Fedor Konyukhov

Day 79

Fedor on the satphone: "I have noticed a pattern that bad things typically happen at night time. Last night wasn’t an exception. I got caught in a powerful thunderstorm. The wind was spinning the boat 360 degrees. The rain was as thick as a wall. There was no point to remain on deck. I secured the oars, set Tourgoyak adrift, and batten myself  into the aft cabin. Despite my exhaustion, I could not fall asleep. The rain drops were drumming on the roof at full volume. Sometime later into the night, I heard another sound. Someone, or something, was scratching on top of the roof. That’s strange, I thought. I can understand hearing a scratching sound underneath the boat, but who would climb on top of the aft cabin? I laid still in my sleeping bag, listening intently. The scratching sound didn’t go away but instead was spreading around the entire roof. There was nothing to do but climb out of the sleeping bag and go investigate.  I opened the hatch and carefully looked outside. What did I see? Three birds, similar to our pigeons, were trying with all their might to hang onto the arch amongst the antennas and windsock. The wind and the rain were mercilessly beating them down. The birds would slide down the solar panels and try to climb back again. I picked up one of them. It was tiny and delicate. I could feel her fast beating heart and the small bones under my fingers. I set her down in the cockpit and went back into the cabin. I turned the music player on and put the ear phones in. That was the only way to block out the noise of the storm and struggling birds. Surprisingly, I slept quite well. In fact, it was one of the most restful nights since entering French Polynesia.  However, during the night, the boat was pushed down south and even turned around eastward. This was inevitable. I was in the middle of a thunderstorm and there was no way I was able to control the situation or the general course of my boat.

By dawn, all became well. The clouds had disappeared into the west. The air was clear. The ocean had calmed down. A light breeze was coming in from the east. Tourgoyak looked shiny clean, after a night long rain shower. My guests had departed me, but they left me a few messy reminders of their visit. Today is Tuesday and I need to catch up on my mileage. I feel like I got stuck in this zone of the Tuamotu Islands. This week, I must leave them for good. 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