Tuesday, November 25, 2008

First Goodbyes

November 24th, and still plenty to do!

Good news is that Liv has made it safely to the United Kingdom and has been unpacked and repacked into a new container for the next leg of her journey to the Canaries. She should arrive in La Gomera on December 12th.

With two and a half weeks before I fly to Africa, I've spent the last couple of weeks heading in and out of doctor's offices making sure I'm healthy, sane, and well-medicated enough to row an ocean. I'm pretty sure that I'll have a big enough medical kit to supply a cruise-ship full of people, and there should be no shortage of treatments for blisters, salt sores, and my biggest fear of all -- sea sickness!

I've also gotten my first taste of goodbyes which has made my departure seem like its just around the corner. I better get used to it-- lots more of these to come.

Shout-outs to:
- Everyone who came out to my going-away party in Stamford on November 15th. Was happy to see some old faces I haven't seen in a while, including the Chicago/Colgate crew that came from half way across the country.
- My roommate Melissa who helped with the party planning -- just a warm up for the one in Antigua, right?
- Donna at Wilderness Medical Systems who is setting me up with a very well thought-out medical kit at a discount.
- Dr. Rob Udewitz, a sports psychologist who I've met with a couple times in hopes of getting my head around the undeniable mental aspects of this row, and dealing with isolation, extreme stress, and sleep deprivation in a very foreign environment.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Liv on the high seas...

At long last, Liv is getting her first taste of the open ocean today. That is, if you count being strapped down inside a 20-foot freight container packed in the belly of a big cargo ship as "tasting the open ocean."

Anyway, Monday, November 3rd was a big milestone as I dropped of a fully-loaded boat in Port of Newark, NJ to be loaded into a container and shipped to Liverpool, UK. The Atlantic Container Lines freighter will leave New York today (Nov 8th) and arrive in the UK on Nov. 18th. It'll be turned around by my UK shipping agent, PA Freight, and loaded on another ship for the trip from Liverpool, to Tenerife, Canary Islands. After one more ferry from Tenerife to La Gomera, she'll be in place and waiting for departure. Whew!

Coincidentally, I had a dream last night that I was rowing around in Liv (up a river for some reason) and after a while I realized that the forward solar panel had been stolen. Then I looked for all of my food, and that was gone too. Then I looked around the rest of the boat disintegrated underneath me, leaving just a blanket of yellow and white paint on top of the water. Do you think I'm a little paranoid about something happening to the boat during the shipping process???

Shout-outs and thanks this time to:
- Liz Tomic, for her help replacing Liv's old leaky deck hatches last week and weekend, and for helping with the inventory and loading of the boat on Sunday night.
- Tony at Select Plastics in Norwalk, who whipped up some custom deck lids and oar mounting brackets on short notice, and for an EXCELLENT price. Tony and company treated me incredibly well throughout and turned around six custom deck lids and four custom brackets in less than 24 hours.
- Bob at Bob's Equipment in Norwalk, who donated his time and expertise by welding some "feet" on to the backstays of my oarlocks, without which the new oars wouldn't have fit into the oar stowage tubes in the forward bulkhead. Incredibly, his work was fast, free, and always friendly.
- Brian Nathanson, of New England Physical Care in Norwalk, who has generously donated his time and expertise to Row for Hope and my expedition. He'll spend the next couple of weeks ruthlessly working out all of my muscular kinks, knots, and stiffness, to be sure that I'm in the best possible shape when I set off in December.

More soon,