This blog will be taking a break for the month of December, to return renovated and rejuvenated in January 2008.
To be sure that you get notified when the blog restarts, scroll down a couple of times on this page, and on the right you will see a small box labelled "Get Updates By Email!" Just enter your email address, click Subscribe, and follow the simple instructions. It takes about one minute in total. And you have the option to unsubscribe at any time, which you may want to do once the blog starts posting regularly again.
There will be changes afoot on this website, and possibly even the occasional stealth blog if I really can't manage to kick the blogging habit, if only temporarily, so you may still want to drop in from time to time.
Meanwhile, there will be plenty to keep you entertained with the crews currently competing in the Atlantic Rowing Race, which started yesterday. See the latest race positions on the official race website (you may recognize the rower riding the foaming wave in the picture at the top), and follow the links from the site to find out more about individual crews. Many of them are posting blogs.
Until we meet again, have a great December, and I look forward to seeing you next year!
As an aside...
Some people have expressed an interest in seeing more environmental information on this site. This will be forthcoming as I crank up the ocean awareness mission in the run-up to my Pacific row next May/June. But I have held off on blogging regularly about the environment for this simple reason: I am not directly involved in environmental action myself right now, and I am reluctant to report second-hand stories from the press. I know from personal experience that a press report is rarely 100% accurate, and I do not want to perpetuate journalistic errors. I prefer to write directly from what I have seen or heard with my own eyes, or have at least heard from a reliable source that has seen it with THEIR own eyes. It is important to me to maintain the factual accuracy of this site, so that my readers know that they are getting the truth - or at least, the truth as I see it.
There WILL be environmental information here, but only once it has been drafted and approved by various respectable and respected organizations that can vouch for its veracity.
I hope that you will understand and respect this policy of truth.
[photo: waving goodbye for now - and I'll see you next year!]
A few months ago I blogged about Rebecca Hosking. After seeing the devastating effects of plastic pollution in Hawaii while she was making a TV documentary there, she returned to her home in the small Devon town of Modbury, determined to make a difference. She persuaded local shopkeepers to stop giving out plastic bags, and Modbury became the first officially plastic-bag-free town in the UK.
It seems that from this small beginning the ripples have spread, and many other towns have been in touch with Modbury, wanting to know how they, too, can do their bit to help solve this insidious problem.
Click here to see the latest update on the story.
It just goes to show the power of the individual to make a difference. So don't be tempted to think that the environmental crisis is so hopelessly huge that anything you do is but a drop in the ocean. That one tiny drop can send out ripples in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine, growing in strength and speed until there is a veritable tsunami of positive change.
[photo: Rebecca Hosking]
[P.S. My own news: I arrived in San Jose, California, last night, to give a presentation today for Brocade, my title sponsors. Compared with the 900-strong sales conference a few weeks ago, this one had a relatively small live audience of a couple of hundred, but was available to another 2500 or so via live webcast.
My theme on this second anniversary of the date I set out across the Atlantic? Facing big challenges, how to keep going when the going gets tough, and recognizing that getting outside your comfort zone is (duh!) uncomfortable - but that the good news is that when you feel that discomfort, you know you're doing the right thing, because you're stretching yourself and pushing your limits.]
Click here to find out more about Brocade and their green credentials.
Two years have now passed since I set out to row solo across the Atlantic, as a nervous novice ocean rower - and it is time for the biennial race to launch once again. The Atlantic Rowing Race 2007 will start on December 2, from La Gomera in the Canaries.
22 boats are signed up to compete. Although of course I wish all the crews the very best of luck for a safe crossing, I will be taking a special interest in these particular boats:
In the Fours class, there are two crews that include people who set out in the 2005 race, but in that war of attrition were sabotaged by forces beyond their control - capsizes, sinkings, a back injury, and a shark attack. Out of the 26 boats that set out in the 2005 race, 6 did not make it to Antigua. But not to be deterred, these hardy souls are back for a second try. They epitomize indomitability and determination, and I send them heartfelt wishes for better luck this time around. They are:
Bobby Prentice and Colin Briggs (UK, aged 54 and 62) in Moveahead II - sank in 2005
Emily Kohl and Sarah Kessans (US, capsized in 2005), Jo Davies (UK, back injury), and Tara Remington (NZ, shark attack) in Unfinished Business
And elsewhere in the fleet:
Peter Collett - an Australian solo rower, who I met last year in England.
Lin Griesel and Rachel Smith - who I met at the Boat Show last year on the stand of Simrad, who sponsor both them and me.
Elin Haf Davies and Herdip Sidhu - two British nurses who had their boat fitted out, as I did, at Dolphin Quay Boatyard in Emsworth, England.
Angela Madsen and Franck Festor - who I met in La Gomera two years ago, and have stayed in touch with ever since. I featured Angela on my website back in April this year.
I encourage you to follow the race via the official website, and keep the crews in your thoughts and prayers.
And a final message to the crews themselves - wishing you fair winds and following seas - and a request that you bring all your litter back to land rather than disposing of it overboard.
Marine Debris 101
[photo: Moveahead II in La Gomera. Picture courtesy of Woodvale]
Did you know that the average American watches 2 hours of TV a day? If they went out for a bike ride instead, they would lose 10 pounds in a month.
This is one of the blip-facts available on the website of a fellow adventurer who is pushing the boundaries. Greg Kolodziejzyk is preparing for his 2008 bid to cross the Atlantic ocean in less than 40 days, which would be a new world record for the fastest human powered Atlantic crossing. He is using his project as a platform to show children what the human body is capable of and inspire them to get out and get physical.
Greg is looking for support for his venture - you can join the PedalTheOcean team and be part of a history making human powered world record. The "Across With Greg" sponsorships start at only $30 and include your name on the expedition boat. $100 packages include your name on the boat, your choice of a wide selection of our "human power" line of branded products, and 10% donation to KidPower, which is is a national education program focused on developing young children into healthy, active and positive people.
I should declare a vested interest in supporting Greg in his endeavours - I owe him a debt of gratitude. I had planned to visit him and his wife in Calgary and take a look at his boat (although the word 'boat' hardly seems adequate to describe such a futuristic craft), but unfortunately visa issues forced me to cancel my trip.
So as a consolation, Greg offered to let me stay in their ski lodge in Whitefish, Montana, for a few days. I arrived yesterday in this beautiful part of the world, after a stunningly scenic drive from Mount Rainier in Washington, where I had spent the weekend clambering around with some friends. I am now comfortably ensconced in the lodge, high up on Big Mountain. It will be a real treat to spend more than one night in one place so I can focus on some increasingly pressing tasks connected with the Pacific documentary - of which more news soon.