Sunday, March 8, 2009

Day 67

Frustrating day spent (wasted?) sitting on sea anchor, checking the wind/seas every hour or so to see if anything has changed. After getting blown to the East (away from Antigua) overnight, the winds shifted to blow toward the South this morning, which I guess is the lesser of two evils.


I tried rowing this morning and made no headway. I had thought that I might be able to make SW progress by taking a 45 degree angle on wind from the N, but the seas were still coming from the NW which stopped me in my tracks. These conditions remained throughout the day, though I presently am picking up a sliver of SW progress that I can only assume is from a current, because the wind and seas are still pointing to the S and SE, respectively. This does not bode particularly well for making any progress on Tuesday as I had hoped, when winds were predicted to come from the North. Even so, I guess that it's a plus that I didn't get blown farther East today, as the forecast predicted, and instead went South.


If I absolutely can't make progress to the West in wind from the North, then it looks like I won't be back out and rowing West until FRIDAY -- which would be almost a whole week lost. Crushing...


OK, I'm done whining!


As promised, a little about the shark sighting on Day 64 that I know many of you have been waiting for. Normal day (back when I spent my days rowing, not sitting) and I was coming out of the cabin after lunch. Immediately upon clambering out, what do I see coming out of the water to my left but a big fin. I assume it's a Dorado, that occasionally will have a tail fin out of he water for a second, but then I realize this is no Dorado at all...it must be something else, and it's headed right for the side of the boat! No time to flip out since, before I knew it, it had passed under the boat and I got a look at it as it came out from under the starboard side. Yup, definitely a shark!


It looked brightly colored (like a dorado) when I first saw it from above but this must have been a reflection or distortion from the water. It took a couple laps around the boat, staying long enough for me to get out my camera before it wandered off. Though I didn't get a great look, it appeared to be about 5-6 feet long and a dark grayish color with no visible markings (no white tips!) that I could see. I have to say, if I haven't already, that I don't really understand everyone's fascination with sharks...


Luckily for all of you shark-lovers out there, I captured this gripping photo of the blood-thirsty razor-toothed monster of the deep!



Keep your fingers crossed that the forecast is wrong and that I'll be able to get rowing again on Tuesday, rather than Friday! For all the past ocean rowers out there, I'd love to hear your perspective on the weather I'm seeing. Did any of you run into such a period of opposing winds in the middle of the trade wind belt or am I just lucky?


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 www.rowforhope.com.


Paul

15 comments:

Chris McNickle said...

Paul,

I think the wind shift is very suspicious. Are you sure you are not just taking a break from rowing?

By the way, I suspect the reason the shark swam away as you describe has to do with the last time you showered.

Hang in there.

Chris

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

I have a dilemma. I committed myself to working out everyday in solidarity with you and your row. And I have been faithful in my workouts much to my surprise.

However, now that you're on sea anchor, does that count? Or, can I take a break from my workouts and start up again when you do? Hmmm... what do you think?

Love and chocolate peanut-butter brownies!
Nadine

Pete said...

excellent illustrations on the shark picture. you definitely have a future in sports broadcasting with those telestrator skills...

sorry to hear about the rough patch wind-wise, but like my man 2-pac says, "keep ya head up!" having come this far, both in rowing distance and the row for hope campaign, nothing can stop you from reaching your goals. as though that doesn't already run through your head about 100 times a day...

Seshat said...

Hello Paul -
I would think that growing up in central new york you would know that the weather (and forecasts) are absolutely unpredictable!
So here's to proving them wrong - easterly all the way!
The Siefka's

Seshat said...

I mean WESTERLY!!!!
This explains why I choose the incorrect on-ramp when traveling cross country.....
God Bless Marty.....
Thankfully he's sleeping when I go the wrong way - so I have time to regroup....
Enjoy the moment of relaxation!

Anonymous said...

that's awful bout the weather but it is time to think about creative ideas of what to do w/ the beard after you are back...

castaway beard...
venus williams beads...
hulk hogan handlebar...
montery jack from the rescuer rangers mustache...
mutten chops from that 70s' show..
trimed like MAYE...
soul patch for life in forrest hill lake park...
side burns like senior year of MAYE...
scruffy look like a prada model....


that's about it....strong is relative....

MAYE

Keely said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keely said...

Paul! Just home after another weekend traveling and catching up on the posts...so sorry about the winds. what a BUMMER! chatted with RU and SK over email last week trying to get them to come and join the par-tay in Antigua. Thought a little GA reunion couldn't hurt...no such luck, but I am planning on being there. I expect some Crab Shell dance moves like no other (once you can walk on land again i guess)...brace yourself. i am making the trip! can't wait to see you!

Sam Williams said...

Hi Paul,

I've been following your blog for a while, and you've been doing great. However, I know exactly what you're going through at the moment (I was in a virtually identical position a year ago), and it is nothing short of horrendous.

Nevertheless, the wind can't piss you off forever, and sooner or later you can just start knocking off those miles one at a time and, before you know it, you'll be rowing into Antigua with the biggest grin imaginable, and everything else will pale into insignificance.

Just keep plugging away where you can - it'll be worth it.

Sam

Niall McCann said...

Hi Paul,
Just a quick one as i have to rush out for a meeting about my next expedition, but i ran into almost exactly the same conditions as you are.
It was day 56 for me and James and we had 250miles to go. We got hit by a system that stopped us in our tracks for 75 hours before moving on.
Don't worry about it, you just have to keep the same mentality: The weather will improve, and when it does you can row again. It is likely that your last 2 weeks will be fast too, in quite large seas, so try to get back on to the 17 degree mark again as soon as you can and stick to it as you're likely to be running in big seas and don't want to have to deviate from your westerly bearing too much.
Right must dash, keep your chin up, the weather will pass and you'll be flying again.

Niall

Niall McCann
Chairman, Association of Ocean Rowers

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

Hi Buddy - Any chance you'd consider shaving while you're at rest? I'm starting to get concerned about wild-life taking up residence in the beard. And now to hear that even the sharks are giving you a wide berth...Great photography, by the way. I'm sure they'll want that footage for next summer's Shark Week.Listen,guy, don't let it get you down. This is not unlike the days in the Canary Isl - minus that cool rowers bar. One thing is for sure, the weather will change - and it can only be bad for so long - and then it gets good - how profound is that? But I thing the best I can offer is: head in the game, ass in the boat - you're doing great - xxoo -

Anonymous said...

Weather! coming from Chicago, I can readily attest it's more oftena problem than not. However, your current situation reminds me of a Tiger Woods poster. It pictures him standing hip deep (literally) in tall grasses. The caption: It's not a set back, it's a challenge! So you, and we have a few more days while you are at sea to challenge all of your supporters to keep thinking twice about the silly expenditure and donating to Row for Hope instead! Let's make his time out there whorthwhile everyone!!!

Kyle Brown said...

Great post from Niall. Words of encouragement from someone who's been where you are!

Nadine: You've been working out 14 hours a day? I think not. You can take advantage of Paul's break to try to catch up. A couple years from now, you might be close!

Paul: I suspect this little curlique in your track will be a source of great amusement to you someday, long after you've gotten home and gone on the lecture circuit...

Bill R. said...

Paul,

Like in long sailing races you get that spell where there is no wind
so you assess what needs fixing and go to it.

Like fixing the steering mechanism in case you need to row in pointed direction when you enter the harbor and have spectators all around you..

Keep your head in the game and your eyes on the wind indicator.

May the fair winds blow your way.

Laura said...

YESSS!!!! FINALLY A SHARK!!!!