Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 89 - So Far West I'm East

An Irish friend of mine once said something was "so far east it's west"
which I'd never heard before, but it made perfect sense. Like something
being so bad it's good, or so embarrassing it becomes funny, or so insane
that it's genius. And today - I am so far west I'm east. Because this
afternoon I crossed the International Date Line.

I didn't really mean to. I'd rather hoped that I would manage to cross the
IDL and the Equator at the same time. Of course, I might still do that, if
I wiggle back east a little bit, to reach that magical intersection, but
it would have been fun to cross them both for the first time at the same
time. But ah well, the weather has long since shown her utter contempt for
my plans and schemes, and today was no exception.

The day had been still and calm until about 2pm, when the clouds came
over and a strong wind blew up from the south, sending me off on a
sudden westwards trajectory – heading straight for the IDL. There wasn't
much I could do about it. No matter how hard I rowed, I was still
heading west, whether I liked it or not. If I rowed I would only get
there even faster.

So I decided to sit it out and watch the countdown on my GPS from the
dry refuge of my cabin, so I hunkered down, watching the numbers tick
away on the little screen as the distance narrowed between me and

It's funny – you imagine that you ought to be able to feel something
when you cross over the IDL. Like in a Hollywood movie when someone
steps through the mirror into an alternative reality, there ought to be
some kind of strange ripple effect like a tremor passing across a pool
of still water. Or at the very least there ought to be a big black line
across the ocean, stretching away into the distance towards the North
and South Poles.

But no – there's nothing. The GPS goes from 179 59.999W to 180 00.000E –
and that's it. No chorus of angels (or mermaids), no special effects,
nothing. Just another gust of wind and another heavy spatter of
raindrops. And the weather in tomorrow is remarkably similar to how it
was in yesterday (cloudy, rainy, and windy).

Just goes to show – there's no point putting off until tomorrow what you
can do today – because from someone on the other side, I can tell you
that tomorrow is not so different. The world (and I) are just one day
older. So you may as well do it today, because you'll rarely regret
doing something sooner rather than later.

[Photo: For the record, I crossed the line at 15:57:02 Hawaii time – and
here is the proof.]

Other Stuff:

Note: I am going to continue using Hawaii time for the remainder of this
crossing – otherwise it will get too confusing trying to figure out when
I am due to record podcasts, call Nicole, or whatever. So I'll continue
to post weather reports as at Hawaii time. FYI, the sun now rises at
7:59am my time, and sets at 8:07pm.

Another note: apologies for the problems with the Tracker. Solaradata,
who provide my tracking unit, have been conducting a server transfer and
it has evidently generated some random location points. Apparently the
issue was that positive latitudes between 0 and 1 were being displayed
as 0 to –1. Evan has been working closely with them and assures me the
issue is now resolved. To be sure, it couldn't have happened at a worse
time – just as my lat and long are getting interesting! Thanks, Evan,
for getting it sorted out so quickly.

Yet another note – and this is the IMPORTANT one! I've come to a
decision on Island X. But I'm not going to post it on this blog just
yet. If you want to know NOW what I've decided, check out today's video
RozCast on YouTube. You can locate it via the RozTracker – or maybe
Nicole or Evan can post a link to it as a comment on this blog. Yes, I'm
trying to get more of you to view my RozCasts!

And final note: you might observe that in the photo the distance to Tuvalu
is excessively optimistic. This was based on incorrect lat and long - an
error which has now been corrected.

Apparently I need to think of a gift AND a sacrifice to offer to Neptune
when I cross the Equator. I'm not feeling very inspired. Any ideas? I
thought of sacrificing a cuddly toy, but that would leave some very
upset schoolchildren somewhere. I realize you don't know what I have on
board, but maybe some suggestions as to generic kinds of gifts or
sacrifices that Neptune might find acceptable?

Commiserations to Peter Bray, a former British commando who was
attempting to row the North Atlantic. His attempt had to be called off
when Hurricane Bill threatened his safety. His boat is apparently only 3
metres long – or about 10 feet. That is TINY! I hope that he will get
over this setback, and better luck next time.

Eco Champ of the Day is Judy:
"Oh Gosh, Roz, there are a lot of us lurkers out here. I featured you on
blog over a month ago, and I know some of my readers are following you.
for your purpose … we've switched to reusable grocery bags, we already
two hybrid cars but now we are grouping our errands to use the cars more
efficiently. Of course, we recycle. And we've raised the thermostat for
house during the day to 79F, and are trying to wean ourselves from it on
but the most humid days. It's a small token, we know, but the
of eco-saving is now one of our "household words". I'm not much of an
athlete, but I'm a champion rooter! Ra! Ra! Roz!

Thanks, Dale, for your message. Your granny sounds like quite a lady! Do
feel free to contact my team at

Walt – a good estimate on the crossing of the IDL. But we both reckoned
without the squall!

Amy – thanks for spreading the word. Nice to hear about fellow Rozlings
meeting up!

Jennifer – those links sound interesting. Thank you. I can't follow them
up from here (I have email only – no internet browsing capability) but
will try to find time to take a look when I'm back on dry land.

Doug – thanks for your suggestion about the solar kettle – but my kettle
only has one orifice, and that is the very small water spout. I have
been using a thermos mug to rehydrate my meals, and that works just
fine, thank you. As I said, the ambient temperature is extremely warm!
Achates, Seattle Dave and Meg – thanks for the tips. Will see if I can
resurrect the stove when I get back to dry land. As I said, I'm really
not missing it for now, so will spend my energies on rowing rather than
stove maintenance! As I said, I really don't need any advice or
suggestions, as I still have plenty of those left over from my
stove-less state on the Atlantic!

Texino – now THERE is a novel approach for solving the overpopulation
problem. Cannibalism. Can't think why the global leaders aren't pushing
that one…!!!

Weather report:

Position at 0850 HST: 00 47.061N, 179 58.950E
Wind: very light this morning, 0-5kts E. All over the shop this
afternoon, 20+ kts from S or SE mostly.
Weather: hot, sunny morning. Heavy cloud and frequent rainshowers
throughout the afternoon and evening.

Forecast is for wind to back to the East, and drop to almost nothing by