Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 84 - Mothers' Day

Today would have been my father's 80th birthday. But he died 5 years
ago, so he will be forever 75. Given this special date, today seemed an
appropriate day to post a guest blog by my mother. Those who have been
following my blog since the Atlantic will be well acquainted with Mum,
especially after she had to step in and update my blog after I lost all
communications 24 days before the end of the crossing. She had no more
idea what was going on than anybody else did, so there was some
impressive improvisation and ad-libbing on her part that would have made
any TV presenter proud – even while she was worried sick about me.

So, without further ado, over to my poor long-suffering Mum…

Some Mothers Do Have 'Em is the name of a TV show in the UK- but not
many mothers have a daughter like Roz. Yes, I am proud of what she has,
and is, achieving, but she has given me some heart-stopping moments
along the way. Like the day she first told me she was going to row
across the Atlantic.

A few months before she set out, Roz invited me to go and stay with her
in Emsworth on the south coast of England, where she was living at the
time, to help with fitting out the boat. What a wise move that was on
her part. She got me so involved in the whole project that it was no
longer what she was doing, but what we, together, were doing.

This involvement came at a good time for me. It was just a year since my
husband had died, and gave me a new purpose in my retirement days. Many
a time people asked if I was worried about her. I think that we were so
closely involved, that she was not a separate entity – out there on the
ocean- but very much a part of our togetherness. I hope you can
understand what I mean. I lived all the time with the reality of what
Roz was doing.

However, in her various ocean crossings there have been tough, worrying
moments. Leaving out some of the minor shocks, there came the day that
her satphone packed up, leaving me without any communication with her.
The boat rolling over three times during her first time attempt to
depart the Californian coast. Watermakers packing up on the first leg of
the Pacific crossing.

Even when our sons or daughters are adults, it is still the longing of a
mother to protect and guard her family. It can be hard when we feel
helpless, that nothing that we do can solve the problems; I am sure that
many a mother has felt this, in all sorts of circumstances. We have to
try to raise our children to be independent, capable of making their own
decisions, and looking after themselves. To quote a book that I know
well: "Now these three remain, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of
these is love." The greatest gift we can give, no matter what they do.

I have not been quite so closely involved with Roz's activities this
year, for several reasons (I have been busy with a double hip
replacement, and two weeks ago I moved house), and just so grateful to
Nicole for being there for Roz. I am standing on the side-lines,
watching, yet Roz is still very much in my thinking and feeling, my
daily life and tasks.

Thanks, Mum – I can't even begin to imagine the emotional hell I put you
through while I am out on the water, and I can only say – thank you,
you're one in a million.

[photo: Mum and me]

Other Stuff:

On this crossing no two days have been alike – until today. Which was
very much like yesterday. Very, very hot, calm conditions, with the
weather pretty much leaving me alone to do my thing – my thing being to
row steadily and sweat profusely. I've made another 18 miles south
towards the Equator.

Finally at around sunset today I finished uploading my video messages,
so normal Tweeting service should be resumed tomorrow.

Thank you to Roz's Regulars for some great messages!

Doug – your message about the Booby Training Center gave me a good
laugh. No boobies today though – in fact only one solitary bird all day
to break the monotony. Only other wildlife sighting was a few jumping

AH – loved your take on the 7 Habits – thank you! I listened to "Three
Cups of Tea" a few weeks ago – and can definitely vouch for the fact
that having a powerful sense of purpose allows people to overcome all
kinds of inhibitions.

Gary – "Take it easy, but take it" – wise words. And to share a secret,
I find motivation a huge problem too. It was so much easier in the days
when I was rowing crew and had a coxswain yelling at me to keep going.
But actually, having said that, I'm finding motivation easier and easier
the closer I get to my goal So I suppose one idea is to have interim
targets and milestones – like keeping tally of how many meters you have
rowed overall, and reward yourself every once in a while. Has to be
worth a bottle of champagne, surely! (Champagne isn't too calorific
either – that's why the supermodels drink it! Or maybe it's just because
they can….)

Weather Report:

Position at 2240 HST: 01 33.737N, 178 16.106W
Wind: 0-5kts, E
Seas: 2-4ft, E
Weather: hot and sunny, clear skies, hot. Towards sunset ranks of little
fluffy clouds passed over, then cleared again.

Weather forecast, courtesy of

As of Thursday morning 13 Aug 2009. According to measured data, there
have 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 the 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 on 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
cloudy skies with minimal convection.

Forecast sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy. Scattered moderate

Ocean currents should be light SSWerlies (flowing towards the NNE) at
about 0.1 to 0.2 kts in your area to about 00 30S. To the north of you
beginning 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 Werly 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