An Ocean Rower’s Day

 Posted by at 11:03 pm  Add comments
Apr 292012
Markus using Jetboil stove to cook grub

Markus using Jetboil stove to cook grub

We have been getting lots of questions via direct message and from people on the street during layovers about the average day on an ocean rowboat.  I thought I’d take a moment to paint that picture, and see if we have any aspiring adventurers out there.

Sleep/Wake Cycle: Traditional cycles are row 2 hours, rest 2 hours.  During your rest time it’s up to you whether you sleep, brush your teeth, eat, do laundry, etc.  For this trip, Adam researched polyphasic sleep cycles and created a regimen that has us rowing 1, 2, or 4 hours at a stretch.  Among those are mandatory sleep times, others are free.  4 hours is a long time to row, but it’s a GREAT time to catch up on the Zzzzz.

Eating/Drinking: Hydration is key when you’re rowing up to 12 hours per day, per person, on a 24 hour schedule.  We make fresh water a couple times per week through the desalinator or “water maker.”  My sister Angie researched optimum meal planning for this type of adventure, and together with Adam and all the healthy goodness provided courtesy of Victoria’s Lifestyles Markets, we feast daily on assorted oats, grains, meats, supplements in various forms.  In addition, we eat SPAM (I know, right?), granola, and the most important, a good Snickers candy bar now and then.  We cook most meals in Jetboil stoves, which are real handy as the burner is affixed directly to the insulated cup.  In a Jetboil things cook real quick so we can get to bed.

Hygiene: When it’s sleepy-time, it’s easy to let things go when all you want to do is crawl in bed for your off-shift.  But it’s important to take the time to brush your teeth, and we thank Cathy Tarbill for our tooth care products!  Additionally, one often washes hands and puts on plenty of Sol Sunguard sunscreen so we don’t get burnt.  When possible, we try to let the nooks and crannies get some fresh air.

Safety, day & night: Our boat moves pretty sluggishly.  However, if one falls out of the boat it’s “flying” along at 3-4 knots on a downwind leg, chances are slim that the boat and crew will be able to make it back around and upwind to pick you up.  Everybody on-deck wears an inflatable Mustang Survival lifejacket courtesy of Mustang Survival.  These would automatically inflate upon immersion.  We’re also tethered to a safety line that runs the length of the deck.  The line is long enough so in the event of a capsize, the line will take a full wrap around the boat and hopefully preventing one from being trapped under water.  Additionally, we have PLB’s (Personal Locator Beacons) attached to every lifejacket in case of separation.  Also onboard is a life raft that can hold four rowers, in case we need to abandon ship.

Navigation: Paper charts, computer charts, GPS, compass, and visual observation.  On this trip, coastal hazards abound, and with the addition of currents that will put you where they want you (like, you know, on big hard rocks), we have to be focused.  The University of Washington’s student chapter of the American Meteorological Society is providing twice daily forecasting for wind and weather conditions.  These forecasts become increasingly important as we near the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Please keep sending your questions and comments via the “Message the Crew” link on the front page, or leave a comment here!


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  7 Responses to “An Ocean Rower’s Day”

  1. Loved your day-in-the-life blog – thanks for taking the time to post it. Thanks also for assuring us that no one is going to fall off the boat so long as proper safety measures are taken. You guys are rowing 06 ocean style now. You know we’re with you in spirit. Take good care. We love you……..

  2. It is great to read more about your day. Thanks to all of you for sharing your trip with us. Wow! You folks have really been flying along. On the map it looks like you’re almost in Victoria. I wish I could be among those gathering to welcome you home. I look forward to hearing more about your adventure next week in Calgary. Well done!

  3. I understand Orca Airways, Tofino Bus and others helped get a much needed part to you. What was that all about?

  4. thanks, indeed, for spending the time to give us a real feeling for life onboard. it’s fascinating to read. and it’s so excellent to be able to see your progression around the island. you’re practically there! row, row, row…:)

  5. Hi Guys!! Congrats on all the accomplishments the past month. It has been such a delight to read the daily (almost) blogs as well as posts on Facebook/Twitter. I have promoted the row so much the past couple of weeks and have spoken at 3 schools this past month where the teachers all signed up to follow you all :). Safe journey to that end point in the coming days (hope the weather gets better to see you back safely) and I look forward to seeing you all in Calgary just like Rick above.

  6. Congratulations! I’m glad it did not take too long! I am just catching up on your blog and found this very interesting. Who would have guessed that you have time to get the “nooks and crannies aired.” So glad you do though 😉 This is a very informative sight and I really appreciate all the hard work you have put in. Enjoy the post voyage celebrations…

  7. Hi Crystal – Absolutely! You all at the Orca crew, and Dylan and crew at Tofino Bus helped a great deal in delivering our new tracking device. Please look for a post in the near future with more details! Have a great day – Greg

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