The Voyage: Roz Savage
Atlantic Rowing Race War Stories
26 Jan 2007

Check out these tales from the high seas - the stories behind the capsizes in last year's Atlantic Rowing Race. Shark attacks, storms, and dramatic rescues... yup, ocean rowers - they must be crazy.

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Climbing Kili
26 Jan 2007, Arusha, Tanzania

It was strange inputting the latitude and longitude to X-Journal for my current position - it has been a long time since I was in either the southern or the eastern hemisphere. Yesterday we arrived in Arusha, our jumping-off point for hiking up Kilimanjaro, at 3.3'S, 36.6'E.

We have spent today exploring the town of Arusha and acclimatising, and tomorrow we set off. It will take us 5 or 6 days to get to the summit. On the last day we will set off at midnight to reach the summit (hopefully) around dawn - after that the clouds roll in and obscure the views.

I don't know Africa at all well, but in some ways Arusha seems familiar. It reminds me of some towns in Peru - where life is lived at the side of the road rather than indoors, there are people everywhere, everything is a little bit ramshackle but more or less works, and people have time to smile and say hello. And try to sell you stuff.

From tomorrow we will be out in the wilds, so I won't have internet access unless Scott (our leader) has the software to allow me to use his satellite phone to do updates, as I did from the Atlantic. But don't worry if you don't hear from me - I'm in safe hands with Scott, and hopefully I will be writing again in about a week to describe a successful ascent. God willing!

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North Pacific Garbage Patch
25 Jan 2007

A friend recently wrote to warn me not to end up in the North Pacific Garbage Patch when I set out to row to Hawaii. I sincerely hope I don't - if the garbage can't make it out of the gyre, I may not be able to either.

The gyre is ten million square miles in size - about the size of Africa - and the garbage collects in the middle. Strange objects that have found their way in there include rubber ducks, Nike trainers and hockey equipment, as well as huge quantities of plastic. Disturbingly, in samples taken from the gyre in 2001, the mass of plastic exceeded that of zooplankton (the dominant animalian life in the area) by six times. Jellyfish mistake the plastic fragments for zooplankton and eat them, and thus the plastic enters the ocean food chain.

It would almost be funny to imagine this surreal island of ducks, running shoes and hockeysticks, if only it wasn't such an environmental tragedy.

For more information, watch the video made by the same Cryptic Moth video team that interviewed me last summer: Click here.

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Focusing the Mind
25 Jan 2007, Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam

Travel broadens the mind, they say. It focuses the mind too. One of the benefits of my peripatetic lifestyle is that it provides me with frequent deadlines for action. If I had a more regular lifestyle I would probably let things drift. What didn't get done today would wait until tomorrow. But when there may well be no internet access tomorrow because I will be somewhere else, there is the urge to clear the decks (and clear the desk) before I move on.

So the long list of To Do items comes in for a sudden blitz. The sponsorship proposal that I've been hesitating to send out, tweaking and titivating and trying to make it 100% perfect - hell, 98% perfect will do. Just get it out there. It's not doing any good just sitting on my laptop. It needs to get out there and earn a living. The draft manuscript for my book - likewise. The press release - same again. Like slightly premature babies, they are just about well-enough formed to survive on their own in the big wide world.

So before I left for Africa I was crazy-busy, down to 4 or 5 hours sleep a night, frantically writing, researching, calling - but it was worth it. Productivity levels hit new heights. My babies have been sent forth, and I wait to see how they fare.

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