(TheOceans.net) American/Turkish Erden Eruc's solo row across the Pacific has been aborted a few hours after departure from San Francisco - twice.
During the first attempt on June 5 he managed to row under the Golden Gate Bridge, but soon afterwards the strong wind forced him to call the Coast Guard for a tow back to safety. On a second try ten days later, Eruc foresaw similar conditions and chose to go back to the shore and step off the boat again this time at least, under his own power.
I tried leaving again on Thursday morning with a fast ebb tide in my favor. Erden reported last Friday, Scheduled to measure 5.8 knots at 3:51 am under the Golden Gate, the tide would have carried me a ways, before the effects of the onshore winds increased in the heat of the sun during the day. I had to give the onshore winds time to settle down.
I left from Tiburon at 1:30 am after the slack in the tide, and rowed around the Belvedere Point in relative calm. The ebb tide was in motion, and the progress toward the Golden Gate went without an incident. But as I approached Point Cavallo, which defines the Horseshoe Cove on the northeast corner of the Gate, the wind increased instantly.
I could hear churning water behind me as the wind swooped down over the Point on to the water surface. There were five feet standing waves in the rip tide enhanced by the contrary winds, and the wind was trying to turn my boat around. I struggled to move my boat toward land to find refuge from the wind, then with the effect of the tide, I eventually drifted out of the dangerous waters.
Better aborting than being towed back
This experience made me question whether to commit to the open ocean right then. The last thing I wanted was to create another "tow-me-to-safety" situation. If the ebb tide were to carry me past the Horseshoe Cove and under the Golden Gate Bridge, the only remaining opportunity for refuge would have been to set a bottom anchor at the Bonita Cove on the northwest corner of the Gate. Tying my boat to the guest dock at the Presidio Yatch Club in the Horseshoe Cove was a more favorable option. At 3:00 am, I tied my boat to the windward side of the dock and stepped off.
Now I will worry only about the weather windows. I still need to time the departure with favorable early morning tides which will occur in the last week of June, or second week of July. Should the conditions develop for a launch, I would have to decide whether to launch elsewhere to take advantage of them.
Turkish born American resident Erden Eruc rode his bicycle from Seattle to Alaska and summited Denali. He also rode his bicycle from Seattle to Miami and rowed solo across the Atlantic. Currently attempting to row across the Pacific Ocean, when he reaches Australia, he intends to row to India where he will make his way all the way to Namibia. Then he will row to Brazil. Through his rowing, mountain climbing and biking Erden Eruc intends to eventually make his way back to San Francisco in a human-powered world circumnavigation.
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