Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 31 - Still Smiling

Day 31 – Reasons to be Cheerful

I'm feeling rather beaten up today. I've developed a twinge in my right
pectoral, which is causing discomfort on every stroke. But where
there's a will there's a way. I've had to adopt a rather different
rowing style, placing the blade carefully in the water with my arm at
full extension and using the muscles in my shoulders, back and legs to
complete most of the stroke, only using my arm to finish off the stroke
once the other parts of my body have created enough momentum.

This is more like the classic rowing stroke I would use on flat water –
on rough ocean water it's usually easier to take the catch with bent
arms to help compensate for not knowing quite where the water is going
to be at any given time. It means that I've been able to put less power
into it than usual, but at least I've been able to keep myself on a more
SW course than I would be on if I'd just taken the day off.

An incipient patch of baboon bum has also been causing me concern, and
eating a couple of last year's falafel crackers for lunch might have
been a mistake. I felt a bit queasy for the rest of the afternoon, so
the rest of the batch went overboard as fish food. I hope it didn't give
them gippy tummies too.

So all in all I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself. But no day is totally
without redeeming features, and today has had several.

I optimistically decided to try Lazarus's On button, and surprisingly
the stereo popped into life, having steadfastly resisted all attempts
over the last couple of days. And the weather was sunny without being
too hot. And I saw a few birds (terns? with black caps on their heads,
white bellies, and black backs and edging on their wings). Also a flying
fish making an impressively long flight across the waves, his silver
body gleaming as he skimmed just inches above the blue water.

So all in all, life isn't too bad. Nothing that can't be remedied by a
good night's sleep, a few painkillers and a dollop of hydrocortisone
cream applied liberally to my nethers.

[Photo: still smiling. Ish. Tonight in my cabin.]

Other Stuff:

Nicole tells me I'm coming up on 1,000 miles. And tomorrow marks the end
of my first month at sea. I tend to focus on how much still needs to be
done, rather than what I've already accomplished, so it's nice to be
reminded that a small celebration might be in order. Yayyyy!

Today's Eco Champ is Megan L in Chicago, who posted this comment:
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!

All fantastic ideas, Megan – and don't you just LOVE Farmers' Markets?!
So much more friendly than a supermarket, great to know where your food
is coming from, good sense to save on those food miles when food has
been flown halfway around the world – and best of all when they give out
free samples!!!

UncaDoug – I've been looking out for the crescent moon all day, but not
a glimpse, alas. Sorry! Maybe the sun was just too bright? It's been
dazzling today…

Some swift answers to questions:

Do I worry about lightning strikes? No. What good would worrying about
them do?

Does the boat drift off course when I go to sleep? Kind of, yes. But I
have a very flexible concept of the word "course", so I don't lose sleep
over it – literally or figuratively. Provided I go a bit west and a bit
south, I'm reasonably happy.

Would I consider stopping at another island en route to Tuvalu? No.
Ocean rowboats and land do not get on well together. Landfall is the
most difficult and dangerous bit. Best avoided until required.

Have I seen the space station? No, but will look out for it now I know
it's there. Have I seen the zodiacal light? No, not that I'm aware of.

What happens if the boat flips over? It flips back upright again.

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? No, not any more –
because I don't let it. But the ocean itself often interferes with
zen-like meditative state by being constantly rough and splashy!

Been doing much inner soul searching and having discussions with God?
Did enough of that during 103 of silence on the Atlantic to keep me
going for a while. Still check in regularly, but even in the Bible they
drew the line at 40 days and 40 nights!

Why do I row without clothes? Why not?! But seriously, because:
a) clothes chafe
b) clothes get in the way of applying sun lotion
c) clothes get sweaty and smelly, and/or soaked in saltwater, and I
have limited laundry facilities
d) easier to go to the bathroom with no clothes, while still
maintaining 3 points of contact with boat
e) it's too bloody hot!

