Fedor Konyukhov
enru
12.04.2014

Day 111

Palm Sunday was spent in prayer and working the oars as usual. I must keep on rowing and keep the course westward. The storms, stills, head winds and waves: or, a tail wind and a clear blue sky are out of my control.

Details

Fedor via the Iridium satellite phone: “The wind is tolerable, easterly, 10 knots. However, it switches at times and becomes northerly or southerly. The sun continues to hide and so does the moon. I know that it’s almost full moon, but I haven’t seen it since it was a mere crescent. The seas are from the south-east. As soon as I stop rowing the boat it’s being nudged back north. It’s not critical right now; nevertheless, I can’t relax for too long between my shifts.

I took an inventory of my food provision, and it looks like I’m going to be all right. There is enough food for three more months. It’s good that we packed extra for nowadays I’m always hungry and eat constantly. There are two brands of food: one from England, the other from Norway. If in the beginning I allowed myself to have a favorite brand, right now it’s completely irrelevant which brand tastes better. There is only one standard now- the bigger the portion the better.

Palm  Sunday was spent in prayer and working the oars as usual. I must keep on rowing and keep the course westward. The storms, stills, head winds and waves: or, a tail wind and a clear blue sky are out of my control. I can only face them and adapt to them as they come, one day at a time. There is a cyclone beating the coasts of Australia. Suppose, it decides to turn east at some point and head over my way. There is nothing I would be able to do, but pray that the Lord spares me once again. Alone, on the ocean, in a small boat, every part of my body, mind and soul feels that everything is completely in the hands of the Lord.  And my job is to reach out to Him constantly and keep on working daily towards the finish line.”

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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10.04.2014

The ITA, category 5 cyclone

It is expected that the tropical cyclone ITA will severely impact the north-eastern coast of Australia by Friday. The ports of Cape Flattery and Cooktown (north Queensland) will be affected the most by the destructive winds and floods generated by ITA.

Details

It is expected that the tropical cyclone ITA will severely impact the north-eastern coast of Australia by Friday. The ports of Cape Flattery and Cooktown (north Queensland) will be affected the most by the destructive winds and floods generated by ITA.

Even though, Fedor is 2000 nautical miles away from the cyclone, it is important to monitor the movement of ITA and its intensity levels. The weather forecast shows that after running into the coast, ITA will continue to move south. The aftermath of ITA will be felt as far south as Brisbane. After the encounter with the land, ITA will eventually turn either south-east towards New Zealand, or will move in the direction of the east, which could be worrisome for Fedor. We hope that ITA will be the final cyclone of the season. So far, it has been the most destructive in the area since 2011 (category 5 cyclone Yasi). The cyclone ITA has been compared to the Typhoon Haiyan which devastated parts of South East Asia in 2013.

For an ocean rower it is important to calculate the arrival time and the port of arrival to avoid any encounter with a tropical cyclone. April is typically the last month for tropical storms and cyclones. Our hope is that by the time Fedor and Tourgoyak enter the Coral Sea, the season will indeed be long over.

To learn more about cyclones, click here.

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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09.04.2014

Day 108

Wednesday, April 9th, the wind is rising again, 15-18 knots, and of course, the whitecaps are back. For the next week and a half it will be very critical for me to keep rowing at the 25° south.

Details

Fedor via the Iridium satellite phone: “Wednesday, April 9th, the wind is rising again, 15-18 knots, and of course, the whitecaps are back. For the next week and a half it will be very critical for me to keep rowing at the 25° south. If I advance too far south, there is the risk of being swept by the counter current that would take me to the South Pacific Ocean past New Zeeland. If, on the other hand, I go too far north, I’m risking being dragged into a maze of the archipelago Tonga and later on, the Fiji’s. So, for the next week, I’m going to do all in my power to stay within the 25°-26° south until I cross the 180° longitude. The weather might not cooperate, though. The forecast is such that the wind will become north-easterly by tomorrow. There is a severe tropical cyclone Ita raging in the vicinity of the north-east coast of Australia. They say that in about a week the cyclone will subside to a tropical storm, but it’ not very comforting to me. I will still have to face the aftershock of the Ita. I’m hoping that this is the last cyclone of the season. 

