17 April 2014, Thursday
Today's Zaman

Turkish adventurer ready to cross Pacific by rowboat

7 May 2007, Monday /TODAY’S ZAMAN
Erden Eruç is making plans to cross the Pacific Ocean, and eventually go around the world, using nothing but his own manpower.
He will depart from San Francisco in his boat in June and eventually reach Australia. “The hardest part will be staying alone at sea for eight months,” said the 46-year-old adventurer. Eruç, who has biked from Seattle to San Francisco, will try to cross the Pacific Ocean rowing his 7.9-meter-long boat. This won’t be his first time crossing an ocean.

“Crossing the Atlantic Ocean in 2006 prepared me for the Pacific. Compared to the Atlantic, I am facing twice the distance and twice the time,” he said.

He will row for most of the 12,400-kilometer journey and spend most of the time at sea since most of the islands near his route are coral, making it difficult to approach them. If conditions allow, he will try to stop by Pago Pago or Samoa’s Kirimati Islands.

“I am safer on the open seas,” he said. “I will bring along a nine-month stock of food. I will acquire additional rations by fishing.”

His biggest worry is at the beginning of his trip -- the afternoon wind that blows directly toward San Francisco.

“I will have to adjust to the times of the tide and the wind and keep my distance from land for the first 48 hours. After passing this critical point, I will try to distance myself at least 150-200 nautical miles from land and take advantage of the north-northwesterlies coming from the north Pacific high pressure streams. After that I’ll be fine.”

He made some changes to his boat following last year’s excursion across the Atlantic.  “I put my water balance device in a better place. I changed the deck hatches with better-quality ones. I have taken additional cable and a second satellite telephone for better communication.”

Once Eruç reaches Oceania, he will ride his bicycle up the highest point in mainland Australia, the 2,228-meter Mt. Kosciuszko. The bike ride will give him a different workout than rowing.

“Because of this I will do my best to keep in shape while on the ocean and will do this during my working and resting time. I have to stay fit and not let myself go to waste. I have to reach Australia in the best possible shape.”

Eruç hopes his adventure will be an inspiration for many, especially children, to keep hold of their dreams. He hopes to travel around the world by 2012 using only his muscles and climb the highest peaks on six continents. And he won’t forget his homeland on any of those trips.

“Just as I did on my trip across the Atlantic Ocean, I will carry a Turkish passport and flag during my trip across the Pacific.”

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