Big Blue Row Slide Show

Friday, January 7, 2011

2010 01 07—Mini Blog By Aleksa

010 01 07—Mini Blog By Aleksa
Via Facebook

hungover as all hell. Things I learned last night - Aussies and "ammercans" should not drink together. scotch and shady liquor from the moroccan walmart and beer do not mix. Things we taught - how to shotgun beer. I may also be married to Ryan by the Moroccan paralympic team. Oh lord let me be able to eat by the end of the day.....
Aleksa Klimas-Mikalauskas

2010 01 06 Blog by Margaret

2010 01 06  Blog by Margaret

But rowing an ocean is never that simple. You have to get to the start line first. We had hoped to leave on Saturday but today the authorities threw a spanner in the works and said we would need 48hrs to turn around some sort of permit to get the boat out on the water. On a plus note the bag containing survival suits which was lost in the New York blizzard ‘travel chaos’ may not have turned up but an appeal on US TV has led to replacements being donated which are due to arrive by DHL tomorrow. With a crew of 16 there is a lot to think about and I already find myself main list maker, party planner, tequila buyer and bestower of ocean rowing advice. Suits me! The party has just started so I better put down my laptop and get going. Winds looking good for imminent departure. Can’t wait to get going.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 01 05 RATS by Angela Madsen

2011 01 05 RATS by Angela Madsen

Yesterday we arrived at the boat and began the chore of food preparation. I opened my box to find rats had ravaged it and I had lost 20 days of my food supply. Forty meals at about $5.00 a pop. Liz lost about six meals. I was so angry I had to go outside the gate of the boat yard and let out a big yell. What a waste. Deb and I paid a great deal of money to have a space big enough to sort the food at the house but the authorities would not allow us to move food from the boat to the house so our grand plan was offended and extra costs incurred to us by customs and port authorities. Last night we loaded the food onto the boat and sealed it up. We cannot afford any more loss of provisions as there is no place to purchase or replace expedition food here.

They could make it easy for us here because we do not fall into pre-established category so they are making the rules. I do not think we have enough money to make it go our way and they do not see past our pocketbooks into the future. Ocean rowers can contribute greatly to their economy in the future as we have this project. Future ocean rowers will not choose to come here when made aware of these circumstances. It would be better for them in the long run to welcome us and ensure our safety and success of our rowing projects. There are other places in the world to row from. They may have us here now but never again. I will take my business elsewhere.
Still no sign of my wheelchair and negative symptoms of life without it are becoming evident with more back, shoulder and wrist pain. The crew are trying to help me out as much as possible and do not mind pushing me around nearly as much as I do. Accepting assistance is a difficult thing for me.
We leave the boathouse at dark so avoiding all of the obstacles becomes more difficult.  Abrupt stopping when hitting an obstacle can injure the person pushing and can eject me from the wheelchair. We are trying to be cautionary as any injury now could be detrimental to the success of the project.  The wheelchair footplates keep falling off and the wheel has fallen off once. Cabbies still don’t want to give me rides and want to charge more money.  I have to use cabs because I cannot possibly push this chair where I need to go and I don’t go in cabs alone since being robbed.  Just 3 more days. 3 MORE DAYS. 
The weather reports are looking good, progress with boat is good, progress with food is good. So far we are on schedule for Jan 8 departure.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 01 03 Agadir by Angela