I ran the water maker for about an hour today, and got 30 liters of fresh water. This amount should last me a few days. For the first time since my start in Chile, I installed a new autopilot by Raymarine. Before the start, we estimated that for 9000 miles I would need 3 autopilots. My friends Simon Chalk and Charlie Pitcher had told me that one autopilot is enough for a one-way rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, which is about 3000 nautical miles. I don’t use the autopilot often: the sun is a rare thing here and the accumulators always run pretty low. There is no way I could use the autopilot day and night. Therefore, one autopilot lasted me almost 7000 nautical miles. I could probably row across the world with the remaining two autopilots, not that I’m planning on doing that. 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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08.04.2014

Day 107

April 8th, early morning. The ocean is calm and a light wind is blowing from the east and south-east direction. No more bouncing from wave to wave. Last night was peaceful. I purposefully did not set the alarm: I wanted to let myself sleep as much as needed.

Details

Fedor via the Iridium satellite phone: “April 8th, early morning. The ocean is calm and a light wind is blowing from the east and south-east direction. No more bouncing from wave to wave.  Last night was peaceful. I purposefully did not set the alarm: I wanted to let myself sleep as much as needed. My morning routine is back to normal: a morning prayer, a fresh cup of coffee, a bowl of hot oatmeal and a phone call to my office in Moscow. It’s going to be a great day. I’m determined to reach 25° south latitude. The deck is covered with morning dew. I judge that it’s going to be a sunny day, which is very much needed here. The boat has got to dry off inside and out. The wet clothes, sleeping bag and I are in dire need of direct sunshine. You would expect that a person rowing across the Pacific Ocean in these latitudes would be as tan as can be, but it’s not so in my case. I haven’t seen the sun in the last few weeks. Today I will turn on the water maker to get at least 20 liters of fresh water. I even plan to wash my hair with some fresh water. Last week was extremely difficult and I’m going to use this break from the stormy weather to take care of myself and the boat.

Last night I almost caught a fish. The wind died down and I released the fishing line. It’s been months since I caught anything, but I always keep my hopes up and the fishing gear ready. At last, I heard the sound of a spinning fishing reel. It was a dolphinfish of about 1.5 meters long. I was excited and ready to tackle this sporty looking fish, but unfortunately, in the most critical moment, the reel got stuck and stopped releasing the line. The fish jumped a few more times until she finally got away. That’s just bad luck. I took apart the reel only to learn that the entire mechanism has rusted. I’ve got the best fishing gear here, but without being properly stored and maintained I can’t expect much from it. The rust and mold get into everything here. Even my driver knife is rusted. So, no fish for me today, as usual. 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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07.04.2014

Day 106. Tourgoyak had left the tropics

Monday morning brought a slight drizzle and the wind of 5-6 knots. The only reminder of the last few days of the stormy weather is the two meters waves. Tourgoyak was consistently pushed south during the last 24 hours. As a result, the boat and I advanced one degree south, which was enough to cross the Southern Tropic.

Details

Fedor via the satphone: “Monday morning brought a slight drizzle and the wind of 5-6 knots. The only reminder of the last few days of the stormy weather is the two meters waves. Tourgoyak was consistently pushed south during the last 24 hours. As a result, the boat and I advanced one degree south, which was enough to cross the Southern Tropic. The tropical latitudes are officially done. However, I don’t want to speak too soon: if the wind decides to become southerly then the boat would be brought right back north.

I’m at the 24° of the Southern Latitude, and Brisbane's latitude is at 27° south. Three more degrees south (or 180 nautical miles), and I will be at the latitude of my final destination. As of today, according to my calculations, Tourgoyak and I have covered more than 6000 nautical miles.

