The Voyage: Roz Savage
Day 5: Make Hay (Or Water) while the Sun Shines
05 Dec 2005, 2713.961N,1953.360W,

Little boat, big ocean

5 Dec, 05 - 21:17
Latitude: 27° 14' N
Longitude: 19° 52' W
Miles from La Gomera: 159
Miles to Antigua: 2397
Miles since last dispatch: 21

It has been a sticky day, like rowing through treacle. It's been calm and almost windless so instead of only seeing as far as the next wave I can see as far as the horizon - which makes the ocean seem like a very big place.

Make water while the sun shines...

..and shines directly onto my solar panels - which unfortunately seems to be only for a couple of hours in the morning. Note to self to have panels on both cabins next time around.Electricity continues to be an issue on board the good ship Sedna. The watermaker is hugely power-hungry compared with anything else, and runs my two 52Ah batteries flat in no time. I can manage to make enough water, but have to be very frugal with my electricity.

Fortunately I've discovered the joys of silence, so am saving myself some iPod power. There are times of day when it's good to have music to row to, but much of the time I'm happy with peace and quiet, preferring to use the electricity for my Simrad navigation instruments, which tell me which way I'm going and how fast (or slow). I find this more motivating even than music.

Heavens above

Charles Bairsto said, 'Make the stars your friends' - and then looked faintly surprised and embarrassed at his own words. The young squaddie of Atlantic Warrior was talking in the marina in San Sebastian just before the start of the race.

To save electricity I've been steering by the stars at night, and I keep thinking of Charlie's phrase and smiling. Before you get all impressed by notions of me standing on deck with sextant in hand, let me admit it's been nothing that sophisticated. I check my bearings, see which stars line up with the comms masts on Sedna's 'roll bar' and then make sure I keep them in line, adjusting every hour to account for the movement of the stars. Gives me a great sense of elemental satisfaction.

Comfortably numb

My right shoulder waa giving me some serious gyp this afternoon. Normally I wouldn't even take an aspirin, but this isn't normality. I took a Co-Proxamol but it had no effect, so I stepped up to a Tramadol... Then remembered too late we'd been warned they can absolutely knock you flat. Have been feeling rather spaced out and sleepy ever since, trying to use chocolate as an antidote.

I wouldn't mind the side-effects so much if there were any effects from the drug... But my shoulder is still as exquisitely and excrutiatingly painful as before. But this too will pass.

Wind: almost none
Weather: sunshine
Sea state: flat
Hours rowing: 14
Hours sleeping: 6
Song for the day: Heroes by David Bowie

Atlantic Row Part 1
| | More
Day 4: The Sound of a Human Voice
04 Dec 2005, 2725.290N,1921.777W,0M

4 Dec, 05 - 21:21

Latitude: 27° 25' N
Longitude: 19° 21' W
Miles from La Gomera: 138
Miles to Antigua: 2425
Miles since last dispatch: 30ish
Position in race: not known

It had been two and a half days since I last had a conversation (not counting conversations with myself or with Monty). The last proper-ish conversation was a 3 minute chat with Lin on the Woodvale yacht Aurora when they swung by on Friday morning. I've discovered the joy of talking books (currently listening to Douglas Adams book recorded for me by the Kiwi Sun Latte crew - thanks, guys) but it's not the same as a proper natter.

So although I am quite enjoying my self-imposed isolation, it was really good to hear Mum's voice when I rang her tonight. She told me about Andrew Morris's concussion and their consequent withdrawal - gutted for them - and also gave me an update on my official mileage.

I'm a bit puzzled by this - my GPS did a weird and demoralising leap backwards last night on my trip log, which now contradicts my mileage from La Gomera. And both are different from the figure on the Woodvale site. So I'll go with the Woodvale figure because it's the most flattering...

138 miles in 4 days. Not bad, but considerably behind schedule for my performance-related bonus from ParadiseBet (see my home page). But no need for despair yet - I got off to a slow start due to seasickness, and am now settling into a more productive routine, so hopefully daily averages will improve. (But not if I spend too long writing dispatches...)

Everything is aching at the moment - back, shoulders, neck, forearms. What wouldn't I give for a good massage right now - line me up with the finest masseur Antigua can offer - but today was a good day. Can't believe I've been out here just 4 days - feels like forever my life has been the glittering blue ocean and this little silver boat.

