Friday, July 03, 2009

Day 40 - Forty Days and Forty Nights

Even in the Bible they only go off into the wilderness for forty days
and forty nights at a time. Yet here I am, in my watery wilderness,
forty days in and in all likelihood more than another forty to go.

Someone asked if time seems to pass more quickly when I am at sea – or
more slowly. It's hard to say. It's not so much a question of whether
the time is fast or slow. It's just different, very different.

Ashore, there is so much to do – a typical day in Hawaii before I left
would include maybe some email exchanges with my editor in New York,
planning for speaking engagements, a conference call with an
environmental organization, a media interview, some fundraising activity
for either the expedition or film project, a meeting with a local
technology company, as well as trying to keep my email inbox under
control.

On the ocean, I row, eat, sleep, and blog. And not a great deal else.
It's a very different tempo, liberating in its simplicity. I can't
totally leave behind the cares of shore life – I'm still in daily
contact with Nicole, who is keeping everything ticking along in my
absence, and we discuss our plans for the rest of the year – but mostly
my world is sea, sky, and a little silver rowboat.

On the Atlantic, my first ocean row, I struggled to shift into this
different rhythm. I was desperately impatient to get to Antigua, and my
impatience nearly drove me crazy. My mind was racing ahead, yearning to
be back on dry land, while my boat crawled along at 2 knots.

To save my sanity, I had to learn to take it one day at a time. No point
thinking about all the miles ahead. I could only row one mile at a time,
and that was the next one. Just keep knocking off the miles, and
eventually I'd get there.

Now I often think back to that lesson when I feel daunted by the scale
of a task. I can only do the next step, then the next, then the next.
The biggest fundraising campaign starts with the first phone call.
Writing a book starts with the first page. And, of course, the longest
journey starts with the first step. Or oarstroke.

[photo: as a postscript to yesterday's blog – a photo of my onboard
vegetable patch, the beansprouter]

Other Stuff:

This morning I crossed into single digits – I am now less than 10
degrees north of the Equator. There has been quite a bit of weather
today – a couple of sharp rainstorms this morning – but I don't think
that these are symptoms of the ITCZ, as I still seem to be in the
consistent trade winds, blowing from the East, at 15-20 knots. So life
goes on. Winds blowing me west, I'm aiming south, and so we have a
strange kind of right-angled tug-of-war. A very interesting forecast
from weatherguy.com today – see the bottom of this blog.

Today's video (click on the latest YouTube icon on the RozTracker) is
about food. Following on from yesterday's blog, I show the contents of
the food lockers in my cabin. Enjoy!

Thanks for all the great comments. Mum is now home from hospital and
recovering well from her hip replacement and emails them through to me.
She has to send them before she goes to bed in England, which is a few
hours before I post my blog, so I might not get the later comments until
the next day. Just so you know! A few special mentions:

Frank, wife and daughter – thank you for your kind and eloquent message.

Re the children's book – I have a draft of one, but it's really not my
area of expertise. I've got a couple of options of proper children's
writers who might take on the project. To be pursued when I get back to
dry land.

Christa - Things to make from Larabar wrappers – the idea would be to
auction off the item on eBay (as Karen Morss correctly guessed), so I
don't really mind what it is. Maybe a small purse? Or bracelet? Or
several bracelets even? I'll keep munching away and figure something out
when I get back to dry land.

UncaDoug – thanks for the entertainment and the New Moon update.

LeAnn – will be sure to take you up on the offer of dinner if/when I'm
in Houston. Thank you!

Lesley Ewing – great to hear from you. Thanks for the bake sale
fundraiser – and the donation. You're great!

Nancy – thanks for calling The Ellen Show on my behalf. Would be great
to put in an appearance!

Russell – haha!

Marcus and Anna – well done on finishing your epic JUNK bike ride! It
was great to be able to see you off from Vancouver. Wish I could have
been there to welcome you into Mexico. Hope you had a great time, and
I'm sure you had a huge impact in raising awareness of plastic pollution
in the oceans. See you again soon!

Hi Mariya!!!

Quick answers to quick questions:

Q: Wondering what your sleeping arrangements are like? Is there a door
you can shut to keep out stray waves? But doesn't it get too hot? How
much headroom is there inside the compartment?
A: Enclosed cabin with waterproof hatch. Just about high enough to sit
up in. Yes, it gets darned hot during the day, which is why despite the
heat I still prefer to row in the day and sleep at night. Trying to
sleep in here during the day would be a very sweaty experience.

