Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 67 - Follow That Whale!

I should have lassoed the whales.

About noontime I heard a "whoomph" and looked towards the sound to see a
whale spouting a misty fountain out of its blowhole, about 10 yards away
from my boat. Then there was another, and another. I'm not sure how many
there were in all – they were circling around me and doubling back,
swimming all around and underneath the Brocade, so it was difficult to
do a headcount - but there must have been at least a dozen, surfacing
and spouting and stopping by to check me out.

It was the first time I'd seen whales on this stage of my voyage, so I
was very excited. It was the second good thing that had happened today.
This morning I had emerged from the cabin after an early morning squall
in time to witness a beautiful golden sunrise, and a double rainbow cast
against the western sky.

So if I believed in omens, than I looked all set for a good day. But it
was not to be. As the afternoon went on the wind strengthened from the
southeast. This meant the best course I could make was southwest, but as
the force of the wind increased I was able to make less and less south,
until my course over ground was due west. This is not the way I want to
go.

So I had the choice between going where I didn't want to go quickly –
rowing west – or going where I didn't want to go slowly – putting out
the sea anchor and going north. It's obviously better to go slowly if
you can't go the right way, so out went the sea anchor.

It's a shame – today has brought some of the sunniest, nicest weather
I've seen in a while and it would have been lovely to row along watching
the sun set over the ocean. But the wind wasn't going where I wanted to
go. The whales, on the other hand, were. If only I'd thought to lasso a
couple of them as they passed under my boat…

[photo: a passing whale - and I wasn't using the camera zoom - he really
WAS this close to my boat!]


Other Stuff:

I worked hard today to get down to 3 degrees 30 N, and succeeded. But
now, alas, am looping north again – already nearly back up to 3 degrees
31 N. That's just the way the cookie crumbles…

Calling all poetically inspired Rozlings - Nicole has discovered a grant
scheme that will give $10K to a nonprofit cause. She posted details as a
comment on yesterday's blog, but for those of you who receive this blog
via Feedblitz and so may not see the comments, here is her message – and
there are more details about the scheme ALL the way down at the bottom
of this blog.

"To enter, we have to submit a poem (4-8 lines) as part of the
quick and easy application. The poem should express the heart and soul
of the service mission.

You Rozlings have shown such wonderful creativity and have embraced
her cause with such enthusiastic support, that I'd like to ask for
your help. Will you please send your poems to info@rozsavage.com and
help us win $10,000 for Roz to continue to spread her message? We'd be
so grateful!

To get your creative juices flowing, consider Roz's message of "If we
all PULL TOGETHER, we can save the world."

Please submit your entries by August 10th, that will give me enough
time to incorporate the poem into the rest of the grant entry.

Many thanks,
Nicole"

Today's Eco Champ is Meg: "Whenever I go out to eat I always try to
bring my own water bottle if I know the drink will come in a disposable
cup. I have an abundance of these things due to my former career as a
high school 1600 meter runner and the drug companies who always try to
get my mother to put in a good word for procrit or zoloft or quackadril
(I made that last one up, but you get the picture). I just fill one up
and then have that as opposed to spending $3 on a soda. It saves me
money on dental work as well. One less piece of trash in the world."

Well done also to the Anonymous commenter (the guilty-feeling
SUV-driver?!) on switching over to organic and cutting down on
takeaways. I'm always horrified by how much Styrofoam and plastic is
involved in takeout, so that's a big win. I'd have made you an Eco Champ
if I knew your name!

Joan – well done the sushi bar server on the extra-large portions as a
reward for your plastic frugality. They say virtue is its own reward,
but extra seaweed salad is good too! That's my favorite as well – I've
got the seaweed here, but no sesame oil. Too bad!

Astrid – thanks for the messages from you and George. Lovely to hear
from you. I wish I could tell you what species the little birds are, but
I don't have a reference book here, and alas the Young Ornithologists
Club of Great Britain did not equip me with the necessary knowledge….
But Walt, one of my Rozlings, tells me: "The bird looks like a storm
petrel. They are strictly pelagic coming to land only to breed. The
smallest of seabirds, they feed on planktonic crustaceans picked from
the surface while hovering." This certainly seems consistent with what
I've seen of their behavior – thank you Walt!

Hi Anthony – give my love to Marylebone! I was listening to a Sexton
Blake story the other day (hilariously spoofish, although I don't think
it's supposed to be!) and was thinking of Baker Street… happy memories!

Weather report:

Position at 2115 HST: 03 30.951N, 175 18.151W
Wind: 10kts this morning, strengthening to 20kts by evening, and veering
from E to SE
Seas: 4-6 feet E-SE
Weather: overcast morning, sunny afternoon with clouds and occasional
rainshowers

Weather forecast, courtesy of weatherguy.com:

Using last night's Feedblitz blog email (26 Jul), reported position was:
04 09N 175 04W as of 26Jul 2145HST. Making good progress eastward. This
is the preferred direction while in the equatorial counter current.

