Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Adventurer Tells of Sharks, Squalls

APFyodor Konyukhov posing with his family Thursday at a dock in St. Peter, Barbados.
ST. PETER, Barbados -- Adventurer Fyodor Konyukhov said he wept when he finally saw land after rowing alone across the Atlantic, past sharks and through a haze of Sahara dust.

Five days after his arrival in Barbados, Konyukhov appeared rested Friday but said he was still sore as he recalled a voyage he described as particularly difficult.

"When I saw the island Sunday, I cried because most of the trip was clouded by Sahara dust and I never saw the sun rise and set in the same day," Konyukhov said, speaking in Russian while his wife, Irina, interpreted.

The 50-year-old completed the 4,678-kilometer journey from San Sebastian in the Canary Islands in 46 days and four hours -- a record time for Atlantic east-west solo rows, according to the London-based Ocean Rowing Society.

Upon his arrival on the morning of Dec. 1, Konyukhov made no public statements and went off to rest. He said he had been dehydrated.

He completed the solo row, his first, with the $70,000 single skull Uralaz.

"I wanted to visit Barbados five years ago on a sailboat, but was blown off course and ended up in St. Lucia," he said.

He sometimes saw sharks, but they posed no problem. He also encountered squalls, but he said he rowed 15 hours a day and fought exhaustion to complete the voyage.

He was greeted by his wife, 18-month-old daughter Polina and dozens of clapping islanders upon his arrival at a marina in Barbados' northern parish of St. Peter.

It took more than a year to prepare for this trip. Konyukhov explained the boat was specially designed by Phil Morrison and built by Spud Roswell in England. The seven-meter boat was equipped with two solar panels to produce electricity.

Konyukhov said he couldn't prepare full meals and ate simple, dry food because it was dangerous to use his gas cooker amid the large swells.

Konyukhov, who lives in Moscow, lectures and writes in addition to making various adventure trips.

He said he has been on about 40 expeditions, including three trips to the North Pole and one to the South Pole. He has climbed the highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro.

Konyukhov and his family planned to leave Barbados on Sunday. He said he already plans to build a new boat to attempt a crossing of the Pacific Ocean.