HONOLULU – A British environmentalist rowed through the night until she arrived in Honolulu early Monday, completing the initial leg of her journey as she tries to become the first woman to row alone across the Pacific Ocean.
Roz Savage, 40, had spent 99 days on the ocean since she departed San Francisco on May 25 on the 2,900-mile leg to Hawaii.
"I'm very happy," Savage said at the Waikiki Yacht Club, where she docked shortly before 6 a.m. "It was challenging, but very worthwhile."
Savage's trip is meant to raise awareness about plastic debris polluting the ocean. She hopes people start using reusable grocery bags and biodegradable trash bags.
"I'm not saying I've changed the world, but I've started creating a few ripples. I'm a real believer in the ripple effect. The message will spread," she said.
Savage navigated the rough waters of the Hawaiian islands through a dark, moonless night before she found land before dawn. She reached shore so early that no one was there to greet her.
"It was just me in the dark," she said. "I've come all this way on my own, and now I've finished on my own, and I didn't mind at all."
Her vessel is a 24-foot long rowboat named the Brocade after her corporate sponsor, Brocade Communication Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif.
There were many challenges during the voyage, including a six-week delay just in getting started. Winds off the California coast kept pushing her back no matter how hard she rowed, but she eventually broke free.
Then along the way, her two potable water makers broke, leaving her with only a scarce water supply with still a long way to go. She traded food with two other Pacific travelers for a water maker.
Savage, who previously crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 103 days, will continue her Pacific rowing in early 2009 with a 2,600-mile trek to Tuvalu in the southwest Pacific, followed by the final leg to Australia.
If successful, she will have rowed 7,200 miles over three years.