Fedor Konyukhov

Day 39

Fedor reports on the Iridium satellite phone: “As it turns out, the Tropics have very contrasting temperatures. During the night, it’s quite cool and I have to wear pants, jacket and even a hat. However, during the day with the temperature reaching 30°C I sweat profusely, but at the same time can’t strip down for the fear of getting a major sun burn. There is no amount of SPF sunscreens that can protect the skin against prolonged exposure to a scorching sun, so I’m forced to wear pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tourgoyak and I are in the 12th degree of the Southern Latitude, which is approximately 700 kilometers south of the equator. I’m in the zone of relative inaccessibility which means I’m equally far off from the coast of South America and the islands of French Polynesia. There is not a single piece of land in the surrounding thousands of miles. This is the most void of human life region on my route to Australia. The realization of being in the middle of nowhere is confirmed by the images on my chart plotter. I’m getting goose bumps from just thinking how far away from civilization I’ve gotten myself, once again. In 1986, I was in Dmitriy Shparo’s Arctic team reaching a pole of inaccessibility, the most distant point in the Arctic Ocean from the coastline. When we reached this pole we got a sinking feeling that we might as well be on a different planet or the Moon. There was a complete absence of communication with the land and civilization.

Despite my ability to call to Moscow today, it still feels unreal how far away I am from people. The distance between me and Moscow is simply mind boggling. This feeling is especially acute during the night, when I’m rowing in complete darkness when there is no Moon, like tonight. There is just 12 mm of carbon between me and the ocean. After the Tuamotus archipelago and the Marquesas Islands I will be rowing past the Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji and New Caledonia, which means I will be only dozens of miles from land. This proximity will be a technical and tactical challenge, but psychologically it will feel easier to be so much closer to people. Right now though, I’m trying not to let my spirit be crushed by the emptiness and lifelessness of the Ocean. My mental preservation is in hard work and prayer. With each stroke of the oars I’m getting closer to 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