11 Jul 2008, Yorkshire, England
(Picture: Girls' night out in Las Vegas. Our last evening together before Rita returned to the UK, and Roz set out on the Pacific.)
Recently I watched the Speaker Showreel which is on the Media page of Roz's website. As I watched Roz, I thought: "She is no longer my little girl. She has grown in maturity and wisdom, far beyond anything I could have given her." From time to time people do ask whether anything in her childhood might have indicated the sort of life she lives now. Not really.
She does blame her genetic makeup - my father was an adventurer of sorts. Living in South Africa all his life, he explored every natural site that he knew about , waterfalls, caves, rock formations, canyons, and he always had a boat of some sort. His grandfather emigrated from England to New Zealand in 1842, returning to England in 1843. Later, in 1849 he took the family off to South Africa. On these long voyages there were two births at sea in the family. Further back in history, a soldier fought against the Americans in their war of independence, and as the wives travelled with the soldiers, my great-great-grandmother was born at sea near America. The sea must have seeped into our genes.
Having married a Yorkshireman, Roz and her sister were both born in England. From an early age we taught them to be independent, perhaps succeeding too well. From about ten years of age onwards, Roz was always self-disciplined and organized, planning her life and succeeding in what she set out to do. When she married I suppose we heaved a sigh of relief. She had a good husband, a good job, and eventually a lovely big house in London.
It was shock then when she announced that she was leaving all that behind to go adventuring. When she first mentioned rowing across the Atlantic, I just shrugged my shoulders and thought that if I ignored it, this idea would go away. It did not, as you know. I was especially troubled when she said that she did not want to be a part of the Atlantic Rowing Race. I could not imagine her going out there all on her own. Her hopes were overruled by the organisers of the race and she did take part.
Looking back, I think it was a scheme on her part to invite me to spend a month with her near Portsmouth Harbour, to work on the boat in preparation for the race. Perhaps she knew that if I got deeply involved in the project I would become a real part of it. The rest is history.
When she arrived near Antigua at the end of the rowing race, her first words to me when we went out to meet her "We've done it!" I am proud of Roz and what she is doing, and pleased to be able to do what I can for her. In fact, the more I do, the less I worry!
Position at 2110 Pacific time, 0410 11th July UTC: 26 58.756 N, 128 47.140 W.
Click here to see Day 47 of the Atlantic Crossing 16 th January 2006, Wet but Safe
10 Jul 2008, The Brocade
It's been a long and very hot day. The wind has been against me most of the time, but varying in strength, so at times I could make headway, and at other times I couldn't and it was best to put out the sea anchor to try and prevent myself being blown too far backwards.
So I rowed most of this morning, then when the wind picked up this afternoon I put out the sea anchor and spent my time tidying and drying out my 23-foot home. I dragged out the mattress and sleeping bag from the cabin to dry them in the hot sun, and dangled a few damp clothes from various antennae on the cabin roof. I mopped out hatches and bilges, and generally put things in order.
Then around 4pm the wind dropped so I pulled the sea anchor back on board and got rowing again. It was a perfect evening for it, especially after the sun set. Most nights have been overcast and the stars have been hidden, but tonight was beautiful - a bright half moon casting a path across the ocean, and stars twinkling above me as I rowed across the calm waters.
As for actual progress, the final score was Wind 5, Rower 5. After being blown back a bit I'm back to the same longitude where I was this time last night. So it hasn't been the most productive day miles-wise, but I've got a drier, cleaner boat, and hey, I got a good workout.
[photo: drying the laundry - Brocade style]
Position at 11pm Pacific time, 0600 10th July UTC: 27 07.782' N, 128 39.167' W.
Today the ocean has been a beautiful place to be - so let's preserve this wonderful wilderness. Simply go to www.theblueproject.org and click on the Make a BLUE Pledge button. Costs you nothing, and it helps save the oceans - and the planet!
