27 Jun 2008, The Brocade
Further to the watermaker issue, somebody suggested that maybe I should abandon my voyage. With apologies and all due respect to that person, this really made me smile.
As I said in the podcast yesterday morning, this is not like a big city marathon, where I could just decide, "Hey, this isn't going so well, maybe ocean rowing isn't the sport for me after all" - then pull over to the side, stop running, and catch a bus to the finish.
Abandonment of my voyage simply is not an option. Apart from the fact that I am too stubborn, too proud, and too determined to quit, abandonment is logistically almost impossible - because even if I decided to quit, that still leaves me and my boat bobbing around about 500 miles off the coast of America.
I would not call the Coast Guard, partly because I am beyond their reach, but mostly because they exist to assist those in "immediate and grave danger", not to help hapless adventurers who swamp their watermakers.
Nor would I want to call on other vessels for help - I got myself into this situation, and it is down to me to get myself out of it.
And even if anybody were able to pick me up, they probably would not be able to salvage my boat, which would then become yet another piece of flotsam polluting the North Pacific (as well as being my only worldly possession of any value, and my means of making a living).
This is the invigorating thing, and also the scary thing, about oceans and any other vast wilderness. Once you get yourself out here, you really have nobody to rely on but yourself. No matter what happens, you just have to figure out how to deal with it.
On the ocean, there is no emergency exit!
[photo: the TomTom GPS from my car is rather confused to find itself in the middle of the Pacific.]
Today I had phone conversations with Rich Crow, who did most of the work on my boat, and with Kyle at Spectra Watermakers. They have promised we will get my watermaker working again. Their optimism has proved contagious, and my hopes have revived. Conditions should be calm tomorrow, so I plan to try out their new suggestions then. I daren't get too excited, in case it doesn't work out, but if it does, not only will I be totally ecstatic about regaining my self-sufficiency (and the facility to wash once in a while) but I will be so damned proud of myself for overcoming my fix-o-phobia where the watermaker is concerned.
Conditions today have been getting calmer as the day has gone on. Grey sky, grey sea. It tried to drizzle a couple of times but generally failed. Not enough rainwater to bathe a flea.
Katharine Weber - New Leaf in Half Moon Bay sounds exactly like my kind of store. I will be sure to drop in there the next time I am in the area. HMB is a great place - that's where I did a photo shoot with Elena and Aleksey , who took some fabulous black and whites.
Thanks for comments from Tod, Allen Bussell (I think you're right - it's knowing I don't have the choice that makes me crave some different foods!), Loree Burns (hope the strategy worked with the picky eater!), Roger M, Jon S, Conrad (well done on the 5% weight loss! The Square Mile Run - I remember it well!) - and a special hello to Aenor, who has faced battles tougher than mine, and is a great inspiration.
- and all the regulars! (you know who you are.)
Good to see Marine Track on board again!
Lastest position from Roz: 29 42 24N 125 31 63W
26 Jun 2008, The Brocade
Today I ran a performance test on my emergency standby watermaker. Maybe it should have been a clue that the guy in the picture on the instruction booklet is sitting in a liferaft, and that the watermaker is called the "Survivor 06" (message to Chris Rosamond - yes, the one you hoped it wasn't!).
This contraption really is designed just to keep you alive, and assumes that you have nothing better to do all day than sit in a liferaft, pumping water and praying for rescue.
It took me an hour of pumping to produce a meager 600mls (20 oz) of water. And it really didn't taste too great.
The good news is that, unless there has been any leakage or spoilage in my water ballast, I should have enough water on board to keep me going for 30 days before I have to resort to the Survivor 06. By then I would hope to be well on my way to Hawaii, and a resupply (hopefully of better-tasting water) may be viable.
I was feeling quite pathetic about the situation until I reminded myself that there are people in Africa who have to walk hours to the well every day to get water, and their water is probably even worse-tasting than mine. And my situation is only for a couple of months - theirs is for life.
You can always find somebody worse off than yourself.
[photo: the Katadyn Survivor 06 watermaker, and the fruits of my labours]
A rough day out here on the ocean, and progress westwards has been slow. But steady.
Big thanks for donations from Craig Meyer and Edward Mellon - much appreciated.
Responses to questions about the watermaker: seems my "oomph" theory was way off. The batteries (according to my battery monitor) are in fine fettle, up to 13.5V each. So the problem is either in the connections to the feed pump or in the pump itself. Conditions today have been too rough to open up the hatch without getting even more water inside, so further investigations will have to await calmer conditions. These are forecast for the weekend - along with some possible rain showers. I will have my buckets at the ready!
