13 Aug 2007, The Brocade
It was one of my big hopes for this Pacific row that I wouldn't fall into so many of the psychological traps as I did on the Atlantic. I really struggled out there, and a lot of the trouble was of my own making. Three examples:
1. Instead of looking at the challenge one bit at a time, breaking it down into manageable pieces, I looked at the whole 3000 miles that lay ahead of me and felt utterly overwhelmed. It took me a while to realize that it would be much better just to take it one day, one stroke at a time.
2. I allowed myself to get distracted by other people's objectives. My one cash sponsor had offered me a bonus if I broke the women's record for the fastest crossing, and I put myself under a lot of pressure before I remembered what MY objectives were, which were nothing to do with speed.
3. I wasted a lot of emotional energy asking myself: "CAN I do this?" To which the answer was usually No. Better, I realized, just to get on and DO it, instead of asking myself whether I can.
This time around it helps that I already have that previous experience. I've decided to call it my Pigtail Power. I only ever put my hair in pigtails when I am on the ocean - it is practical and stops my hair getting too tangled. So like Samson with his long hair, I am stronger when I 'm in pigtail mode.
Other: Weather clearer today after yesterday's fog. I can still see the land, but am slowly moving further from it. There is a bit of swell, and I have to row across it, which is uncomfortable. It is also making cabin life more uncomfortable. I thought I'd got away without being seasick this time, but I may have been too hopeful, too soon.
[photo: I was glad of my bimini (not, not bikini) today, as it's been seriously sunny. Picture taken during a sea trial in Hayward.]
12 Aug 2007, The Brocade
This morning at 6:49 Brocade and I left the guest dock in the harbour of Crescent City, and set out for Hawaii. A small crowd had gathered to see me off, and there was a smattering of applause as I took my first strokes.
I rounded the corner, trying hard to look good.. And promptly ran aground on a sand bank lurking just under the surface of the water. The hazard of leaving at low tide. So ten minutes into my big adventure I was standing in shallow water with my leggings rolled up above my knees, trying to heave the Brocade off the sand bank. After a bit of a struggle I succeeded and we were on our way again.
It was perfect conditions for the start. The wind rarely blows offshore here, so the best I could realistically hope for was minimal wind - and that is what I got. All day the wind has been slight. I quickly lost sight of land in the fog that closed in around me.
The silence was broken only by the noises of a few marine visitors - all morning sea lions were surfacing around my boat, popping up from the water like gophers. They would arrive in posses of 4 or 5, snuffling and blowing and generally larking around. There were whales too - large dark finned lumps breaking the calm waters fifty or so yards away from my boat.
This afternoon I listened to an audio book of Robinson Crusoe, which seemed appropriate in the circumstances. It helped to listen to a story where everything happens at snails's pace - it takes him about month just to make a table - as it helped me lapse into the slower pace of ocean life.
Progress has been slow too. Although the wind isn't against me, it isn't helping me either. I've rowed for 10 hours already, and need to do several more if I am going to reach my target of 20 miles today.
Better go and get on with it.
12 Aug 2007
At 3.45pm BST (GMT + 1 hour) today, Sunday August 12th, I received a position report from Marinetrack showing that Roz is now at sea. She is thus beginning the first part of her voyage across the Pacific Ocean. Now begins the time of watching and waiting . . .
The Line of Death (aka the Line of Rainbows, Happiness and Rainbows, depending on whether you focus on this side or the far side of it) has now been redrawn for my new point of departure. This is how it now looks.
I have to try and cross this line as soon as possible - beyond it I can sleep well at night, but this side of it I am in constant danger of being swept onshore. Not good.
Ideally I would head due west from here, but it looks as if the weather may have other ideas. A bit of north, a bit of south, and a fair bit of rain are forecast.