The Voyage: Roz Savage
Day 66: He who would an ocean rower be
05 Feb 2006

5 Feb, 06 - 20:54

Some texters have said they are envious of me. Why?! It's not exactly a barrel of laughs out here.

But I know what they mean - there was a time when I was envious of people like me too. I was living in London, doing a job that didn't seem in tune with my values or my abilities, but I thought I needed a certain level of income and this job was the only way I could see of achieving it. I felt trapped. I would sometimes escape by reading books about mountaineers, polar trekkers and other adventurers. And yes, I would envy them.

It was this envy that gave me a clue my life wasn't going the way I wanted it to. One day I did an interesting exercise - I wrote two versions of my obituary - the one I was heading for if I carried on as I was, and the one I really wanted. The contrast was startling.

It still took another 3 or 4 years of gradual changes before the two obituaries started to converge, but I'm getting there.

The first thing is to figure out what it is that you're envying. If you envy me, is it because you actually want to row an ocean? Or is it the freedom? The adventure? The personal challenge? The opportunity to get fit and healthy? Or is it just that the grass is greener, and you simply want an escape from your current lifestyle?

And if you want to do something about it, what's stopping you? If you really, really, really wanted to do something about it, would you let anything stop you?

As George Eliot said, 'It's never too late to be what you might have been'.

Here's a little ditty I made up while I was rowing today...

As I row across the sea
I'm very happy to be me
Life is simple, life is free
Oh what better way to be!

There are many ways to live your life
Some are easy, some may bring strife
But please don't say, when you are through
'There's still so much I wanted to do'

Other stuff:

Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea

The latest on the eddy/swell dilemma - it was a tough call, but I decided to try and get further north (or at least, not go any further south) before the northerly swell kicks in tomorrow. This means I'm dicing with the worst of the eddy. It also means heavy, heavy going. I've worn out a pair of rowing gloves in record time. The next 2 or 3 days will show whether or not I made the right decision.

Note for Sean Chapple re my ExplorersWeb Contact 3 setup:

I've found it great. It's very basic software, but it works - which is all I want!


1. Do as Tom suggests and prepare your dispatch using Pocket Word. If you have to reset your iPaq (which I have to do quite regularly) you will lose your dispatch if you've done it straight into Contact 3.

2. Look after the kit carefully, especially the HET cable. Mine got damp and didn't like it. But it did recover after a few days.

3. I initially had a problem with the iPaq going into sleep mode in mid-upload. Set the auto-sleep to max (5 mins). If you're uploading photos it may take longer than 5 mins, so touch the screen from time to time to stop it going to sleep.

4. If at first the Iridium link doesn't work, keep trying. I quite often get errors, but it usually works eventually, and sometimes even at the first attempt! Remember, technology knows when you're in a hurry... allow enough time to do your dispatch, and all will be well...

Texts: thanks for the messages from HSS, John T (Chicago? Or Boston? Sorry - not ready to give you a clue as to my project. Still need to check feasibility, and research opportunities rather limited at the moment!), Caroline Haines, Margaret and Bob, Sandi (nice idea about listing my favourite nursery rhymes, but it's far too long since I was a child and I can't remember any!), Brian (thanks for letting me know re Shaolin monks - they were awesome!)

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Wind: E, about 15 knots (estimate)
Weather: sunshine and clouds
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12

Atlantic Row Part 3
| | More
Day 66: Tiny Little and Eddy Large
04 Feb 2006

The wind may be causing me problems, but it does
have its uses - fast-drying laundry.

4 Feb, 06 - 21:04

Tiny tipped me off that there was an eddy waiting to ambush me - a 100-mile-diameter clockwise current centred on 16.8°N 44.8°W. It was a dilemma - head south to get the favourable current south of its centre, but then risk problems getting north again to Antigua, or carry on at the same latitude slogging away against the current. The word from Norwich was to head south. So this morning I diverted to the SW, in the hope that the eddy would slingshot me out the other side in the general direction of Antigua.

But then... I got an email from my new weatherman. (My weather info was previously coming from Adrian Flanagan, who is sailing solo around the world via the Poles, but he's currently otherwise engaged negotiating Cape Horn or some other lame excuse...). Ricardo advised me that there's a massive low in the far
North Atlantic that will bring a NW swell 7-15ft as far south as where I am, from Monday until at least Tuesday morning. This will stop me in my westerly tracks, and the best strategy would be to head NW now to gain as much latitude as possible before the swell hits.

So in summary, Monday looks like this: swell pushing me SE, wind pushing me SW, eddy pushing me NW, and all I want to do is go W.

Life is complicated. And apparently another eddy lies ahead - a more complex one. As tricky as negotiating the Hemel Hempstead roundabouts... But Ricardo assures me that any day now everything will line up and I'll be on the fast track to Antigua. Oh, yes, please!

