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
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 –
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
1. Does that place have a name? The place at 180 degrees W and 0
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
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
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
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….
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
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!
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
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