The Voyage: Roz Savage
Day 83: The Aft Cabin
Roz Savage
16 Aug 2008, The Brocade

The next part of my series on what lies where on board the Brocade, today we get to the aft cabin. If the rowing seat is my place of work, then this is my home. I've even got into the habit of calling out, "Honey, I'm home!" when I come in from the final rowing shift of the day and take my baseball hat off. Sad, I know, but it makes me smile.

My drawing isn't quite to scale. The bunk is actually a bit wider - a whole 18 inches or so. So the spaces alongside it are correspondingly narrower and the various wall pouches press hard against the two leecloths (actually the webbing that you use to stop stuff falling out of the tailgate of a pickup truck) that run down either side of my bunk.

Anyway, apologies aside, here we go.

1. The control panel, and .

2. The area of the boat where I keep all my most-used stuff. I'm going to come back to these two in another blog, as there's too much to include in this one.

3. First aid kit, packed into a big blue fabric suitcase

4. Mesh wall bags containing Squishie the Dolphin, Chirpy the Robin, and Quackers the Duck, as well as a crash hat, spare rowing gloves, baseball hats, and other items of clothing.

5. Pelican case containing PC and various leads

6. Pelican case containing Mac, mobile phones, passport, and money - my technological ditch bag. If I'm abandoning ship the Mac comes with me!

7. Small Pelican case containing blood pressure gauge. I use this daily to send blood pressure and heart rate to my medical advisor, Dr Aenor Sawyer, so she can assess my health.

8. Locker containing water ballast

9. Locker containing toolkit, electrical kit, various useful bits and bobs like string, Velcro, tape, spare batteries, etc.

10. Locker containing two marine batteries - the ones that power most of my electrical system.

11 and 12. Lockers containing Larabars (originally several hundred, now down to the last 100 or so), mixed nuts, and tamari almonds.

13. The "bathroom cabinet" - locker containing toiletries: wet wipes, tea tree oil, sun lotion, toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo etc.

The next and final in this series will cover the control panel, most-used items, and the various pockets and pouches mounted on the walls around the hatch to the cockpit. I really hope this isn't too boring - to me it seems the equivalent of describing the contents of somebody's kitchen cupboards - but I guess my home is a little unusual so maybe I can be excused for inflicting this description of the minutiae of my surroundings.

Other stuff:

Position at 2330 15th August Pacific Time, 0630 16th August UTC: 22 55.842'N, 149 00.145'W.

It's been a long day. I really, really wanted to get to 149 degrees West today to give me a realistic chance of reaching Hawaii before the end of the month. But after my dalliance with the JUNK I had my work cut out today. It was a brutal last shift - rowing in the dark in squalls and strong winds - but I made it and I'm quietly proud. And very wet.

Hi to Sue and all at Green People. Thanks for the Amex votes - and for spreading the word.

And a special hi to Trish, Moe, and all in the Gorge. Hope to see you later this year.

And thanks to all the other people who have voted and/or written in. I'm having to step up the rowing for the final 500 nautical miles so I'm not going to have time to acknowledge all messages, but I do read them and appreciate them and derive great strength and encouragement from them. So do keep them coming!

Click here to view Day 83 of the Atlantic Crossing 21 February 2006: Food for thought. Posted by Rita Savage.

Do visit the JUNK website.

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Day 82: Attitude of Gratitude
Roz Savage
15 Aug 2008, The Brocade

I was talking with the guys on the JUNK the other night about the things that we are looking forward to when we get back to dry land. Our wants were simple - crisp sheets, hot showers, cold drinks, and beer might possibly have been mentioned.

(In answer to the several people who asked about our dinner party drinks, alas there was neither wine nor beer, and the lack was sorely felt. A sundowner would have been just the thing. But the guest neglected to bring any, as the Brocade is a dry ship - in the alcoholic sense only, being usually a very wet ship in all other regards.)

It is so easy to take things for granted.. Until you spend 3 months without them. During my water crisis, particularly, I swore I would never again take running water for granted. I realized that the majority of the world's population does not have easy access to a steady supply of clean water - they have to carry from wells, or from standpipes, or draw their water from streams and rivers of dubious cleanliness. For a little while, at least, I really appreciated the privileges of my western lifestyle.