2011 01 03 Agadir by Angela

All of the crew have their own stories about this place , some good, some bad. Its not all bad here. They have a lovely surf beach. Some people are being helpful and some only helpful for money or dh. They hold things hostage for money so even if there is an agreed price it will always be renegotiated. The boat has cost more money, the crane cost more money. Everything about this has cost more and added more difficulty to the project.
It has been eight days now since they chose not to bring me my wheelchair and subsequently lost it at JFK terminal  1.  We are debating as to whether or not to place a Royal Air Moroc decal on the boat. David had spoke to them about waiving luggage overages for the  crew and that was to be a value equal to minimum sponsor package but no one on the crew received luggage overage waiver except David which does not make it to the level of sponsorship required. So they are just like everyone else in the world and want something for nothing and we are still not sure who is responsible for the lost luggage and lost wheelchair.  Searching for both and being without is being positively dealt with by the crew who are trying to make other arrangements to get the rowing kit items that they will need on the boat.
The loss of my wheelchair was never due to weather or blizzard. It would not be lost if they had not refused to put a gate check tag on it and refused to bring it to me when they took me off the plane. When they knew we were not going, they had employees there who could have easily brought it to me. Instead, they chose to tell me to “suck it up”
I think I have done a fabulous job of Sucking it up but as it has been 8 days I can honestly say they have not done so well at doing their part. It does not really matter the who’s, whens and whys of it all or who is at fault, it’s a matter of who will be the most competent at finding it and getting it to me.
Airport wheelchairs are not made for independent use any place in the world. It is better than not having a chair at all but I have to allow someone to push me, something that is extremely difficult for me. I know the time will come when I will need assistance, but this is not the time!
 Here in Morocco the taxi drivers won’t pick you up in a chair. A couple of times we got in the cab while the drivers were taking payment by previous fare and their backs were turned. I took my suitcase with boat kit to the boat unloaded it and was returning to the apartment with empty bags. One of my crew haled the cab then the cab driver began protesting as he saw that I was the passenger, then he complained about the luggage. He refused to turn on the meter and wanted an agreed upon fare because of the wheelchair and luggage so Sylvain who speaks French arranged price of 25 dh. I was in cab, crappy chair on top, bags inside- no room for anyone to go with me, so I go alone.  Made it up the road out of eyesight of my crew and the cab driver pulled over and asked me for all the money I had in my hand as if he would dump me if I did not make that advanced payment of 40dh. I thought he would give me change of 15dh when I got to the apartment.
At the apartment Deb, Liz and Aleksa  got the luggage and the cabbie made a hand gesture at me and drove off. I have not been in a cab since. If I had my wheelchair I would be able to push to the other side of the port safely. It is what it is.
David is making a lot of progress with the boat and the crew is working on food as planned. We hope to be putting the boat in the water on Wednesday. Logistically our apartment is located at the Marina so it will be much easier for me to access and once I am on the boat, all will be well with the world. The Veterans Affairs Department had been arranging for me to get a new wheelchair and I don’t bring my wheelchair on the boat just to sit and row so it will all be ok. I worry more that the crew won’t get luggage items that they need on the boat.
It will be ok and we will row on the 8th hopefully with no delays

2011 01 01 Margaret’s Interview About Big Blue Row

2011 01 01 Margaret’s Interview About Big Blue Row

Interview by Jon Amtrup of Explorersweb

2010 12 30—Blog By Margaret

2010 12 30—Blog By Margaret

On Christmas Eve I received an email saying simply “do you still want to row?” Over the course of the skipper’s seemingly endless and very fraught week-long journey through New York blizzards and via Casablanca (which resulted in a loss of power to all of her communications equipment) I finally realised that the offer of a seat on the 16-man Atlantic Ocean rowing speed record attempt crew departing from Morocco on the 8th of January was for real and so of course I said yes. Having failed to gain an official record as first Australian woman to row an ocean in 2007/2008 when we were assisted I figured it’s high time I gave it another go! The skipper, Angela Madsen, was amongst my oppo in the last race. She has since become a good friend and I couldn’t think of anyone better to be on a boat with. We’ll be joined by a largely North American crew so if I end up with some sort of weird Aussie/Brit/Yankee accent you can blame them (at least in part). I will keep you all updated on progress as I go along. So far my friends have really stepped up to the plate and the support has been absolutely incredible. I know it will continue throughout the journey and I couldn’t do it without the countless people who are rallying around helping me get ready. Thank you to all of them.

