Day 52 — So close … yet so far

by Katie on February 23, 2010

Something splashes alongside Liv

The alarm clock this morning — a bird. Chirping away, and when I looked out the hatch I saw twenty or thirty more. For the past week, I wake up to see these birds, watch them while rowing, and then, right after the sun sets, they all fly away. They certainly are not interested in me or my yellow banana rowboat, but the flying fish instead. It has been entertaining to watch them fly back and forth for the fish, catching them and fighting after each other for them. Very lively and I’m growing quite fond of these birds. Whenever they fly away at night, I wonder if they will be back the next day (and also wonder where it is they are going!).

Aside from bird watching, lots of rowing as usual. I’m a day or two from the 3/4th mark and, for the first time on this journey, I have been thinking about the final milestone; reaching land. Mentally, I broke it down by fourths and focused on reaching that next fourth, otherwise the whole ocean would be too big to wrap my head around. But, now, it seems so close yet so far.


rowan February 23, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Awesome post, as usual. I think the best part of your trip is that it’s human powered. Harnessing wind & fossil fuels & nuclear heat is great, but fundraising conscious raising meditative human powered walking a continent or rowing an ocean are very compatible. Just like the space shuttle you’re hydrogen and oxygen powered but your engine is YOU and life and the birds and the salt water and like the olympians challenging our human bodies but with an even longer lifelong focus in service to all. By the people(person), for the people(all).
I pray for your safe landing in the safe harbor of Cayenne

ycartsnhoj February 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm

it looks like you are really picking up speed keep up the great work

millerjr88 February 23, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Great job, Katie! Tracking your progress and awaiting the day you are back on land. You are making all of Northeast Ohio proud!

mulleeboyz February 23, 2010 at 3:07 pm

We miss you! Keep rowing and we’ll keep praying. We are so proud of you and so anxious to see your smiling face!!

mandyhockenberry February 23, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Keep up the great work! Can’t wait for you to reach land!

wg_fanboy February 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Using the geo coordinates from your website, I track your distance, average speed and estimated arrival every week or so. After the 2nd week, I estimated you’d reach Cayenne in mid-March. It’s looking more and more like March 15 could be the day! Aside from the first couple of days, your performance has been incredibly consistent and your track has been remarkably accurate. Good luck and Godspeed!

Mike D February 23, 2010 at 4:48 pm

A girl on a mission
Tiny spot(z) on the ocean
Larger than life itself

Sorry Katie… Sometimes I have goofy thoughts and just have to write them down :-\

Paul February 23, 2010 at 4:52 pm


Row like you have in each quarter of the trip so far and the last quarter will pass steadily by. Revel daily in the simplicity of your alarm clock and the stark beauty of your ocean world.


Sarah February 23, 2010 at 5:35 pm

I can’t even imagine what it must be for you to be on the Atlantic, alone and rowing. I really enjoy all that you share: your thoughts, your environment. Please know that I am mentally rowing with you everyday. Can’t wait for the next update. Be strong. Stay well. And BRAVO!

abbeysmom February 23, 2010 at 5:41 pm

You are an Olympic Gold Medalist in my book!

Jill Lancaster February 23, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Well done Katie, you ARE so close and not far away from completing your dream. You have done so amazingly well to have rowed the distance you have. My thoughts are with you everyday out there on the ocean. Keep strong and happy rowing!!

live curious February 23, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Do you think you will miss the simplicity of life in the middle of the ocean down the road? Maybe let it inspire you to row another one?

I hope the culture shock is minimal. I imagine reintegrating into society may feel a bit strange.

Keep up the great work!

cupcake February 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Those little birds are showing you the way home…
Thanks to all the animals that have kept you company and made friends with you. I am sure they will miss you. We miss you too, so keep doing what you are doing and we will see you vey soon. We are so proud of you, but miss you lots! When do you think you will be back home??
We love you :)

Rick Barkley February 23, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Very soon, now, very soon. I think you’ll experience some excitement as you being to see the visual changes. I remember the emotions when I saw the US Steel building on the Allegheny, and knew for the first time I was going to finish, even though I’d been sure of it the whole time. There’s a difference, and I hope you can poinpoint the moment for yours. Carry on!

Rick Barkley February 23, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Just thought of something; who will be there when Katie finishes?? No matter if she misses Cayenne, by a mile or 50, who will be there?

Ceil February 23, 2010 at 7:41 pm

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”…Richard Bach, an American writer.
You, my dear Kate, are a beautiful butterly.

CE Webster February 23, 2010 at 8:18 pm


Just found this blog. I’m going to go back and read what I’ve missed. Enjoy your time at sea. I’ll be watching for updates.

Andrew Samtoy February 23, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Do you think you’ll have re-entry anxiety or problems? You prepared mentally for the trip; what about the return? February 23, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Good job Katie! We r all so proud of u! Keep the faith & keep rowing!

uncle norm February 23, 2010 at 11:30 pm

we are both watching your progress and checking your blogs every day. we feel honored to know such a brave person as you. we pray for your success and can’t wait for your landing back in the americas. Norm and marge O.

