Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 77

It's been a very pleasant day out here today with lot of sun and a nice breeze of 10-15 kt from the east. I almost jumped out of the boat due to my excitement this afternoon when I both had a conversation with a passing French container ship bound for Martinique named Marfret (wild guess, but I bet this name is French) and saw a plane on the horizon at the same time. AND I had a frigate bird around that had been with me for almost two hours. Huuuuuge!

This time the captain was friendly and asked if I needed anything, which of course I replied that I didn't. What else could one want than freeze dried food and gallons of warm Gatorade for three months? I resisted the urge to ask for a tow -- he was doing 18 knots, which I figured would get me to Antigua in less than 24 hours...anyway...he also reiterated that Liv and I are very difficult to see, even after I've made contact on the VHF and described my position.

I have some experience now with the effectiveness of AIS that may be helpful to future ocean rowers. I'll write this up on in more detail from land, but in short the message is that you often won't be alerted of a ship approaching until it's already too close for comfort. So, if you hear the alarm and haven't spotted a ship, act fast! I saw today's ship a long way off but he didn't set off my AIS alarm until he was 11 minutes from his closest point of approach. According to the captain of Marfet, I didn't show up on his AIS screen until 5 minutes before his CPA, which could have been dicey had he not already adjusted his course.

My blogs may start getting shorter from here on in, but I'll be sure that you're all kept up to date in these last few days. If I miss a couple days down the stretch, don't worry -- I'll be blogging away about how great land is as soon as I get there, and will continue to send updates as I adjust to life back home and begin to reflect on this experience.

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A Challenge to the Rowing Community

Do you row? Have you rowed? Do you know someone who rows? If so, here's a special challenge to you!

Taking inspiration from Paul Ridley's incredible solo row across the Atlantic, Bob Glendening has generously offered to match all new donations to from members of the rowing community. His generosity also stems from his family's devotion to rowing and its personal experience with cancer. The Glendening Boat House at Colgate was given by the family in 2004 in memory of his mother, who lost her battle with cancer in 2000.

So if you row and you want to show your support for a fellow rower who's crossing the Atlantic solo and unsupported, please consider an online donation to

Please be sure to add "Glendening Challenge" when completing the Gift Information section online at

Thanks, Bob!



marlene said...

Hi Paul,
It is so great to see your blue square getting so close to the yellow push pin. How exciting. It must feel somewhat like waiting for Christmas morning when you are a kid.
Will you be coming back to Binghamton at all after you arrive on land? It would be so great to see you and hear about your trip first hand.
Have you let anyone get an airplane ticket yet?
How is the beard? Are you going to shave it as soon as you arrive on land or are you getting used to it? I bet you can't wait for a nice, hot shower.
How long should it take you to get your land legs back? Hopefully it won't be anything like the seasickness you experienced during your first few days at sea.
Take care as always. Love, Marlene

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul, it's Alexander. I have been busy with school. We are learning about the American Revolution. You have been busy too and are almost done. You have been rowing a long time. On the day you started my mom told me to remember the day and to think about all the things I would do while you were rowing and it seems so long ago. I can't wait to meet you. Can I see Liv when you get back? Keep going.

Anonymous said...

Paul, Great to hear the excitement return to your post. It was just a foolish idea that you made into an incredible adventure! You set the goal and now you are days away from accomplishing that goal! As March Madness tips off today at noon, allow me to say, "AWESOME BABY!" -- ETS

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

Hi Buddy - Nice to hear that you are making friends out there. I'm surprised you didn't invite your French Captain friend aboard for a little 'spread' - or is all the good stuff gone? We are glad that you are figuring out the tricks of the AIS system. It will come in handy to help you avoid a nasty collision with that big yellow pushpin at the mouth of the harbor! Keep on a safe steady pace - head in the game, ass in the boat - xxoo -

Anonymous said...

hi paul you are doing great;]
from alicia;]
hi paul keep going strong we're all behind you 100%
from ronnie:)
how are your salt sores on your legs?
from kirsten :D
hey were cheering u on from newark valley stay strong we're proud of you m

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
I just have to tell you that my husband David was looking at some old Magic videos for a magic convention this weekend. On one of the videos as a "helper" was your beautiful Mom!!!!! We will copy the video and make it into a DVD for both you and Joy. Do you remember being at a magic show where David Black was performing?
All of these second graders are thinking of you......You are almost there!!!!! We are so proud of you for your incredible endurance.
We've also been watching the Iditarod in Alaska and at least it's not as cold out there in the Atlantic. Lance Mackey won the Iditarod's the second year in a row.
Also has someone told you that Binghamton University Bearcats are playing in the NCAA tournament tonight?!?! They play Duke!
Mrs. Black and all of these terrific 2nd graders.

Wild Bill said...


I am certain that the reason your vessel is NOT being "seen" by the other vessels is due to it's fiberglass construction, which apparently does not get 'read' well by these systems at all.

I am convinced a very short mast with one of the "radar-deflecting" balls attached should be used in the future to prevent this type of issue, but what do I know.

I salute you for your courage, your stamina, and for your desire to MAKE A DIFFERENCE !

I have followed your blog for quite some time, and I have actively posted as well, too, in hopes it will urge you onwards in your quest.

God Bless, and Godspeed !!


{The fish'n fool}
Wild Bill

Lisa said...

You are awesome. I missed your posts for a few days but am all caught up now. What an adventure! Glad we can share it with you thru these posts. Can't believe you are almost there. Have been thinking about you and praying these last few days you will finish strong. Keep up the great work
Lisa Carrig

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul - it's Joan, Alexander's mom. It's true we've been following you every day and you definitely rank as a hero in our house. I'm grateful for the impression you've made on my two boys and also salute you for your desire to MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Thank you!

Mike said...

Keep rowing! I've been following you from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and look forward to one great arrival pic! Mike

Keely said...

OK - so I lied in my email to you. I changed some plans around and will be arriving with everyone else on Friday...I couldn't miss the big finish! Glad to hear things have been going better the past few days and cannot wait to see you! Hope you enjoyed the pics from Stowe haha...we'll sport them again this weekend and promise to get some better shots!