Yesterday Rick Shema, my Hawaii-based weather guy, sent me the latest spreadsheet of weather forecasts. We have devised a stop-light system using wind speed, wind direction, wave height , wave direction and stage of tide to determine whether a situation is red (definitely don't go), yellow (departure possible) or green (definite go).
We are unlikely to get a green, as this would involve offshore winds which happen once in a blue moon, so we've been looking out for at least three days of yellow. Yesterday it looked as if we had one starting about 1am on Saturday 28th July. But today our weather window closed again. So still no departure date in sight, and August draws ever nearer....
[photo: seas like this are great - provided the waves are with me and not against me - unlikely on the California coast]
One of the benefits of my delayed departure is that I have had time to add some extra pages to my website including, for the benefit of all geeks (and I am an aspiring geek myself) a whole load of information about my on-board data collection and communication systems.
Click here to read my new "Ocean Technology" section. (Also found under the Rower menu option.)
The idea is to make my website as informative and interesting as possible - partly for the benefit of all you lovely people out there, but also for my own benefit - the more information I have at my disposal, the better I will be able to prepare for Stages Two and Three of my Pacific row. I have discovered that my perceptions of the Atlantic are subjective and unreliable, so some good hard facts would not go amiss.
After my launch event last week Jane Stevens of the TOPP Program (Tagging of Pacific Predators at www.topp.org) handed me a box of 4 curious-looking little gadgets - tiny assemblies of circuit boards and wires sealed in plastic with antennae sticking out of them. These were tracking tags, to be fitted to my boat Brocade.
One was designed for turtles, one for an albatross, another was an experimental unit and the fourth was for collecting data. These tags will send back my position from the ocean to the TOPP website (in addition to my MarineTrack beacon). By looking at the TOPP website you will be able to see not only where I am, but also what other wildlife is in my bit of the ocean.
I received an email update today from Michelle Hester of non-profit Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge to let me know that ten new Black-footed Albatrosses were tagged last week from NOAA's Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, just north of my launch area, and they named one of them "Roz" in my honour. These are the details for Roz the Albatross:
Species: Black-footed Albatross
Life Stage: Plumage Class 2
Gender: TBD (they can't determine gender until genetic blood samples are analyzed - let's hope other albatrosses find it easier to tell the difference...)
You can adopt my namesake at the Seaturtle.org website. Or just go there regularly to check on his/her movements around the Pacific.
These magnificent birds are one of the species most at direct risk from plastic pollution, as they mistake plastic items for food and eat them. The plastic garbage accumulates in their stomach - as it can't be digested or excreted - and eventually it kills them. Please help stop Roz dying a slow and painful death by reducing your use of plastics.
Departure update: Rick Shema, the weather guy, tells me that the next weather window will open on 26th July. Fingers crossed that this one holds steady for long enough for me to depart....
[photo: a tagged sealion wearing a tag - photo courtesy of TOPP]
I received this very nice letter from Dr George Simpson of the Association of Ocean Rowers. Click here to view it (scroll down, and click on "Download document in original format" to view.)
Those of you who actually know Dr George may be amused by the formality of this announcement. To put this in context, most of the comments on my FaceBook wall are from George, as are any scurrilous photos that may have made it into the public domain. If you haven't yet seen my Facebook page or Savage Seas group, please check them out now. And George's.
I am trying out a few new things on the website over the coming days - videos, podcasts, etc. I would really appreciate feedback on any technical problems you encounter, so hopefully we can address them before I set out to sea (date still to be confirmed - hectic correspondence going on with my weather gurus on a daily basis. Currently departure not expected to be before Friday, but it's in the lap of the weather gods....)
[photo: me at an ocean rowers' gathering last year - George not pictured - and if you look at the pics on the Savage Seas group you'll soon understand why...]