2010 12 25—Blog by Ryan

2010 12 25—Blog by Ryan

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
-Mark Twain-

As my departure nears and I've said goodbye to most of my friends I'm embracing my last couple days with family.  The frenzy of email communication between the crew has slowed as we all prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally for departure.  This "throwing off of the bowlines" is easier for some than other I am sure.  I have had moments of anxiety, a couple creepy dreams, and plenty of times when I stopped myself from thinking about all the bad things out of my control that could possibly happen.  We've recently lost one crew member who was hit by a sliding car while walking to the store (lost form the crew, not life).  She broke her wrist, an injury just bad enough that she has no choice but to forgo the expedition and while our hearts go out to Anne, it's reminded the rest of us what a fragile balance we walk.  This re-affirms my fears and is the reason I've not done much mountain biking or other 'high risk' activities.  But truth be told I do realize the most dangerous thing I could do, besides row across an ocean or something, is to drive a car.  It's the simple living of our everyday lives that hold lots of possibilities for danger.

At this point anxious anticipation had drowned out my fears and the only negative emotions still pulling on me are those of separation.  This attitude carries an air of fatalism, even if it's just my anticipation of longing.  I've settled my estate, and mostly cleaned up my room and other effects just in case.  Truth be told that leaving some things on my to-do list actually makes me feel better; drawing me away from thinking in such final capacities as they give me something to anticipate beyond this most immediate adventure.  I will be happy as a mouse in a cheese factory when I return but for now I'm just looking forward to finally getting on with this trip.

Small bonus, I made the front page of the sports section:

2010 12 17—TransPac Solo Row Announcement by Angela

2010 12 17—TransPac Solo Row Announcement by Angela
from RowofLife

My Name is Angela Madsen and I am going to row a solo ocean rowing boat with no support boat from California to Hawaii.  What this means is that I will stay on my little boat the entire time, no one will give me any food or water, I will have to have enough provisions on board to sustain my life for as long as the journey takes.  I will row as many hours a day as I possibly can and will try not to drift too far off course while I sleep.  The time established by female soloist Roz Savage is 99 days.   I am hiring a professional project manager, Tony Humphrey to facilitate the purchase, shipping and outfitting of a solo rowing boat as well as assisting with fundraising and providing 24/7 land support and weather during my crossing.   I will start this rowing expedition Memorial Day weekend, May 30, 2011 from Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, California and will be rowing 2,551 miles to USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii as a tribute to Veterans and Service Men and Women who have lost their lives or like myself, who have been injured in the Line of Duty.

I always say Situation and circumstance should never be allowed to dictate who we are and what we will be able to achieve in our lifetime.  Allowing situation and circumstance to oppress us is a choice.  I dream big and set goals for myself realizing possibilities and potential for success, being hopeful and willing to do what is necessary to achieve those goals.  When I first learned of the sport of Ocean Rowing I was drawn to it. I knew I was going to row an ocean. I did not allow the situation of being a woman and a paraplegic stop me. I just had to work harder and work differently to achieve my goals.

My current project can be followed on   I was planning my solo row when this crew approached me a few months ago and asked me to skipper their boat across the Atlantic in January of 2011, they clearly needed help so I agreed to go with their project. I have decided that rather than postpone my solo project, I can try to do both.  It is an ambitious plan but I am a paraplegic who rows across oceans.  It seems rather normal to me.  I don't have a lot of time to go out and find a sponsor so if through networking someone can help connect my team with a perfect partner to sponsor a first ever paraplegic to row across an ocean then I would be eternally grateful.  I do have a fantastic story. On my first crossing I could not find sponsors because no one believed a paraplegic could do it. Now all anyone has to do is check my resume of rowing achievements on

To negotiate sponsorship package contact team Project Managers:
Tony Humphreys
Ocean Pursuits  

Debbie Moeller  (661)363-3864

Angela Madsen, Website E-mail (562)434-8334 cell (562)505-4157

   To support my individual fund raising Donate-Pay Pal on website or send check to The California Adaptive Rowing Program, 3350 E. Seventh St., # 231 Long Beach, Calif. 90804. Donations should include the words "PARA SOLO" in the memo box of the check. I am also seeking literary agent and publisher as completion of the edit process for my book is at hand.

Thanks for your consideration,
Angela Madsen
California Adaptive Rowing Programs

Angela and Roz Savage

2010 12 17 Ducks on a Pond by Angela