Sea the place to be on birthday

Russian rower Fedor Konyukhov is celebrating his 67th birthday today, while rowing across the Pacific Ocean towards Chile. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Russian rower Fedor Konyukhov is celebrating his 67th birthday today, while rowing across the Pacific Ocean towards Chile. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Fedor Konyukhov may be hundreds of kilometres from civilisation, but it will not stop the Russian rower from celebrating his birthday in style today.

Less than a week into the first leg of his round-the-world rowing bid, he has turned 67.

Son Oscar said he had hidden a birthday card, notes of best wishes, cakes, chocolates, a couple of pairs of merino socks and some small bottles of New Zealand whisky in compartments around the boat for him to find during his journey.

He said it was something he had done on his father's previous adventures, and something his father would be expecting on this voyage.

''He's quite impatient, so he's probably opened them all already.''

While it would be easy to think Mr Konyukhov would find his birthday lonely, his son said he would have more than enough company to celebrate the milestone.

He said he was excited to see penguins, dolphins and whales on the trip so far, and he has had some albatrosses following him, which were keeping his spirits high.

''He's loving the wildlife. He's in his element and he's a happy man.''

Mr Konyukhov is in regular radio contact and has so far reported he is coping reasonably well.

''The conditions are difficult - changeable winds, sometimes head-on and large ocean swell.

''Boat rises up to 5m on wave-crests and then lowers into the troughs. It is hard to row in such conditions.''

Mr Konyukhov is rowing for up to 15 hours per day, with breaks for eating and sleeping.

He has already travelled about 250km off the coast of New Zealand.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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