• Heather Taylor

Getting ready in CA

I've been in California now for more than a month. I arrived on March 16th in LA and stayed with Debra in Long Beach up until five days ago. Most of the time was spent finishing up the semester at RMC while I fixed the remaining things on the boat. Now in Monterey, it's packing and prep time!

Boat things

Wave Dancer is doing well. Curtis did all the hull work over the last few months before I arrived, so there were just a few parts above the waterline that needed sealing and painting. All systems seem to be working well. When an o-ring split on the watermaker two weeks ago, I was reminded that I can't just get in the boat and row. I have to know every single system and every little piece of equipment and be able to fix it at sea. I got new batteries, which required installing new security straps to avoid them becoming 70 pound battering balls if I capsized. Curtis helped out with this as a second mind is definitely needed given the potential consequences if it went wrong. A few other additions to this trip are two spare solar converters, an additional sea anchor and a small rope ladder so I can get back in the boat if I get thrown overboard and can't physically pull myself back in due to injury or the like.

We took the boat out for a short test run on Tuesday (20th). Tried out a new launching method as there was no dock. It felt good to be on the water again, first time since last June.

Rowing for a reason

One thing I'm quite excited about this year is being able to focus more on the fundraising effort for Tearfund Australia and Emmanuel International. As one does with the long wait to try again, I pondered if I really wanted to do this. The work involved didn't bother me that much as the thought of unravelling everything if I didn't row felt like as much as work as trying again. Going quiet with communications for six months helped lift the burden of driving a campaign for a while. There was and is thought that I might regret not having given it another go given how much effort has gone into it. As I was rowing back in last year however I knew that I would personally be ok if I couldn't row again.

But the image of a woman sitting in her home cooking the day's meal over a fire has been a backstop for me. The pandemic has brought into sharp relief the global divide between the rich and poor, those with access to medical care, affordable food, oxygen and vaccines, and those without. What if me doing this crazy thing made one other person think about what they could do to empower her?

With that, it's time to GIVE and GIVE and get the word out! Go to the website and click on the charity links on the main page to donate: www.pacificgiantsrow.com. You may see that TEAR Australia changed their name to Tearfund Australia as they joined the large global network of Tearfund in October to maximise their collaborative efforts. New name, same great work.

Next steps

It's looking like I should be on target to have everything ready for the start of May. I was feeling apprehensive mid-April, but I've got all of my supplies and I'm thrilled to say all the food is now packed into the boat. By the end of this week, I should have the boat all ready to put it in the water here in Monterey to get a few rows in while I wait for a weather window. I'll send out another newsletter when it's looking like a window is coming with all the last minute details, but the website will be the main spot to follow along and give. If you missed the latest Talking Rowing with Rory, it was filmed in Perth just before I left and runs through the plan that is in action!