Heading To Phuket: Ship Of RGS’s Circumnavigation Sails Into Java Sea

Stanislav Berezkin and Evgeny Kovalevsky. Photos of the expedition participants
Stanislav Berezkin and Evgeny Kovalevsky. Photos of the expedition participants

The sailboat of the circumnavigation expedition of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society entered the waters of the Java Sea on January 15. The travelers are heading to the Indonesian island of Batam, and then to Thai Phuket.

“It takes two weeks to get there. On February 6-7, we begin crossing the Indian Ocean. We stop at the port of Kochi, India on the way. We will shoot there for the next ‘Lesson from the Ocean’. This is the educational highlight of our project. Thousands of schoolchildren from Russia and other countries connect to it online to gain new knowledge in geography, regional studies, ecology, and natural sciences. They can ask travelers their questions live. From India, in early March 2024, we will go to Oman, then across the Red Sea to the Suez Canal. The further route is still being discussed due to political difficulties. But the task remains the same: to reach Kronstadt by the summer of 2024,” said Evgeny Kovalevsky.

On January 13, the expedition set sail from Jakarta, where Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin spent four days. The travelers were surrounded by compatriots, and the event program in the Indonesian capital turned out to be eventful.

“First of all, I would like to thank the Russian Embassy in Indonesia and Minister-Counsellor Veronika Novoseltseva for their assistance. Many thanks to the director of the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Jakarta, Victoria Vikman, and all the staff of the center. These four days were like paradise for us: hot water, shower, toilet, food, bed, warm attitude. What else does a sailor who has come ashore after a difficult voyage need?” said Evgeny Kovalevsky.

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In Jakarta. Photos of the expedition participants
In Jakarta. Photos of the expedition participants

The Russian Center for Science and Culture in Jakarta hosted a warm meeting of the crew of the circumnavigation with the staff of the Russian Embassy and Indonesian friends. The circumnavigators learned that hundreds of young Indonesians study at Tomsk State University and love Tomsk. The travelers also managed to explore some of the sights of the city, but there was little time for excursions — a new difficult segment of the route was ahead.

“We're leaving the harbor. A headwind immediately rises, one-meter waves are short and harsh. The pitching begins. Cloudy. We head towards the island of Batam, it's about 600 miles. Our plan is to cover them in six days," Kovalevsky said.

On January 15, the vessel of the circumnavigation expedition of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society entered the Java Sea. The weather remains inclement, it is raining, there is a headwind, short, harsh waves. Along the way, there are many submerged ships, fishing boats, and bulk carriers. In the distance, the island of Sumatra is visible on the left, the island of Bangka is on the right. The journey continues.

On July 1, 2021, Siberian travelers Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin set off along the route of the first Russian round-the-world expeditions of the 19th century: Ivan Kruzenshtern’s (1803-1806), Yuri Lisyansky’s (1803-1806), Otto Kotzebue’s (1815-1818, 1823-1826), Vasily Golovnin’s (1817-1819), Fedor Litke’s (1826-1829), Faddey Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev’s (1819-1921). The international project of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society "Following the paths of Russian explorers" is dedicated to the 250th birthday anniversary of Krusenstern and the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by Russian sailors. These events for a long time determined Russia's leadership in the development of the oceans and the discovery of new lands. You can learn more about the project and provide all possible assistance in its implementation on the website of the expedition.

Alexander Zhirnov