BLOG #9 – AUGUST 24, 2021
One month closer to race start – less than four months to go! Lot of things accomplished and this month, but I will try to keep this brief.
This month I checked off a number of mandatory requirements including finishing all my mandatory classes and meeting the mandatory number of rowing hours.
Completion of USCG approved First Aid course
FCC Marine Radio Operator permit obtained (required passing a live closed book exam)
Obtained required dental certification
Jack Keane underwent a boat survey to ensure its capable of crossing the Atlantic
Had my pre-race mandatory equipment inspection with race organizers via Zoom
Talking About Okizu
This month Marianne and I went on a tour of Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation’s (NNCCF) office. We learned about all the programs they offer families dealing with childhood cancer and we got to meet all meet their staff. We brough Jack Keane with us so NNCCF’s team could check it out in person. This visit was the outcome of last month’s Zoom meeting with Okizu and NNCCF.
We had the opportunity to make a couple of Rotary club presentations this month. First, we visited the Rotary Club of Napa. Our good friend, Gary Rose, had invited us to discuss the row and our charity partner. They became one of our Killer Whale partners raising over $4,000 for Okizu at the luncheon. We next spoke at Rotary Club of Central Reno and Rotary Club of South Reno’s joint luncheon. We were invited to speak at this meeting by Shirley Folkins-Roberts, the executive director of Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation, and had a lively discussion with the Club members.
On The Water
I also managed to make it out on the water and complete two rows. The first row was my longest row to date. I rowed from Newport Beach to San Diego – approx. 70 miles. This trip took 36 hours and really allowed me to work on my row-sleep pattern as well as to eat like I will during the crossing. When I left Newport Beach, I left next to the UC Irvine crew’s shed and they were out on the water training. They didn’t even look at me and Jack Keane as they flew by me but at least the school of dolphins were kind of enough to keep me company as I left the harbor. 😊 Conditions were unbelievable and I flew the first day covering over 50 miles in the first 24 hrs. Before sunrise I had to work my way further out to ensure I stayed out of the Camp Pendleton military training area – fortunately there were no live training exercises underway. Sunrise came around Del Mar – La Jolla and the second day was going to be different than the first. As I worked my way south of La Jolla, I failed to notice a symbol on my chart, but quickly discovered what the symbol was alerting to me to: the La Jolla kelp beds. This proved very difficult to row through as the kelp kept wrapping itself around the oars, not mention slowing forward progress greatly. Once I was finally out of the kelp beds, I had to deal with a decently large southwest swell as I was trying to enter Mission Bay. Waves were breaking on the rocks on either side of the opening. It took me a while to get the boat lined up so I could surf the waves into the opening.
My next row was significantly shorter, a little over 6 hours, but just as valuable. This row was back on SF Bay. Plan was to row to Angel Island and spend day tied up on a mooring buoy and then row back at night. But when I got to Angel Island, the weather was so nice, I decided to row back to Loch Lomond. With all the wildfires, Reno has not seen much sun or blue skies in the past month so this was too hard to pass up. On this row I took the time to ensure my water maker was still working; I tried out my hand water maker for the first time; and tried out my Nomad solar charging pad. After I crossed under the Richmond bridge, I practiced deploying my para-anchor. This is a critical skill; as a solo rower I will inevitably will spend time sitting on the para-anchor when weather is unfavorable during the crossing.
It’s been a productive month. But next month should be even bigger month so stayed tuned.