Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 64 - It's Not About The Boat

Anna asked: How has your mindset changed from your first adventure? I am
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
myself.

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...]

Other Stuff:

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
bookmark@rozsavage.com, 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
grapefruit!

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
her emails:
"I'm following Roz Savage, as she rows solo across the Pacific Ocean.
http://www.rozsavage.com/"

Michele – thank you – made me laugh! Glad you're enjoying the blog –
welcome!

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
are irreparable?
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!

Weather report:

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
can.

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

24 comments:

  1. Hi Roz,

    Doing my usual snurfing the 'net this AM, found a designer person who favorited this TED Talk http://tinyurl.com/c2spz7 by Capt Chas Moore about how much plastic is in the ocean...of course, this reminded me of your quest.

    Looking at the RozTracker I see that overnight you've been pushed back again...bummer...but you still make progress...wondering if there is a way to capture the tracker to print on a poster?

    Still looking for a songwriter...methinks, "Roz is Rowing Right into Tomorrow" could be a hit on the Eco-Adventurer Billboard.

    Keep rowin'

    Rozta' Bill

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  2. Hey...forgot to ask...is there a hashtag for your quest on Twitter? I appended #oceanrower but nobody's picking up on it.

    Rozta' B

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  3. Doug Stewart1:50 pm GMT

    In (fantasy) chatting with Sir Winston the other day, he was wondering . . . you know, with your book coming out and all . . . if you had his comment of years ago in mind as you worked on it: “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” (No need to publicly answer that – Simon & Schuster might be listening!) – Doug S.

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  4. Anonymous2:20 pm GMT

    To Roztafarian Bill: Making a poster: I tried doing a screen capture on Tracker; copied it into Microsoft Powerpoint; cropped off unwanted bits; saved it as a picture by right-clicking on the picture itself and selecting the appropriate item; opened Microsoft Publisher, selected the largest size, landscape, and inserted the picture. That does work, but no doubt people using other programs would suggest other ways of doing it. I have just become accustomed to doing it this way. Rita Savage.

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  5. Rita, you seem your normal bright self. I hope your recovery is proceeding well and you are not in any discomfort.

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  6. Roz,

    Keep up the great rowing! You are a regular part of my day as I follow your progress and make small, simple choices like not buying bottled water (I carry an alumnium water bottle) and brining reusable bags to the grocery store.

    Keep rowing - this Rozling joins the many others who cheer you on for each stroke.

    Amy

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  7. Anonymous4:45 pm GMT

    Thank you, Texino. There are times when I can almost forget that anything has been done to the hips. Not quite up to walking 10,000 steps a day yet, as Roz asks us to try to do in her Pull Together challenge. Yesterday I did manage 5,000. Rita.

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  8. Roz, so kind of you to acknowledge. If in Los Angeles area between February and October, I am happy to share with you. You are continuing to do an awesome job!

    Rita, read your 5K steps post. You are awesome, too!

    Hang in there, you will PULL through this. The grapefruit are hanging on the tree waiting for you.

    Janis
    Woodland Hills, CA

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  9. It not about the boat.


    Amazing determination




    ~ Gregory

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  10. "It was only a picture of me anyway..."

    But Roz, we *like* pictures of you! It helps with that personal human contact, which is so hard to achieve via web communications! It helps us grok the scale of what you are doing, how far away from any of us you are IRL, and yet still give us that connection. (Of course, if a picture's truly worth 1,000 words, and there's an either/or choice to be made, I think you made the right one!)

    I only wish there were a way you could see the thousands of faces that are peering back and cheering you on whilst you're out there battling squalls, the ITCZ, sharks, and remoras. (Eww, I shouldn't have reminded you about that last one, should I?) I wish I could give you a day off while I rowed instead!

    Very best,
    Aaron

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  11. I saw a word of the day, bardolater, meaning, one that idolized Shakespeare. Of course, I thought, what about Rozalater?

    Most of us are 'lurkers', just watching, reading, listening to the podcast, but not replying directly. Don't think for a moment that we're not here. We are!

    Keep at it -- looking more and more like your preferred Tuvalu will be a possibility.

    Sending you positive karma.

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  12. Anonymous9:02 pm GMT

    Hey Roz,

    Just pre-ordered my copy of Rowing the Atlantic from Malaprops. The gal said, "Cool! We'll have to order a lot since this is the kind of book our readers Love!!"

    Laurey in Asheville

    P.S. I can't wait to read it and, if I HAVE to put it down, to save my place with one of your Larabar bookmarks.

    P.S. #2 - I have a catering company and a restaurant, as I think I've mentioned. We carry bottled water with our name on the bottle. Yes, plastic. Yes, the disposable kind. WE recycle the bottles but probably not everyone does. So I am going to use up the rest of the bottles we have (the company makes them by the pallet load for us) and then I will not order any more.

    We also carry nalgene water bottles with our motto "Don't Postpone Joy(r)" on them but they are the good, hard, reuseable kind, not the disposable kind. We will continue to encourage folks to use them and will, once this order is finished, no longer sell the disposable ones.

    Thank you for your inspiration.

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  13. *one day late*

    Thank you so much for answering my question, Roz! I had no idea it was such a controversial issue! Shows how little I know . . .

    "When there were
    just a few million of us . . . our impact was still negligible. But now
    there are 6.5 billion of us, consuming like crazy, and much of our waste
    lasts a very long time."

