Day 66 — Ahoy matey (friend or foe?)

by Katie on March 9, 2010

Katie ... ready to fight!

Today was one of the few days where I relished in my decision to wear clothes. Let me take a step back…

First: no, I’m not an exhibitionist, but salt has a way of making any fabric rough. With rowing and moving my entire body all day, chafing can be prevented by not wearing anything. So, I was rowing along and over my shoulder … a boat.

Not a sail-boat or a freighter; I’m not really sure what kind of boat it was, but as long as it’s not a big ship I’m generally safe. As it came nearer, I was struggling to decide whether to grab a gift or a weapon, so I stuck with the camera instead. The initial excitement was replaced slightly by fear when I spotted 10 tanned men hanging over the side of the boat.

After a greeting, I realised there was a language barrier between us, but I could understand “Venezuela” and they “Guyana”. One man asked “Problem?” and I shook my head. A few minutes of awkward stares followed as we realised that was all we could do, so I kept rowing. After 30 or 40 yards, I noticed a couple of dolphins swam by, either curious about our encounter or my own personal oceanic bodyguards.

A few hours passed, and there it was again: the same boat. All sorts of thoughts ran through my head, thinking they were back after thoroughly devising a plan of attack. You never know!

Caught off-guard the first time, I scrambled for any tools, flares and the EPIRB. As they came near I realised it was a different boat, yet still a fishing boat from Venezuela. We had the same “Guyana … Venezuela” exchange and I only understood the repeated “loca, loca, loca”.

Although I hadn’t seen humans in over two months, they seemed much more interested in me than I was in them. One man was either having a heart attack or trying to flirt with me by pounding on his heart.

They think I’m the crazy one?!

[Katie is having difficulty with the connection between her laptop and satellite phone, so I've had to transcribe this from a voicemail message. That also explains the photo being an old one. I'm a little concerned she might kill me when she sees which one I've used. Ah well, I'm feeling brave!]


Kelly Nothstein March 9, 2010 at 8:13 pm

She cracks me up!!!! Oh boy Sam, she is going to LOVE that pic!!! It’s perfect!! I hope she did get some pics of the boys though!!
What ever are we ‘followers’ going to do when this is over ?????

rwkallock March 9, 2010 at 8:15 pm

A colorful message non the less. Thanks for keeping the information flowing despite hardware problems which we are all glad didn’t happen earlier.

David March 9, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Katie…our family has been checking on you every day. We are pulling for you and hope you have a safe completion of your voyage.

Mike D March 9, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Hello Katie!

He He! They’re probably on their VHF radio’s (or whatever) telling all of their fishermen buddies “Hey, you gotta check out this crazy (but cute) white chick, row’n a funny looking little yellow boat, followed along by her dolphin pals, hundreds of miles out at sea!”

“Aw, stop telling mermaid stories out of sea school” one of them was heard to say over the radio!

Just give’em the old (universal) thumbs up and a wave; act like your talking on your sat phone, and row on about your business. You’ll be fine. :D

@ Sam- Keep up the good work!

tharris March 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Hi Katie! My father (a member of the Warren Wilson staff and previous poster “dharris”) shared your adventure with me a couple of weeks ago. What an amazing thing you are doing! Not only is the physical adventure incredible, but your dedication to raising awareness and resources for clean drinking water is essential and needed. You make physical fitness exciting (which is something that is very important these days) and as another young woman in her twenties, I think I speak for most when I say how big of an inspiration you are. Thanks for sharing your story!
If and/or when you come to speak at Warren Wilson, we’ll be there! Wishing you good luck for the remaining bit of the adventure, and be safe!
- Tye

Jill Lancaster March 9, 2010 at 9:13 pm

I love the picture, thanks Sam. Katie I always look forward to reading your updates, you are so close Katie!!

Gloria March 9, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Real Comic relief aft r hours and hours of Comedians on tape must still have been a joy. It seems funny, but also Awkward, of course, just as it must have been awkward to see any one at all for so long.

