Fedor Konyukhov
enru
30.04.2014

Day 129

There is a storm of 7-8 on the Beaufort scale in about 100 miles from me. The conditions here reflect the fact that it’s a late fall in the South Pacific. I don’t expect any light weather until Australia.

Details

Fedor via the satellite phone: “The wind is 20 knots, from south and south-east. The high seas are 4 meters high and from the south. It’s been a while since I saw such high waves. They are like mountains, rushing towards me and crushing onto the deck. I’ve been wearing a kayak helmet for the last 24 hours. I bought this one back in England and now it comes in very handy. The boat is getting some serious beating from these waves and I’m getting hit as well.

I released a rope to stabilize the boat against the high seas. There is no sun, but a constant rain of various intensity: from a light drizzle to a pure deluge. There is a storm of 7-8 on the Beaufort scale in about 100 miles from me. The conditions here reflect the fact that it’s a late fall in the South Pacific. I don’t expect any light weather until Australia. For the next couple of days the weather is promised to be moderate, but then there will be another storm. This time it will come from the continent, which means I’ll be rowing against the head winds. With God’s help I will continue to plow through, towards Australia. I’m with you. Fedor.”

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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27.04.2014

Day 126

Yesterday, at twilight, I finally crossed the 180th Meridian and entered the Eastern Hemisphere. It also means that Tourgoyak and I are crossing the Fiji Sea right now. I’m not used to seeing the coordinates with the eastern longitude and especially the countdown of the longitudinal degrees (e.g. 179-178-177, etc.). I had a couple of productive days, and now there are 1400 miles until Brisbane.

Details

Fedor via the Iridium satellite phone: “Yesterday, at twilight, I finally crossed the 180th Meridian and entered the Eastern Hemisphere. It also means that Tourgoyak and I are crossing the Fiji Sea right now. I’m not used to seeing the coordinates with the eastern longitude and especially the countdown of the longitudinal degrees (e.g. 179-178-177, etc.). I had a couple of productive days, and now there are 1400 miles until Brisbane.

Today I decided to implement a new meal routine. From now on, I can afford to eat a hot meal three times a day. I had a vow of being very conservative with the food and propane for cooking until I reach the 180th Meridian. This extra meal will be very much appreciated for the weather is getting colder and my body requires more calories. Before the start, we packed enough food for 200 days. Today is my 126th day on the ocean and since there are 1400 miles left to go, I can finally indulge in that extra hot meal. The wind is from the north which means I’ll be descending south towards New Zealand. Then in a day, the wind will come from the south and I will be nudged up north. While it’s a hard work to balance between the changing winds, I’m glad it’s not a head wind.

I don’t have any approximate dates of my arrival in Australia. Everything is in God’s hands, and I don’t even want to speculate right now about when I’ll be able to finish this crossing. Based on my experience, the last leg of any journey is the hardest one. To climb Mt. Everest was extremely difficult, but to come down was even harder. Same goes for this particular journey. To row across the Pacific Ocean has been very challenging, but to approach the coast on a solo row boat, at the end of the fall season, after 9000 miles at sea will prove to be extremely difficult and dangerous. My daily prayers go out to Our Lord and to St. Nicolas; they’ve been watching over me and I hope they’ll help me to the end.  I’m with you. Fedor.”

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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26.04.2014

Day 125. 1500 miles to Brisbane

The last 24 hours were ideal in proceeding west. The wind and the wave were at the stern and Tourgoyak was flying. It’s a pity that such conditions will last only a couple of days. This break was very much needed. I spent an entire week to row 200 miles.

Details

“The last 24 hours were ideal in proceeding west. The wind and the waves were at the stern and Tourgoyak was flying. It’s a pity that such conditions will last only a couple of days. This break was very much needed. I spent an entire week rowing only 200 miles. Those seven days were grueling. And now, I’m only 30 miles away from entering the Eastern Hemisphere. Once I’m there, it will feel like I’m finally starting to come home.

