Angela Madsen, the Paralympian who is attempting a solo row to Honolulu, is now just north of the Guadalupe Islands after 13 days in the water.
She left Marina del Rey at 12:46 a.m. on April 24 and has been battling winds that have pushed her more to the southeast than she would have preferred.
Madsen was scheduled to leave in early April, but she delayed her departure because, according to meterologist Miles Muzio, she had the best chance of maximizing a 48-hour window of offshore winds to help her push past Catalina at the end of the month.
“I’m plugging along,” she said via satellite telephone. “I thought I would be more west but the winds haven’t been very favorable.”
The 59-year-old said she is in good spirits. She has been rowing 12 hours a day, alternating between two hours of rowing and two hours of recovery.
“No trades till south of Guadalupe Island and this wind is s--t, but it will take me south fast unfortunately, east also,” she wrote on her RowofLife Facebook page. “Way more comfortable than para anchor. These winds are not stopping anytime soon; I have pretty rough conditions now with strong northwesterly winds and big waves. Only thing I can do is run with them in; this means you will see the boat going southeast instead of southwest. I need to be well south of Guadalupe to catch trade winds.”
Madsen said getting off the coast from Marina del Rey was hard work and that she has had to do different things in different places than she did when she successfully made the trip six years ago with partner Tara Remington.
“When I was with Tara, we were able to trade off rowing, but when you are by yourself, you have to just drift while you are resting.”
Madsen’s 60th birthday is coming up on May 10. She told the Grunion in March she isn’t sure where she will be, but she has her birthday celebration already packed and ready to go: “It’s a moon pie with a Samoa Girl Scout cookie with a candle.”
She is hoping that her birthday gift will be the kinder, gentler trade winds.
“Once I find those elusive trade winds past Guadalupe, rowing will be much easier,” she said.
Madsen said she is still on target to reach Honolulu by July. “My goal was to row 12 hours a day and that’s what I’m doing,” she said. “I’m fine physically. My blisters are all healed from the work I had to do to get off the coast and I’m forming new blisters on top of the old.”
When she made the trip in 2014, orca whales kept bumping her boat. She hasn’t had that experience yet.
“But on my last rowing shift last Sunday, I saw a sea turtle with his meal in his mouth,” she said with a laugh. “He looked at me. I looked at him and then we went on our separate ways.”
You can keep track of Madsen on Facebook or at www.rowoflife.org/pacificrow.