    I never thought about that, but you're right. Back then, we didn't have to worry so much about our waste and pollution, but now that we have the great responsibility of having advanced technology, while we have lowered the death count and made many wonderful things, we have created many more things that pollute and destroy, and our old habits of wasting and wanting more are, as you say, coming back to bite us!

    "We don't need to wind the clock back to a
    pre-industrial age – better instead to forge ahead and create a new
    style of living that combines the best of the old with the best of the
    new, allowing us to live in balance with nature in a way that is
    infinitely sustainable."

    AMEN!!! I agree with that completely! Excellent point :D A balance in all things is good, and I agree that we shouldn't go backwards in time. Better to change our behaviour while still moving forward to preserve humanity.

    "My
    interest in sustainability is utterly selfish. I want to live a long,
    healthy life on a pleasant, clean, thriving planet."

    Lol, I won't feel guilty about being selfish about it anymore, then ;)

    Today's post was extremely inspirational. Those three points are so true, and I'm going to remember them. I think they can be applied to every challenge in life. I know it's not as physically challenging as rowing across an ocean, but I did National Novel Writing Month last year, where you have to write 50,000 words in a month, and I had to keep repeating something similar to your second point to myself: "Just a few more words until 10k! Just a few more words until 12k!" I'm going to see if I can't find a way to more fully apply the other two points in my writing. Whenever somebody in a book casually throws something like a plastic cup away, I always feel disappointed--I didn't realize that about myself until today while reading your blog. I guess it's because in books you can do almost whatever you want, so why draw attention to something like throwing plastic away? I'm a packrat. I don't like throwing things away. Plus plastic doesn’t turn into compost very well, and I know from experience as a child that it makes playing in the dirt or gardening disgusting. YUCK! I usually tend to mention what the garbage was used for after the fact, like a plastic cup being used to hold pencils on a desk, or something else depending on what the garbage is. Now I know why I do that! Better to show what can be done to fix something rather than just what the problem is, right?

    Thank you for your honest opinion on things :) It has helped me to see myself and things clearer. I love reading about your adventures! (*giggle* and the stormcloud picture was beautiful!)

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  14. Re: the morning's Tweet "7 little birds on boat this morning" sounds like the beginning of a rousing sea ditty. Lyrics anyone? I'm thinking it would be the tale of the trials of punching through 4N and should end on a pretty island somewhere with rum and Johnny Depp.

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  15. Anonymous11:53 pm GMT

    Still can't get to rozsavage.com if using Internet Explorer. Where is the technical team?
    Lot's of others are missing out.

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  16. Okay, Joan ... I'll add a possible title (make it better please) and a second line:

    "Tuvalu Tale of Sloggin' Oar Punch"

    7 little birds on boat this morning
    Red eastern sky be a storm forewarnin'


    .. let's see where this goes ...

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  17. Miles lost to squalls
    While you toss in yer cabin
    There's 4N to cross and ye've got to start rowin'


    That's a stretch on the rhymes, but now we need the chorus.

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  18. Is there an A A B C A rhyme scheme? I know way too little about poetry for an English major.

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  19. Ok, Ya'll ... this needs some smoothing out ... on a roll, but no sense of seamanship!

    "Tuvalu Tale of Sloggin' Oar Punch"

    7 little birds on boat this morning
    Red eastern sky be a storm forewarnin'
    Early mornin' calm, stars they do glimmer
    Woken from a dream dare say lost my course.
    Miles lost to squalls tossin'in me cabin

    Thar's four en to cross, then I'm down under.
    Harder me girls ye've got to start rowin'
    Sloggin' soddin' south, winds are ablowin'
    Boobies long forgotten, stench like a horse
    Muster me poopie, soon it be flaggin'

    ... ok your turn ... fill it in ... find a tune ... LOL

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  20. Anonymous3:12 am GMT

    Let me try another one ....


    I'm not good at patience,
    I'm not good at rhymes,
    I need western movement
    On these longitudinal lines.
    And if the gods will protect me,
    And take me still far,
    I'll keep on a-munching my Larabar.


    And for Joan in Atlanta, who gave us a theme:


    I know that my poem
    Seems pretty dumb,
    It sounds a lot better
    After quite a few shots of rum.
    And there's an island awaiting
    It's the next logical step,
    Because waiting on the beach
    Is that hunk Johnny Depp.

    (With apologies to everyone)

    Richard, in Austin

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  21. Great, Richard! LOL and love 'em both!

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  22. Vern Cassin5:35 am GMT

    Roz, I was thinking that your struggles in the ITCZ are a nice metaphor for the existential situations you described in your own life. Sometimes you can be moving along comfortably with a current but not ultimately heading where you want to go. It's the process of struggling through your own internal ITCZ, where the currents and winds are confusing and trying to push you back, that eventually allows you to come out of the confusion and choose the direction that is right for you. You're a wonderful and brave girl, Roz, and I'm proud to be a Rozling.

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  23. Anonymous6:10 am GMT

    What gives with RozSavage.com. I can no longer access the website. Have seen several comments but no response. Surely someone is monitoring the website?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi everyone - just a reminder that there are persistent issues with Internet Explorer that prevent Roz's website from displaying properly. We have wonderful tech help, but it's a tough fix. Roz's site works perfectly in every other browser - could you please download Firefox, Safari or Chrome? Promise you'll have a much better experience!

    Many thanks for your patience and support!
    Nicole (Roz's Program Director)

    ReplyDelete

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