If you were a Russian rowing from Chile to Australia, you would want the warmest welcome, which is why intrepid Russian rower and explorer, Fedor Konyukhov, has planned to come ashore this weekend on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
His arrival in Australia, now expected to be early Saturday morning (31st May), will be at the completion of a 16,000km, five-month solo, unassisted, non-stop crossing of the Pacific by rowboat from Chile.
Inspired by Thor Heyerdahl’s 1947 Kon-Tiki voyage, when the Norwegian and five other adventurers sailed from Peru to French Polynesia in a raft made from balsa wood and other native materials, Fedor’s craft might be more sophisticated and comfortable, but the journey just as perilous, with the ordained Russian Orthodox church priest having had to abort his first attempt before setting out for Australia on December 22 – effectively missing two Christmases (the western and Orthodox Christmas days).
The Sunshine Coast Council and tourism community are planning a massive welcome for the unassuming, but remarkable explorer. Representatives from 25 of his corporate sponsors are flying into the Sunshine Coast to be on hand to welcome him when he arrives at the coastal port of Mooloolaba.
A film production company from leading Russian TV station Channel 4 (with over 100 million viewers) will capture his first unsteady steps on shore, and Sunshine Coast Acting Mayor, Councillor Chris Thompson, will present a gift from the Sunshine Coast that will commemorate this world record achievement.
“We recently welcomed the Sydney to Mooloolaba ocean racers, but the fastest boats completed their journey in less than two days, so a five month rowing ordeal from South America is a truly incredible feat,” says Sunshine Coast Destination CEO, Simon Ambrose.
“Russians are renowned as intrepid travellers and have now become one of the strongest markets for countries such as Thailand and Indonesia. I think they would love the Sunshine Coast. We have the resorts, the restaurants and bars, the excitement and the natural attractions that they seek. In fact, once Fedor sees our beaches and Channel 4 capture the arrival for their viewers, I think there will be a vast increase of interest in Australia and the Sunshine Coast.
“This is a truly remarkable achievement that deserves the support of everyone in Australia, and I am sure that we will have a vast number of local Sunshine Coast residents at Mooloolaba to greet him. We might not have a local Sunshine Coast vodka to offer, but we have wonderful wines, food and hospitality to shower on him when he steps ashore.”
Fedor is travelling in a 9m carbon fibre vessel named Tourgoyak, and the boat will be shortly within viewing distance of the Sunshine Coast. While existing mainly on freeze-dried food for the journey, he has caught mahi mahi fish off the Queensland coast in recent days, a reflection of the region’s abundant fish stocks.
Amongst the welcoming party will be Fedor’s son, Oscar Konyukhov, who has been working with locally based operators to help Fedor navigate his way to the Sunshine Coast.