British adventurer rows across Indian Ocean
British oarsman Simon Chalk completed an epic solo voyage across the Indian Ocean on Sunday, securing his place in the record books although the exact record he will be credited with remains unclear.Updated: Jun 16, 2003 11:00 IST
British oarsman Simon Chalk completed an epic solo voyage across the Indian Ocean on Sunday, securing his place in the record books although the exact record he will be credited with remains unclear.
Chalk, from Devon in southwest England, covered around 3,200 miles (5.100 kilometres) after setting off from Kalbarri, Western Australia on February 27, spending 108 days at sea in his self-righting rowing boat True Spirit.
He reached the little-known Raphael Island on Sunday, passing a key line of longitude which enabled him to claim the ocean crossing. From the island he was to be towed to nearby Mauritius.
"This has been the most incredible four months of my life and it would be untrue of me to say that there weren't moments of self-doubt, but I've proven my resilience and have also proven that this ocean can be mastered," he said after his record-breaking effort.
The 30-year-old adventurer, a property developer on dry land, becomes the first Briton and the youngest person to row solo across the Indian Ocean.
Chalk had been aiming to beat the 64-day Australia-Reunion crossing which Swede Anders Sbedland claimed to have achieved in 1971.
Hostile weather blew him off course and soon ended any chance that Chalk would beat that time, but the Ocean Rowing Society boosted his morale when they told him recently they had no record of Sbedland's row and would regard Chalk as the first person ever to row solo across the ocean if he completed his mission
During his voyage the oarsman battled gale force winds, storms and rough seas.
He said: "It never fails to surprise me the depths of reserves that can be called upon. I've had to use every ounce of energy, guile and cunning to complete this voyage and have drawn upon resources that I never even knew existed."
The oarsman carried out the feat solo because his Welsh rowing partner Rob Munslow pulled out of the attempt.
Chalk's previous bid to cross the Indian Ocean last May ended with he and his partner clinging to their capsized boat for 15 hours in shark infested waters before rescue.
He said: "I always knew that I could conquer this ocean. When my original challenge in May 2002 ended as it did, I became even more determined to prove myself in one of the world's most inhospitable environments."
He will now make his way to Port Louis in Mauritius, to be met by family and friends later this week.
First Published: Jun 16, 2003 11:00 IST