Wauna Man Resumes Solo Row From U.S. to Asia

No one has ever rowed across the Pacific mainland-to-mainland, but that’s just the beginning.


Solo circumnavigator Erden Eruç, 60, of Wauna, resumed his second solo row across the Pacific Oct. 7 when he relaunched from Waikiki, Oahu, where he arrived Sept. 10 after an 80-day crossing from Crescent City, Calif.

“I covered a lot of ground with 25 knot gusting winds the first few days,” Eruç wrote in his blog. “The seas were cross in the lee of Oahu and Kauai Channel. Driving waves would catch up with my rowboat then slam, splashing me in the process. When I could, I rinsed and hid in the cabin to read. Time in the sweltering cabin over the last few days had me itching with salt.”

Eruç spent his brief time in Hawaii repairing his desalinator, replacing navigational equipment, and reinforcing deck scuppers to prevent his boat from taking on so much water in high seas. He also packed in 150 freeze-dried breakfasts and tried again to get permission to enter China.

He expects to reach Hong Kong in March 2022 but was denied a tourist visa due to the pandemic. He has a backup plan to land in Da Nang, Vietnam, though that country is also closed to foreigners now.

Once he reaches Asia, Eruç will bicycle to Mount Everest, which he plans to summit in the fall of 2022, then bike west across Asia Minor to Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, which he will summit before cycling the rest of the continent to rejoin his boat in Portugal. From there he will row to Brazil, then bike southwest across the continent to Argentina and summit Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in South America. He will then bike and kayak north back to Crescent City, completing his second human-powered circumnavigation and having summited the last of the highest peaks on six continents, part of his goal on the first go-round.

Eruç completed that circumnavigation in 2012 after five years and 41,153 miles. He became the first person to row across three oceans; the first to row from Australia to Africa; the first to cross any ocean from the southern to northern hemisphere; and he also rowed the longest distance ever attempted across the Atlantic. In all, he holds 15 Guinness World Records.

As an ambassador for Ocean Recovery Alliance on this journey, Eruç is raising awareness about plastic pollution in the ocean, he said. He is producing educational content on the environment, climate change and survival at sea that he transmits to classrooms around the world. His nonprofit, Around-n-Over, has already donated over $100,000 to rural schools in his homeland, Turkey. He is also recording the sounds of beaked whales on this trip for research the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is conducting to track their movements.

This is the second row across the Pacific for Eruç but the first attempt by anyone to go from mainland-to-mainland in a human-powered craft.

“This leg of my Pacific crossing, which I estimate will last well into March, will be even more challenging than the 80 days from Crescent City to Waikiki,” he wrote. “Navigating the large eddies and strong currents on my westerly course will take guidance … Winter storms, which form in the western Pacific, will travel east, passing north of my course, threatening to draw me north. The same storms will bring northerly winds in January trying to press me south when I am west of the Marianas. These challenges will not be trivial.

“Please keep me in your thoughts,” he wrote.

Follow Erden Eruç’s progress at www.erdeneruc.com/tracking

For more information on Eruç’s educational work, go to www.around-n-over.org