Sue February 24, 2010 at 12:25 am

I too have been following you each row of your trip. . . .I sure hope you get some good news coverage (local – News Herald) upon your landing. . . I cannot believe they’ve printed nothing since you left. . . . thanks heavens for your blog!! Row with the consistency you have been rowing, enjoy the birds and the lapping water against your boat. . . .praying the last quarter is as thrilling as the first three!!! Row safely, and cannot wait for your return to land and your remarkable accomplishment. You are truly amazing!

John Langdon February 24, 2010 at 1:36 am

As Dorie said in “Finding Nemo” – “just keep rowing, just keep rowing…”

Carol February 24, 2010 at 2:13 am

WOW – how awesome to hear chirping birds as a wake up call. My 1st graders LOVED it when you called your boat the “yellow banana” – they remembered when I wrote and told you they called Liv that name. Keep safe and God speed.

millerjr88 February 24, 2010 at 4:37 am

to Sue who metioned no coverage for Katie’s amazing journey in the News Herald. The Plain Dealer has updates on her progress as well messages from Katie at least once a week in the sports section. That is where I found info for the web site and blog.

Pauline February 24, 2010 at 8:16 am

Hello again Katie. 3/4 of the way now, wow you are doing just great. I keep checking your blog for updates and twitters and I think you are one amazing young lady. Would love to be there when you reach land. Our young solo sailor Jess Watson rounded Cape of Good Hope this morning (I follow her blog too) so she is now in the Indian Ocean and headed for Western Australia and then on to Sydney. God bless Katie and take good care of yourself.
Perth, Western Australia

me February 24, 2010 at 3:04 pm

You were on the front page of The News Herald today!

mostthingsonce February 24, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Hi Katie; I’m still with you. Steady as she goes.
Vancouver, Canada

Mary and Paulette February 25, 2010 at 12:01 am

This is incrediable that you are doing this!!!!! I’m in kayla’s class and we looked at your website today. It would be awesome if you came to our school!!!! Be safe and get home to your love ones.

me February 25, 2010 at 12:14 am

It’s a big day for you around here today. The News Herald this morning, now on the news!!! It was great hearing your voice. Did you take any pictures of those birds that were on your boat today? Keep rowing. We miss you :)

shawn and maria filo February 25, 2010 at 1:29 am

hello katie, we are praying for your safe completion of this challenge and look forward to some day meeting you. I am your mothers cousin . I have been telling my friends of your adventure and sending them to your website. Stay strong spiritually, mentally and physically.

colpolly February 25, 2010 at 4:24 am

Great job on being 3/4 of the way. We have been following you all the way. We love all the blogs & check your website several times a day. Just wanted to let you know that the paper in Ashtabula County had a nice article about you that I am sending to your mom. Also, a scrolling sign in downtown Geneva reads “Follow the GaREAT Girl Katie Spotz”. I stopped and took pictures of it and am sending that also to your mom. You are one amazing girl!! Keep up the great work and know that you are in our thoughts and prayers daily.

OurAsylum February 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Katie, you’ll never guess what happened today? When I clicked on “Where’s Katie?” on the rowforwater website, I found that your orange squiggly line had actually made it into the LETTERS that say “Cayenne!!” Stunning progress, don’tcha think? And I think perhaps Sue has missed an edition or two of the News-Herald, because I know I’ve seen your story in there at least a couple of times. Cool that yesterday you just happened to be front page news! :) I hope Cayenne has gallons of your favorite ice cream, ’cause you’re gonna be there in no time. Row, Katie. Row!

Mrs. Robinson February 25, 2010 at 12:36 pm


We continue to keep you in our prayers and talk about you to Paige every day – she is amazed at what you are doing. She asked if you have seen any whales? May God continue to grant you the mental energy to finish your task and may “Papa” watch over you to guide you to the finish…

bill white February 26, 2010 at 2:41 am

Katie: Crossroads just completed a 50-50 fund raising raffle for you, and you certainly have been on our minds and in our prayers. We are getting excited as you enter the last phase of your journey. As I listen to weather reports predicting over a foot of snow by tomorrow night it dawned on me that by the time you return the winter should be gone. Was that one of your motivations for making the trip when you did? To avoid another Northeastern Ohio winter? Not having the pleasure of having to cope with zero degree windchills or brushing snow off your car. Yet, I am guessing that on some of your hot days you would be happy to have some snow! Take care, Bill

KATIE HIGGINS February 26, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Dear Katie,
Do you really see this now or have to wait till you get home? Sorry, I am technology ignorant. I live in Mexico and heard your story on Rosie´s show today. As they mentioned on the show, it is amazing that the news stories are about Tiger Woods and his affairs when they should be talking about you. You really have come along way on your journey. This endeavor will give you more than you ever imagined. I know it must be difficult, but I hope you can enjoy the time alone and this experience that only a few people have ever had. I am impressed and hope that you see all the wonderful words of encouragement people send you. Keep going, just a little bit more.
You can come see us anytime if you want to come to Mexico.
Katie H. Merida, Mexico

wg_fanboy February 26, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Wow! You’ve average speed increased 50% during the last 4 or 5 days. Maybe the currents and/or winds are helping? At this pace, you’ll be in Cayenne in 10 or 11 days!