BE COOL, BE BLUE!
Thank you for all the lovely messages of encouragement. It all helps! Thanks especially to Deanna, Antti, Erin, Joan, Ken, Mark, Gene, Dana, Chris, Linda, Ryan, Ian, Dale, Helena (thanks for the fantastic Henley Regatta story - rowing suspended for rain? Pah! Wimps!), Skip, Roger (all trash stays on board to be brought back to land, and recycled if possible), James, John, another Roger (finger still about twice the size it should be, and tender, but I'm surviving! Thanks for asking.), Jennifer, Claus, Duane, Humphrey (thanks for the inspiring life change story!), Steve, Tricia (great pledge!) and Abigail.
I've been informed that I'm in the current issue of Departures travel magazine. Honoured I'm sure!
And a special hello to Sarah, Bill, Jack and Grace - hope your wedding is a wonderful and happy occasion. And that the sun shines on you literally and metaphorically!
And congrats to Gus and Cathy on the impending new arrival. How exciting!
Congrats also to Benn on his selection for the US Olympic slalom kayak team!!
Lovely to hear news from dry land, and lives moving on and changing. Marriages, babies, Olympic selections.. Nice to be reminded what real life is like!
Click here to see Day 46 of the Atlantic Crossing Fundamentals
I am writing this blog on May 7, three months before it will appear on my site. I have no idea what will be happening by the time you read this. Hopefully I will still be alive, and will be well on my way to Hawaii. But who knows?
Regardless of what has happened in the meantime, the thought remains valid. I am trying to explain why I go to sea - challenging though I find it.
Picture your world.
Now take away your job.
Take away your home.
Take away your car.
Take away TV.
Take away advertising.
Take away the phone.
Take away your family.
Take away your friends.
Take away the land beneath your feet.
What do you have left?
What do I have left?
The sun and the moon.
The sea and the sky.
My little silver boat.
Enough food to eat, and enough water to drink.
And my body, mind and spirit.
That is all. What I need to survive, and nothing more.
That is why I am here.
Latest position (0415 9th July UTC): 27 13.593' N, 128 38.332' W.
Click here to see Day 45 of the Atlantic Crossing Atlantic Prankster
07 Jul 2008, The Brocade
Today was a toughie. Grey sea, grey skies, a chill wind and waves coming at me from an awkward angle. Conditions on deck were wet and cold, and the rowing was a hard slog for not much reward.
It's on days like this that I have to remind myself of the reason why I'd rather be rowing across oceans than working in an office, as I did for 11 years (although today it was a close call.).
So what is that reason?
I guess that in the office days I just didn't feel that I was making a contribution. I was mostly redesigning computer systems and streamlining headcounts for big financial companies - which is a contribution of sorts, but not the kind that I wanted to make. I needed to find a role in life that better reflected my personal values.
I wanted to connect with people and touch lives, and to feel there was some POINT to what I did every day. I wanted to be able to look back over my life and feel like I'd left some kind of legacy.
I hope that doesn't sound like ego talking. I try to keep my ego in check, as it's almost invariably a bad guide to living a good life. By legacy, I simply mean that when it's all over and I'm on my deathbed, and I evaluate whether I did good, did bad, or did nothing - I hope I will honestly be able to say that, on balance, I did good.
Position (as at 0210, 8th July UTC): c.
Hey Jack- hello!!! How lovely to hear from you! Please give my best wishes to John and Claire, and the other doormen at 1088 Park Ave, and I can't wait to see you all again - hopefully in the fall.
Thanks for all the other kind messages that have come in - especially to Kirk for cheering up an otherwise gloomy day with his kind words.
Just one week to go before the deadline on July 14th. Simply go to www.theblueproject.org and click on the Make a BLUE Pledge button. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart - or should that be from the bottom of the ocean.?!
BE COOL, BE BLUE!
Click here to see Day 44 of the Atlantic Crossing 13 January 2006.