Monday, March 9, 2009

Day 68

Day Three on sea anchor was utterly uneventful. I'm still holding up fine, so far, and am just living my life, killing time and, of course, waiting for the winds to change direction. Wind was from the West again all day today and in the 15k range. Seas were smallish and not breaking/splashing much, so I was able to keep the cabin cooler during the heat of the day than it had been on Saturday and Sunday. I spent the day on the computer, mostly - writing emails, playing Freecell (my record since Saturday is 47 wins, 22 losses...not great), and watching the occasional episode of Rob and Big, which my sister gave me on a thumb drive for Christmas. It's been a life saver these past few days!

In other news, I've been meaning to write about a moment from last Friday (Day 65) that has been one of the highlights of the row for me thus far. My contact with the ship Pasella on Day 62 was a little bit of a let-down, given that it was my first sign of other human life since 29 days prior. I had really been hoping to see an airplane some time soon, maybe because seeing two of them at once picked me up quite a bit all the way back on Day 13. I figured that since I was getting closer to the Caribbean and am probably also between some point in Brazil and the US I might be due to see one any time.

Soooo, do you know where this is headed? On Friday I had been rowing along in the middle of my evening shift around 6PM. Another beautiful day with a few clouds and otherwise clear skies. Not really much to the story, other than that I looked up and to my left and almost fell off of my rowing seat when I saw a big, beautiful exhaust trail streaking a dead-straight path of the brightest white imaginable through the evening sky. The plane was still overhead when I noticed the trail and at the time it was the most incredible sight to see. It was low enough for me to clearly make out the wings and even the engines, and I had no problem imagining all of the passengers seated in neat little rows sipping warm diet coke out of those plastic cocktail glasses.

To my complete surprise I quickly found myself getting choked up at the sight (I'm not generally a fan of sappy emotions), and I stopped rowing to stare at the trail long after the plane had disappeared over the horizon. It's amazing how 65+ days in a rowboat can change your priorities...

You might have to look closely to see it, but here's a picture of what I saw:

Tomorrow an update on the wildlife I've seen and have some pictures of -- flying fish, a purplish-pink floating booger-like thing, and giant and potentially man-eating birds!

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.

My son and I went cross-country a couple of years ago and what seems to make the best stories and memories are the "troubles" we had. We never seem to mention the great weather and doing the speed limit in our telling of our adventure.
Hope you enjoy the time you have to rest and get your body and boat ready to go again. And since I am a "mom", you might want to think about spending some of that time cleaning judging by the pictures.
Safe travels.

Anonymous said...

Hey dude,

No worries on the emotional stuff. You're starting to understand the important things. It sounds like you've stripped it all down the bare essentials. Not a bad place to be! Many of us are envious!

I hope the break has healed some wounds. I know it's frustrating but your progress is still real. There's a reason here that you probably can't see until much later down the road.

Keep the faith!


Marlene said...

Hi Paul,
I have fallen behind in following your travels. I had a busy week of last week and now I am caught up. I hope that scary shark doesn't create nightmares for you!! Although it doesn't look as bad as the mechanical shark from the movie Jaws. I am sure it was more than scary enough in person. We were able to watch your CNN interview at church on Sunday. You did a great job and I hope it really added support to your cause.
I was going through some stuff yesterday and I believe your girl Brooklyn is on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit one page calendar. Is her last name somthing like Decker? Or did you not get her last name when she agreed to hang on your wall for this journey :)
I will pray for the breezes to move toward Antigua and your finish point so that we can all see you soon. Take care and I think of you every day even if I don't write. Love, Marlene

Anonymous said...

I don't want to burst your bubble, but I'm pretty sure Norm has like 5,000 wins on his FreeCell streak on the desktop at 53 (can you tell I'm trying hard to paint a picture of home? Maybe that'll like a fire under your oars once the wind stops wreaking havoc, not that you'll need any more incentive, I'm sure). Also, since when has Joy liked Rob and Big? Very unlike her... Or are you referring to Emily who gave you thumb drive? Or me...? Probably under the influence. Again. Although I'm pretty sure I have not seen a full episode of Rob and Big in my life.

And I have to say, I really love the suspenseful taglines that you have started to add to your blog posts. Nice way to keep people coming back... Oh wait, I am mistaken. The hook is your awesome story and incomparable expedition. Keep your mind in the right place; we're still cheering for you computer-side back in the Atlantic NE!

As soon as you get the chance, row like crazy.

Lots of love and thoughts about still winds,

Anonymous said...

Paul, your story is so inspiring, and I find myself sucked into the blog when I should be working. Have you ever been really scared while out there at sea? Also - I wonder if Rob and Big know that they are helping you through this? I bet they would love to hear about it.

Friends and strangers alike are cheering you on.

Go 'gate!

Anonymous said...

Did you notice your tracking picture looks like the shape of a heart?


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
I'm reading your blog daily and am so inspired by your journey. The entries are entertaining us all, while we remember the importance of what you are doing. I hope this down-time passes quickly for you and that you will be well rested for your last leg of your journey. We are looking forward to hearing about it in person when you return to CT.

Anonymous said...


Yo Dude What's happening. According to tweeter it looks like your on the move again! HOORAY

Anyways I was thinking about you on Sat at our Fancy Bow Ball. I was wondering how you're doing out on the big blue sea. I miss my days at sea and amazing blue color of the ocean.

Good think your boat seems pretty sturdy I don't know about Jaws attacking-maybe you should try singing to the fishes to attract some company : )

Thinking of you and hoping good winds come your way.


Katy said...

Dying to hear more about the purplish-pink floating booger-like thing.

PTR said...

The purple booger thing could be a jelly fish! Don't touch it.

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

Hi Buddy - This is Day 68 - I posted yesterday - I don't know where it went - be assured I didn't miss a day...xxoo-