VLADIVOSTOK, January 28. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian traveler Fedor Konyukhov, continuing a solo row across the Pacific Ocean from Chile to Australia, has been joined by a flock of flying fish accompanying the intrepid sailor "like an escort of honor", he reports.
In a radio message from his boat, Turgoyak, Konyukhov describes his impressions of the phenomenon “as a surrealistic picture featuring fish flying and waving wings”. “They have been looking at me, bewildered as well to see a man rowing and using his oars like wings,” he said of fellow travelers. These fish are able to jump five meters above the waves and cover 400 meters buoyed by the air stream.
Throughout last week, the ocean waves had been high, giving the oarsman the impression of being below the ocean waves and the horizon. "My workplace in the boat is barely 30 centimeters above the water," Konyukhov says.Since Tuesday, he has been heading for French Polynesia, a group of around 130 islands in mid-Pacific and around 2,000 miles from his present position.
This lies some 5,700 miles from Australia, which might have been the shortest distance to Konyukhov's destination if he were able to use a direct route.
But the sailor must row almost double the straight course to Australia using favorable winds and ocean currents to help him traverse. Australia-bound by a direct route is useless. The boat might be swept to New Zealand or other waters, he knows.