In theory, my diary should be totally empty - I was supposed to be on the ocean by now, so I had nothing scheduled. But just as possessions expand to fill the space available (try living on a 24-foot rowboat vs a 4-bedroom house), commitments expand to fill the diary space available.
This, however, can be a good thing. One of the impromptu invitations I received was from Deborah Dennis, a photographer and traveler. After briefly checking out her website, I decided this was the kind of woman I would like to meet. And so I found myself, yesterday afternoon, at her beautiful house in the Oakland hills, speaking to a group of 25 or so women (and one man), most of whom already had an interest in the oceans - through outrigger paddling, rowing, kayaking, and canoeing. I cannot think of a better way to have spent my Sunday afternoon.
Having spent much of my adult life in dread of women-only gatherings (hen weekends were my idea of hell) I realise I am now reaching an age where my peers are discovering their strength and power (this is a sweeping statement - some discover it sooner, some never discover it at all) and the notion of sisterhood is starting to make sense to me.
Yesterday I met a bunch of fascinating women who are all finding and rising to their own challenges. I was at least as inspired by them as they were by me.
This meshed with the book I am reading at the moment, written by another new friend of mine. "This Is Not The Life I Ordered", co-authored by Michealene Risley (and appropriately subtitled "50 ways to keep your head above water when life keeps dragging you down), is about kitchen table friends - the kind you can call at 4am. If I ever call a friend at 4am, it would probably be because I got the time difference wrong...
Latest on departure date: my weatherman. Rick Shema, and I have now introduced the 'Fuzziness Factor' into the red/yellow/green stoplight system. Weather forecasts vary in reliability, depending on how volatile weather conditions are, and how far out the forecast extends. So the FF indicates, through High/Medium/Low, how much credence I can give the forecast. We currently have a decent window of green and yellow for August 1, but with a high Fuzziness Factor - so everything is still very uncertain. I will keep you posted.
One interesting thing about being even slightly in public view is that some people feel at liberty to pass judgment on me. I used to take this very personally, but now I am learning that their perceptions are usually so far from the reality that I shouldn't take them to heart.
For example, one person has challenged me with the possibility that there may be a 'conflict between [my] self-esteem and [my] ego'. This was interesting, because I ask myself exactly the same question almost every day - are my motivations still what they should be? Are they altruistic or selfish? Am I doing this for a cause I believe in or for my own self-glorification?
And I am happy to report that after each daily check-in I feel certain that I am still on track, and doing this for all the right reasons - to draw attention to environmental issues, and hopefully also to inspire a few people to believe that they can do whatever they choose to do, and that it is more important to measure yourself by who you are than by what you own.
And that's all I have to say about that.
[photo: looking forward to being out on the ocean again - just me and my boat and several thousand miles of water]
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.