Praying that everyone had a joyful day celebrating the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. My wish to all that only good news would enter your homes. 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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06.04.2014

Day 105

It’s Sunday, April 6th. The wind is northerly, 20-25 knots, with the gusts up to 30 knots. If this wind persists for the rest of the day, I will leave the tropical latitudes today. There are 30 miles to row before I can cross the Southern Tropic (its latitude is 23° 26'). It’s getting cooler. The air temperature is about 20-22 degrees, and the rain is colder now too. In tropics, when the rain dropped and the waves hit I wouldn’t get cold, and my polyester shirt and shorts would dry very fast.

Details

Fedor via the Iridium satellite phone: “It’s Sunday, April 6th. The wind is northerly, 20-25 knots, with the gusts up to 30 knots. If this wind persists for the rest of the day, I will leave the tropical latitudes today. There are 30 miles to row before I can cross the Southern Tropic (its latitude is 23° 26'). It’s getting cooler. The air temperature is about 20-22 degrees, and the rain is colder now too. In tropics, when the rain dropped and the waves hit I wouldn’t get cold, and my polyester shirt and shorts would dry very fast. Now, I’m wearing Musto LPX waterproof suit to shield the body from a wind and waves. I can’t wait for the sun to come out. The boat is covered with mold. The batteries are dangerously low. The ocean has been covered with a wet grey blanket for a few days now. The rain is nonstop, alternating its intensity between a down pour and a light drizzle. The drumming of the rain on the cabin roof and the beating of the waves against the hull are my constant companions. It’s perfectly gloomy out here. This is my first time in these waters, and I don’t think I’d want to come back here again, even on a decent sail boat.

Fedor Konyukhov’s drawing. “Finish”. Colored pencils. 2002.

The Pacific Ocean is testing me. I remember my rowing from Chile to Fatu Hiva Island with a great fondness. Back then it was difficult and felt like I was living on the edge every single day. Now, however, the ocean is simply exhausting. It’s taking toll on my body and soul. The wind is switching direction every couple of hours. The easterly wind becomes northerly, then westerly, and later back to easterly. Basically, it’s turning the boat 180 every couple of hours. The waves can’t switch so quickly and as a result, the ocean is in constant swells. Last night Tourgoyak and I were dragged back north once again. During the day I was able to win back the lost mileage in south-west direction.

Exactly a year ago, on April 6th I was in the Arctic latitudes. My friend Victor Simonov and I set out to cross the Arctic Ocean from North Pole to Greenland on dog sleds. Right now, I long to stand on an ice mound, breeze in the icy air and look into the Arctic horizon. 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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03.04.2014

Day 102

I survived another dark and long night. Thank God. The entire night was pitch black. Only once did I see a new moon, a delicate crescent peering through a small tear of dark and thick clouds. I was relieved to see the new moon: both new and full moons have a calming effect on the ocean. Here you celebrate the simple things like a new moon, a rainbow, a sunrise. The black nights are taking a toll on me. During the night hours there is nothing but blackness and only navigational devices cast their bleak lights on the deck. It can get scary at times. The Lord’s Prayer keeps me calm and steady.

Details

Fedor Konyukhov’s painting “The Red Albatross”. Oil on canvas. 2006.

Fedor on the Iridium satphone: “I survived another dark and long night. Thank God. The entire night was pitch black. Only once did I see a new moon, a delicate crescent peering through a small tear of dark and thick clouds. I was relieved to see the new moon: both new and full moons have a calming effect on the ocean. Here you celebrate the simple things like a new moon, a rainbow, a sunrise. The black nights are taking a toll on me. During the night hours there is nothing but blackness and only navigational devices cast their bleak lights on the deck. It can get scary at times. The Lord’s Prayer keeps me calm and steady. Last night I saw a ship, or rather its lights. I’m so thankful that I have AIS that shows a vessel and its direction.

