Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 49: Forty West Has Been Crossed!

Today was a good day on the ocean, as the big milestone was hit around 11 A.M. EST, and the champagne awaits as soon as I'm done writing. I've flipped over my big map and have the Caribbean staring me in the face, which is a great feeling! Despite the fact that I still have a long way to go, I finally feel like I've gone somewhere! Strangely enough, celebrating too much seems like a bit of a formality as I'm already focusing on the next section of the trip, and there's still an awful lot of rowing to be done.

Here's the game plan -- finish this row on or before March 19th, which is 30 days from tomorrow. With 21 degrees, 45 minutes of longitude left to cover, that's a little bit faster than my target pace of two degrees every three days, but with the trade wind becoming more consistent and a final "sprint" at the end, I think I have a good chance at achieving this goal. One of the great things about it is that thirty days is a number I can, for once, get my head around. I know what 30 days in Liv feels like. I've been there and can do it again. And with all of the incredible things that will await me in Antigua (family, friends, food, a dry bed that doesn't move, and a break from rowing all day every day), my motivation to get there will be higher than ever.

So, that's the plan and the focus from here on out. It will require westward progress of 43-44 nautical miles per day (I think), which is a lot, but more or less what I've been making for the last week or so.

Do you think I can do it?

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



Keely said...

30 days?! I better buy my plane ticket! Congrats on flipping the map over...that's great news! Hoping to find a way to Antigua Paulie!

ΞЯІПП said...

Congratulations on finally making it over your half way point!!! I hope you enjoy the bubbly! I am sitting here in cold, blustery Toronto having a glass of wine for you.


Wild Bill said...

Bravo, Paul !

Way to go !
That is excellent news !

I join you in toasting your sucess to date, and wish you godspeed and strength for your big push now.

I'll toast you agin in person whenever again I see you in the 'Magic Circle'.

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul,

Great job on the half-way point. Bet it must be scarey going into the water..have you seen any sharks, dolphins or other big animals?
I wish you well and e-mail everyone I know your rowforhope address and ask them to donate.
I will keep you in my thoughts and prayer.

Marlene said...

Hi Paul,
Congratulations on making it to this milestone!
I know you can do 30 days. You have already done so much. I will continue to pray for the winds to work with you and not against you. If you really push it you can make it to dry land for St. Patrick's Day and have some green beer for your celebration! Take care and enjoy every moment of this adventure. Love, Marlene

Anonymous said...

Of course you can do it! You'll be there before you know it. Can't wait to watch you inch towards the finish line!!

Way to go!

Robina said...

I have complete confidence that you can do it! Congratulations on the halfway mark! I look forward to hearing about the second half of your trip and hope it's speed along by trade winds.

Pastor Michele Fischer said...

How muey have you raised so far?

Anonymous said...

We had our map folded in 3, so the big expanse of blue on the middle section was depressing, but turning over to the last & seeing that tiny island..just the best feeling in the world.

this last section will go very fast, take the time to enjoy yourself, it will be over quicker than you think. Be careful about going to far south of 17 degrees, sometimes it's a real struggle getting back up

Keep paddling !

Cath, Atlantic '07/08

UpperSouthOarsman said...

