Rowing is a lesson in patience

Ventura Harbor – I don’t think I will every forget you.  From the castaway welcome by Harbor Patrol to the wonderful company I had in a visit from Arby Macaw and his family.  Thank you everyone for the hospitality!  Harbor Patrol even gave me an escort out of the bay!  I will absolutely be back once I have rowed down the coast but for now I need to continue rowing.

It was to be a short row from Ventura Harbor to Channel Island Harbor – just 7 miles.  A nice little paddle down the coast of California.  Unfortunately for me the winds, waves and currents were all going against me, so my nice little 7 mile row seemed to take an eternity.  I was rowing away and my GPS was telling me I was going anywhere between 1.4 to 1.8 knots, but it just felt like I was rowing on the spot.  With winds from the southwest it was pushing me northeast and I just wanted to go south.  It was actually kind of difficult maintaining the course I wanted and I spent a lot of time adjusting and rowing harder with one oar, then the other.  One way to keep me amused I guess as I attempted to keep my track at 155 degrees.

The other issue was that the seas were choppy rather than a predictable swell, so for every oar stroke I got in the water the next two would result in only one or no oars in the water.  The problem with this is that when you push off the footplate to start the stroke you are expecting some kind of drag on the oars.  When there is none, or just some on one side you tend to send yourself flying backwards on the sliding seat quicker than expected, and almost come off the seat.  Not a good idea when the boat is already moving around from side to side in the choppy water.  I kept at it though until I got so frustrated with it that I did the only thing I could do.  I went and raided my Diet Coke supply in the cabin – that would calm me down.  Of course in the choppy conditions you can guess what happened to most of the Diet Coke I was trying to drink.

So while I sat there going from side to side, trying to get at least a little Diet Coke to actually make it in my mouth, I was thinking that a little patience would help me out.  I was so focused on getting where I needed to go, but it was not going to matter if I arrived half an hour or an hour later.  If I was patient and watched the waves carefully before another oar stroke, I could avoid some of the misses and hence be less frustrated by the whole process.  I had not thought of rowing as a test of patience before but it really is.  It is slow, can be monotonous at times, and just plain frustrating.  We are always so busy and trying to get stuff done quickly, but sometimes slow and steady wins the race – if you have a little patience.  Lesson learned.

Ventura Harbor Patrol escort