As to resupply, we are working on some possible leads. I am unwilling to ask for assistance from passing commercial vessels, due to the difficulty of physically getting water from their vessel to mine without them running me over, so we are focusing our efforts on smaller leisure vessels.
Thank you for lovely encouraging messages from Diana Schultz, Currin in NZ, ah, Greg Louderman, Dana Clark, Chris Martin, David B, Pippa, Carsten, Betty, Niles Gibbs (love the parable!) and Dora.
Happy also to hear from Aleksey, Elena, Konstantin, John H, Nora Levine, Michael Surran, Rob, Chris Rosamond (alas, it's the 06!), Micah and Roger Finch.
I have had quite a number of people keen to help Roz in her present situation without a working watermaker. Enquiries are being made to yachtsmen to see if anyone would be willing to take her some water about two weeks from now. I do hope that we get a response. However, we need to stress that the situation is not so critical that it needs intervention. Roz does have a professional support team who are constantly in touch with her and each other. Please do not be tempted to take any unilateral action as you would create further problems for Roz and restrict the support team's options. Roz also asks that no large ships should be asked to respond to her enquiry about a re-supply of water. Also, no container of water larger than two and a half gallons.
Please use the contact details on this website if you have any suggestions that might be helpful. Thank you for your interest in Roz's venture.
Position Thursday evening: 30 01.171 N, 125 17.743W.
25 Jun 2008, The Brocade
Today, my favourite subject: food. But first, a favour. I want you all to really, really enjoy your food while I am out here. Appreciate its freshness, its variety, the fact that you can go to the supermarket and buy just about anything, you can even go to a restaurant and have something special. You can have ice cream and other frozen treats. You can have food chilled, broiled, baked, roasted, fried, saut?ed or steamed. In short, you can eat what you want, and I want you to cherish that as an honour and a privilege and not something taken for granted.
Don't get me wrong. I am not grumbling (well, not much). While I am on dry land I more than make up for the deprivations of the ocean. But while I am out here I do spend a disproportionate amount of time daydreaming about the joys of food and drink.
At the moment, my typical day's intake is as pictured in the photograph - from top left, and going clockwise:
Beansprouts - grown here on board the Brocade (bean mix provided by Sproutpeople)
Rawfood crackers - grains sprouted, pureed, and "baked" at low temperature to preserve the enzymes. Made for me by my friend Eva.
Larabars - yummy fruit and nut bars made in Colorado - with no added sugar, unprocessed, raw, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy free, vegan and kosher. My favourite flavours are Apple Pie, Banana Cookie, Ginger Snap, Chocolate and Chocolate Coffee
Mixed nuts - cashews, brazils, almonds and pecans
Expedition meal - the one pictured is freeze-dried (so needs hot water added), but at the moment I am actually working through my preferred boil-in-the-bag varieties
There is nothing at all bad about this selection of foods. Most of them (with the exception of expedition meals) I often eat on dry land. It is just the monotony of eating the same things, day after day, that gets a bit wearing.
I had some fresh food when I set out - some delicious loaves of bread, avocados, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and a bag of carrots - but those are now a long-distant memory. With the benefit of hindsight, and if it hadn't been such a last-minute rush to depart, I might have packed a few more treats, with a bit more variety - canned fish, soups, oatmeal, maybe even some illicit sweet treats (a month out here and the sugar cravings still have not gone away). Ah well, I'll know for next time.
I've got plenty of food on board, so I certainly won't starve. And I do, of course, have my fishing rod if the need arises. But I have to say, I am VERY much looking forward to a fresh green salad and something that doesn't come out of a packet when I get back to dry land.
In the meantime, please do me the courtesy of enjoying your meals, knowing that it is not only the poor in Africa who would gladly swap places with you. Bon appetit!
Today I passed 125 degrees West. I truly hope this means that I will never again see 124 degrees from sea level. Conditions are rough and I'm having to row across the waves, so progress is slow, but any progress is good progress.
No update on the water situation. I am being frugal with my supplies, and hope to make them last as long as possible before having to use the manual watermaker. I'm really interested to hear that Alex Bellini has a manual watermaker connected to his rowing seat. I fully intend to investigate this option - might even be worth a trip to Sydney (one of my favourite cities) to see it in person once Alex has completed his crossing!
Some special thank yous to people whose generosity has now earned them a place in the scrolling banner at the top of this page: Paul Kroculick; Mark Reid; Stephanie Batzer, Wayne Batzer; Bob Mcgough; Danny Smith.