But realistically, I know that my newfound appreciation of all things that "civilized" life has to offer is unlikely to outlast my suntan once I get back to shore. It is all too easy to regard these things as a right rather than a privilege, or simply not to think about them at all.

It would be quite exhausting to be grateful for every little thing, all of the time. But I do try, as part of my daily routine both on the sea and when I am on dry land (usually just as I am going to bed) to say thank you for a few of the good things that have happened during that day - for progress made, a new friend, a kind word, a good meal - or just for my health and strength. Just to show that I've noticed - and of course in the hope of attracting more of the same into my life.

Do visit the JUNK website.

Late addition Aug.15th: great video on the blogspot today!

Other stuff:

Position at 2145 14th August Pacific Time, 0445 15th August UTC: 22 57.554'N, 148 21.612'W.

Amex, Amex, Amex. Please keep asking all your friends and colleagues to vote - it's not for me personally, but for the environmental education (via film, website et al) that we are creating based on my row. But do please note that if you vote twice, not only is the second vote not counted but I am actually penalized for it. So we need to just try and reach as many people as possible. Keep spreading the word!

While I was having dinner on board the JUNK I noticed that the Brocade had a load of barnacles growing on her starboard side towards the stern. When I went over the side a couple of weeks ago I'd only done the port side, because as far as I could see from the cockpit, that was the only side that needed doing. But here were some sneaky hitchhikers that would need to go. So today I went over the side again. I'm getting quite proficient at this now, but hopefully no further scrapings will be required before Hawaii.

I'd been so proud of myself, bringing only biodegradable bin bags with me. Very green, I thought. But when I went to get something out of the large central locker in the cockpit today, where I also keep my rubbish, I found that the bags have already started degrading - rather ahead of schedule. And I don't have any others on board. I'll just have to deal with it when I reach land. At least there is nothing too offensive in there - most of my rubbish consists of Larabar wrappers and expedition meal bags.

We have put a list on my website of all the books I have listened to so far this voyage - with links to Amazon and

Thanks for all the kind messages. Dinner on the JUNK seems to have been enjoyed by my internet audience nearly as much as it was enjoyed by me (and the comments about "HUNKS on the JUNK" made me smile!). It certainly was a unique and very special experience, to be remembered and treasured... and, of course, to be noted in an attitude of gratitude!

(To Vote for Roz and the documentary films project: On this page or on the home page, go to the "Members Project" box, on the Amex site find the invitation to sign on as a guest in the column on the right. Having done so, the place to vote is at the top right of their page. Easy, and costs you nothing.)

Thank you.

Click here to view Day 82 of the Atlantic Crossing 20 February 2006: Another day of Waiting. Again no news from Roz.

Also, take a look at the Books box on the website - it contains all the books that Roz has listened to while rowing - and if you wish to buy one, click on the title to go straight to Amazon (USA) or order the audio version for your iPod from

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Day 81: Water, Water . . .
Roz Savage
13 Aug 2008, The Brocade

I feel the need to make a confession. There's something I've been keeping very quiet about. (Podcast listeners will already know this.) On 1st July my backup watermaker broke, and has not worked since.

There I was, sitting on deck, pumping steadily on the manual watermaker, when the water stopped dripping from the product pipe and started spouting from the innards of the machine instead. There was no sense of panic - just a weary resignation. I immediately started calculating whether I had enough water to see me to Hawaii, and worked out that I might, but it would be tight.

More out of a sense of due diligence rather than in realistic expectation of a repair, I called the manufacturers of the manual watermaker. They told me that I would need specialist tools and/or parts - which I had not brought with me because the manual watermaker was only ever intended as a backup for use in emergencies. To lose one watermaker may be regarded as unfortunate; to lose two. The customer service representative offered to fix the manual watermaker if I sent it in. I didn't go into detail, but simply stated that this might be tricky.

So for the last 6 weeks I have been living on my supplies of ballast water. I tried to improvise a solar still but it was not a resounding success - certainly not enough water to survive on. I am now down to my penultimate 10 litre water sac. I could have made it to Hawaii without resupply, but would have had to go on half rations for the last two weeks - which in tropical heat would have been survivable but not fun. I have marveled, every time I look at my 10 litre jerrycan, that while on dry land I probably use this much water every time I flush the toilet, out here on the ocean it would have to keep me going for a week.