Rita Savage’s PS: Help! She’s going too fast! I can’t keep up with the sponsored miles.
1721 Cliff Butters; 1746 Sebastian Pearey; 1750, 1751 Julian and Celina Hamm; 1760 Nicholas Mardon Taylor. Thanks to all. Pause for breath before she gets into the 1800s.

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Wind: E, about 15 knots (estimate)
Weather: sunshine and clouds
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12

Atlantic Row Part 3
| | More
Day 65: Ocean Rowing And What It Does To A Girl's Looks
03 Feb 2006

Patchy sunburn horror: brown arm, white hand.

3 Feb, 06 - 20:38

The good news - I've lost about a stone without dieting
The bad news - I put on a stone and a half before the race in eager anticipation of dramatic weight loss

The good news - best all-over suntan of my life
The bad news - .... apart from forehead (hat), hands (rowing gloves), feet (trainers), and bum/backs of legs (always sitting down)

The good news - bracing, pollution- free sea air bringing glow to the cheeks
The bad news - salt water bringing spots to the bum-cheeks

The good news - sunshine and water make them grow faster
The bad news - they then fall off your fingers

The good news - an opportunity to recover from over-washing (twice in 2 months so far)
The bad news - I daren't even look. Why do you think I'm always wearing a hat?!

So, girls, if it's good looks you're after, forget about rowing an ocean. Take your £15,000 race entry fee and spend it at Champney's instead.

Other stuff:

Tiny - I think I may be caught in the grip of that eddy. Two days ago the boat suddenly seemed to double in weight, so much so that I hopped overboard to check I didn't have anything caught on the rudder... like a submarine. How much longer can I expect this to last?

Texts: thanks to Jeff (your franglais is terrible!), whanna, Nathan (do you want me to try and talk you out of it?!), Natalie, John T (where ARE you going in April?), Sinead (thanks for getting the lottery ticket - can I leave it to you to check the results for me?), Alasdair, HSS, DB (don't get and don't want news, thanks, and yes - will be giving talks/lectures in UK - book early to avoid disappointment!), Tim (enjoy your drink with Tiny), Lizann, Guy.

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Wind: E, about 10 knots (estimate)
Weather: sunshine and clouds
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12

Atlantic Row Part 3
| | More
Day 64: Magnificent Absurdity
02 Feb 2006

Me in my night hat.

2 Feb, 06 - 20:31

It is the night shift - the last 3 hours of my rowing day - and I am busy at the oars. I am wearing just a t-shirt and a hat, and the tropical night air is velvety against my skin. The sun set about two hours ago, and the afterglow has finally faded from the western sky, where a thin crescent moon now hangs like a silver hammock. I can see its reflection dancing in the hatch door in front of my rowing position, and my moon shadow rows diligently away before me. The perspex dome of my compass nightlight glows red between my feet.

It is a calm night, and the ocean is almost silent, a faint sighing its only sound. My oars, broken and repaired, each have their own distinctive splash. The left one, with spoon intact, makes a clean entry into the water, while the right one, spoon lashed to a boathook with cable ties, makes a messier splash, with the occasional gurgle as a bubble escapes from the hollow tube of the broken shaft.

It is at night time that I am most aware of the hugeness of the ocean, and the smallness of me. But it's not a scary or intimidating feeling - it's a feeling of wonder and amazement that I am here, over a thousand miles from the nearest land, alone and rowing away in a little silver boat. It is at the same time an absurd and a magnificent thing to be doing.

My watch alarm goes off to signal the end of my shift and I stow my oars for the night, with a satisfying feeling of a job well done - another day and a few more miles closer to Antigua. I admire the stars while I brush my teeth, and retire to my cabin to write up my logbook and tot up my miles for the day. Then it's time for bed, and dreams of dry land, family, friends and food.

Texts: thanks for messages from Mariya (glad you reminded me about Perfect Moment Syndrome - glad to hear you still get PMS too!), Pauline, Tiny, Duncan (would love to be at the Henley Oxford/Cambridge races, but that's the weekend I'm speaking at the Univ reunion in NY. Too bad!), Sean Chapple (no, it was last year that Mum was in Antarctica. I can recommend her as a base camp manager - I'll hire her out for £25k!), Caroline Haines, John T (no, getting colder on guesses re US trip - you'll never get it!), Liz Devoto (miss work in London? Like a hole in the head!), Margaret and Bob (glad computer has recovered. A book? Who knows?!), HSS - sorry I got your initials wrong yesterday. HHS was my Dad!

Rita Savage's PS: Alastair Brown - she should reach your sponsored mile 1681 tomorrow! Thanks.

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Wind: E, about 15 knots (estimate)Weather: sunshine and clouds
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12

Atlantic Row Part 3
| | More



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