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Konyukhov plans non-stop flight in balloon around the Earth to inspire people to dream

May 31, 2014, 11:42 UTC+3 MOOLOOLABA /Australia/

He may start in Australia to fly from the west towards the east along about the 40th latitude to finish the journey in Australia again

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MOOLOOLABA /Australia/, May 31 /ITAR-TASS/. World-known Russian traveller Fedor Konyukhov has reached the shore of Australia on Saturday, thus finishing a 160-day solo rowing voyage across the Pacific Ocean.

After the triumphant finish, the traveller told Itar-Tass he considered making a non-stop flight in a balloon around the Earth. He may start in Australia to fly from the west towards the east along about the 40th latitude to finish the journey in Australia again. At the same time, Konyukhov refused categorically when the expedition may begin.

“I have been travelling for 40 years already,” he said. “Formerly, I travelled mostly for scientific or sports reasons, but now I am concerned about the young generation, as I want them to catch up with the romantic spirits. I want people to be more of dreamers.”

Konyukhov, who is now 62, sailed off on board the Turgoyak from the Chilean port of Concon on December 22, 2013, heading for Australia’s Brisbane. The captain had set the aim to cross the Pacific, covering a distance of more than 9,300 nautical miles (more than 17,200 kilometres) in 200 days.

“The ground is not firm enough yet,” he said stepping ashore. His first steps were not confident enough, but in several instances he could walk by himself already.

Oceanic winds and currents carried him down from the original course, so Konyukhov chose another landmark 100 kilometres north of Brisbane and finished in the township of Mooloolaba, Queensland, today. He completed his distance in 160 days.

The International Ocean Rowing Society reported that the previous best solo achievement in crossing the Pacific on board a rowboat in its southern half was 273 days. The result was shown by Britain’s 52-year-old Jim Shekhdar in 2000-2001.

Konyukhov’s voyage proceeded under the aegis of the Russian Geographical Society, while Itar-Tass was among its information partners.

Fyodor Konyukhov, an artist by profession, who was ordained as a Russian Orthodox priest in December 2010, has many 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 dog sleigh crossing of an 800 km distance in Greenland within about 16 days, several trips to the North Pole, several solo circumnavigation tours, and a singlehanded nonstop tour around Antarctica.

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