Thanks also for helpful comments from Jim, Dee Metzger, Clint, Fred, and John H.
Regarding comments on the watermaker, please be assured that I have had a number of calls with the manufacturer, and have exhausted all their suggestions. So no need for further speculations as to the cause - but thank you anyway!
And hellos to Roger (you have a solar-powered electric motorbike - cool! But do stay safe!), Louie Figueroa, Jennifer, Eric (I do have water ballast as well as lead ballast, precisely for that reason), Margo, John Palmay (it has got a bit warmer, but it really depends on whether the sun comes out or not), Gary (my gloves are made by Kakadu, Australia), Dana (I just realized today that it has not rained once since I set out - surprising!), Greg, Johnny Trucker, and Richard Will.
Signing off now from the big bouncy blue ocean.
PS from Rita.
I have had quite a number of people keen to help Roz in her present situation without a working watermaker. Enquiries are being made to yachtsmen to see if anyone would be willing to take her some water about two weeks from now. I do hope that we get a response. However, we need to stress that the situation is not so critical that it needs intervention. Roz does have a professional support team who are constantly in touch with her and each other. Please do not be tempted to take any unilateral action as you would create further problems for Roz and restrict the support team's options. Roz also asks that no large ships should be asked to respond to her enquiry about a re-supply of water.
Please use the contact details on this website if you have any suggestions that might be helpful. Thank you for your interest in Roz's venture.
Position Wednesday evening: 30 28 464N, 125 03 827W
Thursday afternoon: 30 11 959N, 125 12 064W
This is a future-dated blog entry, posted the night before my launch on 24th May. It is an interview with my old friend Will Stockland, for Oxford's Romulus magazine.
THE FREEDOM OF THE OCEAN.
AN INTERVIEW WITH ROZ SAVAGE: ROWER, WRITER, AND MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL CAMPAIGNER.
Roz Savage left a successful career in the City of London as a management consultant to pursue her dream of rowing solo across the Atlantic. In 2005 she successfully completed the Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race and is now about to embark on being the first woman ever to row solo across the Pacific - a feat she is undertaking to raise awareness of marine environmental issues. Here she talks to Will Stockland, about her experiences and aspirations.
WS: Why did you decide to leave your previous life - was this in some way an act of personal liberation?
RS: Oh yes, definitely. I had a belief system which was very rigid and I believed that possessions would make me happy but that was suddenly to be completely undermined. My husband and I moved into this wonderful huge house and I had everything I had aspired to: money, a wonderful house, a husband, a flourishing career. But I realised quickly that even though I had all these wonderful things I was still the same person with all the same hang-ups - nothing had changed! I had to make a serious reassessment because I started to feel that I was simply not living the life I was meant to live. I sat down and wrote two obituaries: the life I wanted to be remembered for and the life I would be remembered for if I carried on in the way I was going. There was a terrifying difference. So I made the changes which meant leaving everything behind - house, husband, career. It felt like the most radical thing I had ever done in my life! I had stepped off the known world.
WS: You then went travelling in Peru for a while - why Peru?
RS: I wanted to step into an unknown environment where spontaneity was a necessity. Up to this point in my life I had been a compulsive planner and I had been going down a blinkered path. I knew that I had to become more intuitive and be open to gut-feel and serendipity. Peru was delicious open-plan process. I became immersed in the process rather than the end-product even though I kept the vague end-goal of writing up my experiences for others to share. In fact, I felt like I was a character in my own book - it was very exciting. I had little money and a lot of time and this gave me a hugely rich experience - this was a different model of wealth than the one I was accustomed to!
WS: But what prompted you to take on the Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race?
RS: Self-empowerment. I had been reliant on other people for so long - on things and forces outside myself. I knew I needed to change that and have a sense that I was creating my own life and achieving my own goals - this was the first step in doing this.
WS: Setting out into the open ocean is about as close to complete freedom as it gets in most people's minds, I imagine. Did you find this? Did you ever, in fact, feel trapped when you were in the middle of the ocean, alone?
RS: Excellent question! Someone texted me on my satellite phone mid-way through the race and it said: "Enjoy this time: You will never be this free". I was enraged by this - had this person any idea how it felt to be stuck in 23ft boat for 3 and a half months at the mercy of the impersonal ocean and weather?! So yes, one shouldn't get too geographical about freedom! Having said that, at night with the phosphorus-illumined ocean beneath me and the Milky Way above me - that was wonderful. Strangely, the most free I really felt was when my satellite phone broke for 24 days and nobody could contact me. Then I just became completely immersed in the process with no idea what I was rowing into because I had no weather reports - I was completely in the moment. It was blissful.