As of Monday 27 July 2009. According to measured data, there is ESE
blowing squalls with winds 20-40kts have been in your area. South to the
equator and east of your position to 171W, squalls continue. Otherwise,
winds have been mostly ESE 5-17kts. Uncertainty remains, as previously
discussed. Forecast is for wind direction to shift more ENEerly 13-18kts
then, NE 5-10kts on the 28 Jul becoming light and variable.

According to satellite imagery, there is over cast skies and deep
convection overhead and south to the equator. Embedded thunderstorms
possible. You can expect more heavy rainshowers.

Suggest rowing towards the east

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

Forecast (low confidence due to extreme variability in equatorial
regions and naturally occurring small scale fluctuations in
direction/speed in the Doldrums)
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft) est
27/1200-28/0000 ENE 13-18 3-8
28/0000-28/1200 NE 5-10 4-6
28/1200-01/1800 Variable direction 1-8
0-10kts

Next Update: Thursday, 30 July


The 2009 CTK Foundation Heart and Soul Grant Award Program

The Heart and Soul (H&S) Grant Award is a national grant competition
that provides the opportunity for one selected, eligible nonprofit
organization to win a $10,000 cash award and a professionally written
and produced song by the internationally acclaimed, Grammy Award-
winning group, Los Lonely Boys – all through The CTK Foundation
Philanthropic Fund. The intent is that both the song and the
accompanying $10,000 grant will help the selected nonprofit to better
publicize their important mission in their community.

The CTK Foundation is also pleased to announce that we have partnered
with Massachusetts-based musical instrument maker First Act, who will
be donating 3 full-sized steel string acoustic guitars (and signed by
Los Lonely Boys) for the Heart and Soul Grant Award runner-up winners.

The H&S Grant aims to:

Provide a grant to a selected nonprofit in the US, providing it with
assets with which to increase their reach and visibility
Underscore the importance of the "heart" of nonprofit missions,
especially in difficult economic times
How the H&S Grant Competition Works:

In every community across the US, nonprofits submit a poem, (4 -8
lines), as part of a quick and easy grant application. The poem should
express the heart of their service mission.
Nonprofits submit the grant application, with poem, to the CTK
Foundation, via the CTK website.
If selected, the poem will become the basis of a song, written and
produced by Los Lonely Boys and presented, along with a video of the
performance of the song, for non-commercial, community education and
awareness.
The selected nonprofit will also receive a non-restricted $10,000 cash
grant from the CTK Foundation; this grant may be used for any purpose
that fosters greater understanding of the nonprofit's mission in their
community.
The writing and submission of a four to eight line poem is a fun and
inspirational process for the nonprofits; in fact, based upon CTK's
experience with a similar, Texas-based grant event in 2007 and 2008,
nonprofits use the writing process as an opportunity to engage
clients, staff and volunteers in a meaningful activity (writing the
poem) that reminds everyone in each service organization about the
"heart" of their mission.

18 comments:

  1. beautiful picture. I can't imagine what it's like to have a bunch of whales swimming around me.

    that's what the poem should be about - a moment of nature inspiring us to do more and do it better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful! What a great start to a day even if it wasn't exactly the omen you thought! Maybe its' a long term omen instead!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Roz, when I saw the pic and read your post it was clear that "excited" is an understatement. As I thought about it, I began to feel the heart pounding surprise and exhilarating thrill it must have been for you (would have been for me) ... and from your description it seems it must have been as much a surprise and thrill -- and more -- for them, circling, curious, checking you out. I wonder if they have ever had such an experience before, ever seen such a creature as Brocade, ever heard such rhythmic gentle jarring sounds -- what is it trying to say?

    Pondering ...

    Also, I've been pondering the lines of Rudyard Kipling's If that you posted Tuesday night (Day 65)...

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with triumph and disaster
    And treat those two imposters just the same;


    Trying to make sense and see how these words apply in my life.

    My dream for the past two years is that my town will live up to commitments it made when it signed on to the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. There was no activity by the City for two years, until the new Mayor created the City Council Sustainability Committee in September, 2007.

    My dream came true Tuesday, but it was not all that I dreamed ... not all that I have strived for for nearly two years.

    "Sweet and sour" best describes the Climate Action Plan (CAP) my town's City Council adopted Tuesday evening. After getting input from the community, the city staff and hired consultant's first draft presented in March, by their own admission, missed the 2020 and 2050 AB 32 (California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) emission targets it said it was "aligned" with, much the community's dismay -- and we told them so! The final version that was adopted Tuesday does come close, but is not sufficient to "avert catastrophic climate change" to use the words of the scientists. For me, it feels a bit like failure to get a bold, innovative, aggressive plan after all the work my friends and I have been promoting over the past year and a half. But, on the other hand, the actions are simply stated, well defined and achievable in the short term.

