Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Update from the Ocean by Bex via Sat Phone from Tara

Thursday, May 1, 2014

California to Hawaii Part 2 on May 15,2014 by Angela

California to Hawaii Part 2 on May 15,2014

By Angela Madsen 4/30/14

Tara Remington Website

So little time to go and I seemed to have booked every minute of it! Tara arrives  on the 13th bringing portions of her own rations.  I have discovered that  I can’t really pack food till she gets here…that will make the 13,14 and 15th kind of crazy. I am doing my best to get Public Relations work done but with so little help at this point I will just have to move on.  The isolation of ocean rowing starts long before you ever get in the boat. We always seem to manage and make it without much but how great would it be if? Sigh and shoulder shrug. I am hoping leaving from my hometown that we can have at least as much support as Annie Desalernos of Northwest Paralympic Sport Clubs & Foster Anderson of Shared Adventures and all who managed to muster up support In Santa Cruz last year. 


I do these rows half way across the world and this will be my 4th Ocean crossing. Tara Says the question she gets asked most is about the support boat and do we have anyone out there with us. Answer “No, we have each other” My number 1 question I get asked is “Why didn’t we here about this”? Believe me it’s not for our lack of effort! I’ll make one last effort and PR blast out and it will go where it goes. I don’t have the budget or time to do any more than that. 

Swoop's World
Long Beach Marine
I do want to thank Long Beach Marine Electronics for their contributions preparing and repairing the boat and the folks at the Abilities Expo, Swoopsworld Radio, Cathy Lynn DeBuono at LA Talk Radio, Long Beach Rowing Association for hosting our adaptive rowing program and any and all for sharing and following on www.Rowoflife.com  and Facebook page Military & Veteran Tribute Row.
Abilities Expo
 Adaptive or Para Rowing has changed my life! Through adaptive rowing I have gained incredible strength… to be able- and even to row across oceans. Over the years I have worked to provide many others the opportunity to better themselves through participation in adaptive rowing. We created a California Adaptive Rowing Program Go Fund Me page to raise money to purchase boats for the program which only has 2 boats that are operational and still floating. Unfortunately we can’t continue to operate without equipment.  I used to think rowing across oceans was the most difficult thing to do on the planet but really fundraising for a 501c3 when you are a little fish is way more difficult. The Big fish leave very little for the little fish to survive and its big fish eat little fish, doggie dog out here, survival of our rowing program is depending on my ability to fundraise.  If we don’t make it, what little we have will be given to another little fish or great cause.  The 20,000 goal is possible if everyone just put in 5 bucks… that is one pack of cigs or 1 drink. Go to  Go Fund Me--California Adaptive Rowing Program or if you are not comfortable donating online
mail check to CARP (California Adaptive Rowing Program) 3350 E. Seventh St., # 231 Long Beach, Calif. 90804. Thank you in advance for your support J

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Finding Spirit of Orlando by Angela 2013 07 13

Finding Spirit of Orlando

By Angela  July 13, 2013

debmole's Old Glory finds Spirit of Orlando album on Photobucket
The search for the boat began as soon as I made landfall on June 17, 2013. Deb and
I stopped everyplace between Santa Barbara (the point of extraction 80 miles west of Morro Bay)
and Long Beach sharing pictures of the boat and speaking with people. We wondered how far a small boat with a parachute or drag anchor deployed would drift before making landfall? When I was on the boat it was only drifting 6-9 miles a day in South East direction whilst on sea anchor however that was not in gf4 winds.

It had been three weeks since my rescue and we hadn’t had any news on Spirit of Orlando. We decided
to be more proactive and booked a Channel Islands whale watching tour with Island Packers to go out looking for my little boat on Sunday. Once there we gave out more Spirit of Orlando picture cards and talked to more people. We had a fun day but had no success finding my little boat. We took the coastal drive home and I kept a lookout using a pair of binoculars just hoping for a sighting. We were nearly home when we received a face book message from Denise Muller that stated the boat had been found in San Diego. I was opening my computer to go online and look at the message when I got a call from Catherine Miller who informed me that a long range fishing boat named Old Glory had found my ocean rowing boat. She stated that they were towing it in and that it would arrive at 6 am Monday morning. We quickly called the Navy lodge and booked a room for Sunday night. We then hooked up the trailer and were on our way to San Diego so that we could be there when the boat arrived in the morning.

