British rower finishes first leg of Pacific trek

Roz Savage crosses an ocean--or at least part of one--and arrives in Hawaii after about 100 days of rowing solo from San Francisco.


Roz Savage, the Brit who aims to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific, is back on land for the first time in nearly 100 days and is marking a milestone.

She arrived in Hawaii on Monday morning, completing the first of three legs of her journey across the Pacific Ocean. That's after setting off from San Francisco in her 24-foot rowboat known as the "Brocade" just before midnight on May 24. In all, she rowed about 2,600 miles.

Roz Savage
Roz Savage arrives in Hawaii after nearly 100 days of rowing solo across the Pacific Ocean. Courtesy of Roz Savage

Savage was met by family, friends, other well-wishers, and the media. After she landed at the dock of the Waikiki Yacht Club, one of the first things she did was hug her mother, Rita.

"It's taken me about a million oar strokes to get here from California," Savage said, according to a story in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. "If I just said, 'One little oar stroke isn't going to make any difference,' I'd still be standing in San Francisco. What I really wanted to do was let people know they can make a difference. Every action counts."

On the ocean for 99 days, Savage relied on a number of gadgets to keep her on course and keep herself entertained. She chronicled her journey with daily blog postings, a semiweekly podcast series, and Twitter messages.

In an interview via satellite phone last month, she talked about having what she calls "a ha" moments during her time on the water. "You never regret being ready sooner rather than later," she said in August. There's a flip side too. "You'll never be 100 percent ready." But, as Savage said, "I've managed."

Now back on land, Savage said she most looked forward to taking a shower and getting some rest on a bed that doesn't rock back and forth, according to her representative.

As part of her historic quest, Savage aims to raise awareness about the effects of pollution--in particular, plastic--in our oceans. Her trip is a project of the Blue Frontier Campaign, whose focus is on "seaweed (marine grassroots) efforts" surrounding ocean and coastal conservation.

Dan Basta, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, said in a statement: "Roz's steadfast determination reminds us that we must connect our everyday actions to protecting the ocean."

It is her second attempt to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific. Last summer, Savage set off only to be foiled by bad weather some two weeks into the trip. She was rescued by the Coast Guard about 90 miles off the California coast.

Early next year, she plans to row another 2,600 miles to Tuvalu. In all, she expects to travel more than 7,000 miles, ending up in Australia in 2010.

Roz Savage
Roz Savage rows near Diamond Head in Hawaii on Monday. Courtesy of Roz Savage
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