The Voyage: Roz Savage
What on earth is Google Earth?
13 Nov 2006, Leeds, UK

Roz has asked me to explain to you about the Google Earth Button (this is a picture, the real one is up on the right). It was something that puzzled me in August, when I first started helping with the website, and it continued to do so until a few days ago. I was checking the new website layout and clicked on this little button on the right. Nothing happened! I tried again, still nothing. So I moved on and later asked Roz about it. She told me I needed to get Google Earth.

Now Google Earth is quite amazing. I put in "Woodside, CA" where Roz was at that time and it zoomed in to an area which looks to have lots of houses in a wooded area. I put in my home address and it zoomed in so close, I could see that my car was not parked outside when the photograph was taken. And when Roz set off on a mini-road trip in September I "followed" her route and "flew" to Guerneville.

Take a look and you will see a picture of the earth with the positions of Roz's blogs marked on it. You can zoom in and see exactly where she was when she wrote the blog, so you can see her exact route across the Atlantic. If you click on a position you can read the blog, or you can click on a blog in the "Places" window and it will point to her position, and you can zoom in and see as much detail as you want (well almost). For example, the picture below shows Days 16 to 22 on the Atlantic, you will see she made almost no progress, being blown North for several days and then having to spend another day to get back to where she started. I have drawn a line to show you her route.

If you haven't already got Google Earth, then I thoroughly recommend you do, although you need a reasonably fast computer and a good graphics card. You can click here to see a picture of Roz's Atlantic route, or click the Google Earth button to get the full view. You could also try "flying to Guerneville" as I did. But be warned - it is all rather addictive!

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Ocean's End?
12 Nov 2006, Hood River, Oregon

Last time I was eating out in London with some friends, one of them refused to eat fish on the grounds that current fishing practices are unsustainable. It's unusual for me to find someone whose environmental conscience is even more tender than mine, and at the time I thought he was being overly finicky.

Sorry, Julian, you were right. This story popped up on my Google desktop today.

Now this is a problem. I tend to choose fish rather than chicken or meat when I eat out, as it is less likely to have been pumped full of antibiotics, hormones, etc, during its lifetime. If I can no longer eat fish with a clear conscience, then my options are narrowing down to free-range/organic meat or game instead. Or becoming a veggie.

Having an environmental conscience can be a right pain.

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Three Sports In One Day
11 Nov 2006, Hood River, Oregon

'I try to do at least three sports in a day.' So says Moe Dixon, one of my new friends in the Gorge. I may not be up to as many as three a day, but I've debuted in two new sports this week, so I'm working on it. The other day I went mountain biking for the first time, and today I had my first experience in a kayak.

We went down the same stretch of river that was in full flood earlier in the week. The waters have subsided somewhat, but the run was still a Class 3, which I believe means moderate difficulty. (Class 5 is tough but you'd be unlucky to die. Class 6 is extremely tough and you'd be lucky to live.)

It was a lot harder than it looks. Just trying to get the inflatable kayak to go in a straight line, and forwards rather than backwards, was quite a challenge. I zig-zagged inelegantly around the river like a drunken duck.

But everyone has to start somewhere. It was fun, and with a few decades more practice I might even manage to steer straight...

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Stunning Skiing
11 Nov 2006, Hood River, Oregon

On Thursday night I went to see the latest Warren Miller movie in Hood River. I'm not a ski bum, so I'd never even heard of Warren Miller before, and wondered how on earth it could be possible to produce a full length feature film purely about skiing.

I was blown away. I had no idea you could take a human being and two skis and come up with so many variations and permutations - the aerobatic stunts were just breathtaking. But even more amazing were the shots of people skiing in pristine wildernesses, down impossibly steep slopes and over sharp drops. They were really pushing the boundaries.

The problem here, of course, is that there's only one way to know when you've pushed the boundary too far. And that tends to be the last mistake you ever make.

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