last night the sky was clear and the setting sun made layers of haze on the horizon glow deep salmon-red. No crescent moon was observed, but the root beer float was a rare treat and made me think of you. Hope you get a glimpse of the crescent this evening.

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  10. Regarding bad weather, do you ever worry about lightning strikes?

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  11. Roz, you need to create a Date Line Crossing Ceremony and an Equator Crossing Ceremony. If you are at 0*N 0*E then you combine both ceremonies into one. Your ceremony can be anything because you don't have a gauntlet of sailors to deal with. You do need to pay your respects to the elements: water/ocean/rain; air/wind; all creatures of both.

    I guess I'm a wuss like Robert, that photo is a bit unnerving.

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  12. Roz, what happens when you sleep? Does the boat drift so far off course that you have to row like crazy to get back on track? Or do you hope it drifts where you want it to go?

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  13. Anonymous7:55 pm GMT

    Roz, I was wondering about which line you would cross too. It would be very cool if you cross the intersection.

    Another question about your navigation: do you think you will get within hailing distance of Howland Island or Baker Island? They appear to be right along your course (or did last I checked) and are the only landfalls between you and Tuvalu. Would you consider stopping on an island along the way, presuming it would be safe?

    Sky questions: Have you seen the space station? It's very bright now, and hard to miss. Predictions about when it will fly over any given location are available from heavens-above.com; perhaps we should run some for you?

    I also wondered if you have seen the zodiacal light, that very faint glow in the west after sunset (or the east before sunrise) that is the result of sunlight reflecting off of interplanetary dust. You can only see it in the darkest skies, and you have the darkest I know!

    Good sailing,
    Brian

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  14. why do you row without clothes?

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  15. LOL! Good question Crystal!! I would row in the warm rain w/o clothes to emmulate a clean shower. But, rowing in the sun w/o clothes would invite sunburn. When I went to Fiji for 2 weeks, I was always covered in the skirt thing they wear, long sleeved T's or linen shirts, surf shirts for water sports. I came back sooooo dark as if I laid in the sun with oil. I have never been that dark before. The sun down there goes right through the clothes.

    So... why, Roz?

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  16. juz found ur blog on the blogger buzz.. ur rowing 3000 miles?? all alone?? to spread the "Green planet" word .. U R AMAZING .. m still under the process of digesting this very fact.. but juz couldn't wait to wish u well..

    well lotta action to catch up wid.. till then "Aloha" :-)

    have a safe journey.. do hv fun..

    hope the ocean's waves take good care of you while the satellite waves keep u in touch wid happenings on the rest o the planet..

    happy rowing roz,
    deepzz

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  17. Yikes. That picture looks scarey.

    What happens if the boat does flip over?

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  18. Heya Roz,

    I've been following you online since you left Hawaii and doing my best to spread the word and get others to follow your journey too.

    Regarding your 0deg N/S and 0deg E/W...not sure about the answer. But I do know you'd be a "Goddess" on the "Degree Confluence Project"
    http://confluence.org/

    Basically, (from the site) "The goal of the project is to visit each of the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world, and to take pictures at each location."

    There are A LOT of points along your path that nobody has been to before! You would rack up quite the list if you managed to take a picture showing your coordinates at each point of confluence!

    And if you happen to hit 0deg N/S and 0deg E/W at the same time AND get a picture...I don't know what will happen! (parties? people fainting? children named after you?!)

    Keep up the solid rowing and know that there are a bunch of us in Southern Ontario, Canada reading your posts and cheering you on!

    Take care,
    Tom

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  19. I'm picturing tan back, face, chest, belly, front of thighs and calves and feet and red and white bum and white under thighs and calves. Or do you turn over during a rest to even it out?

    I don't do a lot of walking due to my knees but you have inspired me to get back on my rowing machine. I have to admit I'm no where near 10,000 strokes a day though.

    Best wishes for a safe journey,
    Russ K

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  20. Roz,
    Do you ever feel like the "noise" from the blogging and twittering and facebooking, and other communications is too much - that it distracts from getting into a zen-like meditative state? I would think that being alone out there with the monotonous routine would be therapeutic and you'd settle into a calm peace. I guess I'm just curious about your mental state in general. Been doing much inner soul searching and having discussions with God?

    I love the good humored banter and fun updates, but was just wondering about this deep stuff too.

    God bless you and your team!

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  21. Roz, came to you from Twitter. I have chills and goose bumps reading about your mission. Be safe, be victorious!

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  22. Roz, I love your concept of Google Universe!! I love kayaking at night, when I look at the stars, I feel like I'm paddling in the constellations and heading toward earth. The perspective is awe-inspiring and humbling. It's easy to get lost in the Great Expanse. There's something truly magical about it tho....like really connecting to something Bigger and in turn, reminding me of my place in the world.

    Regarding your question about the intersection of IDL/Equator, I found this info online:

    The equator along the Prime Meridian (just west of the coast of Africa south of Ghana) and is 0 degrees longitude and 0 degrees latitude.

    The equator at the International Date Line (in the Pacific Ocean near the Gilbert Islands of Kiribati) and is 180 degrees longitude and 0 degrees latitude.

    Neither of these sets of coordinates require direction designations....the only 2 points on the globe that don't!

    More info about Kiribati in case you are curious:
    The Republic of Kiribati consists of 32 atolls and one raised coral island. These islands are dispersed throughout the three island groups that form Kiribati, of which the Gilbert Islands lie closest to the convergence of the IDL & The Equator with coordinates of 1°25'N, 173°00'E.

    Peace and strength to you from Traverse City, MI

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  23. Michelle from Canada3:03 am GMT

    You're awesome Roz - I don't know what would freak me out more, rowing in the middle of the ocean or sitting in that tiny little cabin with the waves pummeling my boat in the middle of the ocean...I hope your trip continues to be calm as you cross the equator.

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  24. From one who did it courtesy of the US Navy, crossing the equator at the IDL makes you a "Golden Shellback", as opposed to just a plain "Shellback" (and no longer a Slimy Pollywog!)

    As previously mentioned by previous posters, a tribute to King Neptune, Ruler of the Raging Main, is warranted at the time of the crossing...

    Congratulations!!

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