Thursday, August 06, 2009

Day 74 - Sense and Silliness

Prudes and Prudence

My Jane Austen audiobook binge is over. I enjoyed Sense and Sensibility,
and Pride and Prejudice. Northanger Abbey was a short, fun romp of a
story. But I bogged down in Mansfield Park. The plot was too slight, no
more than a vehicle for indolent ladies tittle-tattling about each other
and the eligible beaux of the county. And was there ever so insipid a
heroine as Fanny Price? I wanted to give her a good shake and tell her
to stand up for herself.

But as I rowed along, stark naked under a tropical sun in the middle of
the Pacific, it did make me start thinking with amusement of how
different my world is from that of Jane Austen's genteel young women of
two centuries ago. Their opportunities were so limited. Imagine me
putting in an appearance at the Pump Rooms in the fashionable city of
Bath (NOT stark naked, obviously), and how I might appear to a couple of
Austen-ish characters, Miss Chastity Ironknickers and Miss Prudence

"Who is that woman over there? For I cannot call her a lady. There is
too much of coarseness in her countenance."

"Upon my soul! Look how brown her face is. Her complexion is that of a
common farm laborer. And her hands! Those are not the hands of a lady of
refinement. In all my life I never did see such a lack of gentility."

"I believe she must be Miss Rosalind Savage. Word has it that she is
quite the explorer, although for the life of me I cannot imagine why
anybody would want to explore beyond the precincts of our elegant city.
What one cannot find in Bath surely is not worth finding."

"I heard tell there was a scandal. A divorce. So maybe she travels to
escape the censure of polite society. What on earth can she be doing in
Bath? Surely she cannot be in search of a husband, for who would have
her, with such a very unfortunate reputation?"

"To be certain she will never make a good match with such baseness of
appearance. Or is she accomplished? Is she in possession of a fine

"No, quite the contrary! Her father was a clergyman, and not of the
established church either. He was (voice lowered) a nonconformist. A
Methodist. With barely a farthing to his name. I believe she married
well, but threw it all away to pursue this life of adventure in remote
quarters of the world. What a very curious woman, to prize adventure
over prudence."

"You speak truly. And yet, there is something redeeming in her
countenance, think you not? She has a spark of vivacity, as if she finds
pleasure in life despite being such an impoverished creature with not a
hope of finding herself a good husband. She smiles often and sincerely."

"Indeed she does. And there is a merry glint in her eyes that some of
the gentlemen here might mistake for actual good looks. But, my dear,
when compared with two fine ladies such as ourselves, with all our
accomplishments and good breeding, the gentlemen cannot fail but to
deplore her earthiness, and to appreciate our greater virtues. In short,
she is aptly named, and we need concern ourselves no more with the
infamous Miss Savage."

Hmmm, I think it's just as well for me that I wasn't born 200 years
earlier. I feel very lucky to have the opportunities and choice that I
do. I haven't always known just what to do with that range of
opportunities, or which path to choose, but now I'm very happy with the
track I'm on, thank you very much – and I will just have to hope that my
coarseness of complexion does not blight my life for evermore…

(with apologies to all Austen afficionados)

[photo: Several people have asked for pictures of the night sky. Not
easy to oblige from a tippy boat with only basic camera equipment, but I
was rather pleased with this kind of impressionistic view of the moon,
taken tonight. I hope you like it too!]

Other Stuff:

VERY pleased with progress today. I'm nearly 30 miles closer to the
Equator than I was this time last night. That's half a degree of
latitude! Conditions have been mostly quiet and calm, and although some
wind assistance would have been welcome, I'll take what I can, and I've
rowed long and hard to make the most of this window of opportunity. I
don't know when I can start breathing easy and dare to hope that I'm
through the worst of the ITCZ, but tonight I go to bed one very cheerful
and satisfied rower. And please, oh great Universe, oh wondrous Oneness,
if I could have some more of the same tomorrow, that would be ever so
nice. Ask, believe, and receive!

Marv H – you suggest that serendipity is the opposite of the law of
attraction, but my understanding is that they are the same thing.
Serendipity, or synchronicity, is when you get something that was just
what you wanted, be it information, a person, or a thing. That's how I
see it, anyway!

UncaDoug – Dr Wayne Dyer is GREAT! I've listened to a couple of his
workshops while on the boat, and he's got a great sense of humor as well
as an important message. I recommend "How to get what you really,
really, really, really want". And it's true – the more you start
focusing on your synchronicities (and offering a silent word of thanks
for them) the more they happen. It gets to be like a game – really good
fun – and very rewarding!

Jess – perfectly put. Energy flows where attention goes. I love it!

Markus and Cece – thank you for your most wonderful comment. I still
smile when I think of that video of Eleanor in her mini-Brocade, being
towed around the garden by an increasingly breathless Uncle Markus!
Please tell her I think she's pretty cool too….!

And another Marcus – as in Marcus from the JUNK raft and Anna – thank
you for your lovely message! I would love, love, LOVE to come to your
wedding. But it's right in the middle of my book tour. I'm due to be in
LA on Oct 8, but am due to be at quite a lucrative speaking gig in
Boston on Oct 17. Darn it. If anything changes I'll be sure to let you
know – but either way we must get together while I am in LA. I miss you

Thanks to all the zoologistically inclined Rozlings who wrote in about
the whales. False killer whales seems to be the general consensus –
thank you zoogurus!

Weather report:

Position at 0100 HST: 02 19.022N, 176 18.763W
Wind: mostly 0-5kts, E, although it did get up to 20kts at one stage
this morning
Seas: mostly 1-3ft E
Weather: overcast and showery this morning, hot with scattered clouds
this afternoon, clearing towards nightfall. Lovely moonrise just after
sunset – moon close to full.

Weather forecast, courtesy of

Latest Roz tracker reported your position as: 03 06N 175 48W as of 03Aug

As of Monday morning 3 Aug 2009. According to measured data, there is
SE winds 0-8kts in your area with moderate to light rainshowers. South
of the equator, more of the same. Wind direction should to shift more
ENEerly 5-15kts today then, SE 5-15kts on 01 Aug becoming light and
variable and possibly SW 5-15kts.Uncertainty remains in the forecast, as
previously discussed.

According to satellite imagery, there is moderate convection with heavy
rainshowers and squalls overhead and to your north. Minimal cloud
activity to your south.

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
03/1800-04/1200 SE-E 5-15 2-5
04/1200-04/1800 E-NE 5-15 2-5
04/1800-05/0600 NE-E 5-15 2-5
05/1800-05/2100 E-SE 5-15 2-5
05/2100-06/0600 SE-S 0-10 1-4
06/0600-07/0000 Light and Variable 1-4
07/0000-08/0000 SE 5-10 1-5

Next Update: Thursday, 06 August