Roz Savage makes history in solo Indian Ocean row

After five months and more than 4,000 miles, the British adventurer and environmental advocate makes landfall in Mauritius, becoming the first woman to row solo across the "big three" oceans.

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Anne Dujmovic was a senior editor at CNET. Her areas of focus included the climate crisis, democracy and inclusive language. She believes in the power of great journalism and art, and the magic of tardigrades.
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Anne Dujmovic
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Roz Savage arrives in Grand Baie, Mauritius, becoming the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. BVPVisuals.com

After five months at sea, British adventurer and environmental advocate Roz Savage made landfall this morning in Mauritius, completing her solo row across the Indian Ocean and becoming the first woman to row solo across the "big three": the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian.

Savage, 43, set off from Australia five months ago in her 23-foot rowboat. After rowing more than 4,000 miles, she arrived in Grand Baie, Mauritius, today.

In total, she has rowed about 15,000 miles and spent more than 500 days at sea. She completed the Atlantic row in 2005, and then went on to row the Pacific in three stages, finishing in June 2010.

In an interview with CNET last year, Savage explained why she chooses to spend long stretches at sea rowing solo--often accompanied only by, say, dorados or the occasional shark: partly to challenge herself, but mostly to inspire people to take better care of the planet.

"The mission happened before the rowing did. The rowing is almost a means to an end. It's certainly not something I love for its own sake. I find it very challenging," Savage said. "So it really is about the blogging and the tweeting, and trying to create an appreciation of the oceans to an extent."

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A few days ago on her blog, Savage announced that she's retiring from ocean rowing to focus more on environmental advocacy.

"I want to get more 'hands-on' with my campaigning," Savage wrote. "I plan to spend 2012 tying off the loose ends of my ocean rowing career in a Maisie-Dobbs-like final accounting: finish editing the book, make the film, assemble the multimedia presentation--and then move on to more direct methods of creating positive change in the world. Alongside more focused campaigning, I fully intend to do more expeditions to provide material for blogs, books, and more, but they won't take me way out into the middle of gargantuan bodies of water any more."

In that same post, she also described the state of her rowboat, the Sedna Solo, giving readers a glimpse of what the latest journey was like: "Not a single piece of electronic equipment is fully functional. Even the electrical system itself is working courtesy only of a few inches of electrical tape and a rhino clip."

In the video below, check out Savage's arrival this morning, courtesy of BVPVisuals.com.