Rowing to Alcatraz

My friend Neal Mueller, who holds a Guinness World Record for longest non-stop row in Arctic open water—1,000 miles over 41 days in 2012—gave me the incredible gift this morning of introducing me to the Dolphin Club in San Francisco, which has a rich lineage of these hand-built rowboats and love of the craft of rowing. It was awe-inspiring. He then rowed me to Alcatraz! We saw a rainbow (third from last photo in gallery)!

We captured some Spatial Video that will be fun to look at on the Vision Pro later (mine just arrived, but I haven’t opened it yet).

I think what I learned this morning is there is something deeply profound about the act of rowing, of being in harmony and synchronicity with others on your boat, how good it feels when you’re in sync, and how obvious it is when you aren’t. I’ve done rowing machines before many times but never been on the open water, and I saw also the impact of the variability of the ocean, currents, and waves had on the rowing. I think there is also something related here to when autistic people (and myself!) rock back and forth when something feels like it’s in alignment.

Luckily I was with literally one of the world’s best rowers, so I always felt safe and was able to enjoy the feeling of being on the water, and really felt the heritage and respect of these beautiful craft we were on, Cronin-1938. I introduced Neal to the concept of the Ship of Theseus, one Matias and I love to talk about in the context of Gutenberg. One of the most beautiful days I’ve seen in San Francisco. Here are a few photos from this morning.

My sabbatical is off to a great start. ☺️

6 thoughts on “Rowing to Alcatraz

  1. Bonnie Garmus’ breakout debut novel, Lessons in Chemistry, is infused with a lot of evocative writing about rowing and the beauty of people rowing in sync … she’s a rower herself. Anyway it’s a great read for your sabbatical if you haven’t gotten to it yet