Jun 7, 2010

Briton is 1st woman to row solo across Pacific

Roz3 A British environmentalist has become the first woman to row alone across the Pacific Ocean, receiving a rock star welcome in Papua New Guinea after finishing a nearly 13,000-kilometre journey.

Thousands turned out to welcome Roz Savage, 42, as she rowed her 7-metre boat named Brocade toward Madang on Friday.

Several people paddled canoes alongside her as she cruised into the harbor, where well-wishers adorned her with colorful leis.

"Once on dry land I must have shaken about 1,000 hands, everybody wanting to touch me and congratulate me. It was phenomenal," she wrote on her blog. "I feel like I have 5,000 new friends."

Savage's trip was meant to raise awareness about climate change and plastic debris polluting the ocean. She wants people to use biodegradable trash bags and reusable grocery bags.

She estimates she made 2.5 million oar strokes during her 250-day trip, which was broken up into three different legs. She set off from San Francisco on 25th May, 2008, and rowed 4,640 kilometres over 99 days to Hawaii.

On 22nd May, 2009, she left Hawaii and rowed 5,053 kilometres or an estimated one million oar strokes before reaching the tiny South Pacific nation of Kiribati in September. She left Kiribati on 19th April.

Savage said she officially finished the row late Thursday night but wasn't allowed to dock immediately because she had to clear customs the next morning.

Instead, she spent the first night post-adventure on another boat albeit a fancier one than the vessel that has carried her across the ocean.


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