The reason I kept quiet? I didn't want to cause any undue concern. The reason I am telling you now? Because everything is now OK.

For many reasons I was delighted to see the JUNK yesterday. During our phone conversations over the previous few days, we had established that they had a functioning watermaker with which we could refill my jerrycans and waterbags, and also a manual spare watermaker which they were willing to lend me.

In return, their voyage was taking much longer than expected and they were running short on food, while I have plenty. So I donated them three bagfuls (biodegradable bags, of course) containing emergency transfusions of expedition meals, Larabars, and jerky.

I somehow knew that everything would turn out OK, that fortune does indeed favour the bold and that I would not die of dehydration out here. As it is, I got to meet two like-minded individuals who are also crossing the Pacific to raise awareness of marine pollution issues - and the fact that we were able to help each other out by trading food for water was a huge bonus. It was statistically unlikely that we would find our courses intersecting, and yet here we are.

I am constantly amazed and grateful, since I started out on my new life path, how often things turn up just when I need them. It reinforces my chosen belief that this is indeed a benevolent universe, and that potential catastrophes (broken watermakers) are often an opportunity for something wonderful to happen.

[photo: the message on my drinks bottle is pretty uncompromising.]

Other stuff:

Position at 2150 13th August Pacific Time, 0450 14th August UTC: 23 04.302'N, 147 50.325'W.


I've asked a number of favours from you already - to make a Blue Pledge, to donate to my wheelchair-bound friend David's hand bike - but I have one more. It's really important to me, and won't cost you a penny. Amex are giving substantial grants to worthy causes, based purely on popular vote via the internet. We have made an application - if successful, I will be able to carry on with the next 2 stages of my Pacific row to Australia, and we will be able to make an environmental documentary based on the row. Without it. . . .

I need to be in the top 25 by 19th August to make it onto the shortlist, and then in the top 5 to get any funding. So please, please, please register your vote. And get EVERYBODY you know to vote too.

(To Vote: On the home page of this blog, go to the "Members Project" box, on the Amex site find the invitation to sign on as a guest in the column on the right. Having done so, the place to vote is at the top right of their page. Easy, and costs you nothing.)

Thank you.

Thank you also for the lovely messages that continue to pour in. Special mentions to John, Toni, Steve, Bev, Jim, Gene - and especially Sky. I hope to see you and Steve back on the mainland later this year.

Click here to view Day 81 of the Atlantic Crossing 19 February 2006: Silent Sunday. Again no news from Roz.

Also, take a look at the Books box on the website - it contains all the books that Roz has listened to while rowing - and if you wish to buy one, click on the title to go straight to Amazon (USA) or order the audio version for your iPod from

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Day 80: A Pile of JUNK
Roz Savage
13 Aug 2008, The Brocade

Unusually, I am writing this blog mid-afternoon. Normally I wait until my day's rowing is over and get out my laptop at about 9.30pm, but today the JUNK has asked me to stop rowing for a while so they can catch up with me, so I find myself with time on my hands - and even on the ocean I don't like to waste time.

It would be amusing to watch the progress of our two vessels as radar blips or on a MarineTrack chart. Their top speed is about 2.8 kts, mine about 2 kts. We are two very slow-moving objects converging on each other ever so slowly, like two garden snails about to mate (do snails mate?!).


We met. Although for a while it looked as if it might be tomorrow. The wind dropped right off this afternoon, which isn't a problem for a rower (apart from getting very hot without the cooling effects of the wind) but it is a problem for a sailboat - especially one built for a purpose rather than for speed - like the JUNK.

After hanging around for an hour waiting for them to catch up I spoke again to the JUNK, and we realized that if we wanted to meet today, and before dark, I would have to turn around and row back towards them. This caused me a minor personal crisis. After nearly three months of heading west, west, always west, it felt totally unnatural to turn the Brocade's bows deliberately to point east.

But in the overall scheme of things, it seemed to be best to get over this mental obstacle and row back the way I had come. I was finding it unsettling today to be in close proximity to another boat, and much as I was looking forward to meeting Marcus and Joel, I was also looking forward to getting back into my routine and pushing on towards Hawaii. To extend this episode into tomorrow would mean another compromised day at the oars.

