The Voyage: Roz Savage
Announcement: Pacific Updates Available Via SMS
28 Jun 2007, Ottawa, Canada

If you're into text messaging - maybe you get a notification every time Arsenal score a goal - you may well be interested to know that you can sign up for SMS updates on my Pacific row. A typical daily text might look like this:

"Good progress today. Actual miles travelled: 36. Miles made good towards Hawaii: 30. Miles from San Francisco: 250. Miles to go: 2240. Weather sunny and warm. Waves 3-5ft. Saw pod of whales (or some other overview of day's news). New info and pics/podcast/video at".

To sign up, just click on the button on the right - the one with the cute little phone on it - and follow the instructions. It takes about 30 seconds to subscribe.

This service has been provided through the generous support of Agile Communications.

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Got the Visa!
27 Jun 2007, Ottawa, Canada

It was all remarkably painless. Compared with my previous interview in London (6 hours of queues - queuing to join a queue to have an interview to join another queue to have another interview) - this was incredibly swift. My appointment was scheduled for 8am, and even with a certain amount of obligatory queuing, I was out of there by 9am, and my passport will be ready for collection tomorrow.

In fact, the official was too busy asking me about ocean rowing - what I ate, how I slept etc - to focus properly on the job at hand. But in any case it is all resolved, and I can now row out from San Francisco confident that if I don't make it into Hawaii, it will be due to forces of nature rather than the forces of US Immigration.

Thanks to all who have helped along the way - Deb and Michael Follo who drove me to the airport yesterday, Victor Ferreira and all the staff at the Delta Hotel, Ottawa, who have provided me with a lovely room, and all the others who offered help, advice and contacts.

All's well that ends well.

Or... not quite. I am now trying to get an earlier flight back to San Francisco, but the Travelocity phone number isn't working, and their email form seems broken, so for now I am still stuck in a hot and humid (but very friendly) Ottawa.

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Ottawa Bound
26 Jun 2007, Woodside, California

This morning I have packed my bag and tidied up the cottage (as much as I can with boxes of kit, technology and expedition rations piled everywhere) - for today I leave for Ottawa and my visa interview. I keep having nightmarish flashes of "Terminal"-type images, me lost in a bureacratic no-man's-land and doomed to live forever in Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, while my beautiful boat slowly deteriorates in San Francisco...

But I'm sure I'll be fine. As I've already been approved for a US 12-month visa in London, and it was only time constraints and logistics that prevented me getting it physically placed in my passport, it would seem quite contrary if the Ottawa embassy refused me a visa.

It will definitely be a relief when this is out of the way.

Meanwhile, many good things happening. Yesterday I spent the afternoon with my favourite photographer, Jason Madara. Last time we had met was when he shot me (so to speak) for the New York Times, on a gusty, rain-soaked, pitch-dark Saturday night. This time we were basking in sunshine on a glorious summer's day by the Golden Gate Bridge, while he took portraits of me and Sedna for German MAX Magazine.

Then I dashed over to the KRON4 TV studios for a quick guest appearance on the Gary Radnich show.

While I was out and about, my new rowing seat and runners arrived from Seattle, and although we didn't get the boat in the water yesterday, I had a chance to do a dry test of the new outriggers that Rich Crow built for me - and they seem to have solved the problems with the oars. The balance (between inboard and outboard) is now much improved, and it appears likely that the oars will now reach the water - always a bonus.

[photo: a picture from Jason Madara's previous shoot with me and Sedna]

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Tracking Trash
25 Jun 2007, Woodside, California

Today a friend gave me a copy of a book written for children, but I think a lot of adults should read it. Called Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion, it has lots of beautiful photographs and informative charts, and showcases the work of renowned oceanographer Dr Curtis Ebbesmeyer, who will be one of my guest bloggers during my Pacific row. Curt is doing me the honour of providing his expert view on my eyewitness account of Pacific garbage.

The blurb on the book says this:

Aided by an army of beachcombers, oceanographer Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer tracks trash in the name of science. From sneakers to hockey gloves, Curt monitors the watery fate of human-made cargo that has spilled into the ocean. The information he collects is much more than casual news; it is important scientific data. And with careful analysis, Curt, along with a community of scientists, friends, and beachcombers alike, is using his data to understand and protect our ocean.

In engaging text and unforgettable images, readers meet the woman who started it all (Curt's mother!), the computer program that makes sense of his data (nicknamed OSCURS), and several scientists, both on land and on the sea, who are using Curt's discoveries to preserve delicate marine habitats and protect the creatures who live in them.

What I say on the book is: BUY IT! Click here to find it on Amazon.

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