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Konyukhov to row through storms and cyclones in Pacific

March 08, 2014, 6:46 UTC+3 VLADIVOSTOK
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VLADIVOSTOK, March 08, 5:35 /ITAR-TASS/. World-famous Russian traveller Fyodor Konyukhov, who continues his solo rowing voyage across the Pacific in his Turgoyak boat, is about to be caught by tropical storms and cyclones. During his communications session with the Moscow-based headquarter late on Friday, he said he was afraid his voyage might be prolonged because of headwinds.

He started his voyage in Chile’s Concon on December 22, 2013 and plans to finish in Brisbane, a city on the western coast of Australia. He has been at sea for 75 days and, according to his most optimistic forecasts, will have to row for 100 day more. He has yet to cover 3,600 nautical miles in straight line, but taking into account the fact that his boat has to change directions because of headwinds and current, he will have to row at least 4,000 miles.

He said that his life “has become more joyful,” with friendly winds and improving weather. Weather forecasts say favourable weather will stay till March 12. “It will be enough for me to pass around the Tuamotus Archipelago,” he said, adding he had been afraid northern winds would carry his boat right to this dangerous archipelago, with its sandbanks and coral reefs that can be seen only from a short distance. His next stopover will be Motu One atoll, also known as Bellinghausen, some 620 nautical miles away from where he is now.

He said a day before he had taken inventory of his reserves. Thus, in his words, he had 30 gas bottles, or twice as many as needed, and food reserves enough to last for 140 days if he had two meals a day. Konyukhov said his ration had been very lean in the past days - only instant freeze-dried products. His plans to catch and cook fish had turned to be vain. All he had managed to catch was a small tuna fish and three small squids that had been thrown onto his boat by a wave. A day before he said he had been lucky to catch a big deep-water fish that had been attracted by a fluorescent spoon-bait. He said the black snake-like fish was about one metre long and had long crooked teeth and big protruding eyes.

“I ripped this fish to find about a dozen of squids in its stomach,” he said. “Obviously, this fish emerged from the death to hunt for squids. I wish I could have caught a tuna fish of a dolphic fish but the ocean sent me this deep-water creature.”

At the end of the communications session, Konyukhov said he was worried about the weather forecasts saying that his boat was to cross a front of cyclones moving from the northwest to the southeast. “I hope I will be lucky enough to race through the storms. I pray to God to stay alive,” he said.

Konyukhov, an artist by profession who was ordained as a Russian Orthodox priest in December 2010 has many more spectacular exploits to his credit. Their incomplete list includes two ascents to Mount Everest and ascents to the highest peaks of all other continents, a voyage across the Atlantic in a single-row boat in 46 days, the crossing of an 800 km distance in Greenland within about 16 days, several solo circumnavigation tours, and a singlehanded nonstop tour around Antarctica in 2013.

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