Friday, February 6, 2009

Day 37

A good day yesterday (53.3 miles), and hopefully another good one today, at least in the mid-30's, I would hope. The wind, at least until this afternoon, has been in the 20-knot range, with the larger swells being 20 feet or so. Winds are less now, but shifting more to due west after being a little more south-west yesterday and this morning. Tomorrow I'll write about what it's like to row a small boat in 20+ foot's pretty wild.

Looking ahead, here are my thoughts on this stage of the row. I crossed 30W on Monday (I should cross 33W tonight or tomorrow morning), putting me in the 2nd quarter of the row, the way I'm thinking about it. Technically, I'm well into the 2nd quarter (as my dad pointed out when I passed the 33% mark a few days ago). Anyway, I'm expecting the quarter between 30W and 40W (this one) to be the most difficult mentally, as it's still very far from the finish line and also pretty void of milestones and such to get excited about. So, the mentality is to just get over it ASAP with no drama.

After I reach 40W (the half-way mark that I'm going to celebrate), things will start to happen more quickly. The actual half-way mark from and east to west perspective is 39 deg 26 mins West, so by the time I cross 40W I'll be over half-way any way you look at it. You might wonder why I wouldn't celebrate the actual half-way point? Well, I don't really know, other than that I'm a "delayed-gratification" sort of guy - this might be obvious!

Starting at 40W, the milestones I can think of off hand are:
- My halfway point (champagne)
- Flip over my big map to the side with Antigua (and other familiar places) on it
- A new time zone (45W)
- Under 1,000 nautical miles to Antigua
- Under 1,000 statute miles to Antigua
- The final quarter of the row (50W)
- The beginning of the end (60W)
- Another new time zone (60W)
- See land for the first time in months
- Last night at sea (more champagne!)
- Antigua!!! (61 deg 45 mins West)

Those last few might not be in order, but you get the idea.

Dan P in Norwich -- Yes, I was in the scouts when I was younger and wish I stayed active longer than I did. I was in Cub Scouts as a kid and Boy Scouts in middle school and enjoyed it. One of my good friends from college, Casey, was an eagle scout and I have tons of respect for his achievement. It took him from the Air Force Academy, to Colgate University (go 'gate!), and now to medical school. I'd love to talk to your troop if we can get the logistics to work. I'll post something with more detail on how to arrange this when I'm closer to land.

Marlene -- Yes, the petrel is still here, and the seagull stops by once or twice every day. Neither are big talkers, though... yet.

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...

Hi Paul,
Our 8th grade class is still cheering you on!!! Lots of them thought it was quite reasonable that you needed pencil and paper to solve the 4-4's problem. There is one student, Liam, who is going to have a book of problems for you by the time you are done with your row. He just loves making up math problems. Here is a problem from Liam:If your were born on February 29th and you are 13 (in leap years), what year were you born? He will be anxiously awaiting your answer!
The 8th graders were also quite excited by your adventures this week - near miss with a freighter and the ocean swim - some of them would like a pool as deep as the ocean is where you took a dip.
I am not much into sports - but our school had a great moment this afternoon - Erin Cawley, a senior cross country/track runner, signed with Syracuse University - big news for our little school.
We are all very impressed with your continued upbeat attitude. Keep it up.
Keeping you in my prayers.
Denise Scalzo

Margaret Bowling said...

Live in the minute, in the hour, in the day. You're right not to think too much about half way points and total distances - it can be a bit overwhelming when one starts to quantify time at sea.
Met up with Alex Bellini today. He's the Italian solo rower who spent 9 months rowing the Pacific. He was a true inspiration, as are all ocean rowers I meet. Those who row for a reason like yours are all the more inspiring.
Keep up the good work

Marlene said...

Hi Paul,
I am realizing that I must have never paid attention during geography lessons in school and it is really good thing that I teach math and reading instead of geography. I can see that you are making progress but all those numbers make no sense to me at all.
That is really interesting that the petral and the seagull continue to hang around. Even if they don't talk too much at least it is something to look at that isn't going to run you over - like a giant freighter would!
I feel a little old because I don't recognize the groups that you have been listening to on your iPod. Do you have any country? I like the new Taylor Swift cd. Sugarland is also good. Robert would listen to Sugarland but that is about it. He was a die hard rocker like his dad. He loved AC/DC, Aerosmith, Pearl Jam and anything else that gave me a headache! I like the calmer, softer stuff.
This morning I was thinking that your mom and Robert have to be up in heaven making sure that God is keeping an eye on you and keeping you safe.
Continue to keep thinking positive and I will keep up the prayers and remember that you have many angels looking out for you. Love, Marlene

ER said...

Paul, you must be flicking snack crumbs to that petrel and the gull for them to be sticking around. (grin)

Have you gotten used to night rowing? I would think with the lack of scenery during the day, the dark night sky would be very entertaining. I'm from Stamford too (and stumbled upon your website by coincidence) and the light pollution around here makes all but the brightest objects in the sky invisible. Out there, with total darkness, it must be spectacular, from horizon to horizon. You might even see some shooting stars or a UFO. Keep looking up!

