Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 17th

       This column is usually about politics, news analysis, that sort of thing.  But today I'm just passing along an amazing story about a young Cleveland woman's bravery and sense of adventure.  She's Katie Spotz, 22, and this winter she plans to row across the Atlantic Ocean alone--no sail, no motor, just two black oars.      She'll row from Dakar, Senegal, on Africa's west coast at least 2500 miles to South America.  "I never thought I could do something like this," the New York Times quotes her as saying.  "But it's not like a rowing machine in a gym. You just pace yourself."  Yes.  And the rowing machine in the gym, of course, is on dry land.  The Atlantic Ocean has fifty-foot waves.      The Times says the voyage will take between 70 and 100 days.  If she makes it, she'll be the youngest person, and the first American, ever to row alone from mainland to mainland.  The paper, which always knows stuff like this, says the first rowed crossing was done by two Norwegian immigrants in 1896.  In the last nine years 109 rowboats have crossed the Atlantic, Pacific or Indian Oceans.  About as many failed--they either returned or were rescued.      Spotz says her nickname on her high school swim team was Turtle, meaning she says, that she was no superstar.  "I see this," she told the Times, "as a form of active meditation."      I'm not a bit sure what that means.  But I want to wish this pioneering young American the very best of luck.  May she succeed!      Editor's note:  Mr. Morton and his editor are both taking a holiday break.
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