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Russian traveler Konyukhov cooks fish soup for first time in 18 days

January 10, 2014, 6:32 UTC+3 VLADIVOSTOK
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VLADIVOSTOK, January 10, 5:53 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian traveller Fyodor Konyukhov, who is crossing the Pacific Ocean solo in a row boat, has cooked fish soup for the first time in 18 days since the start of his voyage.

He made the soup and some sort of sashimi from tuna fish he had caught with a spinner to treat himself to a real dinner after days of eating sublimated food.

Over the past 24 hours, Konyukhov has travelled more than 60 miles and covered a total of 1,053 miles since his start in Concon, Chile, on December 22, 2013.

The first days were the hardest. Headwinds and stormy seas pushed his boat Tourgoyak back to the South American coast and he could make no more than 25 miles a day. He then gained pace and travelled no less than 60 miles a day, showing the best result - 81 miles - on January 3.

There are still 6,404 miles to go to Brisbane, Australia, if measured by straight line.

However, if Konyukhov had tried to sail along the straight route, he would never have reached Australia because of headwinds and currents. The traveller chose to go in a wide arc. Starting in Concon, Chile, Konyukhov headed up north to the point where currents turn towards Australia.

In the Pacific Ocean, the Peruvian Current (Humboldt) passes along the coast of South America from south to north. It is one of the largest ocean currents in the world. Konyukhov’s goal was to catch the Peruvian Current and ride to 15-20 degree of the Southern Latitude. There he will enter the zone of the southerly Trade Winds which will allow him to turn west towards Australia.

A map of the Pacific Ocean currents clearly shows that one can arrive to Australia by means of the Trade Winds while slowly navigating south. Konyukhov will have to work hard to not be caught up in the East Australian Current which would divert him to New Zealand. However, if Konyukhov lingers too much in the Trade Winds there will be a high risk of getting swept into the Equatorial Current which would turn him back to south-east, the London-based Ocean Rowing Society International said.

“All is well on board,” Konyukhov said in one of the previous conversations via satellite phone. “I’ve got a good wind of 12-15 knots from east. This wind allows me to proceed straight to west. The only thing that bothers me is a complete darkness…. There is no sun. Rowing helps to keep my mind off this utter darkness but as soon as I stop working - I get scared. At night, it’s particularly unnerving, when I can’t even see the oar spoons which are only three meters away. I can hear the ocean, the waves, the wind, but I can see nothing.”

“The ocean is deserted: no whales, dolphins, or flying fish. I'm sure it's temporary. The surface of the ocean is unruffled making it easy to row. Tourgoyak is not tipping violently anymore,” he said on January 8. “I have three sets of oars, because I know from my own experience, and from the stories of other rowers, how easy it is to lose an oar in the ocean. It can break or a wave can snatch it right off the boat. Without the oars how would one proceed on the row boat?”

Konyukhov said he was “fully adjusted” to the rowing routine. “Each day I take time to inspect Tourgoyak from bow to stern looking for any signs of leakage. The tropics have welcomed me with warm, even hot temperatures. I 'm heading west and a bit north,” he added.

If successful Konyukhov would be the ninth person in the world to row the Pacific solo and the second person to row the South Pacific solo.

Konyukhov hopes to get from Chile to Australia in 200 days.

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