So east I went (and north) - and it was well worth it. It took some hard rowing to get close enough to the JUNK - and eventually Marcus jumped into the water and swam over with a thin line so we could connect the two vessels. I used my makeshift cleat to reel in the line to bring Brocade close enough to the JUNK for me to jump aboard their vessel.

And what a vessel she is. I am so glad to have seen her - or I may not have believed her. A raft supported by thousands of plastic bottles lashed into cargo nets, the fuselage of a small aircraft as a cabin, a plush pile bucket seat as a captain's chair. The JUNK is very, errr, home-made, but all the more impressive for that very reason. I thought she was very cool indeed.

The Brocade bobbed around about 10 yards away at the end of her line. It was strange to see her from the outside - for the last 3 months she has been my entire world. She's weathering well, and I felt quietly proud of her as she waited there patiently for me.

Marcus pulled up their dredger, which skims the surface of the water to gather plankton and debris. He showed me the results. They are finding more plastic than natural matter -which is sad. Tiny pieces of plastic, still recognizable, dotted the dredger's haul.

After that it was on to the social part of the evening. I had a great time. Not so different from your average suburban dinner party, except that Joel hopped overboard with mask and snorkel to harpoon our main course - a huge mahi mahi, which went from ocean to stomachs in less than an hour. Joel kept asking if I wanted any more, and I kept saying yes, with the result that we had mahi mahi cooked 3 different ways. I just couldn't get enough of it. I'd like to think it was my body craving protein, but more likely I was just being greedy!

Conversation revolved around the environment, the Garbage Patch (which Marcus knows well, after 3 trips there), and our respective plans for Hawaii. There is much overlap between our goals and objectives, so hopefully we can maximize the impact of our message by combining forces. We took a load of photos, recorded a video blog for their website, I wrote a good luck message on the fuselage, and just before sunset I returned to the Brocade. The guys had been wonderful hosts, and I went back to my oars with a full belly and a smile on my face.

As I rowed off into the sunset, I reflected that it had been a great evening, and quite surreal in its way - a dinner party on board a pile of junk in mid-Pacific, hundreds of miles from anybody or anywhere - but I still have many miles to go to Hawaii, and I can't afford to ease up yet. It was good for the soul to have a night off, but tomorrow it will be back to business as usual.

[photo: Dr Marcus Eriksen inspects the haul from the water-skimmer: a mix of plastic and natural debris]

Other stuff:

Position as at 2300 12th August Pacific Time, 0600 13th August UTC: 23 05.760'N, 147 15.961'W.

So today has been a bit of a disaster mileage-wise, but well worth it for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a very special mid-ocean rendezvous with a couple of great guys.

Thanks to everyone who has voted for my project in the Amex awards. I can't tell you how much a cash grant like this would help. Without it, I don't have enough funds for the next 2 stages of the Pacific row - so do please spread the word amongst your friends and family - enabling me to carry on spreading the word about the oceans!

Hi Dana - no, no major muscle cramps. Just a few twinges from time to time - knees, fingers, back - but nothing serious. On the Atlantic I used nearly all the painkillers in my first aid kit. This time around, not one!

Eric - thanks for the recipe, but I brought only the main meals from the MRE packs. On the Atlantic I would make a kind of chocolate mousse from organic hot chocolate drink mixed with a little cold water, which was great. But very sugary, and I am now sworn off refined sugars! (unless we are talking about caramel syrup in a latte.)

Sandi - the Cotswolds? Lovely! I'm enjoying my virtual journey from Land's End. Thank you!

Well done, Jonathan, on your epic bike ride for a good cause. Happy to be of service!

Hi also to Jennifer, JD, Ruth, Gene, George, Bev, and John.

Click here to view Day 80 of the Atlantic Crossing 18 February 2006: Waiting For News - but none came.

Thanks to Tim (webmaster) for putting the AMEX information on the home page - please remember to vote for the film project about Roz.

Also, take a look at the Books box on the website - it contains all the books that Roz has listened to while rowing - and if you wish to buy one, click on the title to go straight to Amazon (USA).
(These last 3 notes from Rita.)

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