It’s still dark here. I’m waiting for 22:00 Moscow time. This is my call-in time and it’s been so almost from the start of the crossing. When I started my journey 22:00 MSK was during the day, at the half-way point it was morning and now at these latitudes it’s night time.  I’m using a flash light to dial the number. Since there are no ships around, I don’t turn on the navigations lights. The only light on deck is from my electronic equipment.

During the night a small flying fish ended up on the deck. I looked at her, so pretty and small, and decided to return it back to the ocean. One flying fish isn’t enough for anything substantial. However, a few minutes later, another flying fish was dropped on my deck. This time I accepted the gesture from the ocean, and look forward to enjoying a small sashimi for breakfast.

It was a cloudy and dark night. Only once did I see a patch of clear sky with the Southern Cross constellation. I’m with you. Fedor.”

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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24.04.2014

Day 123

It’s cold. The wind is from the south. It feels as if the wind comes straight from Antarctica. Working on the oars is the only way to stay warm. The cockpit gets constantly washed off by the ocean water; the waves are hitting the boat from the side. It’s a never ending dampness here.

Details

“It’s cold. The wind is from the south. It feels as if the wind comes straight from Antarctica. Working on the oars is the only way to stay warm. The cockpit gets constantly washed off by the ocean water; the waves are hitting the boat from the side. It’s a never ending dampness here. Since the start I’ve experienced different climates and two seasons:  summer and fall. From the cold Humboldt current into the equatorial scorcher of 35 on deck and 45 in the cabin; then later, I entered the tepid latitudes of the Cook Islands. Now, I’m passing New Zealand and the cold temperatures are greeting me once again. Overall though, I can’t complain about the weather. The wind is coming from the east more often than not. For this week-end my goal is to cross the 180th Meridian and enter the Eastern Hemisphere. I can’t wait for the Eastern Hemisphere. As soon as I cross it, I’ll feel like I’m finally getting home. I’m with you. Fedor.”

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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22.04.2014

Day 121. Four months in the Pacific

April 22 marked the four-month anniversary of my solo rowing saga in the Pacific. I’d like to think that before the start I had a somewhat clear idea of what lies ahead, but in reality, on December 22, 2013 I set off into the unknown. Of course, I’ve read and re-read the books by Thor Heyerdahl and Jim Shekhdar. However, those were their expeditions uniquely different from each other, and of course very different from mine. Here, I’ve been living my own adventure, writing my own chronicle.

Details

“April 22 marked the four-month anniversary of my solo rowing saga in the Pacific. I’d like to think that before the start I had a somewhat clear idea of what lies ahead, but in reality, on December 22, 2013 I set off into the unknown. Of course, I’ve read and re-read the books by Thor Heyerdahl and Jim Shekhdar. However, those were their expeditions uniquely different from each other, and of course very different from mine. Here, I’ve been living my own adventure, writing my own chronicle.

 On Tuesday, Tourgoyak and I have crossed over the Tonga Trench, the deepest point in the South Pacific Ocean, where the depth of the ocean reaches 10,800 meters. The average depth under my boat is around 5000 meters. But for the last 24 hours it’s been twice that deep. I didn’t see or feel anything out of the norm when rowing across the trench. But if you think about it for a moment - more than 10,000 meters depth means you could submerge the entire Mt. Everest in these parts of the ocean - it can really take you breath away. The Pacific Ocean will never fail to impress me with its might, depth and vastness.

My friend Artur Chilingarov (a Vice-President of the Russian Geographical Society) and I have discussed numerous times a possibility of exploring the Mariana Trench. If indeed this project comes to life and we build a bathyscaphe to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench, I would be tempted to seek an opportunity to explore the Tonga Trench. 