And thanks for all the feedback on my questions yesterday about
meridians and the equator. A quick digest of the responses:

Where the prime meridian crosses the equator: they cross in the Gulf of
Guinea at a point about 380 miles south of Accra, Ghana, and 640 miles
west Libreville, Gabon.
(Thank you Michelle Driskill-Smith and aquaphoenix)

(And I quote SV Billabong): 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).

(Thanks to Tom B): 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?!)

(And to JohnH for this): 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"?

Very good ideas for the names, JohnH, although a bit too sensible for my
tastes. I'm trying to think of something a bit more entertaining, but am
feeling rather devoid of inspiration. Any offers?!

Weather report:
Position at 2035 HST: 12 46.240N 167 49.211W
Wind: 15-20kts E
Seas: 7-10ft E
Weather: sunny, some cloud

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

28 comments:

  1. Roz as to you pecs having a twitch, are you streching and letting the muscle relax and lengthen ? Try holding on to a rope and SLOWLY turn away from your out stretched arm and hold it at maximum the back and relax and then again allow both sides that same action and it may relieve some .
    BnT Ranch

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  2. I spent last week hiking through the Appalachians and when the terrain got tough to negotiate I would say "If Roz can row across an ocean I can climb a mountain." Work through the pain of your muscles and stay on course.

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  3. Feeling a little sorry for yourself once every 1,000 miles seems pretty reasonable. If only the rest of humanity were as cheerful...

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  4. Roz, I am learning something new from your blog every day. Keep up the good work and keep smiling!

    Last night, a very thin faint slice of crescent moon appeared as if by magic about 15 minutes after sunset. It was oh so faint against a relatively bright orange sky, low and left of the sun. Tonight, it will be about 15 degrees higher and decidedly left of the sun.

    Although still faint, today it will be a slightly thicker slice and a tiny bit brighter, so you may be able to see it at sunset or perhaps a few minutes before sunset, depending on haze. Scan high and low in a broad area left of sunset. Hopefully, you will get a glimpse between the clouds. Note the time and the angle to the sun as mentioned yesterday. (I just realized I am writing this as if you will read it before sunset, which you undoubtedly will not ... oh the trials of conversing with a solo Pacific rower; change all the tenses to past tense; over)

    Hope your row today is less of a roller coaster ride. Missing the water with one oar or grabbing too much with the other can really be a bummer, if you know what I mean (wink wink nod nod chortle chortle). Have a good day, and just remember: you'll be at the "Mid-Ocean Spot Where The Golden Imaginary Perpendicular Seafarers Navigational Lines Cross In The Middle Of Nowhere" in forty days, precisely.

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  5. Roz, it's unfathomable to believe that I saw you live just 30 days ago in Hawaii......and now you are about 900 miles away, and I haven't moved a mile from Hawaii.

    I am glad I created a ROZ SAVAGE VIDEO of your story and departure from the WAIKIKI YACHT CLUB so all your fans can see you, the BROCADE, and friends at your Bon Voyage Party at ING Cafe in Honolulu. I realize that you cannot see this video of you. :-(

    This stirring video of you can be seen at
    lorrinleevideo.com/rozsavage ...with the heartfelt music of Hawaii's greatest singer...ISRAEL KAMAKAWIWO'OLE.

    By the way, I had a fun visit with NICOLE BILODEAU, your Program Director. I gave her a disk with 194 photos of your departure. And. A several DVDs of this ROZ SAVAGE VIDEO. This my memorable gift to you.

    You are very fortunate to have a such a beautiful person as NICOLE for land support. I understand that she is the one who is relaying all this BLOG info to you in TEXT only --- since you can't receive photos and videos. Good job, Nicole!

    For now, ........a warm hug and A-L-O-H-A from Hawaii.

    "I'll Remember You"

    Lorrin

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  6. Even a fake smile will morph into the real thing if you keep it up. That's what I learned in my Laughter Yoga class. Ha ha ha! Ho ho ho! Hee hee hee! HAR!