WS: You set off from San Francisco in May to be the first woman to row solo across the Pacific. Do you see this as an act of female liberation?
RS: It is more about facing personal challenges and using that as a platform to promote awareness of larger issues. When I was growing up there weren't really any female role models although Anita Roddick was emerging as one. I aim to use my activities as a platform for awareness of important issues and it's good to show that you don't need to be a square-jaw Arnie figure to get things done. Often physical limitations are really mental limitations - a serious amount is achievable with determination and gradual application.
WS: You are involved with a marine environmental charity, Blue Frontier Campaign, and are using your Pacific row to highlight ocean environmental issues - can you expand on this?
RS: Yes, that's right. Blue Frontier Campaign raise awareness of marine environmental issues and have helped me to plan my journey effectively in terms of publicising these issues. The first stage is from California to Hawaii which takes me through the Pacific Garbage Patch - a Texas-sized floating mass of cumulative rubbish that is getting into the food chain steadily. Then I go from Hawaii to Tuvalu, an island that is already being depopulated because of the increase in the level of the ocean - it will soon disappear. Then I row from Tuvalu to Australia and will be concentrating on raising awareness of the Great Barrier Reef and how changes in it show how much marine environmental damage has and is being done by us. The ocean shows us that we are facing such an environmental crisis that it may lead to extinction. Anybody who argues that the radical measures required to stop this process are too expensive should be aware that dead people are not very good for the economy!
WS: You do a lot of inspirational writing and lecturing. Do your experiences of personal freedom have any influence on this?
RS: I have to be careful here. Different people have different ideas of personal freedom, but I do try to get across that not living up to your full potential as a human being will create problems for that person - being trapped by fear, being scared to dream, or change, or being scared of what other people think of you - this is not living up to your full potential. If you take baby steps out of these fear traps you can achieve a lot. My book is called One Stroke at a Time - if you take too big a leap out of your comfort zone you will scare yourself stupid but gentle steps one by one can go a very long way. Very occasionally, you may have to make a big leap but you should prepare gradually and carefully for that.
WS: So what is your definition of freedom and how do we balance security and freedom in our lives?
RS: I was attached to security - money, a home, a husband. But homes burn down and husbands go bankrupt - suddenly it's all gone, security shattered. Security is in fact greater when you realise how little you need. I am secure in the knowledge that I have the mental and spiritual tools to cope - that is real security. It's a sense of freedom that comes from an inner confidence that I never used to have - it's empowering. From an environmental perspective too, the quest for financial security and over-production and consumption is limiting our freedom. If we damage the environment through excessive industrial activity then we will all become sick - sickness is very limiting!
WS: The founder of Wolfson College, Sir Isaiah Berlin, said: "Total liberty of the wolves is death to the lambs". How do you interpret that in the light of your experiences and work?
RS: Well, yes. We need a different paradigm of business - less short-termism and shareholder prioritisation. Governments must step in and influence commercial activities more. But also we, as individuals, must do more by being mindful of what we buy into. A lot of people feel helpless in the face of the environmental problems but I want to say to them that every single action they take makes a difference and the cumulative effect of billions of individual actions is, of course, huge. Aldous Huxley said: "The only corner of the universe that we can be sure of changing is ourselves". We can control what we do and we are already making a difference to the environment so we need to take responsibility for that and decide whether we want that difference to be good or bad. We should act as if we are powerful because we all are.
Roz Savage's book One Stroke at a Time will be published in the US in Autumn 2009 by Simon & Schuster. To keep informed of her activities, events, and publications please see her website: www.rozsavage.com.
I continue to inch my way slowly west, while the wind is blowing me
south. Today the wind and waves have increased, making for uncomfortable
rowing conditions, with occasional big "drenchers" crashing in over the
I have to confess that I have had little patience for the ocean and its
tricks today. I'm feeling a little downcast over the demise of my
watermaker. While the ocean does its best to encrust me with salt, it
depresses me slightly to consider the prospect of another couple of
months without a sponge bath. After a hard day's rowing it feels so good
to have fresh water and zingy shower gel on my skin. But I have to
conserve all the fresh water I have for drinking. I have a large supply
of wet wipes, but they just don't have that Fresh Factor.
Right now the happiest news that anybody could give me would be that
they can resupply me with fresh water in about 2 weeks time. If you, or
anybody you know, is planning to sail, say, from San Diego to Hawaii
over the next couple of months, please do get in touch.
Roz's position Tuesday night: 31 04 197N 124 47 058W