Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 58 - The Alchemist

When they hear that I row across oceans, people often ask me why. It is
a very valid question. Why would a woman in her mid-thirties (as I was
when I started down this path) give up husband, home and a London salary
to go and row across oceans?

I sometimes feel like the question could be best answered by handing
over a copy of Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist". This classic quest tale
sums up absolutely why I couldn't carry on living the apparently perfect
life I was living, and had to go in pursuit of what Coelho calls my "own
personal legend". If you want to understand me, look no further.

Today I listened to the book again (available on Audible.com, superbly
narrated by Jeremy Irons), and it resonated more than ever – probably
because I am in the midst of a quest right now. For those who haven't
read the book, or even for those who have, here are a few of my favorite
quotes:

"If a person is living out his destiny, he knows everything he needs to
know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve:
the fear of failure."

"Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that
was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so
that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons
we've learned as we've moved towards that dream. That's the point at
which most people give up. It's the point at which, as we say in the
language of the desert, one 'dies of thirst just when the palm trees
have appeared on the horizon'. Every search begins with beginner's luck.
And every search ends with the victor's being sorely tested."

"When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us
becomes better, too."

I read The Alchemist at a very formative stage in my life, and it had a
profound effect on me. Its principles were absorbed into the new
approach to life that was evolving at that time, and I can absolutely
vouch for their fundamental truth.

Read it, try it, live it for a while and see what happens. It's
powerfully life-enhancing stuff.

[photo: Another pic of the whale shark I saw yesterday – from this
angle, just above his dorsal fin, you can see his lovely markings.


Other Stuff:

Apologies to anybody who has had difficulty accessing the RozTracker
and/or RozSavage.com recently. The problem seems to be linked to the new
release of Internet Explorer, as people who use alternative browsers
such as Firefox or Safari have not encountered any trouble. A short-term
fix, inconvenient though it is, is for you to download Firefox from the
Mozilla.com website. It's free. Meanwhile Evan, our geek superhero at
Archinoetics, is laboring to find a permanent solution. Personally, I
blame Microsoft.

Gremlins are also having their way with network coverage for my
satellite phone. This morning I was due to call Nicole for one of our
regular updates, but couldn't get a signal and wasn't able to get
through until this afternoon. I had been warned that this might be an
issue as I approach the Equator. All my communications – Tweets, phone
calls, blogs, and Solaradata position updates – go via the Iridium
satellite network. So if there is radio silence for a while, please
don't panic. It just means that I am going through a black spot. The
Solaradata position updates are most likely to succeed, as that system
automatically sends an update every hour. The other postings depend on
me having coverage at the time when I want it, i.e. 3 or 4 times a day,
and I'm not going to sit round for hours trying to get a signal when
there is rowing or sleeping to be done. So if blogs appear late, or
Tweets appear rarely, please don't worry. Everything is probably fine,
and I will be back and posting updates as soon as I manage to get a
signal.

Today was very un-doldrummy. I was able to make some good progress
south, although now as I type this, after dark, I seem to be drifting
northeast. The wind is coming from the east, so it would seem I am
drifting upwind – which is surprising. There must be a current at work.
If so, putting out the sea anchor won't help – it would only harness yet
more of the current. Hmmmm.

The stars have been phenomenal the last couple of nights. I wish I could
share this sky view with you somehow! Unfortunately unphotographable.

Joan – good to hear about your Stone Mountain excursion, Glad you
survived those 8-inch swells! :-)

Abagale – welcome. Glad you're enjoying the blog.

Keli86 – hello Canada! Thanks for the cheers!

UncaDoug – I'll look out for the crescent moon. Will probably pass on
the eclipse, as I don't want to damage my eyesight and it's going to be
a bit challenging to make a viewer from what I have on board.

And thanks for all the other great comments. I'm feeling the love!

Quick answers to quick questions:

Q: Do you have a tattoo Roz?
A: No, I don't. I'm not against the idea – I just haven't felt strongly
enough about what symbol to put where to actually get it done. Right
now, if I was going to get one, it would be a small turtle, somewhere
discreet.

Q: New Zealand had an earthquake recently and it triggered a very small
tsunami.If a large tsunami came through your rowing area, would you even
notice it or just glide over it as over a very big swell?
A: You're right – I would probably just ride up and over it. I'm
probably in the safest possible place when it come to tsunamis!

Q: Just wondering if your book is going to be published as an audiobook.
Will you narrate it yourself??
A: Simon & Schuster don't have any plans as yet to publish it as an
audiobook – but of course I'm pushing for it. And yes, I would love to
narrate it myself, although I now have a very keen appreciation of good
narrators vs bad narrators – so I hope I'd be up to the job. At least
there wouldn't be too many different voices to do! (BTW, for newcomers
to the blog, my book "Rowing The Atlantic" is available for pre-order on
Amazon. It is published on October 6.)

Weather report:

Position at 2200 HST: 04 30.646N, 175 21.880W
Wind: 3-15 knots E
Seas: 2-6ft
Weather: mostly clear skies and hot sunshine, some cumulus cloud, clouds
thickening towards sunset with a short squall

Weather forecast courtesy of weatherguy.com

Using your position from Day 56 from Feedblitz blog email, you reported:
05 08N 175 29W as of 19Jul 2220HST. This is almost due east of your
position yesterday. It is interesting to note the wind direction is from
the NE, you are rowing south, and the current is heading east your
overall motion is towards the east.

As of Monday, 18 July 2009. Wind predictions will still be with an
added level of uncertainty due to the naturally occurring spatially and
temporally variable conditions in the equatorial regions. According
measured data over your area, there is NE winds 7-12kts 05N and north
veering clockwise to E 7-12kts to 03N, then veering to ESE 7-15kts south
of 03N.