We did not know what to expect as that was a considerable distance, hundreds of miles farther than expected. We got to San Diego at 1 Am and managed to get 3 hours of sleep before heading to the H&M Landing at 5:20 AM. All kinds of thoughts were running wildly through my head like what condition the boat would be in and will I have enough money to pay the boat that recovered Spirit of Orlando? According to Salvage laws they did not have to give me my boat and could ask whatever price they want for the boat. What if I did not have enough? I have Search and Recovery Insurance for myself and have Vessel Assist for recovery of the boat up to 100 miles but It has to be recovered by a specific Vessel Assist boat.  I would have to cover these costs myself.
Spirit of Orlando with Old Glory

When we arrived at the Marina there was a ABC 10 news van there and a lot of people getting ready to go out fishing. It was sunrise and daylight began penetrating the Marine layer. Our eyes began
searching the H&M Landing for the boat. First we followed the news crew power cord to the back of the building by the gangway that lead to the dock with all of the commercial fishing boats where the news reporter was busy shooting a piece so we went past them down the gangway. The tide was out and the ramp steep so I positioned myself at the top, lifted both front wheels up and proceeded to ride a wheelie all the way down the ramp. My back pack was hitting the anti-slip surface making a dragging noise that
got the attention of the reporter and the camera man. I turned to see where Deb was and was blinded by the light on the camera. I wondered if I should have approached them but I was in a hurry to get to the boat.

The boat Old Glory was almost to the end of the boat dock and was unloading the fishermen who were aboard for Spirit of Orlando’s recovery. Just down to the right on the dock before Old Glory was The Spirit of Orlando. I had not seen all of the damage done in the container ship incident as it happened at night and I was extracted from the boat in the cover of darkness. Other than broken antenna, broken all round navigation light and flag staff the boat looked good. There were some scrapes in the 3M wrap but I don’t think it even goes down to the gel coat. It was a very emotional reunion and I got teary eyed remembering how close a call that really was and how much worse that could have been. The reporter and cameraman made it down to the boat. I felt a little embarrassed being teary eyed and getting caught on camera doing it. I suppressed my tears and then did a brief interview with channel 10. I was distracted during the interview by my own anxiousness to get aboard Spirit of Orlando and as soon we were finished I transferred onto the boat and opened the cabin door. It was a little bit damp and the contents shifted all topsie turvie like the boat had possibly pitch poled and definitely had rolled over and self-righted at least once. Pitch polling is going bow over stern. The airlines statement “contents shift during flight” came to mind.

Deb told me the boat owner was ready to talk to me so I transferred back over to my chair and went to meet the Owner and the Skipper of Old Glory. They helped me aboard Old Glory and I sat inside the galley waiting anxiously as it was time to discuss business. I was so afraid I would not have enough money. Joe Philips, the owner operator of Old Glory told me how he supports veterans and how they take our wounded warriors out fishing and then he told me he was not going to charge me. I offered money to cover expenses and fuel and he and the crew refused to take any money. I was relieved and put off at the same time as I wanted to give them something .All I can do for now is express my gratitude. They were all so generous and kind. The skipper had looked up information about my boat and the tribute row and it is my understanding that all consented unanimously to the recovery of the Spirit of Orlando.

Thanks and appreciation to
H&M Landing
Catherine Miller
Old Glory
Owner operator Joe Philiips
Bobby Turner
Alex Centner
Richard McDonald
John Chustine
Tory Shane DeNuccio
Ray Kommel of Bakersfield
Lott Mason of San Clemente
Roy Rafferty of San Clemente
Ted Davidge of Laguna Nigel
Troy Regan of Dana Point
Brian Wilson of San Clemente
Juan Contreras of San Diego
Luis Godinaz of Chula Vista
Alfred Orozco of Southgate
John Nix of Garden Grove
Kathleen Barcelona Garden Grove
James Willis of Capistrano Beach
Mike Hatzidakis of Colton
Trent J Levinson of Desert Hot Springs
Richard Allen of San Diego
Glen Lee Borgia of San Clemente
Gaetono Legrande of Dana Point
Todd Lake of San Juan
Daniel Craig of San Clemente
Chad Psilopoulos of Oceanside
Brian Muecke of Rim Forest

Thank you all so much
Angela & your Old Glory catch of the day, Spirit Of Orlando

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Post Row. Santa Cruz to Waikiki by Angela 2013 06 18

Post Row. Santa Cruz to Waikiki
By Angela Madsen  06/18/13

At sea from 5:45 PM June 9 till 3:45 AM on June 17.Rowed a total of 172 miles

The row was scheduled to begin at noon but was delayed till June 9th at 5:45PM due to weather and high surf caused by a low pressure system which was on its way out. New weather reports and forecasts looked promising all the way through June 20. I made my way out of the Santa Cruz channel at 5:45 PM with only mild onshore NW winds and a relatively flat sea. When describing wind they use the direction it is blowing from so NW winds flow SE.  

