June, 2011

Day 49: Surfing The (Brain) WavesGyre by Chris Jordan

Today was another gorgeous day on the ocean. You know the Japanese paintingof the wave, with the perfect curling white crest? Waves like that were all around me today, and a large swell would come along once in a while and lift Sedna right up, so I could see for miles, across a huge vista of whitecaps.

Of course, the waves that look so pretty sometimes choose precisely the wrong moment to peak and curl, and several times today the deck copped a boatfiller. And so it goes.

It was a good day to look around and appreciate the beauty of the Earth. I had a lot going on in my head, prompted by recent reading matter on religion, morality, spirituality, etc. Some of the ideas had really struck a chord, and I was trying to figure out how to assimilate them into my scheme of things. Mostly my thoughts seemed to raise more questions than answers, as I kept finding myself trying to hold two opposing views at the same time.

But I’m happy with that for the moment. There is a lot going into the melting pot at the moment, and I’m sure that at some stage that wonderful alchemy will start to happen and I’ll see things more clearly.

Until then, I simply enjoy the process of thinking about these things. I’m in no rush to reach conclusions. You may not know exactly where I am, but take it from me, I have plenty of thinking time left before I reach my destination.

Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy the journey – and the views. Every time I reached the top of a big swell today, I would look around for those whales that are due to show up and tow me the rest of the way, but no sign of them as yet. I’ll keep on looking!

Other Stuff:

A huge thank you to the Rohrs family in Chatsworth, CA. I haven’t been able to see the pictures yet, but Mum described them for me: “Cyrus has a good representation of the purple boat, with a bright yellow sun just coming over the horizon behind it (therefore you are rowing due north!), fish, jellyfish and a turtle escorting you. Gwynne has you sitting there with a big grin on your face, the sun is a bit higher in the sky, and the sea creatures are all going your way. Woody the pirate is behind you. Both have a turtle motif on the boat.” And thank you, Dory, for the message and the blessings. I’ll let you know just as soon as I see any of the sea creatures.

Sharon Levin – great to hear from you! Thank you so much for the plug on “Talk of the Nation”!! You’re a star! I know it was only a brief mention, but you never know who might be listening…. BTW, Squishy the Dolphin is still on board as my faithful crewmate. He must be the best-travelled stuffed dolphin in the world! At least in terms of time spent travelling, if not necessarily miles travelled…

Rachel – I liked your mantra. Thanks for that. I have some similar ones, which (when I remember to use them!) really help.

Jim Bell – hope you’re having a wonderful time in Thailand. So if I understand you correctly, the Thai Buddhist teachings include taking responsibility, not waiting for someone else to look after us?

Janice – thanks for the suggestions. Cold toes still very much an issue, and my Neoprene socks don’t seem to help much. I do have some heat pads that can be reused if you boil them for 10 mins, but I don’t have enough fuel allowance to do that too often. For the next row, I’ll investigate drysocks (if such a thing exists) and waterproof gaiters. For the video camera, I finally found the spare recharger. But now the “on” button doesn’t work. Sigh!

Angela – yes, I remember meeting the other Angela. The display of sea creatures made from plastic debris sounds interesting – let’s hope it wins over a few more converts to the cause.

(Picture: “Gyre” by Chris Jordan: based on the famous Japanese painting, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Hokusai. Instead of paint, the colors are composed of 2.4 million pieces of plastic – the estimated number of pounds of plastic that enter the world’s ocean’s every hour!)

Sponsored Miles: Thanks go to: Bleddyn Williams, Chris Lynch, Linda Leinen and Nils Mannerstedt.

June, 2011

Day 48: Because I’m Worth It.

Tonight, if you will excuse me, I am going to keep this blog very short. Last night was rough and rowdy out here on the big blue, and not much sleep was had in the Purple Palace.

It has been bouncy all day today as well, with meal preparation being a triumph of the desire for a good nosh-up over the adversity of a rocking and rolling boat. I sometimes amaze myself the lengths I am willing to go to in order to have a proper hot meal when a wiser (or less food-conscious) woman might settle for nuts and snack bars. But I feel it is important to eat well – (insert L’Oreal–style flick of the hair) – because I’m worth it.

Other Stuff:

I am completely into my latest Jodi Picoult book, Change of Heart . I’ve listened to several of her books on this row, but I’d say this is my favourite one yet, touching on my current lines of inquiry around faith, spirituality, religion, and what we choose to believe – none of which are quite synonymous.

Okay, off to bed now. I wish it were a kingsize fourposter with crisp white sheets and a stack of pillows, and that it didn’t constantly move, but there isn’t one of those around for a thousand miles or so, so for now I suppose I’ll make do with an Ocean Sleepwear sleeping bag, a purple sleeping bag liner that has a rapidly-expanding tear, and a pillow that, although still comfortable, is starting to go mouldy. Ah well. Could be so much worse. The early ocean rowers didn’t even have enclosed cabins – they just slept in the bottom of the boat, which must have been unimaginably miserable.

Worse things happen at sea. (Oh…)

Photo: random pic from the archives – with Margo Pellegrino, uber-paddler and eco-campaigner, at the Ocean Champions reception in 2008. (Photo by Doug de Mark)

Sponsored Miles: A good number of people to thank today – a combination of good mileage rowed by Roz and popular numbers selected: Susie Slanina, Thomas Heavey, Hans Verwey, Nancy Bowman, Nick Perdiew, Simon and Eve Ringsmuth, Bruce Gervais, Darrell and Sylvia Vice, Clarence Jones III, Gillian Colledge, Lynn Robb, Brian Smith, Tamara Fogg, Julian Gall, Karen Morss, Jennifer Bester, Kamas Industries, Jeffrey Blatt, Margaret Taylor.