Fedor Konyukhov

Day 131. 1200 miles until Brisbane

Fedor via the Iridium satellite phone: “It’s an early morning on Friday, still dark so I am using a head light to move around the cabin. The weather forecast didn’t prove to be true and instead of the south-east wind, Tourgoyak and I ended up at the mercy of the south-west, or head wind. Once again, I’ve been pushed up north. This unfortunate wind was of nothing major, just a small local front, quickly passing. Nevertheless, I got caught in the midst of it, and for a half day I was moving in the opposite direction of the finish line. This weather puts me in a terrible state of mind. It’s a difficult time right now. The finish line is elusive and my exhaustion is colossal. Last night’s thrust northward was quite the opposite of the morale boost. I am discouraged. I know that I must continue pushing myself, but after 8000 nautical miles on the ocean I have to dig deep to get motivated on a daily basis. There are 1200 miles until Brisbane, but that’s a straight line. Of course, I don’t expect to advance in a straight line in the given conditions. Only God knows for sure how many more miles are left to row.

I have a small visitor who brightens my day. A swallow has landed on my deck and actively has been exploring the boat. She’s inspecting my glasses as I speak. It’s a pity that this tiny bird is so far away from land. She must’ve got swept by a wind into the ocean. There is a small island (Norfolk, NZ) ahead of me, no more than 500 miles. I’m hoping the bird will make it until I enter the traverse of the island. I don’t really have anything to feed her: no grains or groats, only dry breadcrumbs. Seasickness is what can really wipe her out; the land birds have a hard time tolerating a motion sickness.

Yesterday, at sunset, before the ordeal with the head wind begun, I was lucky to catch a large dolphinfish (coryphaena). It took me half an hour to reel the fish in. It was 90 cm, I specifically measured it. This is the largest fish that I’ve caught so far since leaving Chile. Of course, this is too much for me; the best size would be 30-40 cm. I cleaned it and caught into small thin slices to hang on the side rails of the boat. Hopefully, they’ll dry well in the constant wind but scarce sun. A pot of freshly made fish soup is a nice addition to my meals. I could probably take a break from fishing for a week or so. I must say that compared to the east side of the Pacific, I’ve had a much better luck with fishing in the western parts of the ocean. 

It’s May already. That means I’ve been on the ocean for five months. Did I think that it would be this hard? No, I honestly can say that I had no idea it would be this difficult. I must continue to row, there is no other way out. Quitting is not an option. The only way out is to arrive at a suggested finish point. 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