21 July 2010

From San Francisco to Australia - with a stop in PNG

Roz Savage, from London, arrived in Madang on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea on Friday, after setting off 46 days ago from the tiny island nation of Kiribati.
Her arrival marks the end of the final leg of the expedition. She began the first stage in 2008, rowing from San Francisco to Hawaii.
Last year she completed the second leg, from Hawaii to the Tarawa atoll in Kiribati.
Ms Savage, 42, was greeted by a flotilla of 30 canoes decorated with flower garlands.
After more than six and a half weeks alone at sea, she said she "felt like a rock star".
"I was definitely feeling the love," she said hours after stepping back on to dry land.
"There were 5,000 people here that came out to greet me, they came so close to the boat that I could shake their hands, it was an amazing feeling."
Having regained her land legs. Miss Savage said she was looking forward to "a warm shower, a cold beer and a long massage." The trip from Kiribati had been difficult. Her email access failed, meaning that she had to dictate her blogs to her mother in England over a satellite phone, and her water-maker broke. Then there was the boredom.

"I can get bored during 12 hours of rowing, I'm only human," she said.
"Audio books really really help, but I can lose motivation, so I would only let myself listen to an audio book while I was rowing, and I was only allowed to eat when I had finished rowing."

Ms Savage, a divorced former management consultant who quit her job in her mid-thirties because "there must be more to life", packed large quantities of freeze dried meals, as well as fruit and nut bars and crackers to keep her going. She made the crossing in the Brocade, a carbon fibre boat designed specially for the trip. Measuring just six feet across, the craft has two cabins and was designed to be unsinkable while intact.

Now, however, it is "covered in hundreds of barnacles and needs a good clean".
Ms Savage set off on the trip to raise awareness of the damage humans are doing to the environment. During her first leg she rowed past the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, passing plastic bottles and tiny pieces of plastic bags in the water. "It was quite depressing seeing tiny bits of plastic thousands of miles away from land, and knowing that they are never going to break down properly," she said. "The point of this trip was to make people realise that small things can make a difference. "Each of my big ocean rows has taken about one million oar strokes, so one oar stroke does not get me very far, but you take a million tiny actions, and it really does have a big impact. And I think when it comes to some of the environmental issues, it is easy for people to feel that anything they do as an individual is going to be just a drop in the ocean, that it does not really make a difference."

After spending a month off exploring Papua New Guinea and some time travelling around South East Asia, Ms Savage intends to start preparing for her next voyage across the Indian Ocean. She plans to set off from Fremantle in Western Australia in March 2011.

An article by Telegraph UK

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