During this week, the weather is promising to be windy with a 15-20 knots wind from the south or the south-east. This kind of wind is no news or surprise to me. As long as I’m staying within the 26° latitude I should be all right. If the wind gets stronger than 20 knots, than there is a risk of being pushed too close to the New Caledonia islands. As of right now, all is well. I’m with you. Fedor”

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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21.04.2014

Day 120

April 21st, early morning. I didn’t sleep a wink last night. It’s raining, and it’s quite cold. The head wind has been mocking me all night long, coming from the most unfavorable direction: west-south-west. Instead of fighting the wind, I’m following its direction. As a result, I made a 360 turn in the last 24 hours.

Details

On photo: Fedor Konyukhov’s drawing. “Dorada”. Colored pencils. 2002

“April 21st, early morning. I didn’t sleep a wink last night. It’s raining, and it’s quite cold. The head  wind has been mocking me all night long, coming from the most unfavorable direction: west-south-west. Instead of fighting the wind, I’m following its direction. As a result, I made a 360 turn in the last 24 hours.

Last night I worked hard to ballast the port side. To ballast the boat always requires a lot of manual labor. The hatches for storing the equipment and other stuff were emptied long time ago. Anytime I need to ballast one side or the other, I fill the compartments with ocean water using a plastic bucket. When I need to empty them I bring out a manual pump. While working on the ballast I got soaking wet. The rain is colder now, compared to a few weeks ago.

Once again, the ocean made it clear that I cannot be certain of anything while I’m at its mercy. Just a few days ago, I had the nerve to discuss with my friends the approximate dates of my arrival in Australia. Today put an end to my plans and predictions. This is quite unsettling, really. I keep thinking about Jim Shekhdar (a British rower) who spent 70 days from the 180° to the coast of Australia. In other words, to cover 1600 miles he rowed for more than two months! Now, I’m beginning to see why it can take so long to row the remaining 27 degrees.

The most important thing is that I’m alive and well. I must endure this weather. I’m hoping for better wind soon. I’m with you. Fedor.

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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20.04.2014

Day 119. Easter Sunday

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, He is risen! He is risen indeed! Wishing you a joyful Easter. I would’ve liked it if I could spend this holy day with you, in church, standing a liturgy.

Details

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Wishing you a joyful Easter. I would’ve liked it if I could spend this holy day with you, in church, standing a liturgy.

Here, in the ocean, my day has been difficult. The head wind is from the west. I’m rowing south. It’s forecasted that the wind will be coming from the south. I’ve crossed the 26° south. There are fewer than 1700 miles until Brisbane. I spent 11 days to cover 10 degrees from the 165° to the 175° of the western longitude. I’d like to be able to row 10 degrees (600 miles) in 10 days, but in given circumstances it’s not possible.  I left Tonga traverse, and now I’m heading towards New Caledonia. In case of a strong south-east wind I could end up too close to these islands.

Last night my brief visitors were whales. I heard their breathing and saw their backs. I turned the lights off and even put the oars away. There was no need to attract their attention to my boat. I’m with you. Fedor.”

On photo: Tourgoyak in Concon, Chile. December 21, 2013.

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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18.04.2014

Day 117. Maundy Thursday

The wind is from the south but not too strong, allowing me to stay on course. The ocean is fairly calm; the surface waves are lifting the boat up and down. Thursday was busy and eventful. Due to the fair weather, I decided to run a water pump. Upon turning the switch on, I heard a noise, but saw no water.

Details

“The wind is from the south but not too strong, allowing me to stay on course. The ocean is fairly calm; the surface waves are lifting the boat up and down. Thursday was busy and eventful. Due to the fair weather, I decided to run a water pump. Upon turning the switch on, I heard a noise, but saw no water. I inspected the system and concluded that there must me something wrong with a Kingston valve. It was no use trying to assess the valve condition from the deck. I had to get into the water, under the boat and see it for myself. I spent fifteen minutes gathering up my courage. With my first dive, I discovered that the valve got plugged with seaweeds. I had to climb back on deck, find a screwdriver and dive under again to clean up the valve. After that, I swam from bow to stern inspecting the hull and the bottom of the boat. Interestingly, the most growth is just below the waterline. The bottom of the boat is fairly void of marine growth. The six layers of antigrowth paint are paying off.