As I look at the satellite (and Katie, You look so close to land), I wonder if you can see it? Or if, you really can smell it, since for so many days you have been so far from land. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if you actually have developed the ability to smell land, much it would seem, like your recent compatriots, the birds the fish and the dolphin, not to mention the Albatross.
Land, Ho!

Nick March 9, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Hey, I don’t know Katie, but I had to post here. You go Girl!! All these kids in Mentor and Lake County do not aspire to do anything, and here you are making us proud. Keep following your dreams and who knows what else you can accomplish. I know your reaching the tail end of your voyage, but I wish you the best of luck!! Keep up the good work!!!

OurAsylum March 9, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Brilliant Mike D! “Act like you’re talking on your sat phone.” Wish I’d have thought of it to say. Thanks to Sam AND Mike D for helping to keep sweet Katie safe.
Row, Katie. Row!

Lindsey Baur March 9, 2010 at 9:48 pm

I would have been so excited to see humans!! At the same time i would be confused on how to feel. I would probably be a little nervous about if they were going to attack or not. I dont know how you can last this long by yourself without anyone to talk to. Great job!!

Katy March 9, 2010 at 9:58 pm

I can totally relate to this post! It must have been so joyful to see human beings, but yet so terrifying because she is so vulnerable out there in so many ways. What a great story, though. So glad she was dressed today :)

Sophia S March 9, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Wow! This must fill you with lot’s of hope of getting close to land if there are locals out on the waters! I think I would have just jumped out of my boat and tried to talk to them in any possible ways! I hope you have something to protect yourself with just in case you meet any lunatics as you get closer to land! Can’t wait to here from you again.
Sophia S

nidhi March 10, 2010 at 12:20 am

Wow! It must have been so exiting for you to actually see other people even if they didn’t speak the same language as you ! You must be very lonely after all that time at sea by yourself. I know that this encounter would have filled you with hope that you would probably be reaching land soon. I hope that you have a safe ” rest of the trip” and good luck!

Annabel W. March 10, 2010 at 12:24 am

I still can’t believe you are doing this! Its really cool you finally met humans! I think I would be freaked out if there was a boat close to me that can possibly attack! I think it was a great idea that you switched your route to a longer way rather than a life-threatening route. I also think it is great that you kept your goal and are accomplishing more than it!
Best luck,
Annabel (MICDS)

Janet and Tom March 10, 2010 at 12:39 am

love your stories. Watching your progress everyday, you are truly remarkable

Tess H March 10, 2010 at 3:32 am

Hi Katie!!! Keep up the good work!!! Wow thats an interesting story!!! That must have been scary to think about if they were going to attack you. About how many boats do you think you see each day? I think it is very amazing how you made a goal and are sticking to it. You must have a lot of drive! What type of animal do you see when you are rowing? I was also wondering what you do to train for such a big journey?
Good Luck,
Tess H.

Ellen Wright March 10, 2010 at 3:58 am

Dear Katie,
Thats… interesting. :) I’m not quiet sure about the whole seizure/fisting pumping thing. I wonder what they were doing? You must have been excited to see other humans. I’d get tired of just seeing dolphins. You are so close! Keep it up Katie. You’ll be home soon!

Maureen March 10, 2010 at 10:39 am

Awesome endeavor, Katie! Guyana – Land of Many Waters is a fitting place to end your journey, and I know Guyanese will consider themselves honored to receive you. All the best, and stay safe!

Heidi March 10, 2010 at 11:46 am

Hi Katie!
I check on your progress daily. You are an
inspiration to all.
Go Katie!!
Best of luck to you.
Heidi NY,NY

Mike D March 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Hello Katie!

@ Gloria- March 10, 2010 at 3:47 am
Aw, thanks Gloria. Your tributes to Katie via your blog are a real honor (and help) to her. (BTW, love your blog!)

@ OurAsylum- March 9, 2010 at 9:42 pm
Thanks for the mention!

Help spread the word – CLEAN WATER FOR EVERYONE!