Q: When you arrive, what happens to your boat? is it flown back, or
perhaps put on a container ship and sent back to where you need it?
A: Where I need it is where I finish this stage of the row. In other
words, Stage 3 will start where Stage 2 ends. So the boat will stay
there. If I had unlimited budget I would ship the boat back to Hawaii or
over to Australia for refurbishment, but shipping is horrendously
expensive. In fact, I doubt it's even possible to send large cargo from
tiny sandspits in mid-Pacific…

Q: On the ocean, with a day of good visibility, how far away can you see
distant weather events, like storms? For instance, could you spot a
storm in the ITCZ when you're still a full degree of latitude away from
it?
A: Interesting question, and maybe weatherguy.com can help. I can
certainly see big black clouds about 5 miles away, but am doubtful I'd
see them from a full degree (60 nautical miles) away. In fact, I often
look to the East to see what's heading my way – not that I can do much
about it!

Weather report:

Position at 2130 HST: 09 43.584N, 171 48.655W
Wind: 15-20kts E
Seas: 6-8ft E
Weather: occasional outbursts of rain this morning, sunny and hot this
afternoon with occasional clouds

Weather forecast, courtesy of weatherguy.com

As of Thursday, 02 July 2009. The easterly trade winds have turned more
ENE still around the 20+kts. Expect brief periods of lower winds to
around 15-18kts, then abating to the 15kt range on July 6th. Seas abate
to 6-7ft. Winds south of the ITCZ are E to ESE 10-12kts or less.

Sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy with mostly low level clouds.
Isolated rainshowers. Convective clouds begin about 07 30N and that
means vertical development extending to 30-50,000ft. Increased chance of
rainshowers and thunderstorms.

ITCZ: The most active part of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ)
is now along 170W to 180W between 2N and 7 30N. There remain widespread
areas of wind 30-40kts in heavy rainshowers and thunderstorms. However,
last 24hrs, the ITCZ has become less active, but you will likely
experience squalls and thunderstorms.

Ocean Current: You are currently in a west setting current of about 0.2
to 0.3kts so that is not helping your southerly progress. The good news
is the current changes direction at about 06 00N to eastward flowing at
about 0.4 to 0.5kts; ie the North Equatorial Counter Current. That
should help in hindering your westward movement. The NEEC extends to
about 00 30S. In the lighter winds south of the ITCZ, it may be possible
to row/drift eastward. We don't quite yet know the full impact of the
current and the opposing wind on your boat, but hopefully it will
benefit your goal of getting south of the Equator before Tuvalu.

Forecast below is for a SWerly course.
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft)
02/1800-04/0900 ENE 17-22 7-9
04/0900-06/0000 ENE 15-20 6-8
06/0000-08/1800 ENE 12-17 6-7

Next Update: Monday, 06July

22 comments:

  1. Roz we are all glad your mother is doing well and recovering. You are closing in on the Equator at a very fast rate and congratulations on breaking into single digits. From reading your blog I take it you will be rowing between storms.

    I like sleeping on a Pawley’s island hammock while at sea. Have you tried rigging up a hammock on your deck?

    When you cross the equator what will you do to celebrate?

    ~ Gregory

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  2. Roz,

    Between the beans in the photo and the Larabars/dried fruit you described yesterday, it all sounds.. ummm .. gassy. I guess you are lucky to be alone!!

    The Larabar wrappers can be "recycled" into fishing lures (for trolling). The fish seem to love the shine and treat it like a small bait fish.

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  3. Greetings!

    I found these really nice looking purses that are made from candy wrappers. (I'd buy one at the store, without ever even knowing that they are wrappers from you, so imagine what will happen if you sell it on ebay!)

    I don't know if you can see images, or not so I'll just post a link incase someone can describe it, or send it to you. http://candywrappercrafts.blogspot.com/

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  4. Interesting answers, thanks a lot. Preordered your book by the way, can't wait!

    Hey, make an appearance on the Colbert Report when it comes out.

    Best wishes and a speedy recovery to your mom. Please keep safe!

    ReplyDelete
  5. WOW..the equator is so close..so exciting! What will you do to celebrate when you do hit it? Please post pics of that!