I saw my first dolphin in the first hour as the sun was setting. The seas and winds remained calm through the night and the sky was clear enough to see many stars. I rowed all through the night making about 26 miles and rowed through the morning. The winds had begun to pick up so I put out my parachute anchor at 1 pm to take a 2 hour nap. Sleep did not come in this rest period, partly me just being so excited and partly because the boat wasn’t setting well. I exited the cabin to the sounds of sea lions playing which was all good till I saw what they were playing with. They had collapsed my para anchor and were playing ball with the buoy I had attached to the rig. They saw me come out of the cabin and stopped first looking at each other, then at me and then at each other again like mischievous children. That would completely explain the oddities of the behavior of my boat on sea anchor that first time. I retrieved my para anchor and continued rowing increasing my distance from land and making the most miles west I would see the entire row. 

As the sun was setting another low pressure system was moving in producing increases in NW winds and in the size of the waves. It was as if the opportunity of good weather to begin my row was like the eye of the storm. I placed my sea anchor out when it became un row-able and thought about the day’s events and all of the marine life I had seen in just one day of rowing. It began with the sea lions and a killer whale charging toward my boat a short time later followed by many dolphins. Then as I was rowing a Blue whale and her calf surfaced right beside my boat. I had to pull in my oar to avoid contact. They left me and headed in closer to shore possibly to avoid the killer whales. Orcas like to go after the whale calves. I saw some interesting looking jellyfish floating by and thought about Diane Nyad who swims oceans and has encounters with jelly fish and I was visited by 3 black tip sharks. Only the killer whales exhibited aggressive behavior. I had seen 2 killer whales on the GB row that exhibited the same behavior. They charge toward the boat at rates of speed capable of pulling a water skier with their huge dorsal fins broaching the surface the entire time. They get just up to the boat like they will ram you and then disappear. 

The NOAA weather channel on the VHF radio described this new low pressure system and small craft and high wind and sea advisories. I set my sleep alarm for 2 hours so I could check for ship traffic knowing there was little chance I would be rowing again anytime soon. I checked traffic every two hours through the night and as promised the NW winds had reached 25 kts with 33-39 kt gusts. The seas were at about 15 ft with an additional 4-5 foot wind swell so sets topped off about 20-25 ft. I remained on sea anchor all day and another night. Checking the lines first light I noticed that the anchor bridal lines had chafed and broken and the only line holding my sea anchor on was the one retrieval line I had put on as an assistive device to help bring the bridal thimble or anchor line attachment point back to the boat. The retrieval line which runs all the way out to the parachute anchor had come undone. Guessing those playful sea lions had broken the bite on my Bolin knot and it came undone during the night. I had no way to collapse and retrieve my parachute anchor to repair the anchor line fixation points. This was serious as I was about to lose my 9 foot diameter parachute anchor which is an extremely important piece of storm kit.

I also brought a 6 ft diameter anchor with a much shorter line as a backup. I managed to get about 170 foot of line back in the boat and parachute within 15 foot of my boat but could get it no closer. I then took the small anchor and connected it to the rear of my boat deploying it with 50 ft of line. As it opened it swung my boat around to a point where I could reach the other anchor. I had successfully rescued my anchor but sacrificed the smaller less important one as I did not have time to place a retrieval line on it when I deployed it. Pulling a fully laden 1200 pound boat up to a 6 diameter parachute anchor in 25-30 mph winds would be easier than the larger diameter para anchor but I figured I would solve that problem later. The boat was riding ok on the smaller one for the time being. It did get calm enough for me to row again and I figured out how to collapse the chute by sending a carabineer down the anchor line that was bigger than the swivel shackle. It went over the connectors and worked its way down collapsing the chute. Then it came in easy. I had managed to save both anchors. In the process I had injured my right knee. It locked up and has swollen and will not straighten. It never got calm enough for me to repair the bridal or for me to crawl out onto the bow and make a connection with the bow tow eye located at the front of the boat. My thought was If I had too, in an emergency, I could use the one located at the rear as I could connect it from my cabin by accessing it through the hatch and that I could make these repairs as well as doing my personal admin and laundry when I got some better conditions at sea. 