Last night the wind kept me twisting and turning nonstop. At one point I got lost in the ever changing wind flows. By dawn it became easier to orient myself. Today I’ll try to make up the lost time and miles. There are 2500 miles until Brisbane, but I don’t even want to talk about the approximate dates of my arrival. In these latitudes the weather is so unpredictable and unstable. The first 4000 nautical miles flew by. In just 69 days from the start in Chile I entered the waters of the Marquesas Islands. After that, though, my progress had slow down drastically. From the Marquesas Islands until today’s coordinates I have covered 1450 nautical miles in 34 days. Basically, since the beginning of March, Tourgoyak’s speed has been cut in half. I’m not sure what the Pacific Ocean has in store for me, but the month of March was very difficult and I’m glad it’s over.

I’ve got enough food and propane to last until the finish line. The most important thing is to avoid any kind of natural disaster, such as a tropical storm. Jim Shekhdar had a hard time here too. His speed at times was even slower than mine. Before the start, I downloaded the data from his crossing. I know that it took him more than a month to row from the 180th longitude to the finish in Australia. We are talking about 1200 miles in 70 days. That’s why I don’t want to get ahead of myself talking about dates. I do, however, have a yacht club in mind. It’s Mooloolaba Marina in Queensland, about 100 km north of Brisbane. Its coordinates are 26' 41 S and 157' 07 E. This marina is my main focus, but of course there are other options if I won’t be able to keep the course to Mooloolaba. At the first opportunity I will head south to the 25th degree of the Southern Latitude. 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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01.04.2014

The 100th Day

April 1st falls on my 100th day on the ocean, and that’s not a laughing matter! The weather is difficult though. The north-westerly wind is blocking me from rowing straight west, towards Australia. At this point I can only advance south, but it’s ok for the time being. The important thing is not to be turned back eastward. I’m rowing along the traverse of Rarotonga Island (Cooks Islands).

Details

Fedor Konyukhov shares: “April 1st falls on my 100th day on the ocean, and that’s not a laughing matter! The weather is difficult though. The north-westerly wind  is blocking me from rowing straight west, towards Australia. At this point I can only advance south, but it’s ok for the time being. The important thing is not to be turned back eastward. I’m rowing along the traverse of Rarotonga Island (Cooks Islands).

It’s been one hundred days since I left Chile, but I feel like I’ve been on the Pacific Ocean for 1,000 days. I must say that the most difficult time was the first month. Now it’s much easier to be alone, face to face, day to day with the ocean. I’ve become one with the boat. I have a well established routine of how I spend my days and nights on the boat. I have also became one with the ocean: I can feel it, its moves and changes even before they are happening. The weather is another element I have come to know personally and have learned to adapt to its changes.

To the ocean there is no difference whether it’s been 100 days or 1000 days. It was always here, and it will always be here. I’m a mere guest, a passerby drifting along the ocean surface.

At dawn three whales passed the boat. As usual, I heard their deep breathing first and then saw them. I’m convinced that seeing whales is good luck. I’m with you. Fedor.”

Today  Fedor became a member of the “100+ Club”. The International Ocean Rowing Society in London keeps track of all transoceanic crossings. According to their statistics, Fedor was the 43rd person to spend more than 100 days rowing solo across an ocean.  To learn more about the “100+Club” click here.

The insert from Fedor’s drawing:

“The Ocean has separated me from the others. I’m in a different dimension where I rely mostly on my sixth sense rather than on my mind. Back on land, people live by their mind, they rely on it, to them- it’s everything.  But it’s not so here, where beneath you is an abyss and above you is an abyss. Here, your body and soul merge entirely with this cosmic infinity. October 10, 1998.  North Atlantic, 19 24 N and 50 31 W.”

