The Latest Leg Of The Journey

Trip To Australia Is Safely Navigated

On Aug. 2, Mick Bird reached Cairns, Australia, completing an ocean crossing that he began almost two years ago, on Aug. 19, 1997.

"It wasn't that hard as far as the time on the boat and the conditions of the sea, because I really wanted to be there," said Bird at the completion of this leg. "The tough part was just trying to fold my charts back together after I unfolded them."

He plans to fly back to California, to raise money and wait out the stormy season. He will resume rowing in a few months.

Since starting his round-the-world journey two years ago, he has rowed for a total of six months. It took him about three months to get from Hawaii to the Marshall Islands, and the same amount of time to travel from the Marshall Islands to Australia. Between rowing legs, he takes breaks of about nine months to wait for good weather and to raise funds.

He will start the next leg in March 2000. Then he will row across the Indian Ocean, to the Seychelles Islands.

Bird, who used to be a songwriter in Nashville, once bicycled across the entire United States. On average, Bird rows 10 to 12 hours a day. His wife Stacia told that he thoroughly enjoys it: "He loves the feel of the oar pulling through the water. He just digs it. It's not boring to him at all."

Relying on a Rowboat
Bird' s boat, the Reach, was designed for stability, not speed. It has never capsized, not even in the 30-foot waves of a storm on his most recent leg. What if he breaks an oar? Bird brings extras. During the latest part of his trip, he broke two.

What did Stacia think the first time they met when he told her that he wanted to row around the world? "I thought, 'Wow, he's ambitious,'" she said.

Follow Bird along his trip and find out about others traveling with some cyberspace navigation:

The Trans-Oceanic Rowing Expedition: This is Mick Bird's home page. From his boat, he gives constant updates of his attempt to row around the world. Find out about what he eats, how he navigates and, on a definitions page, learn, for example, what a sextant is. Mick Bird actually has two Web sites devoted to his quest; this one is named for a Hawaiian word, na'au, which means "from the gut," or "instinct." Learn more about Bird's journey and his other passions, including music. He recently made a record.

The Ocean Rowing Society: If all this talk about rowing has inspired you, and you're thinking you might want to row to Europe, check out this site, with information about others rowing long distances over salt waer. There's even a history of ocean rowing.

The Rower's Guide to the Web: Find out everything you need to know about rowing. For those not inclined to exercise, there's a list of coxswain commands, so you can be the one sitting in the back of the boat, barking orders.