For all of my rowing, in the conditions I could make no west but could only go south. I expected to go a bit south and more SW and almost do a course that resembled a Nike swoosh but it was not to be. I had to take the foot stretchers out because of my knee and try to secure myself while rowing with my other leg. I looked at the course and how I could only go SE in these conditions, took into consideration my knee injury and my distance from land. I was 80.7 miles from land. I decided to Row to Los Angeles and reschedule the Hawaii row. I changed my course and was rowing SE. I did not know about the new forecast at this time. The seas once again were getting bigger and the winds were just howling. I looked at my last 2 hours rowing and had noticed I had gone more west while rowing SE. maybe current running west? Could I possibly make it to Hawaii if I now could somehow go west or had I gone too far south? What is the weather forecast? I turned on the VHF and listened to the forecasts of Gale Force winds for my location and heavy seas. This basically means conditions twice as big and bad as what I had been battling for the previous 5 days for the next 5 days. There is no question now, only the realization that I can neither row to Hawaii or LA in what is coming my way and staying on the boat will jeopardize myself or anyone who may have to be involved in a last minute rescue. I called the coast guard to apprise them of my situation and ask for their recommendation and then we coordinated rescue from that point forward.

A container ship MOT Mission was in my area and dispatched to pick me up. When the ship arrived they determined that they could not dispatch their little boat in the conditions and that they would attempt a direct pick up from the side bay door 15 ft up on the container ship and that this would occur while container ship was underway. He instructed me to get up on deck and I was in process of exiting the cabin when the massive container ship did a drive by along my port side while throwing life rings and lowering a basket while yelling jump JUMP. I could not jump and my bum knee that kept me half in the cabin and not on the deck in time to try to jump probably saved my life. The sounds of the voices yelling jump were no longer audible as the sounds of my antenna, navigation light and the side and top of my boat scraping along the hull of this huge vessel as it is being sucked underneath its hull at the stern was all I could here. I am looking up at the hull of the ship atop my little boat and across to the propeller and I get back in my cabin closing the hatch door to ride out what was coming next. Propeller wash. I was sucked up, run over by a container ship and spit out the back. Foamy and turbulent the water glowed a sea foam greenish color that seemed to give off its own amazing light. After the turbulent ride, darkness had settled and with no daylight left the giant spotlights on the ship were turned on and they were panning the sea looking for me. They contacted me on the radio about making another pass. After being at sea 7 days and battling bad weather for the last 5 while I was out on the deck waiting, hanging on, getting slammed by 54 degree water waves in 55 degree outside temps I thought about what I had just gone through and went back into my cabin. I hailed the ship on the radio and waved him off of any further rescue attempts. Anyone in my position would not have been physically capable of what was required. The ship’s Captain wanted to rescue me as much as I wanted to row to Hawaii so he was not happy to leave me in my little boat but I thought it best and I stuck to my guns. I thanked him for his time and effort and told both he and the coast guard that I was going to warm up, go to sleep and assess my situation further in the morning. I was going to sleep on it. At about 2:45 AM the Coast Guard called me and told me they would have a helicopter to my location in about an hour. They arrived and rescue swimmer was deployed. I made sure to leave the Sea me and navigation light on the Spirit of Orlando to aide in recovery of the boat. The swimmer got back in the water first then I joined him the water. He swam us over to the basket, he placed me in the basket and I was raised up into the Helicopter. It was a text book Sea rescue. I phoned Deb and told her I would be at the Santa Barbara Airport where she met me with some dry cloths and my wheelchair. We spent the rest of the day on the drive back stopping at vessel assist in Ventura who told us it would be impossible to go out and get the boat in the weather that was coming and know way to know where to look after the blow. We stopped at military installations and ports and harbors asking them to look out and contact us if they spot the boat.  We are on standby to recover the boat, once recovered, I will reschedule the row. 


Spirit of Orlando..Missing at Sea
 Call 562-505-4157 with Lat and Long last spotted at


RowofLife Journey-YouTube Video by Sageweb