Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 83 - The 7 Habits of Reasonably Effective Ocean Rowers

(with no disrespect intended to Steven R Covey, author of The 7 Habits
of Highly Effective People)

Today it occurred to me that it takes a rather peculiar skillset to row
across an ocean. Almost anybody could do it – if they wanted to – but
there are a few abilities that are particularly useful. So here are my
suggestions for the 7 Habits of Reasonably Effective Ocean Rowers – and
I'd be interested to hear if you have any other suggestions to add to
the list.

1. Ability to make 2.5 gallons of fresh water last for a week. This one
was absolutely necessary last year when both my watermakers broke. FYI,
2.5 gallons is about the size of a toilet cistern. And that had to serve
for drinking water, rinsing beansprouts, rehydrating freeze dried meals,
brushing teeth, and washing.

2. Ability to spend 100+ days alone at sea without going crazy. This is
possibly the toughest one. Even though obviously I am very entertaining
company (?!) even I get a bit tired of my jokes after a while…

3. Ability to contort oneself into a tiny sleeping cabin. Yoga helps.

4. Ability to attach a lanyard to almost any object – to prevent
accidental losses overboard.

5. Ability to find something new to photograph after 80+ days at sea,
with nothing but a 23-foot boat, sea, sky, oneself, and the occasional
passing sea creature

6. Ability to open a Larabar without tearing the wrapper. After having
now consumed about 1000 Larabars over the course of the last 3 years, I
am now quite the expert.

7. Ability to find something to be happy about and thankful for, even on
the worst of days. Essential.

[photo: it struck me we hadn't had an underwater photo for a while - so
here is a pic of one of my ocean-going Rozlings, who is usually to be
found hanging out under my boat]

Other Stuff:

I've had a lot to be happy about and thankful for today. After 10 days
in the attempt, I finally crossed over 2 degrees North. That has been
the toughest degree yet. 3 degrees North took 8 days to cover the 60
nautical miles between degrees of latitude. Others have generally taken
between 3 and 5 days. I don't know exactly how many miles I actually
traveled to achieve these 60 miles of southerly progress, but I'm
guessing it must have been over 120. Ah, if only I could travel as the
booby flies!

This achievement was all the sweeter because at the moment I'm rowing
directly against the current. It isn't a big strong current, but nor am
I a big strong rower. So I was pleased to make headway. The winds have
been very light today – mostly just 3-5 knots – so my mileage was very
much my own work. King Neptune just left me alone for long enough to
allow me to make some headway – for which I thank him.

Apologies for total Tweetlessness today and yesterday. The reason is
that I have spent most of the last two days trying to upload three short
video clips – the regular RozCast, plus one for the Discovery Channel
(Blue August) and one for the UNEP International Children and Youth
Conference taking place next week in Korea – which I had hoped to attend
but obviously I'm still bobbing around in mid-Pacific. My satphone has
been tied up all day while I try repeatedly to get the uploads through.
I have really poor satellite phone reception this close to the Equator,
so the transmission keeps dropping out. Every time I take a break from
rowing I restart the transmission – and come back at the next break to
find it broke off again the moment my back was turned. It took all day
yesterday to upload the RozCast clip, and all day today for Discovery
Channel. Tomorrow I hope to get the UNEP clip uploaded. And I'm just
trying not to even think about the cost….

Thanks to the Rozling community for all the great comments,

Caroline H – would love to see you the next time I am in London for some
reflexology – that would be a real treat. And thanks for the food for
thought – I probably won't blog about it, but it will be a fun thing to
think about – and make me extra glad to be out here!

Doug – There IS a day spa in Tuvalu/Tarawa, isn't there?!
Ellen – hope you had a blast at rowing training camp. Thanks for
spreading the word!
Claire – thanks for the great message.

A special thank you to Mick and Chris for their message. Honored to be
called their "Pacific Sister". I think often of my Pacific Brothers, and
hope to see them in San Francisco for a post-row beer if the timings
work out. If I can't be there, I'll leave some money behind the bar at
the South End Rowing Club!

Richard – I just have to share your poem. It made me laugh out loud!


Booby, booby, over the sea,
Why have you abandoned me?

Was I unkind?
Did I drive you away?
Have you found another boat,
On which to play?

I miss you now.
I didn't before.
Did I hurt your feelings,
With my swinging oar?

It was just that,
I'm sensitive to smell.
And frankly, my darling,
You reeked to hell.

And now also know,
I've got things on my mind.
What with rainstorms, and currents,
And remoras on my behind.

So you can see, my sweet,
That you're in my thoughts,
Although our friendship, probably,
Will come to naught.

I'll remember you, though,
And I'm not blaming,
But frankly my love,
You needed toilet-training.

ROFL!!!! (or should that be RODL – for Roll On Deck Laughing?!)

Weather report:

Position at 2310 HST: 01 51.091N, 177 59.227W (yayyyyyy!)
Wind: 3-8kts E-ENE (happy days!)
Seas:2-4ft E
Weather: some cumulus cloud at sunrise, clearing to devastatingly blue
skies and hot sunshine. Scattered cumulus passed over late afternoon,
then mostly clear again, but another band of cloud on the horizon as the
sun set. There have been no squalls or rainshowers for several days now
– which is just fine with me!

Weather forecast, courtesy of

As of Thursday morning 13 Aug 2009. According to measured data, there
been Eerly winds up to 7-12kts over your position and some rainshower
activity to your north. SEerly winds 10kt is south of your position to
equator. The SEerlies eventually shift to Eerly 10-15kts by today. A
further shift to the north will keep the winds north of east until late
the 15th. Then shifting to SEerly for a brief period before returning to
Eerly by the end of the forecast period.

The widespread clouds mentioned in last report have cleared to partly
skies with minimal convection.

Forecast sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy. Scattered moderate

Ocean currents should be light SSWerlies (flowing towards the NNE) at
0.1 to 0.2 kts in your area to about 00 30S. To the north of you
at about 3 30N there is a band of Eerly flowing current of about 0.5 to
0.7kts. South of the equator along your longitude there is a band of
flowing current of about 1.0kt.

Forecast (low confidence)
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft) est
13/1200-14/1800 E 5-15 2-4
14/1800-15/1500 E-ENE 5-15 2-4
15/1500-15/1800 ENE-E 5-15 2-4
15/1800-17/0600 E-SE-E 5-15 2-4
17/0600-18/0000 E 5-10 2-3

Next Update: Monday, 16 August