Woman paddles across Pacific

August 15, 2007 12:00 am
 (Photos by Rick Postal and Michele Thomas/ Illustration by Kyle Curtis).
(Photos by Rick Postal and Michele Thomas/ Illustration by Kyle Curtis).

By Cornelia de Bruin

Triplicate staff writer

Heading to Australia one stroke at a time and using her personal "Pigtail Power" to buoy herself up psychologically, Roz Savage remains in sight of land on day four of her trans-Pacific solo row.

Savage refers to drawing from her previous experiences rowing the Atlantic Ocean solo as Pigtail Power because she only wears her hair in braids when she is at sea.

"Like Samson with his long hair, I am stronger when I'm in pigtail mode," she wrote in her Tuesday blog message.

The 39-year-old Oxford law graduate is taking on the Pacific Ocean to spread an environmental message. In her message on the environment, she notes that she's not trying to save the planet.

"The planet does not need saving—it will be just fine, in several million years," she wrote on her Website, rozsavage.com. "Even though our effects on the planet appear to be catastrophic, it is ourselves that we are harming. The Earth will continue. We may not."

Savage has allied herself with the Blue Frontier Campaign, which bills itself as a "seaweed efforts" (marine grassroots), a bottom-up effort to involve citizen-activists into national decisions that will impact oceans.

She promotes the organization's book "50 ways to

Save the Ocean."

"I believe in ‘inter-being'—that our every word, every action, has consequences and effects far beyond what we will ever know," she states in her Message on the Environment.

She believes in teaching others to be more environmentally conscious by showing them how through her own actions.

"If I throw this plastic bag into the river, might it end up in the sea, in the stomach of an albatross, inflicting a slow and painful death?" she asks. "If I do the right thing ... if I take my own re-useable bag—might someone else notice my choice and decide to do the same."

Savage will row near the edge of an area she calls the North Pacific Garbage Patch, a place where plastic collects because of the prevailing ocean and wind currents. She says it's "disgusting."

"We're so proud of her as a company," Savage's publicist Nicole Bilodeau said.

Bilodeau, a public relations senior account executive with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, said the Brocade software company is Savage's title sponsor.

Brocade is based in the silicon valley and sells computer networking systems. Part of its mission is to reduce the power its products consume.

"Our sponsorship of Roz is just another way in which we hope to contribute to this vital cause," information on the company's Website states. "By sponsoring Roz' efforts, we hope to inspire others to take on the challenge of protecting our environment, drawing upon her courage and determination."

As she rows her 24-foot boat "Brocade" through the first 100 miles of the trip, Savage is in the most dangerous part of her journey. Her concerns include "land, ships and storms, in that order."

She intends to keep her own goals foremost: putting "a human face" on the problem of ocean pollution.

One stroke at a time, with her personal "Pigtail Power" ally, she is rowing the 7,268-mile Downhill Run to Cairns, Australia via Hawaii and Tuvalu.