assuming that you grow each journey?
My mindset actually changed a lot DURING my first adventure – it had to.
When I look back to my attitude before the Atlantic crossing, I marvel
at how I could have been so well informed and yet so naïve. Many people
had been incredibly generous in giving me the benefit of their wisdom
and experience, and yet I chose to blank so much of it out. Oh, I won't
have that problem. Oh, it's going to be just fine.
And yet… maybe it was necessary for me to be that naive, because if I'd
known at the start just how hard I would find the voyage, I'm not sure I
would have ever started it.
It didn't take long for the reality to hit me like a hammer blow. I
really, really struggled to come to terms with the frustrations of
thwarted progress, the discomfort of being constantly wet and cold, the
pain of the tendonitis in my shoulders, and the uncomfortable feeling
that I was way out of my depth (literally) and had been a total idiot to
take on the challenge in the first place.
But I was too stubborn to quit, so I had to find a way to get through it
– and that was a very steep learning curve. I had many "a-ha" moments
while I was out on the ocean, but it was largely through the process of
giving presentations and writing the book during the couple of years
that followed that I really figured out what I had learned.
My book (Rowing The Atlantic) goes into a lot more detail about what I
learned – in fact, that is really the point of the book – but if I had
to pick the Top 3 things, they would be:
1. Accept what you can't change. On the ocean, this usually refers
to the weather. On dry land, it might be other people. You can fight
reality all you like, but you'll only drive yourself crazy.
2. The biggest task can be broken into little pieces. Just deal
with the next half hour if the next 3,000 miles is too much to get your
head around. Focus on the process.
3. Patience, perseverance, persistence. Discipline, determination,
dedication. With these things there isn't much you can't do.
Unfortunately none of them come easily to me – but that doesn't stop me
trying to acquire them.
I forget my own lessons as often as not (e.g. my frustration with the
smelly poopy booby birds!), and have to keep reminding myself what I
learned before. But gradually they're starting to become second nature.
Do I grow on every journey? I hope so – or else what is the point? On
the Atlantic I felt I'd learned a lot about how NOT to row an ocean, so
I wanted to put that to the test. That is what the Pacific Stage 1 was
about – and yes, I proved to myself that I really had learned the
lessons. So the first two rows were fairly inward-looking, working on
Pacific Stage 2? I'd like to think I'm maturing into a new, more
outward-looking phase. I'm figuring out that I can use my rowing as a
way to communicate with people and maybe have some influence in the
bigger scheme of things.
Lance Armstrong's book was called "It's Not About The Bike", and I feel
like my rowing is only about 10% about the rowing. It's much more about
me trying to be a better person, and trying to make the world a better
place. It might seem weird to try and do that from a tiny rowboat in the
middle of the ocean – but if you're reading this blog then I must be
doing something right!
[No photo today - I'm having real problems uploading the blog over the
satellite phone connection, so am going to try it minus photo attachment.
It was only a picture of me anyway...]
Today started out so well… and ended up in the navigational House of
Horror. I was awake at 5am, the ocean was nice and calm, so I was up
bright and early and rowing under the stars. And all went well for the
morning and early afternoon, and I even dared allow myself a glimmer of
optimism that I would cross over 4 degrees North. Indeed, I got within 3
miles of it. But then I got caught up in a succession of squalls that
swirled everything around. I felt like I was in one of those electric
food mixers with the three spinning whisks, caught up in all kinds of
confusing winds and currents. After going east, north, west, northwest,
southwest, and northeast, I got fed up and put out the sea anchor. And I
hope that by morning the weather might have made up its mind what it
wants to do. Or there's going to be cussing from the cabin…
A reminder – if you'd like to reserve your exclusive Larabar bookmark,
free when you pre-order my book Rowing The Atlantic, just send your
Amazon confirmation email, or any other pre-order confirmation, to
firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll add you to the list. Obviously we
can't start sending out the bookmarks until I get to dry land with the
empty Larabar wrappers – so thank you for your patience!
Ciao to all the Rozionados! (or should that be Hola? Anyway…) Thanks for
the comments – when the going gets tough, the comments keep me going.
Eco Champs of the Day: Stephanie and Wayne!
"Regarding our ocean cleanup at the same marina from which you set out,
we pulled up two carts worth of garbage, to include a huge plastic
covering for a mast and a boat fender. All in all, over 100 pounds of
garbage, much of which was plastic and fiberglass. Not bad for a grand
total of six people. We'll look to do it again on Ocean Awareness day,
coming up soon... Stay strong and happy!"