Wind: almost none
Weather: sunshine
Sea state: flat
Hours rowing: 14
Hours sleeping: 6
Thought for the day: Pain is temporary, pride is forever

Atlantic Row Part 1
| | More
Day 3: Chop and Change
03 Dec 2005, 2728.410N,1848.222W,0M

Trying to get the oars in the water.

3 Dec, 05 - 21:02

Latitude: 27° 28' N
Longitude: 18° 48' W
Miles from La Gomera: 94
Miles to Antigua: 2455
Miles since last dispatch: 30
Position in race: not known

Mum was giving me an update on the race progress. 'You're past the small island.'

Yes, I had noticed. It had started to seem like El Hierro, the westernmost of the Canary Islands, was never going to disappear from sight. I had started to suspect it was following me. But now it's just a distant shadow on the horizon. Next stop Antigua.

Watermaker worries

This watermaker is going to be the death of me - not literally, I hope. It caused me a seriously nervous moment this afternoon when it stopped working in mid-flow. The switch was still on but the switch light had gone off, so I thought the fuse must have gone. There ensued an increasingly frantic search for a 15A fuse. I knew I had one somewhere, but could only find 5s and 10s.

I optimistically put a 10 in, and was just wondering where I could find a watermaker expert on a Saturday to ask for help, when it occurred to me that maybe it wasn't the fuse at all.

I put the original fuse back in, switched the watermaker over to my other battery, and bingo, back in business. The battery had been flat. Too much iPod and not enough sun. 'Don't dooooo that to me,' I begged the watermaker and got back to the oars.

Ropey old rowing

The rowing technique has taken a turn for the worse today. I've got relatively big waves coming at me side-on, so it's a constant challenge to get both oars in the water at the same time. I've given up and adopted a syncopated rhythm instead. Ugly, but it seems to result in surprisingly steady progress.

Wind direction: 70°
Wind speed: 11 kts
Weather: cloud and sunshine
Sea state: choppy
Hours rowing: 10
Hours sleeping: 6
Thought for the day: remember there is peace in silence

Atlantic Row Part 1
| | More
Day 2: A Brighter Day
Roz Savage
02 Dec 2005, 2726.670N,1809.949W,0M

Monty in his new lifejacket

Miles from La Gomera: 64
Miles to Antigua: 2490
Position in race: not known

After yesterday's whinge-fest I have now rediscovered my sense of humour. Well, what else can you do but laugh, when you find yourself naked except for hat, trainers and kangaroo skin gloves, paddling sedately across 3000 miles of ocean and singing along to Abba?

In fact. I'm thoroughly ashamed of myself. I'd promised myself I wasn't going to whinge at all. I've chosen to do this lunatic thing, so I thereby relinquished any right to complain about this supremely surreal situation in which I now find myself.

Today has been a dramatic improvement. I treated myself to 8 hours of sleep last night, and woke up feeling like a new woman. Put in a solid 4 hours of rowing before breakfast (porridge - camping stove problem now overcome). And have spent the rest of the day getting into what feels like a sustainable routine of rowing, eating and resting.

And getting naked.

I am usually modest (and since pre-race bulking up have much to be modest about) and not given to exhibitionism, but previous ocean rowers have found that rowing naked helps prevent salt water boils. For me, the impetus to try it was because it's easier to apply suncream without having to work around garments.

And it felt rather good to feel the sun and wind on my skin - it felt healthy and wholesome, rather than strange or embarrassing.

I'm now sitting on my deck watching the sun set - I've washed and dressed for dinner, which is rehydrating in a thermos flask. The sea is calm and I'll put in a few more hours at the oars before retiring to my cabin. I feel well cared for and in control of my little world. Life is good.

Monty's Dispatch

Hmmph! Thank heavens she's in a better mood today. I've never heard so much whining and whingeing. 'My hands are sore, my ribs hurt, I feel sick.' Blah, blah, whinge, blah, blah.

Seems it was just a few teething problems and she's quickly got used to her new lifestyle.

Me? I'm happy. I've got a smart new lifejacket made by Roz's mother to keep me safe. No seafaring teddy should be without one!

Wind direction: 70°
Wind speed: 5 kts
Weather: fair
Sea state: calm
Hours rowing: 12
Hours sleeping: 8
Thought for the day: Know that you are not alone

Atlantic Row Part 1
| | More



Powered by XJournal