You are almost through the southern boundary of the ITCZ. According to
satellite imagery, there is minimal convection south of 05N. The further
south you get the more accelerated the east flowing current will be up
to possibly one knot. Any progress eastward should offer a better line
up on potential landing spots in the southern hemisphere. However, at
some point, you should be making some southward progress.

Sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy. Isolated rainshowers, squalls,
and possible thunderstorms.

Forecast (low confidence due to extreme variability in Roz's position
and the fluctuations in wind direction/speed in the Doldrums)
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft) est
20/1800-23/1800 NE 7-15 2-4
23/1800-25/1800 E 5-10 2-4

18 comments:

  1. Your "vision quest" is absolutely mesmerizing. The length of the ocean row,the discomfort and the isolation is almost like self imprisonment. You are very impressive ROZ.

    ~Gregory

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  2. Beautiful photo!! It seems almost as though all of these lovely ocean creatures are escorting you and looking after you on your journey.

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  3. Wow! I just woke with a start, thinking ... does that every happen to you? [rhetorical] So, since I am wide awake ... thought I'd just check in ... I see from your post you are probably just now settling in for the night. Sleep tight!

    Reading the breadcrumbs, looks like you only lost about 0.4 mile during the past two hours as you wrote this post. Hopefully that will be the pattern while you rest. I have a feeling today's rowing will be a good one for you and you may well cross 4N by sunset. Finger's crossed ;-D

    And, on your recommendation, I will read (or, maybe I'd enjoy listening to Jeremy Irons) The Alchemist soon. It's about time.

    BTW, I ordered Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean June 4th -- expected delivery October 13th. Not much time 'til Oct. 24 rolls 'round, Roz.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Roz,
    I have also read The Alchemist, and recommended it to many others. It has led me to NZ to pursue research studies...on Adventure! Certain passages just seem to 'fit' and need to be read over again.
    Cheers,
    Currin

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  5. Roz -- an eclipse viewer is quite simple to make. Just poke a pinhole in a piece of paper or stiff cardboard and project the image of the sun through it onto another piece of paper. Don't try making something to look directly st the sun as it will usually damage your eyes.

    -- Dave Bell

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Reading the breadcrumbs: Good news! Brocade's NNE drift from 22:23 to 02:25 was just 0.4 mile. It appears wind and current are [will be?] light today. South to 4N you go, Roz!

    Today's good fortune: Enjoy dim sun

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous5:37 pm GMT

    It's stuff like the little fish entourage, the boobies, the frigate birds, the turtle and the whale shark that keep me interested in this blog/journey and I appreciate it very much that Roz shares these experiences even at the cost of rowing time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Let us know when you feel confident to declare yourself out of the ITCZ.

    Sorry about the sat phone issues. My own house acts like a dead cell zone way too often, so I'm amazed that your sat phone works as reliably as it does.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Kara G. in Iowa6:25 pm GMT

    Roz, it looks like you will be passing very close to Baker Island and Howard Island, which are currently about 270 miles to your SSW, directly between you and Tuvalu (you will obviously be closer by the time you get this). They are both uninhabited, but if you happen to see one of them by chance, would you consider making a stop just to go for a walk?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous7:02 pm GMT

    Thanks for mentioning the Internet Explorer issue in today's posting, because I thought I was the only one who has been having problems. I haven't been able to get into www.rozsavage.com at all for the last week, and it all seems to go back to an IE upgrade at that same time. Glad I can still follow you on Blogger. And thanks for the recommendation of The Alchemist which I just ordered from Amazon. I can't believe I'm getting reading recommendations from the middle of the Pacific, but you're the proof that the book strikes a chord with people. Your photography the last few days has been absolutely stunning.

    Richard Cort
    Austin, Texas

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  12. I am a web developer, I noticed that IE error when I was showing rozsavage.com to a friend at her place. It won't pull up using IE, tried it just now.
    Roz is a legend. I foresee more people will hear about her, hopefully not much later after she's written her book. It's been exciting following Roz as it happens and read a book about it later on.
    She's unstoppable, AUSTRALIA will be interesting.

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  13. Dear Roz
    Nicole just wrote me about your adventure - in fact, a creative way to raise consciousness. Congratulations for being who you are, and thank you for your comments on my book.
    Much love
    Paulo

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  14. Roz,

    Did you weigh yourself before stage 2? How much weight do you expect to gain or loose on your journey?

    Thanks
    Jonathan

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  15. Amazon says delivery on the 8th of October.

    It DOES NOT say how to get a signed copy in Germany!

    This is unacceptable.

    We're all rooting for you here!
    Rozling Robert out.

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  16. Nicole Bilodeau12:00 am GMT

    Robert - you can meet up with Roz in Germany as she walks from London to Copenhagen! If you show up with your book (and maybe even join us part of the way) I bet you Roz will sign the book for you...

    Hope to see you there! ;o)

    Best,
    Nicole (Roz's Program Director)

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  17. Nicole, do you have approximate ETAs for Bonn and Copenhagen yet? Does Roz have an accredited NGO group to participate with, or an unofficial agenda to help us Rozlings plan?

    Glad you invited Mr. Coelho to the blog ... he should become our Rozling Emeritus -- inspiration to Roz and all Rozlings. Perhaps there is a special place for Paulo on the trek to Bonn and Copenhagen.

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  18. Hi Doug,

    Very good things are in the works with both The Climate Project and the United Nations Environment Programme. I've been very busy...things are progressing beautifully on that front.

    The march will kick off in London on October 24th - a global day of action on climate change. (See 350.org) We will arrive in Copenhagen on December 5th. All of Roz's Rozlings are more than welcome to join us along the way! Truly, the more - the merrier.

    More details to come...Stay tuned!

    Nicole

    ReplyDelete

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