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Briton Set for Pacific Solo Odyssey to Highlight Warming

A British woman will be aiming to raise awareness of maritime pollution and secure a place in history when she sets out on a solo row across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco on Thursday.

Roz Savage, 38, has already traversed the Atlantic Ocean in her lightweight 24-foot (seven meter) silver rowing boat and is now attempting a far greater challenge, a 6,700-mile (10,800 kilometer) trek across the vast expanse of the Pacific.

Savage, who is due to depart from under the Golden Gate Bridge, will stop off in Hawaii and the South Pacific island of Tuvalu before finally ending in Australia.

Savage said she was seeking to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific to draw attention to oceanic pollution.

"I want to shock people out of their complacency," said Savage. "We humans have a real inability to see past the immediate."

She will be steering far south of the North Pacific Gyre, sometimes called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a 13 million square mile (34 million square kilometer) clockwise whirlpool of ocean trash.

Savage will average roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) of rowing daily.

In the Atlantic she gained 42 miles (67 kilometers) on her best day, and lost 12 miles (20 kilometers) on her worst.

"I found that the best indicator of my mood would be the number of miles I covered in a day," she said. "But I learned not to take the weather personally and got into a Zen acceptance stage."

An uncooperative water filtration device delayed her San Francisco launch. If the water maker gets temperamental in the open seas, Savage will spend four hours daily working a hand pump.

She is packing her craft with three months worth of freeze-dried food, snack bars and dehydrated fruit and vegetables for the row to Hawaii. She will also grow bean sprouts, a trick she learned from other trans-oceanic rowers.

Though h er mode of transportation may be crude, she will be chronicling her voyage with 21 century technology.

Armed with laptops in waterproof cases, digital cameras, and GPS trackers, she aims to be a multi-media watchdog of ocean debris, blogging not just her own reflections but evidence of Pacific flotsam.

Savage plans to post text daily, video weekly, and her boat will be equipped with a camera that snaps a photo every forty-eight minutes during daylight.

Her retreat into solitude was interrupted only once in the Atlantic when the Royal Navy delivered her a Valentine's Day card. While open to having visitors meet her along the Pacific voyage, she admits the logistics may be difficult.

"I would love if a yacht wanted to rendezvous and say hello," said Savage. "So long as they give me enough notice to put some clothes on."


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