Great job – that must have been a great feeling to leave the marina
cleaner than you found it – and the ocean wildlife thanks you too! Many
places have regular beach cleanups – if other people would like to get
involved, in the US you can contact the Blue Frontier Campaign which
supports grassroots marine conservation efforts and can probably put you
in touch with a local organizer.
Janis – I wish you could indeed arrange an air drop of grapefruit and
summer squash – at this stage anything a bit different from the norm
would be most welcome! Oh my word, I'm salivating at the thought of a
Arnoldus in the Netherlands – no, I don't worry about big waves. I'd
probably just ride up and over, and even if they knocked my boat over,
she'd come right side up again. Nice idea about the beer rendezvous!
Alex – the Green People sunblock IS awesome. It's available through the
store at rozsavage.com. Just click on the Green People icon - and I get
a commission on that too, so feel free to order lots! Just a word of
caution – not sure if they can deliver to the US, if that's where you're
located… do check first.
UncaDoug – very entertained by your comment and the IRCN [Inspi-Rozional
Collaborative Nexus] – and I LOVE the idea of mobilizing the Rozlings to
help out with some PR. I get emails from people saying "how come this is
the first we've heard about you?" – so it would be great if you could
help spread the word. It would be especially great if we could generate
some awareness in the UK and Europe in the run-up to my march from
London to Copenhagen in October-December this year for the climate
change conference. PR for me is PR for my cause! So yes please, DO write
to your local paper – or better still, organize a Rozalicious bake sale
(maybe to celebrate my Equator crossing if it ever happens) to give the
story some local interest and write to the paper about THAT!
Thanks also for the perspective on my progress. I think I need to stop
zooming in so close on my GPS – a rather depressing view right now – and
zoom out to the bigger picture, which looks MUCH better! And just today
I was wondering why you do the Crescent Moon Watch – and now I know!
Cindy Maxwell – what a brilliant idea! I am so touched that you do
that!! That is a wonderful way to spread the word. In case anybody else
feels inclined to do the same, Cindy has this message as the footer on
"I'm following Roz Savage, as she rows solo across the Pacific Ocean.
Michele – thank you – made me laugh! Glad you're enjoying the blog –
Quick answers to quick questions:
Q: How did you first make contact with Leo?
A: We were introduced by a mutual friend, Bill Chayes, who has been
working with me on plans for a documentary about my Pacific row. Bill
invited both Leo and me to dinner at his lovely house in Petaluma, Leo
loved what I'm doing, and the rest is history!
Q: Do you have an emergency sail in case your oars break and the oars
A: No, I don't. I have 4 oars, very strong ones made out of ash with a
carbon fiber wrap, so I'd be really unlucky to break all of them. I
could probably make a sail out of my bimini (sun canopy) but I don't
really rate my chances of managing to steer without a proper mast and
boom. So, erm, best strategy is not to break the oars!
Position at 2150 HST: 04 03.865N, 175 01.018W
Wind: SE-E, 3-20 knots
Seas: SE-E, 4-8 feet
Weather: mostly sun and clouds, with passing squalls making a right old
mess of things
Weather forecast courtesy of weatherguy.com:
Using last night's Feedblitz blog email (22 Jul), reported position was:
04 32N 175 19W as of 22Jul 1930HST. Your are still in the ECC which is
good because you might want to be at this latitude for as long as you
As of Thursday, 23 July 2009. Wind predictions still uncertain while
in the area of the Equatorial region. According measured data, there is
SE winds 15-17kts over your area. To the SE (between 01N to 04N and
168W-170W) of your position, there was a patch of measured winds of
40-50kts in rainshowers.
It would appear you are almost through the southern boundary of the
ITCZ. According to satellite imagery, there is minimal convection south
of 05N. There is one exception.the patch of high winds to the SE. This
is associated with downdraft winds in convective cloud activity.
Movement eastward should be viewed as positive because south of the
Equator the prevailing E to SE winds will carry you westward with no
problem. If you are too far to the west already, potential landing spots
in the southern hemisphere might be missed. So just hang on for the ride
and take the Eerly current as long as it lasts.
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
23/1800-25/1800 SE 12-17 3-7
25/1800-28/1800 ESE 10-15 4-6
Next Update: Monday, 27 July