Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 8

Ok, wow. Where do I begin?!?

First, to what people probably really want to hear about -- the ocean. I woke up today to a pretty calm morning and then almost fell over when I turned around to see a cargo ship on the horizon and coming my way. I couldn't make radio contact, but picked them up on my AIS (Automatic Identification System) receiver. I'm not sure where they were going, but they were making 15 knots headed SW. Despite all the technology I have on board, I still don't like the idea lots of massive freighters speeding around me on autopilot. Oh well ...

After watching the ship for a while (funny, I could see it from Liv's luxurious bathroom, too!), I hit the oars for a 4-hour session before lunch; the rowing was a little sloppy and didn't feel all that great. The afternoon/evening shift was a different story...

I came out at 3:30 after rearranging my messes in the cabin to find the calmest water of trip so far. After the various poor excuses for rowing strokes I've been using for the past week (strokes that are just designed to keep boat speed up), this afternoon was more like what flat-water rowers dream about. As opposed to short, choppy, 1/2 slide strokes that keep the boat oriented to the oncoming waves, this afternoon I was able to row long and smooth, stretching out my sore muscles and sitting up straight for once. What a relief!

Generally my body is holding up well -- the benefit of being 25 and healthy, I suppose. Hands were full of hotspots by day 5 or so, but this seems to have cleared up and they're getting to be nicely callused. My lower back has been a little stiff at times, but nothing to write home about (oops - I just did). Backside -- the pain of all ocean rowers -- is holding up OK; a few sore spots, but I'm giving them full treatment and trying my softest butt pads. Right now I have sheepskin on top of a three-inch thick wheelchair seat pad, which is working well. So, in short, no complants physically.

I wish I could go through and reply to every note you all have sent - I can't believe the number of responses from people from all aspects of my life, the friends of their friends, and people who haven't ever met me or anyone from the Row for Hope team. Incredible!

A quick shout-out to Dr. Penna and everyone at Binghamton High School. I'm afraid to think about whether any of the teachers there remember me -- I, of course, remember them well. Mme Wetsig, I still have bad dreams about trying to learn French. It wasn't your fault!

Finally, someone asked for pictures of the inside of my cabin, which I'm sending separately and will hopefully make it into this entry. I swear I didn't take this one to intentionally have the beautiful Ms. Brooklyn Decker front and center, but, hey, it's a small cabin, so she would have been in there somewhere. When things get boring I'll go through all of the interesting stuff I have in here...

Far too long already -- more tomorrow, and thanks again for the support!



Anonymous said...

Wow, the inside of your cabin looks bigger than I imagined. I'm sure it feels like a mouse hole to you though.
Anyway, I have been reading your blog everyday and I find it really facinating. I tried rowing in the Susquehanna River once against the current, just to see if I could. The answer to that would be no, I couldn't. I made it about 2 miles! LOL! So picturing you battling waves for days has me awestruck.
Good luck in your quest. We are cheering for you!

Lori - Endicott, NY

Anonymous said...

Brooklyn Decker likes tennis guys! You chose the wrong athletic challenge!
You are making this look too easy! Your calm approach to life shines through in your entries and appears to be serving you well as you have freight ships bearing down on you. Keep up the great progress! -- ETS

Anonymous said...

My admiration for what you are doing goes way beyond what words can express! I check the website about 4-5 times a week.

My thoughts and prayers are with you constantly and I'll be looking forward to seeing pictures of your safe arrival on the other side of the ocean.

A Friend of K-Rock

JoAnn said...

Hey Paul! All I can say is WOW! SO PROUD of you! Keep eating, keep rowing! Take more pictures, I'd like to see the beard progress! LOL! Be safe. XOXOXOXOXO JoAnn@GA

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear the progress! Were you able to bring the massage roller? Don't forget to use it daily! Next time I'll send a hot therapist along :-)

Keep the faith dude, we are!


K-Rock and Wild Bill said...

Hi Guy - You sound great - it is good to be hearing your 'voice' in these messages. Your attitude is amazing - working through each day and even kicking yourself for the sloppy rowing. Keep it up. By the way, we sent the tanker in your direction just to check on you every once in a while..don't worry about it - it will keep it's distance - sort of. xxoo-

LovelyLadyLumps said...

My favorite is that your foot is in the pic of your cabin! haha. Your blogs definitely do sound like your voice, love it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the updates, Paul. We are all cheering for you from Colgate! I get chills each time I read an entry from you. And I check the site many times each day! You are an amazing example of a Colgate grad. Row hard and keep thinking positively - we can't wait until you make it to the other side!

Colgate 2005

John said...

That was the best blog yet! Awesome stuff big guy, although I'm not gonna lie, you kinda lost me talking about 1/2 strokes and what not, haha. I'm sure the rowing aficionados out there loved it! While you're taking all these pictures, is there any chance you could take some pictures of some of the fish you've seen? Have you been able to row at night yet? Are you planning on it?

Ok, now for your sports update:

YOUR Florida Gators won the national championship last night, beating the much slower Oklahoma Sooners in a very well played game (from what I hear, at least). Final score: 24-14.

Everybody's getting excited around these parts for Eagles/Giants and in general for the playoffs this weekend.

Keep up the good work! Great hearing from you.

Denise said...


To say that everyone here at GA is proud of you would probably be an understatement. Your blog and GPS Tracker are being displayed in the kitchen for all to keep track of you. I know I've told everyone I know about Row For Hope (which somehow, I think you can believe). We can't wait to have you back - safe, sound, and clean-shaven!

I'd love to see pictures of those dolphins, if you took any.

Keep eating!

Denise (GA)

Teddi said...

Dear Paul,
We are very happy to see your progress! You are really moving fast.
Your encounter with the ship scared us though. We are happy to know that you are alright.
We wanted to tell you Happy New Year......that is straight from the 2nd graders.
We are supposed to get snow tonight. Another storm is coming toward Binghamton. Have a good weekend.
We'll write again on Monday.
Mrs. Black and group

Laura said...

Have you seen any sharks yet!?!?!!