The Voyage: Roz Savage
Day 22: One Step Forwards, Two Steps Back
Roz Savage
15 Jun 2008, The Brocade

124 Degrees West. A line of longitude that is now starting to assume legendary status in my imagination. I've now crossed it four times. Out and back, out and back.

I claw my way a few miles westwards, then the wind comes along and blows me back again. I'm sure one day I'll get across for good, but I don't know when that day might be. I just hope it's before I'm old and gray!

I know all things change, but right now I feel rather stuck, just about here on good old 124.

Yesterday I said that today could only be better. Weeeellll.. Maybe I was wrong.

The sea anchor had got itself in a right old tangle overnight, which took a couple of hours to sort out and redesign in the hope that it doesn't happen again. Then some maintenance on the roof of the forward cabin led to an involuntary dip in the ocean, which I did not especially appreciate. It's not exactly sunbathing weather out here.

And the rest of the day has been a no-rowing day as the winds rise and the waves steepen.

But life has a way of offering you a little gift and a smile, just as it's busy kicking you in the shins. Today's good news is that the watermaker worked, and actually sounded reasonably healthy. Maybe it was just battery trouble the other times? My theory now is that I need to use the watermaker when the sun is at its strongest, and hence my batteries at their most powerful - otherwise they lack enough oomph (technical term) to power the pump. We shall see, but for now it feels good to have a generous reserve of fresh water.

[photo: me wedged into a corner of my cabin, writing my blog on my Toughbook (see below)]

Other stuff:

Roger McGuinn - congrats on your changes for the greener! So you've dropped bottled water and got a green bag for the market. Also a stainless steel mug for refills. Well done you!

Jennifer Raiser - I think of your brother every time I use my (his) Toughbook - i.e. right now! It was really generous of him to let me use it for my voyage. Would be delighted to cooperate for an article in the Nob Hill Gazette - feel free to quote from my website, and if there are 2 or 3 quick questions then I'd be happy to oblige.

John Palmay - I usually write my blog in the evening, any time between 6 and 10pm. It's a very uncomfortable exercise - I am sitting here in my cramped cabin with my head wedged up against the emergency beacon on the wall, bouncing around with every wave and trying not to break the laptop or make too many typos! Nope, no news copters. I'm out of copter range now. Wouldn't mind a food drop - but spare me the Oreos! A slice of pecan pie would go down well, though.. (and, no, please don't send me a slice to Hawaii - it's just today's craving, and the moment will be long-gone by then!)

Kristin - will talk about my training in another blog sometime soon. Watch this space!

Hi also to Kirk in Oklahoma, Nicki on the rowing machine (did you get a WaterRower - they're awesome!), Xeno in California (thanks for the offer of Val, but I really prefer to go it alone!), Rob (a small running light - solar-powered, of course!), another Rob (I have thermals, but definitely need some neoprene socks as well).

And thanks to everybody else who is following my progress. And regress. And progress. And regress.

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Day 21: Friday 13th ? One Day Late
Roz Savage
14 Jun 2008, The Brocade

Looks like my Friday 13th luck arrived a day late. Yesterday went quite smoothly. Today did not.

The day got off to a bad start when I checked my position this morning and found that I'd lost about 6 miles overnight. Then this afternoon the watermaker wouldn't work. When I was trying to heat my dinner this evening, the cigar-lighter plug on my electric kettle fell apart (I eventually found the missing part still inside the 12V socket). This evening westerly wind (bad) started to increase. And my new sea anchor arrangement got in a bit of a pickle on its first deployment - it has taken me two hours to get it all sorted out, and I have now retired to my cabin feeling very cold and grumpy.

So, looking on the bright side.. Err, hmmm. I'm stumped. OK, I'm still alive and still healthy. But it's a pretty poor day when I review my achievements and the best one was that I finally got around to brushing my hair and putting it into ocean style - power pigtails (see photo).

Right, here's another good thing. Today was so lousy, tomorrow can only be an improvement.

I hope.

Other stuff:

Hi and thank you to all who are following my progress - whether it is via this blog, Facebook, the thrice-weekly podcasts with Leo Laporte, or via SMS text messages or Twitter.

A special hello to Michael Klayko, Tom Buiocchi, Leslie Davies and all at Brocade - my title sponsors.

Some answers to questions:

Andrew Waldby was wondering whether I get to see many other ocean goers out here and whether any other ocean cruisers try to make contact? Fortunately not. I feel much safer when there's not much shipping around. I've seen no vessels since I passed the Farralones on Day 2. Tonight I saw a plane flying really low over the ocean. Hope they weren't looking for me.

Fred Plappert was asking about some of the information that I was sending back during last year's bid - data about energy usage from solar panels, intake of carbs, protein and fats etc. I decided to simplify things this year, so am not sending back as much data - instead I'm focusing on what you could call the New Media - video, photos, and social networking (Facebook etc). But I believe that Margot Gerritsen may have written a blog about my sustainable energy capability on her Smart Energy Show (as she did last year). As for the food intake, my diet this year is rather different, inclining more towards a raw food diet including lots of homemade crackers made from sprouted seeds blended with veggie pulp - which would have been extremely difficult to analyse for carb/protein/fat content. The figures would have been so inaccurate as to be meaningless. So I'm sorry, but that data simply is not available.

Right, I'm cold. Time to snuggle into my sleeping bag and try to warm up my frozen extremities!

