Fedor reports via the Iridium satellite phone: “The north wind is making my life quite stressful right now. You probably had already noticed my sharp turn south. I can’t fight the northerly wind. It keeps pushing me south, towards the Tuamotu islands and atolls. The wind is north-north-east, 15 knots. When the squalls hit, the wind reaches 30 knots. The squalls are charged with the drenching rain and the deck receives a ton of water, which doesn’t run off fast enough through the scuppers and the deck is in a constant pool of water. The sea salt that has been accumulating on the deck and solar panels has been washed away by these constant showers. When the rain clouds pass above me it gets dark as if it were night time. According to the weather report, the northerly wind will continue until Friday. I must endure this week and resist being pushed dangerously close to the islands. If I get too close to this chain of the islands it will be very difficult to row back into the open ocean.
On the map of Tuamotu I see a lot islands and atolls that were named after great Russian ocean explorers and mariners: Krusenstern Island (Tikehau), Rumyanzov (Tikei), Lazarev atoll (Mataiva), Arakcheev (Fangatau), Volonsky (Takume). I, however, would like to row past these islands keeping 100 miles of separation.
Once again, I’m so happy that Tourgoyak was equipped with a centerboard. If it wasn’t for the centerboard, I would be moving south twice as fast. But this genius addition to the hull helps a lot to keep my boat on course and minimizes a sideway drift. Of course, my general course will no longer be directly west, at 270 degrees. However, the 230-240 degrees is a good course given the situation. My goal this week is to stay within the 12th and 14th degrees of the Southern Latitude and leave the range of the Tuamotu islands. After this archipelago there will be fewer islands and I can confidently row south.
This morning, I noticed a random coconut passing at the port side, but couldn’t fish it out. That’s too bad. I’m missing the taste of fresh food.
Today, March 3rd, marks the beginning of the Great Lent. The first week of Lent is going to be challenging, but I pray that with God’s help Tourgoyak and I will carry on. I’m with you. Fedor.
The weather map of the northern region of the Tuamotu Archipelago is 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