So while I am stuck here in harbor waiting for weather which will not kick my butt I thought I would post some of my thoughts about this whole rowing business. From the start it was never really about rowing, it was the opportunity to get bird conservation in front of the general public to raise awareness for the issues – and let’s face it taking on a row to Hawaii was certainly something which generated attention. In fact I was probably one of the most unlikely ocean rowers out there. I was a bit of a couch potato if I was not working, and you absolutely would never have caught me in a gym. The thought of having to go to a gym just made me cringe. Yet I had a passion for something, and the passion was so strong that I was driven by it. Because of that anything was possible. So I did what I had to do and surprisingly I did it willingly and happily. As a side benefit I got my butt into shape and I personally was better for it.
So it was about birds, but what about the actual rowing? Well quite honestly I knew I could do it, but what I did not know was the effect it would have on me. Hawaii was not to be this year, but I still wanted to row so down the California coast I go – still a significant row. And what I have discovered has shocked even me. I kind of like this rowing business. Sure it can be frustrating when you are rowing against everything and getting half a knot if you are lucky, I am constantly getting sunburned despite my best efforts, my hands are covered with blisters, and when I finish rowing I have to pry my fingers from the claw position from gripping the oars, but this is actually fun. It is oddly calming being out there rowing, taking what can seem like an eternity to get to your destination, and at the mercy of Mother Nature herself. But it also gives a sense of achievement because you are where you are based on your own power to get there. There are no sails or motor to propel you along, it is just you.
I think rowing on the ocean also teaches you respect and patience. You have to have patience to survive (or at least I think so) and you have to respect the ocean and anything it throws at you. If you don’t respect the ocean and watch and listen to what it is telling you you are potentially in trouble. It requires a level of awareness which appeals to me. Pay attention or suffer the consequences. In many ways this part of it is just like the campaign to raise awareness for bird conservation. Pay attention to what is happening to these birds and react, or suffer the consequences of their loss. In my mind it is a very similar principle.
So what about rowing? Where does that rank now in the big scheme of things? Well this is still first and foremost about birds, but rowing is coming in a close second. This is something I want to do and I have learned a lot. This is not a one off deal and I don’t see this as going away at all. Already there is another row in the works for this year and maybe two. Then there is that Hawaii thing. Well that is not off the cards yet. I set out to row to Hawaii and that goal is still there so it will get done. And as always all this will be for birds even though rowing is now up there as something which is important to me. Rowing has helped me discover a whole other world which I may never have found without it, and I like it. From couch potato to someone who is capable of rowing extended distances, this has been a life changer.