Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 32

Shorter update today, since it's getting late and I just spent the half hour I usually use to write playing with my AIS transponder. As I was eating dinner while sitting in front of the main hatch, enjoying the fresh air and the view of the moonlit ocean, a wave hit my starboard side at just the right angle to send a splash of water into the cabin. As I was toweling things off I must have knocked loose the connection from the VHF antenna to the AIS unit, because shortly thereafter it was blinking wrong color lights, which indicates a problem.

AIS (Automatic Identification System) is like a next-generation radar that sends data through VHF radio signals (think walkie-talkies) to other ships up to 25 miles or so away. Where radar would just show me a blip on the screen where there's something to reflect a radar wave, AIS actively sends and receives lots of information that's useful to ships at sea, including the ship's name, call sign, ID number, position, heading (direction it's pointed), speed, rate of turn, etc... With this information, I can tell where a ship is and how close it's going to get to me. When I plug the AIS information into my chart plotter (GPS mapping gadget), it shows other ships on the screen, and sets off an alarm if any are going to come within a certain range of me and Liv. Since I'm paranoid and want to know about every ship out there, my alarm goes off if there's a ship within 25 miles.

AIS also lets other ships know I'm here, and they get the same information about Liv that I get about them. I show up on their screens as "LIV - OCEAN ROWBOAT"... at which point I'm sure they think, "You've got to be kidding me." So far none have come over to take a closer look.

Anyway, I reinstalled the plug that connects the VHF cable and the AIS unit, which I had first installed back in Gomera. As I write this the unit is blinking away all green lights and everything's back to normal.

In other news, lighter winds forecast for tomorrow and Tuesday before picking up again from Wednesday on. Maybe I'll go for a swim to scrape the bottom of the boat in the next couple of days? Will be sure to check for sharks and giant squid before I go in!

Thanks to all who have supported this expedition and important research at Yale Cancer Center with a donation to Row for Hope. If you haven't donated, or if you would consider donating again, it would be much appreciated. To donate online use the link in the upper right-hand corner of this page or visit



Anonymous said...

A similar situation happened to Caitlin and I today; somehow, our shower overflowed. It has been a day-long process cleaning it up- much longer than your half hour fix-it rate -because we do not have a mop. Instead, we have pointed a fan in the direction of the puddle and have been pushing the water around the bathroom floor all day with a Swiffer.

On a side note- you are not the only one missing the Super Bowl due to other responsibilities. In fact, I'm sure that I am the first to comment on this blog entry because everyone else is glued to their TV's. However, I am doing homework and I am bored. Needless to say, college has taken its toll on me, not that I am all that interested in football to begin with.

Also, what's the word on the phosphorous plankton or whatever it's called? That has really been the only part of your row that I'm concerned with.

Keep up the good work, Paul. Still rooting for you every day...


Eugenie said...

Pittsburgh just won the Superbowl 27-23 with 35 seconds left! I'm sure, Paul, that you wouldn't expect this news to come from me, but Horace and I've been watching the game, and I've been reading about your Day 32.
GIS Responder - great repair! And when you wrote about how it records you to other boats - LIV Ocean Rowboat -it's awesome and so are YOU!

love from Horace and Eugenie

Marlene said...

Hi Paul,
I was able to see the photo of your sea gull today at church. They also showed the photo of the beautitul rainbow. I have to tell you that 4 separate people saw a rainbow on the day of Robert's funeral so rainbows have a whole new signifance for me. I am glad to know that there is one out there for you. Your dad said you have now gone 1,000 miles. That is great. Keep up the great work. Love, Marlene

Sean said...

Dude, Are you really going to go in the water? You really are nuts.


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

Hi Buddy - We are really happy to know that this trip is a nice step towards your future. If the financial services industry doesn't work out for you (you may have heard things are a little rocky in that segment), you have a whole new career as a handy-man! Fixing the water-maker, the steering mecahnism, the tracker - it's fabulous!Just more proof that you can do whatever has to be done - like raising $500,000 for cancer research - it can happen - one mile at a time, one dollar at a time. You are doing us all proud and inspiring us all to go places we've never gone before - xxoo-

LovelyLL said...

I like a man good with his hands.....

Denis K. said...


Great to read about your adventures and tremendous progress! Keeping up with your blog has become a part of my daily routine.

A few questions -- 1) How many back up oars do you have? 2) How have you adjusted to sleeping on the ocean?

Looking forward to your next post.


Melissa M said...

You have to update us if you decide to take a swim! I know you were debating.

Kyle Brown said...

Dude, I hope if you actually go for a dip, you tether yourself to Liv! Rowing across the Atlantic is one thing; swimming is quite another.

Michael said...

Paul, did you hear Google released "Google Ocean" today? Same as Google Earth, only to explore the bottom of different ocean areas. I'm trying to locate your boat as we speak!

M. Russell

Katy said...

Ahh Paul this is so exciting! Can't wait to hear about your swim! Be sure to watch out for mermaids. They are very territorial.