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  7. Lorrin, your video is masterfully done!
    I posted it on my Facebook page June 1st
    I like it so much I reposted just now ;-D

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  8. Are you going to leave the boat in Tuvalu?

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  9. I love being able to see the underwater terrain on the Roz Tracker. Right now it looks as if you're just to the south of a largish peak (one of many all across the ocean floor) that I assume must be volcanic in origin. I wonder if those affect the nearby currents much.

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  10. Very nice. The stuff about confluence is REALLY interesting. I'm going to forward it on to the boy, as he's WAY into that stuff.

    I was wondering about the naked rowing, too. Good to know.

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  11. When you took a rest in Hawaii, my husband commented that he missed you and your rowing. You were the other woman in my husband's life. Now, I'm hooked on you too. Now,you'er the friend in both of our lives! You're in our daily prayers and we're with you all the way. PS..thanks for making me do sit-ups everyday-I have no excuse when I think about you!

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  12. oops..I'm not a techie..my husband is, so his name showed up on my comment...Camilla McGuinn

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  13. Hello Roz, there is a great book I am reading in tandem with your blog on a daily basis: "Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff" by Rosemary Mahoney. You would love to read her reasons and joy as she, alone as a foreigner and a woman, takes the trip rowing down the Nile. When you mentioned the stars in your last post it made me think of what she wrote looking up at the same celestial bowl above. Allow me to share from page 173-174:
    "Abu Simbel and Lake Nasser were at their best when the rabid sun was gone, and then it struck me as one of the best places in the world. I sat alone in the dark by the pool and listened to the crickets and the rhythmic purring of frogs. I stared at the sky for an hour. Far from any city, far from anything at all, a town so small that its artificial light had no effect on the atmosphere, Abu Simbel’s night sky was a metropolis of its own, an enormous velvety parabola embracing the earth. Venus shone long on the water in a way that mimicked the moon, and the Big Dipper sat very low on the horizon. The whole place was a deeply swirling mass of stars. I felt short of breath and utterly insignificant looking at its hugeness and depth. This was a night sky you didn’t have to raise your eyes to. It began below the horizon and was always right in front of you, wherever you turned. When I looked at it, the vortex of stars seemed to be lifting me off the ground, and I had to look down at my feet now and then to see that they were firmly planted. And then, looking down, I half expected to see stars there too. It was a sky so masterly and dizzying, I imagined myself having to crawl back to my hotel room on my hands and knees to keep from being bowled over by it and, more, by the endlessness that lay beyond it. This sky could make you feel comically small; you might as well crawl like the ant that you were.”
    Safe Journeys, Roz!
    ~Julie

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  14. Really Nice Job...Keep up

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  15. I have a question! It's sort of a "what if" question, and motivation. How would you feel if you weren't using your rowing adventure to bring attention to environmental issues, and you weren't setting any records? Would you still want to row oceans? (I'm guessing you wouldn't, it wouldn't be as much fun).

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  16. Roz:

    It's 107 in the shade here (phoenix), just checked accu-weather they are predicting at least 107 for the next 12 days......but its "dry heat". I acutally kind of like it.

    I'm planning my first trip up to the 4 corners area. Hope you get there some day.

    Congrats on your first thirty, as always, you are in our thoughts.

    Gary

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  17. I like to swim and I was a good swimmer (I enjoyed swimming far, just to feel the silence), but I cannot imagine how immense and lonely the ocean may be to someone who crosses it the way you do. I don't want to say any nonsense, but I think I would start talking to myself. Even though I don't understand much of the technical details, your writing is really something that we get attached to. Keep your strength, brave girl.

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  18. So many good questions ... I hate to add one more. BUT here goes: RozTracker shows Roz's current position dead center over what appears to be a humongous volcano!

