Monday, August 03, 2009

Day 71 - Singalonga ITCZ

After all my whingeing and whining recently, I just had to share this
smile-inducing contribution from Rozling Richard in Austin, Texas. It
cheered me up no end on a rainy Pacific Sunday night. I hope it does the
same for you, wherever you are.

(With apologies to The Village People and YMCA)


Young girl, you're out there all alone,
I said, young girl, with just your trusty sat-phone,
I said, young girl, 'cause you're so far from home,
It can seem to be real lonely.

Young girl, you're surrounded by friends,
I said, young girl, we're along 'till the end,
I said, young girl, winds will change again
And you will head for Tuvalu.

Oh yes we're stuck in the I.T.C.Z.
Oh yes we're stuck in the I.T.C.Z.
Oh the rains will fall and the winds will blow,
And everything will seem real slow.

Oh yes we're stuck in the I.T.C.Z.
Oh yes we're stuck in the I.T.C.Z.
It can seem like a jail,
Until you lasso a whale,
And head for some iced cold ale.

Oh yes we're stuck in the I.T.C.Z.
Oh yes we're stuck in the I.T.C.Z.
You must go east to get west,
Yet still you feel blessed,
And Tuvalu would be a real rest.

(fading out)

Although, given the nautical nature of my enterprise, maybe we also need
some alternative lyrics for "In The Navy"?!

[photo: Another shot of one of the whales that came to visit a few days
ago. This photo is having to be uploaded to the blog separately by Evan,
so please make allowances if there is some time lag between seeing the
text and seeing the photo.]

Other Stuff:

Francois – thank you for the stats on shark populations. They are truly
shocking, and I will share them here so that other Rozionados can goggle
at these figures:
From Fran├žois Schiettecatte
I just heard podcast # 54 and wanted to put some figures to the number
of sharks which are disappearing from the oceans. In 2006 the estimate
for sharks killed for the fin trade alone is 38 million, and estimates
for the total number of sharks killed every year range up to 100
million. Shark populations have declined by 70% worldwide in the past
two decades alone, and the East Coast of the United States has seen a
90% decline in shark population since the 1970's. Worldwide sharks kill
about 10 human beings a year. Sourced from This Week in Science
25 November, 2008.

So – we kill an estimated 100 million of them each year. They kill 10 of
us. Is it just me, or does there seem to be something a bit out of whack
here? Not saying the numbers should be equal – obviously not. But do we
really need to kill so many of them? And what does this do to the whole
ocean ecosystem when you all but remove the top predator?

Ocean update: Today started out calm, got livelier from mid-morning to
late afternoon, and then died away to dead calm again. This has allowed
me to make some more progress south. I'm now within just a few miles of
3 degrees North. I mentioned to Leo in our last podcast that I wanted
the doldrums to be more doldrummy, i.e. how I'd imagined them, as a
region of mostly calm seas and no winds, with just the occasional squall
to liven things up. Well, it looks like I might have got my wish – for
now, at least. But the forecast for tomorrow is for winds from the
southwest - not good at all.

Thanks for all the very positive feedback on the super-duper new
revamped I'm glad you like it! Just a reminder – if you
find any glitches, broken links or other bugs, please zap us an email to If only the awesome Evan and the Archinoetics
(sounds like a 60s rock band) could revamp rozsavage herself as

Speaking of awesome, it's high time for a long overdue THANKS A MILLION
to my amazing and ever hardworking program director, Nicole. Apart from
her guest appearances on the podcasts while Leo was away, you might not
have heard so much about Nicole recently, but she has been working away
behind the scenes, putting heart and soul into supporting the
multitudinous aspects of TeamRoz's operations. She is now based in
Hawaii, and worked long hours alongside Evan last week to help implement
the new website. She has also been super-busy working on our long-range
plans for the last quarter of 2009, including the book tour and the
climate change conference in Copenhagen. Thanks to her efforts, there
are some seriously exciting plans in the pipeline, which I am just
itching to share with you but it's a bit premature. I'd like to invite
all the Rozlings to share with me in thanking Nicole for her good work –
I couldn't do what I do without her!