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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30.03.2014

Day 98

Last night was a plight. The weather forecast didn’t prove to be true. By sunset, the wind became southerly and rose to 25 knots, with gusts of up to 30 knots. Within an hour the surface of the ocean bulged: the old swells from the north met with the newly formed wind waves from the south. Together they buffeted and pressed the boat.

Details

Fedor’s phone call via the Iridium satphone: “Last night was a plight. The weather forecast didn’t prove to be true. By sunset, the wind became southerly and rose to 25 knots, with gusts of up to 30 knots. Within an hour the surface of the ocean bulged: the old swells from the north met with the newly formed wind waves from the south. Together they buffeted and pressed the boat. In addition, the heavy rain was so strong that I was afraid it would break Tourgoyak into pieces. It was impossible to row in such conditions. I secured the oars and tucked myself into the cabin where it was as loud as if I was in a washing machine. I sat there watching the monitor that showed my boat going north, into the latitudes that I worked so hard to leave just a day ago. It’s hard to watch my hard work being canceled out by weather. The southerly wind persisted through the night until dawn (22:00 Moscow time), when it finally subsided and turned easterly. I’m slowly getting back on track, and it feels like deja vu to be rowing in the same latitude that I was in just yesterday.

Last night was another example on just how much an ocean row boat depends on the wind and its direction. For a row boat the favorable wind angles are anywhere from 180 to 90 degrees, or otherwise known in the sailing world as run, broad reach, beam reach. From 90 degrees towards the bow of a boat is a no-go zone and if the head wind reaches beyond 12 knots, it becomes impossible to row. The only option is to wait for the wind to go back. 

I do have good news too. I crossed the 160th degree of the Western Longitude and was able to stay here despite the events of last night. There are 20 degrees or 1200 miles before I leave the Western Hemisphere and enter the Eastern Hemisphere.  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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28.03.2014

Day 96

Friday morning started as usual, with a phone call to my office in Moscow and a cup of hot coffee. After the call, I sat down at the oars for the rest of the day. I need to pass the Aitutaki island by the end of the day. It’s about 31 miles away. The plan is pass the island at starboard. The wind is difficult and unpredictable.

Details

Fedor Konyukhov via the satphone: “Friday morning started as usual, with a phone call to my office in Moscow and a cup of hot coffee. After the call, I sat down at the oars for the rest of the day. I need to pass the Aitutaki island by the end of the day. It’s about 31 miles away. The plan is pass the island at starboard. The wind is difficult and unpredictable. It blows mostly from the east, but all of a sudden it turns from the north or south. It’s hard to predict its behavior and, therefore, it’s a challenge to calculate how to approach and pass the island. It seems just like yesterday I left French Polynesia, but now I’m in the midst of the Cook Islands.

A school of  tropical fish looking like grey triggerfish is busily working at the hull of the boat. They are eating away the small shells that Tourgoyak has been growing for quite some time now. I’m thankful for these tiny cleaners.

With each day it gets cooler. As I descend more  south, the air gets fresher. I’m glad for this change in temperature for it was a complete sauna in my aft cabin for the last 30 days. The temperature inside would raise to 47 C°, so needless to say I’m welcoming cooler conditions.   

There are 2,700 nautical miles until the finish line in Australia if I keep rowing in a straight line, which is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, this distance is a familiar to me since my cross-Atlantic rowing in 2002. That time it took me 46 days and 4 hours to row from La Gomera to Barbados on the “URALAZ” row boat. So the 2700 nautical miles are very much comprehensible, only this time I’m rowing the Pacific, which proves to be a much more challenging ocean. During the last month it’s been a lot of work to row past all of the islands and atolls of the Oceania.  In the meantime, Summer is coming to an end and  Fall is approaching, which will probably bring some storms my way. With God’s help and hard work I am hoping to complete the final third of my crossing successfully.  I’m with you. Fedor."

On photo: Fedor’s approaching Barbados in 2002 on “URALAZ”.

 

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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