    We wish you continued success..strength and the power to persevere!

    Take care of yourself!

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  6. Your spirit is inspiring, Roz. Thanks for keeping us informed of your journey when I'm sure a lot of times you'd rather just sleep.

    And on another note, I appreciate that your spelling and grammar are impeccable. Your writing is superb!

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  7. Roz, thanks for all your answers; illuminating as always. Joan's question is similar to my pondering when I see snowcapped mountain tops hundreds of miles away -- specifically the 13,000 peaks of Yosemite as seen from the central valley of California. Your blog and Joan's question have motivated me to actually do some research, and I found this ...

    === Estimating Distance While Paddling ===
    Practical Geometry for Kayakers & Canoeists

    http://www.roguepaddler.com/distance.htm

    For the math enthusiast: Have fun with this calculation. I figure Roz would not see clouds 1 degree of longitude or latitude if they are below 4,600' altitude ... so we need to know how high the weather clouds get out there. That is a good question for the weather guy.

    Also, the equation may only apply to short distances -- like paddling on a large lake -- and objects that are not very tall. The examples on the RoguePaddler.com are a small island and a tree viewed from a distance of a few miles. Anybody know if the equation applies accurately to ~70 mile distances or ~5,000' heights ... or greater?

    Yesterday, Joan in Atlanta asked the question...

    "Here's another question to add to your list, and maybe the Weather Guy can help out with this. On the ocean, with a day of good visibility, how far away can you see distant weather events, like storms? For instance, could you spot a storm in the ITCZ when you're still a full degree of latitude away from it?"

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  8. I just found your blog a couple of days ago and I have to say, you're such an inspiring woman. :)

    I'm wondering though, after this post, is there a possibility of getting struck by lightning? Sorry if it's already been asked...

    Take care out there. :)

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  9. Tom Hanks had "Wilson". Have you considered traveling with a cat, parrot or other carbon-based life form?

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  10. Anonymous2:21 pm GMT

    I hate to imagine live pets pitching about in 6-12 foot seas...perhaps one that's been to the taxidermist would work if furry or feathered company was absolutely necessary. ; )

    SC

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  11. Roz, what are your plans after you finish the Pacific? Any thoughts on continuing your journey and making it all the way around the world some day?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Roz, Mark J is on to something ... how about some good old fashioned N-S circumnavigation ... over the top from Brisbane, Borneo, Busan to Pt. Barrow via the Bearing Straights, along the coastline of Siberia -- or the Northwest Passage if you like -- thence southerly passing by the British Isles and stop over for a pint of brew (blimey!); onward by Bahamas and Brazil to see blue whales in Drakes Passage or Tierra del Fuego as you prefer, thence a lap around Antarctica and back to Brisbane. Mission accomplished. Another whole new meaning to 'bottoms up' -- think about it. Maybe you could weave '350' into it ... perhaps stop 10 degrees short of a complete loop. You surely would get an endorsement from Bill M and 350.org

    Better yet, kick it off Oct 24 at Big Ben via Copenhagen where you board Brocade and off you go ... just kidding ;-D

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  13. Anonymous6:56 pm GMT

    About the Larabar wrappers. Each one could be easily laminated, and turned into an excellent bookmark. Then enclose one with special copies of the Atlantic book, as a souvenir from the Pacific trip. I would think that it would be a treat for readers to have a (Larabar) bookmark that had actually been on one of the journeys. I know that I'd want one.

    Richard Cort, in Austin Texas.

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  14. Richard, good idea. Count me in. I want one!

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  15. Richards idea is actually quite perfect, it's less time consuming, you can reach more people and receive more money as well. It's more of a treasure, then anything else - which is what will appeal to the majority of us.

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  16. DITTO! I would want one myself. Count me in if it comes to pass.

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  17. Ok Roz and Nicole. You now have three orders for book marks. Just the tip of the iceberg. Sign and number them before laminating ... get a Sharpie ... seriously ;-D

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  18. Excuse me ... FOUR orders ...

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  19. Anonymous6:21 am GMT

    Hmmm...make that five...

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  20. Add me to the list for bookmark orders.

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  21. One more order...And the beat goes on...
    Blessings for safety in all aspects Roz.

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  22. How does one eat an elephant?
    --One bite at a time

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