    Judging from Google's distance scale, the undersea mountain is about 30 miles in diameter. But I suppose the ocean depth is only 2 or 3 miles, so let's suppose the volcano has an "altitude" of 1.5 miles. That would be about a 10% slope which does not seem to be a terribly steep -- equivalent to a very steep grade on a highway in the Rockies or a peculiar short stretch of I-280 in West Orange, NJ.

    Is there an oceanographer in the house?

    Anybody have information on those undersea mountains and their impact on currents and whether one would notice their impact on the surface?

    I suppose Roz is oblivious to that ginormous pile of volcanic (?) slag.

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  19. I honestly don't know what to say since I know nothing about what you are doing but I am truly fascinated and can't stop reading. Thanks.

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  20. We're pulling for you - in spirit anyway!

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  21. Facebook post answers the volcano question:

    "Roz Savage took a tumble. cut on bum. trying to apply bandaid. need crewmate!" http://is.gd/1cwMc

    Hope you are ok Roz ... But you should still take two Aspirin and call in the morning.

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  22. I know it's too late now, but perhaps for your next voyage you should try out "Gloves in a Bottle". It'a a lotion that protects your skin from all sorts of things and keeps your skin healthy. I use it when I work with paint or dye so that I don't end up with stained skin. I was thinking that perhaps this would help protect your skin/bum from the salt water.

    Best wishes, thoughts, prayers, and vibes for a safe and fabulous journey! Cheers!

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  23. Anonymous1:51 am GMT

    How can I post a comment??????
    Dully

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  24. Doug Stewart1:58 am GMT

    Hi Roz,
    I continue to vividly remember the powerful question you asked our world during your May 15 The Climate Project presentation at the Nashville Summit. It is the question whose positive answer can drive us all to follow, support, and encourage you, while also challenging us to emulate your courage in your efforts to help rescue a civilization in dire peril – one oar-stroke at a time.
    You said, “So we have to ask ourselves, is our continued survival as a species something that we care about? Is it a strong enough reason for us to take the short-term pain to achieve the long-term gain? Do we believe we are worth saving?”
    With you as a wonderful on-going and inspiring example, we must answer you, “Yes, Roz, we believe we’re worth it.” And then act accordingly – one sometimes painful stroke at a time.

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  25. Hello Roz - I came across your blog tonight via Blogger's "Blogger Buzz" where you were highlighted. Rightly so - I've read several posts and enjoy how you are writing about your adventure. Thanks so much for sharing with all of us in the world wide web. I look forward to reading more through my feed. May God bless you and Keep you as your journey. - Tracy

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  26. Hi Everyone,

    Great news...our fearless friend Roz is making amazing progress and in the next 24 hours, she'll cross the 1,000 mile mark!

    Show your support, help us raise some money for Roz and join in a fun game: make your guess as to the exact time (to the nearest second) that she'll hit that mark. Use the RozTracker (http://rozsavage.com/tracker) to inform your guessing.

    Submit your guess in a Tweet (use #roz1000 so we can track it) or on her Facebook Fan Page Wall.

    If you make a donation to Roz's PayPal account (see www.rozsavage.com for the link) between now and the time she hits 1,000 miles, then Roz will give you (and your website if you want!) a BIG shout-out to thousands of people all over the world in a blog, Tweet, and on her website.

    The winner will be announced tomorrow.

    How we'll calculate:

    Please make your guess to the nearest second in Hawaii time (GMT-10, or 3 hours behind the US west coast). We will calculate the exact time she hits 1,000 miles by using the two GPS points that come immediately before and after it happens, according to the RozTracker.

    Hint: if you click on Roz's icon on the map, her distance logged is listed to the nearest tenth of a mile under "Voyage Statistics".

    Spread the word, and GOOD LUCK!

    Team Roz

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  27. Cheers from Alaska! Congrats on the 1k mark, hooray!

    I've been enjoying your blog, thank you for sharing your adventure. When I meet an obstacle during the course of my day and get grumpy about it, I remind myself that there's a woman out there rowing ACROSS THE ATLANTIC (naked!)and my little speed bump is nothing I can't surmount.

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