While in the water I would constantly and nervously look behind my shoulder, scared to see a shark. Thank God, but there was nothing and no one behind me the entire time. When I finally climbed back into the boat, my hand and knees were shaking. My nerves were shot. I get really nervous leaving the boat and diving into the blue abyss. My body felt rather weak, and it took every effort to pull myself onto the deck even though it’s so close to the surface. The good news is that the Kingston valve is clean and the water pump is taking the water. I sure hope this was my last dive on this expedition. I was away for only 15 minutes, but once I got back on board, I felt as if I returned to my sweet home after a long absence.

My goal is to cross the 26° south. The weather forecast shows that in a couple of days the wind will come from the south-east and become stronger. It will push me north, towards Fiji. I’d like to have enough latitudinal distance myself and the islands. I’m with you. Fedor.”

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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16.04.2014

Day 115

The weather is not so good. For the last few days the wind has been blowing from the south and has raised the waves up to 3 meters. The high seas are pushing the boat at the port side, nudging me north.

Details

Fedor via the satellite phone: “The weather is not so good. For the last few days the wind has been blowing from the south and has raised the waves up to 3 meters. The high seas are pushing the boat at the port side, nudging me north. I’m able to keep the course westward, but it’s unfortunate to lose hard earned mileage. I went back 10 miles north in the course of one day. I’m waiting for the wind to change its direction. I’ll be rowing hard to get lower than 26° south.

Tuesday night I witnessed the lunar eclipse. The moon turned a bloody red color. Here, watching the eclipse from the ocean was particularly striking. The night was clear and I was able to watch the entire hour of the eclipse  in the cockpit of my boat. I put the oars down: it was impossible to take my eyes off this natural phenomenon.

I’ve been lucky with the phosphorescent fishing line. For the last couple of nights my catch has been small calamari. Quickly boiled, they make a perfect breakfast.  Positively, the month of April has been the most productive as far as fishing goes. Either the ocean is more populated here, or the fact that the hull of my boat is covered with all kinds of marine growth is attracting small fish and other ocean specimens for my enjoyment.”

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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13.04.2014

2000 miles to Brisbane

Tourgoyak and I crossed the 170° of the West Longitude. There is only 10 more degrees or 600 miles and I will enter the Eastern Hemisphere. Looking back, I spent 14 days rowing the distance between the 160th and 170th degrees.

Details

Fedor via the Iridium satellite phone: “Tourgoyak and I covered 50 miles in the last 24 hours. The wind is weak, but the waves are great. The waves are from the north-east, only 1.5 meters tall and they help me to stay on course. My computer shows that there are 2000 miles left before Brisbane. This distance is comprehensible. Tourgoyak and I have already done three times this distance since we left Chile in December. I’ve caught a small tuna fish, about 35-40 cm. It’s the perfect size for me. Of course there is no refrigeration on board, so you either cook the fish right away or dry it in the sun. I made a pot of fish soup and left a few piece hanging to dry. I doubt that it will dry properly since the air here is so damp.  Well, while I was busy cooking my dinner, I heard the reel spool again. It works well now; last week I took it apart to clean off the rust and oil it. Either the fish was too large or I was too slow to grab the pole, but my next catch got away. I haven’t had any luck with fishing for months and now I had potentially two fish in just 20 minutes. This fishing business might turn into my favor after all, so I decided to save the line and put the pole away for today. 

Last night I saw the moon. It’s a big deal for me, I haven’t seen it for almost a month. The moon made the night sky look so beautiful, and for some reason, her reflection in the water made the ocean look less hostile. 

Tourgoyak and I crossed the 170° of the West Longitude. There is only 10 more degrees or 600 miles and I will enter the Eastern Hemisphere. Looking back, I spent 14 days rowing the distance between the 160th and 170th degrees. I’m hoping I can keep up the same tempo rowing towards the 180th Meridian. I’m with you. Fedor.”

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski

 



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