And thank YOU, my dearest Rozlings, for all the words of encouragement
during my recent travails. These have not been easy days, but your words
really help to give me strength. It's good to be reminded that the
mileage isn't everything, and that sharing my adventures – its ups,
downs, and wiggly bits – is what it's really all about – and hopefully
inspiring a few people along the way.

Rozta' Bill – thank you so much for the analysis of my progress so far.
That really cheered me up. I don't get to see the big picture very
easily – my GPS only shows me the last 3 days, and the lists of lat and
long coordinates in my logbook don't make it easy to visualize how
things are going overall. So I really appreciated the overview. Thank

Achates – Prime Minister of Reality? I am immensely honored by the
title. I do always try to tell it as it is – or the way I see it,
anyway, and I try to see clearly – and I don't have any agenda other
than trying to spread a bit of clearsightedness to others. So I thank
you greatly for your accolade. I take it as a great compliment.

Cece – thank you for sharing my story with the inmates in Santa Rosa.
Funny – several of the books I've been listening to here include
accounts of time in prison (Nelson Mandela, and a couple of works of
fiction) – and I've seen a lot of parallels between my imprisonment on
this little boat and their plight. Especially the ones in solitary!

Jonathan Grimaldi – thank you for the encouraging words, and for the
dollars. Both much appreciated!

Naomi – thanks for the offer of matching up blog questions with answers.
Nobody is doing that at the moment, and I'm not sure there's a need. But
in the future there might be. I'm planning to produce a book of my blogs
from the Atlantic crossing (2005-6) and if it goes well I'll do the same
for the Pacific. I'll keep you posted and give you a shout if I need
help. Thank you!

John H – the birds are last month's worry, as you correctly surmise. Got
bigger worries on my mind now than poopy boobies… now it's loopy lats
and longs!

Quick answers to quick questions:

Q: How many birds are with you now?
A: None on board at the moment. There was quite a gathering all around
me yesterday, though – scores of brown noddies (I think) swooping and
hunting for crustaceans. Nice to have the company!

Q: Do you take any days off or partial days? It seems that a body needs
a break from time-to-time.Does the weather dictate those days off?
A: I did take a couple of days off earlier in this row, when – not to
put too fine a point on it – my butt was just so sore that I could sit
on it only with the greatest discomfort. As it happened, conditions at
that time were very favorable and I was still making good mileage
despite not rowing. Apart from that I just take breaks during the day –
sometimes dictated by weather (squalls) and sometimes dictated by a
temporary breakdown in motivation!

Weather report:

Position at 2130 HST: 03 04.432N, 175 45.502W
Wind: 0-20 knots, S-E
Seas: 2-6 ft
Weather- mostly overcast but bright

Weather forecast, courtesy of

Feedblitz blog email reported your position as: 03 36N 175 08W as of
29Jul 2200HST (6hrs ago). Eastward motion is the preferred direction
while in the equatorial counter current.

As of Thursday morning 30 July 2009. According to measured data, there
is ESE-SE winds 7-17kts in your area with moderate to light rainshowers.
South of the equator, more of the same. Uncertainty remains, as
previously discussed. Forecast is for wind direction to shift more
ENEerly 5-15kts today then, SE 5-15kts on 01 Aug becoming light and
variable and possibly SW 5-15kts.

According to satellite imagery, there is light to moderate convection
with heavy rainshowers and squalls overhead and south to the equator.

Sky conditions: 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
30/0600-01/0000 E-ENE 5-15 2-5
01/0000-02/0000 ENE-SE 5-15 4-6
02/0000-02/1200 Variable direction 1-5
02/1200-03/1200 SW 5-15 2-5

Next Update: Monday, 03 August