Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 28

Second straight tough day on board Liv, both physically and mentally. Light winds of 10 knots (and often less) left me wondering throughout the day if I had dropped an anchor and forgotten to pull it back in. With little wind to keep boat speed up between strokes, and small waves (4-5 feet?) that can't really be surfed, it feels like I've been pulling a Mac Truck through the sand.

Even with eye-popping effort on every stroke, the GPS repeater in the bulkhead facing me has only occasionally in the last two days shown more than 3 knots per hour. Compared to the regular 5-6 knots, and sometimes higher, that I can make surfing down waves in 20-knot winds, seeing less than three knots for two days is mind-numbing, even before considering the massive effort required to get the boat moving from nearly a full stop after every stroke.

So, days like these are when I earn it, I suppose. Yesterday's progress was 26 miles and change, which in the grand scheme is dismal. Today probably wasn't much better. There are bright spots though -- on the ocean there's no scenery to remind me how far I still have to go. No mile markers to show that I've covered only 26 of the more than 3,000 miles that it will take to complete this journey. Thankfully, the ocean looks more or less the same and the day-to-day routine is unchanged, whether I've gone 26 or 50 miles in a day.

Tomorrow's winds are predicted to be back in the 20-knot range, and the slate will be wiped clean again by the morning. Needless to say, I have more rowing planned!



Seshat said...

"I believe we are here for a reason.
As each day unfolds, we see less of the shadow and more of the sun."

In your case, more of the wind!!!!

There will be days with so much wind, you will be wishing for today..... isn't life wonderful???

Take care of yourself -
Nancy and Marty

Adventures of Greg said...

Paul my friend - you continue to inspire me!

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe said: “What you can do or dream you can do, begin it. For boldness has genius, power and magic in it”. I have tried to live my life by this nugget of wisdom, and I can clearly see that you have embraced it fully!

It is my belief that when we are bold about goal setting, we end up investing the appropriate amount of effort, passion and energy into accomplishing that goal - anything less and we just don't care enough. This is the most important reason people fail at what they want to achieve. You WILL accomplish your goal because you are investing the energy into it that is require to accomplish something that a microscopic fraction of a 100th of a molecule of a percentage of the population would ever even dream about considering.

Secondly, Goethe said "What you can do, or Dream you can do, Begin it." You began your epic journey 26 days ago in La Gomera, and you BEGIN IT again, each and every day when you wake up and face the 'first day' of the rest of your journey. Treat each moment as a new beginning and focus on taking the next step. Don't worry about the 1000 miles you have left - just your next step. Before you know it, you will be in Antigua. And eating pizza!

Cheers buddy - keep up the amazing work.

Greg K from Calgary

Anonymous said...

I'll cook you eggs and make a huge dagwood when you come visit me on st. john ave in the summer....


Melissa M said...

Like you said, you read the blog posts, row, think about the blog posts, read the blog posts again, and then think some more....lets see if these make you think for a bit....

From the Paul and Melissa book club...quotes from The Alchemist

“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision. “

“In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty, nor impatient. If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path.”

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul,

I was out there this time last year and your blog is bringing back all kinds of memories! You're doing really well, so just remember those days that it feels like someone is playing a cruel trick and has put down an anchor will pass, and you'll be surfing again in no time! Keep thinking of Antigua - there is nothing like the feeling of rowing in. By then you will be gutted it is all over so enjoy - even the tough days as it will come to an end.

In terms of speed - while it's calm have you got in and cleaned the bottom of your boat? We gained over a knot by doing this as the barnacles really do cause drag. Sure you're on it but if not it might just help...

Keep going and look forward to tracking you the rest of the way. When you get there I'll be nearly heading out to Australia to row the Indian - got the bug!!

Take good care...


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy the last post....Ridley i think you should use me for employment. The season is over...and i don't like to hang out most of the time. I have previous experience in cleaning of boats and i love the open water. Drop me an email to my TNT and TBS account and i will be there as soon as possible

Shane Falco

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul,

Prescription for what ails you:
1. Cover the GPS
2. Lighten the load
3. Think wonderful thoughts of cheeseburgers and SI Swimsuit models as you row.

Your efforts and dedication are astounding to all. You set a high example!

Dr. Charles

K-Rock and #1 Wild Bill said...

Hi Buudy -"Don't let the turkeys get you down' - that was the message Ronald Reagan left in the oval office desk for GHW Bush. There's not much from RR that's worth repeating, but that nugget is a good one. Even when you are having a 'turkey of a day' you are accomplishing so much - 26 miles in the history books, 24 hours fewer that you will spend out there, another day to contemplate the eternity of the ocean, another days worth of menus dreamed up for HomeComing Food, more food eaten so the boat will be lighter the next day, another few hours spent planning this years' Fantasy Baseball team, another day closer to accomplishing your goal. As long as you keep your head in the game they are all good days.We'll keep wishing & hoping for favorable winds and fabulous days for you - extra xxxooo's -

Anonymous said...

Whistling is generally considered bad luck at sea because it brings heavy winds. Superstitious sailors, tired from the windless days in the doldrums, would often tempt fate and "whistle up the wind" in order to fill their sails. Be careful what you wish/whistle for!!

-Brian A.

Keely said...

Paul, don't let the slow days get you down! 26 more miles covered, at least you didn't go backwards!! Keep your head up, keep the oars rowing and you will be in Antigua before you know it! Spoke to Steve K. yesterday...and even though he will probably never blog know that we are all following your journey and are in awe each and every day.
Also, as a side note...I took a tour of Fenway this past weekend and had the craziest 77 year-old tour guide...If I can figure out your email address on the boat I will send you the picture because you'll laugh.

Anonymous said...


Try to remember that the toughest part of any goal is starting it. And you started this goal months and months ago from the initial inspiration you had and made the first call or had the first conversation about putting your ideas into action. Think back on all you have accomplished since those very early days and maybe a couple of days with less wind won't be so bad! When you look at the 'big picture' you really don't have far left to go.

Keep up the good work and may you have decent winds behind you in the days ahead.

A Friend of K-Rock

Anonymous said...

Paul - here is part of the Goethe quote ... "Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." You have all of that working for you! Wishing you stronger winds and surfin' seas!

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul,
Your metaphor of pushing a Mac truck through the sand speaks volumes. Even though 26 hard fought miles seem almost like nothing, that's a full marathon that you've "run" with just two "paddles" in an ocean full of water. Not shabby at all! Just ask our friend Fred B.
Cheering you on; especially on these challenging days.
Allyson A.

Anonymous said...

Keep at it Paul. Each row is one step closer to the ultimate goal. Good luck.


Anonymous said...

Paul, I feel your discouragement and can't imagine the magnitude you have undertaken. I marvel at the sustaining comments of your friends as I read the comments, particularly today. Every oar strike brings you closer to home and what I imagine will be a party to end all parties! Wish I could somehow impart a sense of peace and rest but we have someone far greater for that. Hang in and take all the strength you can from your wonderful, concerned friends. You ARE indeed a marvelous inspiration.

Warmest regards,

Dave B.

Anonymous said...

And when finally the bottom fell out,I became withdrawn, The only thing I knew how to do, Was to keep on keeping on,Like a bird that flew, Tangled up in blue...Bob Dylan

Keep on keepin on, my friend -- ETS

Orion said...


I've been following you online for the last couple days and now I've gotten most of my department at work into it too.

What you are doing is pretty incredible.

I'm really bummed that I'm living in London now otherwise I'd have made sure to meet you on the beach in Antigua, in a banana costume giving my best rendition of "Day-O"...still might happen

keep going, the wind will pick up.

Your only Trinidadian frat brother