It is almost impossible not to laugh when you are around Mick Bird, although the Hawaiian-born rower must have had his sense of humour sorely challenged when his first and second attempts to row the Pacific both ended prematurely.
The first attempt, from Monterey, was attended by about 250 assembled media, sponsors and friends, but ended after two weeks when his comms system failed.
The second attempt, from Oxnard, was attended by about 20 friends, and ended after just a couple of days when Mick realized he was being swept too far south.
The third attempt, from Fort Bragg, was attended by a sea lion (the two friends who had helped him tow his boat there had already left saying, "Yeah, yeah, see you next week"), and ended triumphantly with a full Pacific crossing to Australia via Hawaii, the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands.
As Geoff Holt found, expeditions don't always go quite according to plan. But the setbacks are what separates the doers from the dreamers. I hope that a) I don't have to suffer the setbacks, but b) if I do, that I find the strength and determination to persevere as Mick did.
[photo: me with Mick Bird in Hood River yesterday]
During my Pacific row I will be sticking electrodes on my body every day. No, not some demented way to make my ocean experience even more unpleasant - but a high-tech way to monitor how my body is coping with the stresses and strains of rowing an ocean.
On Thursday, as I was en route from San Francisco to Hood River, I stopped off in Eugene to collect my physiological testing gadget from OmegaWave.
Click here for the full story, as it appeared in the local press (please note that I was not, in fact, the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. Just the first to compete in the Atlantic Rowing Race).
I have now taken delivery of all the gadgets I need to collect data for my WatchKeeper Project - which will provide a wealth of information to my website. allowing visitors to follow my every move as I cross the Pacific. As well as the OmegaWave testing station, I will have:
- a Davis Instruments weather station to provide meterological information (with forecasts provided by the Royal Navy)
- a MarineTrack tracking beacon to provide lat and long, current speed and bearing
- a heart rate monitor to provide details of heart rate and calories burned
- a psychological questionnaire, devised by Dr Neil Weston at the University of Portsmouth, to assess my mental state
- plus the usual blogs and photos, and hopefully podcasts and even video-blogs as well.
You will know more about me than you ever really wanted to know....
[photo courtesy of Register Guard]
I read your very eloquent blog about Monday's events - I am most impressed, and I think you put your side of the case extremely well.
I can't believe that the press would be so ignorant and cruel as to make negative comments about your brave attempt. In that vein, here is one of my favourite quotes, which I originally found a long time ago in Pete Goss's book Close to the Wind, although I have seen it many other places since:
It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who knows great enthusiasm, great devotion and the triumph of achievement and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while doing greatly - so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat...
Meantime, I hope this is giving you time to get over your cold.
All the best - and better luck next time! ;-)
Also on Monday I collected my Marine Track tracking device, that will enable visitors to my website to follow my sedate progress across the Pacific.
On the Atlantic I used a similar device - an Argos tracking beacon - but the Marine Track unit is smaller, lighter, and doesn't have to live outside on the deck. It is equally happy inside a cabin, out of my way.
I'm planning to test this out shortly, by fitting it to my boat before I set out with boat in tow to speaking engagements in Hood River and Bend, Oregon, and Colorado. With a bit of luck, the signal will be beamed back to England plotting my progress around the US.