Row. But my body’s aching…
Row. And the sun keeps baking…
Row. But the world has not forsakeeeeeen me…

Stay Safe Katie

Paulineb March 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Wow Katie, my heart was in my mouth when I read your latest blog. I would have been packing myself (Aussie term for scared!). Keep safe sweet girl you are an inspiration and I am constantly checking on you and your position. I am getting excited as you look so close to land. Looking forward to seeing the pics of you finally reaching land. By the way thank you for the pics I am loving them. Good night and God bless from Aussieland. xxxx
Perth, Western Australia.

ps @ Sam: thank you, great work. Love the pic today but don’t know if Katie will agree….lol.

@ Mike D: Loved your suggestions. Brilliant.

chloe zimmerman March 10, 2010 at 3:09 pm

I am completely amazed! I am so happy that you finally saw humans! It sounds like it might be strange and uncomfortable. But at the same time almost a relief! i hope you are having fun on your journey! I hope you have the best of luck!

elli March 10, 2010 at 3:20 pm

oh Sam – you could be in trouble! But thank you so much for helping Katie share her adventures with all of us! Her continuing sense of humor is just amazing to me! I have the feeling the guy was flirting with her rather than having a heart attack!!!!!!!!!!!


Beth Jukuri March 10, 2010 at 10:41 pm

It is very distrubing that Humans could be a bigger threat if they act ‘un-human’ like. Nature typically can be trusted to do what nature does. Man is a whole different species.

Listen to your body, it will never lie!

Mike D March 11, 2010 at 12:31 am

You… … … You and me…
You know sometimes we have to sweat… sweat and strain…
Our bodies are all aching… they’re racked, with a whole lot a pain…

I get weary… … and sooooo sick of trying…
I’m tired of living… … and afraaaaaid of dying…

But not our Katie…
She just keeps rooooow’n…
Row’n alooooong…

Nah, I haven’t been drinking. I was just listening to the song, “Old Man River” and it sorta got stuck in my head. I guess you had to hear it :-\

Katie- Just keep row’n along!

P.S. Sometimes my internal censor malfunctions and you get stuck with a bizarre post, like this one… Sorry

Jackie G March 11, 2010 at 3:01 am

I want a photo of your arms! Your muscles must be chiseled to the utmost at this point! That’s why those guys didn’t mess with you!
Waiting for landfall!
- Jackie G from Blue Planet Run

Tony Marciniec March 12, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Attagirl! Love ya for the grit and gumption! The dolphins will see you though thick and thin. Keep going lass, you make us old sea hounds thirsty for more adventure. I’m pouring a libation to Neptune to keep you safe and sound!!

seung dong March 15, 2010 at 8:54 am

my name is seung dong sun.
i’m from korea
korea Internet news reports, leave posts
veryvery Congratulations
Please email reply

byjun March 15, 2010 at 11:29 am


dongweon Kim March 15, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Great Greate I am korean i am a adult and you?

kiwi-park March 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm

my name is kiwi-park
i’m from korea

you powerful woman

good luck!

donna March 16, 2010 at 4:10 am

I can’t believe your story…. i’ve spent the last two hours reading about you and looking at your pictures…. you are so unreal. what an amazingly strong and very brave person you are!

congratulations to you for completing such a journey.

Ps… did you encounter any pirate ships out at sea? i have a million questions like that.

Rob Thadumas March 16, 2010 at 4:36 am

Congratulations Katie! I wish I had heard about your adventure soon enough to have joined in the effort to cheer you along. I can’t imagine what the solution would be when it comes to preventing yourself from being run over by larger vessels. I’m guessing you just crossed your fingers and rolled the dice for 70 days. I’m glad that worked. Maybe next time(ha,ha..)you can borrow a U.S. military strategy from years ago..mount huge speakers somewhere and blast out Nancy Sinatra’s,”These Boots Are Made For Walking,” all night long. Good work Sam!

BiQi March 17, 2010 at 3:23 am

I am from China,you deserve my respect?

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