Brooke February 26, 2010 at 9:57 pm

My family and I listened to Rosie this morning and learned about you making this unbelievable trip! You truly are an inspiration to my whole family! We will be checking on your progress daily. Thank you for this unselfish journey! We are so excited to hear of your experiences on the ocean. Be safe and keep ROWING!

Lilianne February 27, 2010 at 1:37 am


Joyce February 27, 2010 at 2:07 am

Wow!! I SO admire you–and I thought I was adventurous!!! My prayers tonight will be for YOU!!! God bless you!!!

Jeff Boswell February 27, 2010 at 4:05 am

Great rowing! I would like to know at night what it is like rowing under the ocean of stars above your head? You must feel at one with the world and the power that mother nature offers you. Row with God!

Cinzia February 27, 2010 at 4:55 am

Hi Katie,
Just heard about your story this morning on the Rosie show. You are a star among the stars! Altruistic, brave, strong and wise — a beautiful young woman inside and out.
The Internet can be really quite extraordinary — we can follow you each day on this exciting journey — how amazing is that! We’re all hanging with you, but this is your gig Katie, yours alone, so work it good and enjoy each moment no matter how painful. And don’t forget to laugh out loud once in a while!
Watch out for those flying fish ;) and always, always listen to your inner voice — it has served you well!
Ciao Katie!

btaffee February 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I always love to read your posts. I llok for them whenever I get the chance. It is wonderful that the weather is good, and all is well.

Justin February 27, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Katie, you are unbelievable! I’m so happy for you. You’ve almost done it! And yet you’ve done so much already. I’m very proud of you, not only for the physical aspect of what you’re doing, but for mentally grinding it out. I’ve always admired that strong mind between your ears.
I remember when you first told me about wanting to do this, which seems like a long time ago, and thinking “the girls is nuts.” Not like One-Flew-Over-the-Cuckoo’s-Nest-nuts. Nuts like, yup, there’s Krazy Katie thinking about some off the wall endurance trip again….like rollerblading from Seattle to San Diego with a dog :) Oops, I didn’t mean to leak out your idea.
When you were about to depart and the news was covering your story, I got a call from my dad. He was on a business trip somewhere in New England and was out with some colleagues at a lounge or something. They were casually watching TV and your story came on. One of the guys was like “Jesus, can you believe that?” My dad starting laughing and said, “My son knows her. The biked across the country together.” Thought you’d get a kick out of hearing that.
I’ll continue to think about you and hope you’re safe. May the wind be your friend, my friend.

Anne February 27, 2010 at 6:22 pm

All I can say is “Keep on keeping on.” …and so glad you are in the Atlantic and not the Pacific!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jesse Friebur March 1, 2010 at 6:12 am


Hey, Beautiful! I’ve been intending to read this post since I received it via my phone, Love ! Ayayay I have been keeping busy : ).

I hope you’ve been able to get enough sleep; haha, you possess the patience of Mother Teresa, Love (Before, I sacrificed myself to be your personal “Shark Bait;” now I’m thinking official “Bird Swatter” would have been a practical offer, as well haha I’m just kidding!). LOL

I LOVE YOU, KATIE SPOTZ! Hehe I’m SO privileged to have you as a friend, and I hope (despite the inevitable both national AND international coverage that you have been and WILL CONTINUE to FURTHER RECEIVE once you return “home” a.k.a. to America lol) that we will be able to remain good friends.

Hehe wrap up this message to you: I always LOVE RECEIVING and (of course) READING your tweets! You are a wonderful person, Love! Yay for embarking upon (to re-iterate myself hehe) an incredibly INSPIRING act. WOOT WOOT WOOT WOOT WOOT for life’s adventures :D!

I miss you, Katie! I hope that you read this and can feel my LOVE FOR YOU!! I’ve been consistently posting your interesting updates on Facebook : ) ; everything you experience seems fascinating ! !

I miss you and love you!
I’m LOOKING FORWARD to SEEING YOU, again, Lover :D!!


Annabel W. March 1, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Wow! This is so cool! Do you have to anchor the boat at night? What happens when big waves occur? How do you occupy your mind all day? I think this is amazing!

colleen s March 1, 2010 at 11:40 pm

You are so cool! How do you sleep without beeing scared about the boat tipping?Do you just rowing all day without taking a break? That is so cool that you are doing that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great time rowing.

lexi W. March 2, 2010 at 12:50 am

You are awesome!!!!! How do you sleep? Do you ever see any, sharks? are you scared of them? Do you ever get scared out in the ocean all alone? You should name the birds that come, they look like they are not scared of you. What happens if there is a very big storm? Do you ever catch the fish? Do you sleep inside your boat? Or just where you row? Do you ever see any other boats? Have fun Rowing and good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

olbrscience March 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm

We are entering our map of your trek as a demonstration in our Annual Science Fair. You have given latitude and longitude meaning in a middle schooler’s understanding of our planet

Diane March 13, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Katie, I heard you on the Rosie O’Donnell show and have been following you ever since. I hope you feel all the support that is with you every row of the way!


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