Thousands of cheering onlookers gave a “rock star” welcome to Britain’s Roz Savage as she arrived in jungle-clad Papua New Guinea yesterday, becoming the first woman to row across the Pacific Ocean.
About 5,000 people turned out at the South Pacific country’s Madang harbor, while villagers in 100 garlanded canoes rowed out to greet Savage as she traveled the final few hundred meters of her epic journey.
“I was definitely feeling the love,” Savage told Australia’s ABC radio. “There were 5,000 people came out to greet me. There was a whole flotilla of canoes dressed up with their traditional garlands.”
“They just paddled alongside me as I rowed into Madang harbor. I felt like a rock star,” she said.
The 42-year-old began her odyssey from San Francisco in May 2008 and covered the 4,800km to Hawaii in 99 days.
On the second leg last year from Hawaii to Tuvalu she was forced by tides and dwindling food supplies to make landfall in Kiribati, a nation of 33 coral atolls straddling the equator, after 104 days at sea.
The final voyage, which included near-misses from passing ships, bad weather and a scary moment when she dived in the water and nearly lost sight of her boat, took 48 days.
Savage was in her mid-30s when she traded her career at an investment bank for the life of an adventurer and environmental campaigner, and completed her first epic voyage in 2005 when she rowed the Atlantic.