Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 12

Hi from Minneapolis -- it's Joy's turn today. It's 6 whole degrees here, and it's been snowing all day. I spent most of the morning cursing the cold and feeling sorry for myself, until I talked to Paul. Don't worry, he's fine! But he is riding out some weather on sea anchor. He was pretty cold and wet when I talked to him, but he's now hunkered down in his cabin watching "Rob and Big" on his laptop. Not being able to row is frustrating, but it will be good to get some rest.

He's been making some westward progress the last couple of days, which is encouraging. There's something satisfying about turning in the direction of home! He says the rowing is still going well, and his body's holding up so far, so no real complaints. He just wishes the winds would calm a bit so that he could row again. For now you can picture him belted into his bed (literally -- he's got seatbelts) and belting out bad country music. He's hoping Brooklyn what's-her-name will come to life and burst into song, but so far no luck.

Paul posted some pictures of the inside of his cabin the other day, so I thought I'd add a few to give it some perspective. These were taken during various stages of boat construction. More pictures are available through the Flickr link at the bottom of each page of www.rowforhope.com.

This is the interior of Paul's living space, as it looked during construction. The holes lead to storage compartments which are now stuffed full of freeze-dried food, vitamins, and a solar-powered desalinator to create drinking water (that takes up the entire right-hand compartment). The walls are white now, and covered with maps of the sea near the Canary Islands, and the approach to Antigua.

The boat was designed to match Paul's specifications, including allowing just enough headroom for him to sit up...

...and just enough cabin length to stretch out flat. I'm the one in the photo below, and Paul's got a few inches on me, so imagine this as an even tighter fit. Then add a medical kit, a life raft, 2 weeks worth of freeze-dried food and a bag of sheepskin (I'll let him explain what that's for). Suddenly he can't quite stretch out anymore...

This was the first (albeit imaginary) thousands and thousands of strokes...

Stay tuned, Paul should be able to write personally more often in the coming week. For now, thanks for all the support -- Paul's been overwhelmed by your encouragement. Thanks especially to the school classes who are following the expedition! Among others, hi to Patti Raub's Kindergarten class, Alice Kiereck's 8th Graders, Denise Scalzo's 8th Graders, Teddi Black's 2nd grade class, Al Penna and everyone at our alma mater, Binghamton High School, and to the McElligott family, who are in our prayers.


Pete said...

Paul -

When it gets tough out there on the Atlantic, I urge you to think of the plight of one, D-Sol. Yesterday this man braved hordes of birds fans at Mad River, an Eagles bar in Chicago, and he alone rooted for the Giants. As an Eagles fan - nay, as a human being - I will never forget how sad he looked with his head between his hands as Eli threw yet another interception and made "the Manning face," sealing the game. Eagles fans were high-fiving and celebrating all around him, but the little trooper remained brave and kept his composure. Could have been that he was afraid of being stabbed in the bathroom by a particularly sketchy group of Philly fans, but I'd prefer to attribute it to his being a class act... Just thought you might enjoy that little visual. Keep up the good progress my man.

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul,
This is Taylor from Mrs. Black's class. I wanted to show my aunt that you were rowing across the ocean. Is the bird still following you? we have a bird in our class because Mrs. Black loves birds......remember? Our school bird is Lucky Ducky. Good luck in the storm.
Taylor from Mrs. Black's class

Anonymous said...

Hi mate,

Anthony here. I rowed the same route as you solo this time last year. The 2 best bits of advice I was given (too late) were..

1) Enjoy it. You`ll never do it again. Easy enough now but try and keep enjoying it when you hit the strong trades.

2) Don`t fight the wind by more than about 20 degrees. Let it take you a bit too far N or S but try and go with it as much as you can to keep your speed up. I definitely made that mistake and stuck too hard to my line. Looks like you`re getting it right.

You`ll get there mate and it`s the most amazing thing to look back on.

K-Rock and Wild Bill said...

Hi Guy - Some down-time in the cabin isn't a bad thing. Just go with it - feeling lousy about it wastes energy - something about using more muscles to frown than to smile? (I can't believe I'm using some damn Pollyanna cliche!!) Listen to the advice from the pros who are pulling for you. They've been there, they know you can do it - we all think you are amazing. xxoo -

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul!

My students and I just wanted to let you know that we're watching your progress and everyone thinks this is a pretty cool adventure.

Bloc 850 at East says Hi and Good Luck!

-Alice Kiereck and her Even Day Study Hall

Teddi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


Wild Bill here that you know from at Colgate Camp. You know, 'fishnwilly', the avid bass angler, and 'chemist' known for those 'pink concotions' that leave the crowd "silly" at the happy hour there. Joy knows them well...{LOL}.

I want you to both to know that your mission has hit a "live nerve" within me, as my own grandmother died from skin Cancer before I was ever born. She also was a redhead.

I have been very active on the internet on numerous fishing forums posting about your mission and it's goals [and the link]; asking folks on them to support you and your mission.
So far, at least one contribution has been promised that way, so far, that I know of.

Hoping that you take many pictures of your voage and any creatures [especially fish] that you encounter along your way.

God bless, and Godspeed.

Wild Bill [and Midnight Mary]

Anonymous said...

The pictures remind us of how far you've come! Kudos to you and Joy for getting this far! Alas, can't stop now! -- ETS