slow to a snail's pace. A snail with a ball and chain attached, even.
The wind was in the southeast (not helpful) and I'm still in a
north-flowing current (also not helpful) so the oars felt heavy and
every stroke felt like a weight-lifting exercise.
Truth be told, I was getting pretty fed up with the whole business.
Progress is very motivating. Lack of it is not. It's a bit like trying
to lose weight, and when the scales are being cruel the temptation is to
say "forget it" and have a cake to cheer yourself up. But of course the
only way to make progress – whether it be losing pounds or rowing oceans
- is to keep the faith and carry on.
Morale was given a boost mid-afternoon when I picked up a text message
on my satphone. It was from Ricardo, my new weatherman, saying "GOOD
EFFORT GIRL. I CAN TELL YOU ARE TWEAKING YOUR COURSE AS MUCH AS POSS.
GOOD AVG SPEED ALSO. RIC." His assessment was maybe too flattering, but
just then I needed those sweet little lies. Sometimes it's just good to
know that there are people watching, and that my efforts are being
recognized – especially when my course on the GPS screen looks so
This is a funny thing, because under normal circumstances I would have
said that I don't care too much for the opinion of other people. Of
course, we all want to be liked, even approved, but generally I now
steer my own course in life without considering whether it will please
others. I just do what I do and they can like it or lump it.
But even the most independent-minded of us still appreciate some
positive feedback from time to time, and that is why I cherish the
comments and Tweets of the Rozionados. It's good to know I am not alone,
and that my every mile, my every effort, is monitored, appreciated, and
Meanwhile, during breaks from the oars, I've been getting ready for my
Equatorial celebration. With less than 15 miles to go, I hope it's not
premature. I've dug out the mysterious yellow drybag labeled "DO NOT
OPEN UNTIL 0 LATITUDE". It was given to me by Nicole and Liz before I
left Hawaii. I'm dying to take a peek but am resisting the urge –
although I have given it a few squeezes, like an impatient kid with a
My gift and my sacrifice are at the ready, and in the absence of a
crewmate or captain to represent Neptune, I have pressed Squishie the
Dolphin into service as his representative. I didn't happen to have a
trident on board, but a fork makes a passable quatrent (or whatever it
is called). I think Squishie looks rather regal, and look forward to
paying him homage when I reach the magic Latitude Zero, which, with a
bit of luck and more slogging, might be tomorrow.
This afternoon I saw a shark swimming alongside my boat. A proper
Jaws-type shark, rather than the blunt-headed, vegetarian whale shark I
saw a few weeks ago. But this one was just a tiddler – about 3 feet long
– so I didn't feel too apprehensive that he might eat me/my boat/my oar.
Thank you for the overwhelmingly positive response to my decision to try
for Tuvalu. Good to hear I've got you on the edge of your seats. Me too!
I do wish I had a crystal ball so I can see how all this is going to pan
out. Or there again, maybe it's just as well I don't…
Marv asked if there is a backup plan. Of course there is. I always have
a Plan B! First, if within the next couple of weeks it becomes evident
that Tuvalu will be impossible, I can still change course for Tarawa.
Second, if I can get close to Tuvalu but not quite make it, there is a
research vessel due to be in the Tuvalu area in early-mid September, and
they have offered to assist if required. Pushing on to the Solomons or
Australia are not really options – not without a functioning watermaker,
although I still hope to resolve that problem. Also, as it has taken me
so much longer than expected to get through the ITCZ, I would require a
resupply of food if I was to extend my voyage all the way to Australia.
And I would have to cancel my book tour – and possibly all our plans for
Copenhagen. So I very much hope it won't come to that. It really IS
Tuvalu or bust!
Will – for sure, I will give it my bestest. In fact, I think that is
what I would want to be able to say on my deathbed – that I always did
try my bestest. Nobody can do more than that. Thanks for giving me the
Tom B – your wife might just be right! But I hope that the eventual
result will speak for itself. The Richard Byrd book sounds really
interesting. I always love reading about people having a worse time than
Christa – thanks for the info on Tuvalu. Only 6 prisoners? Mind you, I
don't suppose there's much mischief you can get up to on a sandspit –
and making a getaway would be quite a challenge too!
To Richard, my minstrel. Funny that recently I've been listening to
books by George R R Martin, set in the court of some imagined
medieval-ish place and time. So jesters, troubadours, singers and
minstrels are very vivid in my mind right now. And you perform the role
admirably – I very much appreciate your contributions to the Rozling
community, as well as your thoughtfulness in considering how best you
could enhance our enjoyment of the adventure. Thank you!
Donna – great questions. I've made a note of them for a future blog –
and/or they are answered in depth in my book, Rowing The Atlantic, due
out Oct 6. Available for pre-order on Amazon, and if you send your
Amazon confirmation email to email@example.com you can claim your
special, limited edition Larabar bookmark, made from the wrapper of one
of the many Larabars I am munching my way through on this crossing!
Position at 2300 HST: 00 13.624N, 179 27.693W
Wind: 15kts SE this morning, backing slightly this afternoon. Dropped to
9kts briefly after a squall, then revived to 15kts E.
Seas: swell from SE-E about 4ft
Weather: morning sunny and hot. More cloud this afternoon. Couple of
SUNDAY EVENING WIND WILL DROP AND BACK TO SLIGHTLY NORTH OF EAST WITH
SPEEDS OF 3 TO 6 KNOTS. AS SOON AS YOU ARE ABLE, HEAD 170. THIS IS MY
SUGGESTING AT A HEALTHY COMPROMISE BETWEEN WIND ANGLE AND EFFECTIVE
SPEEDY COURSE TO TUVALU- WHILST STILL KEEPING YOU IN A SAFETY NET. I
WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU ABOUT 40 MILES FURTHER EAST BEFORE WE START
CONFIDENTLY CURVING YOU AROUND TOWARDS TUVARU. THINGS WILL BE GREAT
UNTIL TUESDAY AND YOU SHOULD MAKE GOOD PROGRESS DURING THAT TIME.
WED/THU NOT IDEAL AS WIND WILL GRADUALLY INCREASE TO 9-11KN FROM EAST
AND THEN FROM ABOUT 110 DEGREES (SE). FRIDAY AND SATURDAY HAS A 30%
CHANCE OF PROVIDING YOU WITH NE WINDS 12 KNOTS. IF THEY DO MATERIALISE,
THEY SHOULD STAY AROUND FOR AT LEAST 4 DAYS.