    So, like your rowing is the best you can do, and the winds and currents really determine your progress, so are the realities of dealing with city staff and consultants who have their own outlook and march to their own "drummers."

    At least Hayward now has a CAP, and work will begin to start making real -- if only incremental -- progress right away. I supported the plan in my public comment to the City Council, stating that a plan is a road map and a means to evaluate suggested changes along the way -- so did my friends. Council Members agreed that the plan will be reviewed annually and that there will be opportunity to strengthen it. We all agree that we need to get cracking right away, and that is the good news.

    So my dream of the ideal plan could well have been my master driving me mad that I did not achieve my dream exactly, but If helps me to realize that I am happy my dream -- and the dream of my friends -- was our motivation for working painstakingly to help a get my town started going down the path to a greener future.

    Thank you, sensei (先生)

    ReplyDelete
  4. If you would have roped a whale and been towed toward your desired destination, would that disqualify you for rowing across? I think it would have been worth it!

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  5. Minke whales me thinks!w@noaa

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  6. Pilot Whale? Did you see a pot on head infront or more pointy flat surface cutting the water. Do you think teeth or baleen.
    Inquiring armchairs wish to know more.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Roz,

    I've been following you for some time from Bozeman, MT! I'm curious -- as you prepared for the second leg of the Pacific crossing, were you take any notes or inspiration from the ancient Polynesian long-distance navigators? I'm curious if you've learned anything from the way they handled the intertropical convergence and whether you've been blending any of their ancient methods with your amazing high technology.

    Safe travels and god speed!

    Colin

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you!I'm flattered!

    I have only seen whales in the wild once, some Fin and Humpback Whales on a whale watching trip out of Gloucester MA. They look like Minkes to me. The dorsal fin looks like that of one. How many nostrils on the head? Did you see? That might provide a clue, as some have one and others have two.

    ReplyDelete
  9. With limited info, looks to be smaller whale w/sickle shaped high dorsal fin. Could be Sei or Minke. White banding or shading near pectoral joint = Minke. Sei also have sickle shaped dorsal but are larger than Minke. Small whale w/bulbus head=pilot.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think this is a false killer whale:

    http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/cetaceans/falsekillerwhale.htm

    Based on the populations of marine mammals in the central Pacific, this seems most likely. The dorsal fin looks identical to the photos I'm seeing online. Also, these animals are likely to be seen in pods like the ones you've described.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous6:15 pm GMT

    I love the "cartoon" on the T-shirt in Roz's Ebay store, under the heading "What is it?" You'll laugh when you do realise what it is! Easy enough to see what is in the store on Roz's home page - though Internet Explorer may not let you get there. I found that Firefox (downloaded free) solved that problem.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous6:29 pm GMT

    This is the last comment I'll be making from now on, for real this time to fulfill Naomi in NY's and Unca Doug's request for me to go poof. Just to let you all know from now on all other anonymous's comments aren't mine. Don't assume that all anonymouses comments come from the same person, the internet is a very large place.
    Over and Out forever,
    Poof
    PS, those whales are awesome! WoW! that must've been a real highlight! Roz, I admire your tenacity while rowing the ITCZ, that is truly inspiring how you're handling it. I have no doubt you'll reach your goal, with style and grace.
    Goodbye all, and happy posting! :-D (please do not assume I'm being sarcastic)

    ReplyDelete
  13. How beautiful! I hope you are able to get back on course soon.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Roz,

    Just finished watching your latest RozCast video...that led to the Eco-adventurer clip, and then to the Welcome to my world clip.

    This is now a few hours after your Tweet about hauling in the sea anchor. Hope you'll have a pleasant night and wake up to a better day at the office, making your way back eastward and southward.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks Rozta Bill for mentioning the RozCast. I didn't notice it up there in the right corner. Roz always seems to be in such good spirits, even during aggravating thumb twiddling times like today.

    Roz, keep trying to row the Pacific. We empathize.

    Social media additions push older tweets and RozCasts down and off this page, so if anybody checks in after it's gone, the RozCast is at this link. Once it slides off the page it is gone, so you might want to bookmark Roz's YouTube channel.

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  16. You can always collect Rozcasts at twit.tv where they appear a couple of days after the live show.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think that will be easy enough for everyone to come up with a great poem.

    GREG

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hermione Macfarlane10:05 pm GMT

    Stunning photo of the whale Roz, much too close for my comfort! Stay safe and Godspeed.

    ReplyDelete

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