15 June. When Roz was talking to Leo Laporte yesterday she mentioned a very ugly fish that she had seen. Two kind followers sent references to these Sunfish, and there is now a picture in Roz's Smugmug Gallery. If you click on the logo which is in a little black box with a green smile - up on the right of this message - you can see her pictures.
Rita Savage.

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Day 20: Welcome To My World
Roz Savage
14 Jun 2008, The Brocade

This may not be the most exciting video you have ever watched - 30 seconds of me in action at the oars. If you want to know what my typical day is like, put this on a loop and repeat for 10-12 hours, with occasional breaks for meals and updates to the logbook. Welcome to my world.

Now you can probably understand why audio books are such an important part of my life. I really have to almost admire myself for getting across the Atlantic without them, and without music for all but the first few weeks. How on earth did I stand the tedium?!!

(I shouldn't say that though, really - the experience really did teach myself a lot about myself. There's nowhere to hide when you're with yourself 24 hours a day, with no distractions whatsoever. Definitely character-building.)

Today I was listening to Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby. Absolutely brilliant. Four ill-assorted strangers are thrown together by the fact that they all arrive on the same high rooftop on the same night with the objective of killing themselves by throwing themselves off it. I won't give away the plot, but it's funny, sad, and thought-provoking - perfect for a long day at the oars.

Unfortunately I was greedy and guzzled the whole book in one day. It's going to be a tough one to follow - and tomorrow may be tougher rowing-wise as well. The weather conditions will be getting a bit bouncier again today after the perfect tranquility you see in today's video. It's been a welcome respite - a chance to dry things out and pump/sponge out flooded hatches. I'm sure all too soon it will be back to business as soaking usual.

Other stuff:

To those who are going to try out yesterday's life-changer plan - thank you! Let me know how it goes. I'd be really interested in any feedback. I'll include you in the acknowledgements when I publish my first self-help book. Good luck especially to Steve in Colorado and his marathon plans - go for it!

John H - thanks for sharing your story about your father. It scared me - almost enough to put me off today's imaginary latte and muffin! And yes, you're right - a negative role model, of how we DON'T want to be, can indeed be as powerful a motivator as a positive one. It was negative role models and/or the lack of positive ones that helped get me out of the office and doing something a bit different.

Antti - great news that you can see both me and Hawaii on the same screen on the MarineTrack console. I keep looking over my shoulder, but can't see it yet!

A special hi to Romy - from both me and Zen Dog. Hope all is looking up in Aruba.

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Day 19: Back in the Saddle
Roz Savage
12 Jun 2008, The Brocade

It is eerily quiet on the ocean today. No roaring wind. No crashing waves. Just the steady creak of my oarlocks. Yes, at last, after 10 days of enforced leisure, the hostile weather conditions have abated and I am back on the rowing seat.

At the moment I'm not sure how long this opportunity will last. The winds are due to start picking up again from tomorrow evening, but the row-ability will depend on the size and steepness of the swells. So I'll make the most of this chance while I can. It's still not exactly ideal weather conditions - overcast skies have made for chilly conditions - but at least I can do what I came here to do, i.e. row.

And the watermaker worked too. Happy days!

As an aside: after spending most of the day listening to Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (by Douglas Adams) I was flicking around Leo's iPod when I stumbled across The Experts' Guide to 100 Things Everybody Should Know How To Do. After telling me how to get a good night's sleep (in a cool, quiet bedroom, with a comfortable mattress- yeah, right) and how to make a bed (make sure those hospital corners are neat), the book moved on to personal grooming. "Knowing your hair looks good can give you the confidence to face the day's challenges", the book solemnly informed me, before going on to describe exactly how one should wash and condition one's hair. I thought about my own locks, untouched and untended for 19 days now, and generally crammed under a hat. So now at least I know that when I am struggling with this challenge, it's not because rowing an ocean is hard, it's just that I haven't paid enough attention to my coiffure.

Now, to respond to some comments and questions that have come up recently..

Paul and all at South End Rowing Club - great to hear from you. Would be fantastic if you and Melissa can make it to Hawaii. In the meantime, erg hard and enjoy a pint for me!

Rachel Smith, Nevada Bev, cousin Russell - thanks for the words of encouragement. Rachel - see above for hair update!

John - I'm not really listening to music much. Only when doing chores. More into books at the moment. Am storming through them at a rapid rate!

Ed Davies and John H - I shall leave the two of you to work out the relative cost/greenness of recharging phones in a car vs recharging at home. Glad to have at least got the debate going!

How do I compare the Pacific with the Atlantic? Too early to say. But so far, remarkably similar - both cold, windy and rough for most of the first month. The big difference is that on the Atlantic, the winds were behind me as soon as I set out from the Canaries - very much NOT the case on the Pacific!

Paul P: How do I stay warm? Yes, I wear more clothes, and at the end of the day curl up into my Ocean Sleepwear sleeping bag (not sponsored, alas) - an excellent sleeping bag specially designed for ocean-going folk. It's got a thick pile fleecy bag inside a waterproof shell. Absolutely perfect! But even in there it sometimes takes hours for my feet to warm up due to my lousy circulation - probably damaged by too much water exposure on the Atlantic.

Hi George Riley! Great to hear from you again. Would love to find out more about MFISH and your work in the South Pacific. Would be great if you could get in touch again when I am back on terra firma.

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