Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 81 - Loony Loops

Oh boy, this is going to be another short blog. 10.30pm already, and
only just starting to write…

I was pleased today to hold my own against a very brisk wind coming out
of the southeast, which was threatening to push me north again, but
actually has allowed me to go almost due west. I really don't understand
how these things work – other southeasterlies have had me zooming
northwest at an alarming rate of knots, but this one has been relatively

So that's the news regarding where my body is at. As for where my head
is at, today I've had to work harder than usual at being present in the
here and now. My thoughts keep wanting to take off into the realms of
panic. Usually it's will-I-ever-get-out-of-here or the great
Tuvalu/Tarawa debate. But today there was a new one. Today it was the
I'm-going-to-run-out-of-food panic. Of course I'm not going to run out
of food – or only if I get well and truly marooned in the ITCZ. I've
still got enough food for another 50 days or so, but try telling that to
my mind once it gets into one of its loony-loops. I must have mentally
run through my full inventory of food about ten times today, until I
just wanted to hit the Off button on my brain.

But as the day went on I got more successful at countering those
Negative Nellie voices in my head. Every time I caught myself spiraling
into a tizzy, I would pull myself back and focus on just being present
in the here and now – admiring a cloud, listening to my audiobook,
enjoying the contrast between a blue wave and a white foaming crest…
until 5 minutes later it happens all over again – but that's brains for
you. I don't try and fight the thoughts (well, not much) but simply to
reduce and reduce the amount of time between when the spiral starts and
when I notice it's happening – and then to stop the spiral,
breeeeaaaathe, adjust and refocus.

I also keep humming "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and reminding myself of my
little Zen Dog. I've quoted him before, but I'll quote him again for
newcomers to the blog:

He knows not where he's going
For the ocean will decide
It's not the destination
It's the glory of the ride.

[photo: My compass (and rowing shoes). The wind is coming at the boat
broadside on the port beam, i.e. the right hand side of the picture - so
you can tell it's coming from the southeast]

Other Stuff:

Thank you for all the great comments on my spiritual blog yesterday. I'm
glad it provoked some thoughts and feedback rather than an embarrassed
silence – so I feel justified in baring all before you. Thank you!

Laurey Masterson – thanks for your lovely message. Good to find out more
about you and your life. I'm sure I will make it to NC in the near
future. Nicole's granny is moving there soon too, so I have many reasons
to visit!

Robert Gandy – good for you!

Steve Maskell – great to hear from you, and I love that image of my
oarstrokes spinning the world beneath me – maybe a bit like the Native
Americans believing that it's their job to make sure the sun rises every
morning. So, in that case, I'd better carry on rowing then!

I missed the meteor shower! Only just got the comments about it –and it
was last night, darn it. I was rowing until 11.30pm so must just have
missed it. Boo!

Weather report:

Position at 2300 HST: 02 13.327N, 177 25.169W
Wind: light this morning, then 20 knots SE-ESE for the rest of the day
Seas: 4-6 ft SE
Weather: some overcast this morning, then generally fine and sunny with
high cirrus clouds

Weather forecast courtesy of

Latest tracker reported your position as: 02 39N 177 05W as of 09Aug

As of Monday morning 10 Aug 2009. According to measured data, there
been Eerly winds up to 7-12kts and little significant rainshower
activity in
your area. 10kt Eerly winds extends to 01 30S then increase to Eerly
15-20kts then shift to SEerly 0-20kts. Winds continue to be very shifty
couple of days becoming Eerly 0-15kts by 1500HST 11Aug. Then shifting to
SEerly 0-20kts by 12Aug 1200HST. Uncertainty remains in the forecast, as
previously discussed.

According to satellite imagery, there remains widespread areas of low
clouds amongst scattered areas of deep convection. There is a
area of deep convection south of the Equator centered near 03 00S 175
Rainshowers, squalls, and thunderstorms in areas of deep convection.

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

Forecast (low confidence due to extreme variability in equatorial
and naturally occurring small scale fluctuations in direction/speed in
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft) est
10/1800-10/2100 E-SE 0-20 2-5
10/2100-11/1800 SE-E 0-20 2-5
11/1800-12/1200 E-SE 0-20 2-5
12/1200-14/0600 SE-ENE 5-20 2-5
14/0600-15/0000 ENE-SE 0-20 2-5

Next Update: Thursday, 13 August