Hi Paul, you can absolutely do 30 days but you can also do any number of days you need to, which could be fewer but might be more. Out there, I'd expect, you are a combination of totally in control, and yet not. Like Lawrence of Arabia crossing the Nefud Desert (I hope you've seen that movie) or Shackleton making his final stage across South Georgia (hope you read about that one, too), there is no question that "It's Written" that you'll do it, because you will that it be done.
I'd put a small part of your mind, though, being okay with 30+. What if adverse winds come up or there is a small storm, or something else you can't control? That could cause you to have a few days fewer than 43-44 miles, and you shouldn't let a day you execute well, doing what you need to do in a focused, disciplined way feel like a "bad day" for reasons outside your control. Your goal is achievable and you'll get there, but keep your definition of success within yourself, executing each day reliably in the "present moment of practice" (as well as defining it with reference to the external guideposts).
The metaphor would be, for me at least, a 2k time trial where one goes all-out, way into the pain/haze zone, and truly leaves nothing out of the effort. But, imagine that the results are close to a PR, but not a PR. If you've gone into the piece with exclusively a PR goal and know by, say, 400 m left that you're not going to PR, the last minute and change on the erg is agony, and the risk of "quitting" and letting the splits rise more than they need to is large. On the other hand, if your goal is not just time based, but effort/intensity based, it's easier to finish the piece with integrity. And a 2k trial that's an all-out effort with integrity is a worthwhile thing to do, a success, even though that plus PR would have been better.
In sum, keeping present-focused may protect your mental commitments from unexpected developments.
You're focused just where you need to be, but row your piece one stroke, one shift, one day at a time. Build it out of those increments, and Antigua will arrive ahead of schedule.
Congratulations on 40W, an incredible milestone!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the mental aspects -
Carter, Louisville, Kentucky USA

Anonymous said...


Wow! How great to know you're on the 'downhill' side of the slope. You're constantly in my thoughts and prayers and I'm spreading the word to everyone I know.

I can't imagine who good it must feel to see your final destination on the map now that you've flipped it. And how incredible it will be if you make it in 30 days. Here's wishing you manageable seas and the wind at your back to help you on this last leg of your journey.

Friend of K-Rock

Anonymous said...

welp, looks like we are pushing the fantasy baseball draft back to accomadate you, you are really milkin this one for all its worth rid...haha

on a serious note, congrats on the half way mark, whether its 30, 33 or 37 days, you will be back before you know it.

keep on rowing

Anonymous said...

Yes, Yes, Yes, you can do it!

Anonymous said...


You shouldn't be surprised, I'm not. You've been doing great for 2 years, no reason to stop now :-)

Keep the faith!


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

Hi Buddy - Wow, celebrations abound - I think everyone took advantage of this milestone to have a drink - or several - in your honor. We are so proud. Enjoy the new scenery generated by that new map page! Best advice from everyone - slow & steady wins the race. Speed was never the goal - safe and sane is more important. Continue to keep up with your mental and physical care routines - there's still a bit of work to do. Gotta go - off to the travel agent to talk Antigua!!xxoo-

Linda said...

Just think 30 days to your favorite meal. 30 days to hugs from family and friends. 30 days to walking on land. 30 days to looking out at the ocean and saying, "I did it".

Linda T.

Amanda said...

Hi Paul!!

Congrats! Congrats! Congrats! Almost there!

AMANDA (Joy's friend)

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
You can do this--remember there are lots of folks at YCC who believe in you and your mission. You're a winner!

JoAnn said...


Anonymous said...

very impressive man...the beard is classic....hope you keep it for alil while. Castaway 2 screenings are in april so hurry back!!

congrats on the mark and hope the champagne was gone in 8.5 seconds!!


Tom Watts said...

I’ve followed your row in awe, you are an inspiration! Congratulations on reaching the half way mark. You deserve every drop of that champagne. The experience keeps on unfolding. Small WILL get to Antigua.

Claire said...

Hope the champagne and waves didn't cause you any sickness!! Can't wait to see your smiling face in Antigua!

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

You are amazing! I think of you every day and am inspired by what you are doing. I'm so happy that you are making such excellent progress.

Judy W. (GA)

Leslie said...

Congratulations Paul! It's downhill from here, no matter the number of days. Getting beyond the half-way point is always such a relief. How are those sores coming along? Any improvement? Hope so. As always, we are thinking of and rooting for you at NRRA!

Melissa M said...

Seaside Update:

Dave thinks that they are just trying to rent out the other apartment and ran out of "For Rent" signs and used a "For Sale" sign instead. I am not convinced. More to come soon.