Leslie said...

Hiya Paul: Looks and sounds like you're doing a great job. How is me, myself and I doing? Have you been able to take some time to feel / see that bright energy exuding from you? Champagne is an excellent way to celebrate the midpoint - hopefully you can chill it sufficiently. The moon has been beautiful lately, no? Glad more than the sea and sky is keeping you company. We're thinking of you here at the rowing club (NRRA). Row hard, have fun, right?! Patience, strength, knowledge/dharma, wisdom.

Leslie said...

Have you seen this?: Row, row, row1 your boat,2 Gently,3 down the stream,4 Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,5 Life is but a dream.6.....
1)Go, go, go perfectly and completely to build the path for enlightenment 2)It is your boat. You built this boat with your karma. It is nobody else's boat. It is nobody else's karma. You are rowing this boat toward enlightenment. It is your karmic stream. 3) This is a call to go toward enlightenment gently, without force. It is like the gentle observation of your breath in meditation. Furthermore, it beckons us to undertake all actions, thoughts and deeds in gentleness and pure awareness. 4) The "stream of Life." The daily dharma. The seemingly endless stream of death and rebirth. Your karmic stream. 5) "This happiness arises when we become free of incessant worrying and preoccupation, and from the fact that the body and mind are at ease". 6) we might also say that spiritually "dream" and "stream" rhyme. Stream, as we have seen, refers to this life, which is Maya – impermanent and illusory – which is ultimately a Dream. Kinda like that, no?

Zack Bloom said...

Hey bud-

Quick Yankee update. A-rod tested positive for steroids back in 2003

As you know, I haven't liked him since he ruined our team 5 years ago, but I know you've kept loyal...perhaps now you'll finally start seeing things my way!

Awesome job with the 50 plus miles, nice work! We made another Bloom family donation for you, keep up the amazing effort!

Melissa M said...

P Rid,

I am having that same one day a time vs. milestones battle. Every day that I get to see a new post, I know you are ok and and thankful for the progress you made that day but the other side of me cant get antigua out of my mind!

We will all be here to get you through 30W and 40W

Anonymous said...


My friends in the Carribean will be waiting to congragulate you when you hit land. I imagine your starting to get a bit tired, now 37 days into the row. I've got some pills that will make you stronger and increase your performance....maybe 50-60 miles a day???

Email me and we can talk more....

Heading to Florida today.


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

Hi Buddy - The numbers of days and miles are stunning. As the number of days gets bigger and the miles left get smaller, we are more and more impressed by your adventure. We'll all be sticking with you to break the monotony any way we can.Want to hear more about the weather in Binghamton? That's a real snooze...Johnny K wants to know if you have any video equipment to create a film when you get back. Maybe just edit out any singing or dancing you might be doing.We love hearing your stories, you are doing a great job of entertaining us - I wish we could do more for you. But know that we are here pulling for you all the time - xxoo -

UpperSouthOarsman said...

Hi Paul,
I saw Liv on exhibit in the CBC parking lot (it sure did look a lot like your boat, at least) at HOCR this fall. Then I saw a post about you on Row2k, and linked through to your site and blog. I am a masters lightweight sculler in my early 30s and erg or row 6x-7x/wk, ranging between 45k to 80k meters per week, and do 1x and 2x and erg racing. The sort of distance you are logging and the mental and emotional toughness it calls for is awesome. Since finding your site last week I've been following your progress closely, and I have been happy to donate.
I'd imagine that the stars on clear nights must be absolutely terrific. Do a proficiency run or two with your sextant off of Polaris at night as a latitude check, perhaps? Based on the little I've read about it, survival at sea (like rowing) is all about training, consistent practice, and a positive, don't-quit attitude, which you seem to have in spades. But do make sure you have lots of practice on the "low tech" equipment.
I want to share a quote with you from Michael Livingston's introduction to Assault on Lake Casitas that you may be familiar with already:
"Everywhere there are distractions and seductions that threaten to blunt or deflect the focus.
Passion simply is not enough. It must be harnessed to the will. Then, through a relentless exercise of will, this energy must be brought to a focus of maximum intensity, and the point of focus must be directed with precision and purpose within each successive present moment of practice. If left unharnessed, the passion to excel will deflect the mind from its focus on the present moment of practice, moment to moment, day to day. Properly focused, passion can propel the practitioner to the edge of perfection."
This can be helpful to you as you deal with the mental challenge of the 2nd quarter of your journey - keep in the present, stay totally aware of your immediate environment, and (to a degree) let the future fall away. It'll be there waiting for you soon enough, and you'll feel wistful as you pull into the harbor and you get back to the Real World. For now, build your piece (it's a helluva piece) stroke by stroke. As "Coach Jay" put it on his LaunchExhaust blog - "Races are won in the middle."
Take care of yourself. I'll continue watching and reading with great interest.
"Some went down to the sea in ships...they see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.
Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the loving kindness of the Lord."
Psalm 107, v.23-24, 43.
God bless,
Carter, Louisville KY USA