RGS’s Circumnavigation Goes to Sea Again

Катамаран кругосветки РГО выходит из гавани Вануа-Леву. Фото участников экспедиции
Катамаран кругосветки РГО выходит из гавани Вануа-Леву. Фото участников экспедиции

The circumnavigation expedition of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society left the harbor of Vanua Levu on August 8 and went to the largest island of the Fiji archipelago – Viti Levu. The 145-mile voyage is scheduled to take two days. The crew was joined by another temporary crew member –  Frenchman Emile-Malek Hanna.

On the second largest island of Fiji, Vanua Levu, the circumnavigators spent more than a week. The crew was waiting for permission to continue sailing.

“We were not given permission until customs decides how to punish us for coming to the island without prior notice. Previously, there was no such thing in any country. As a result, they sternly wagged their finger, issued a warning. We promised that we wouldn't do it again," Evgeny Kovalevsky said.

During the forced downtime, the crew managed to thoroughly study local customs and sights, as well as make many new friends.

Vanua Levu Island attracts sailors and tourists from Australia, New Zealand, USA, France, Canada, and many other countries. The Russians were warmly welcomed in Copra Shed Marina. Its owner, an Australian Jeff, is a geologist. He studies the underwater resources of the Pacific Ocean and writes scientific books.

“They received us with surprise and admiration. On Friday, August 4, we held a meeting with the Fiji maritime community. All the sailors whose yachts are in the port of Savusavu came – French, Canadians, New Zealanders, Australians. The Americans from the research vessel of the University of Massachusetts came up. They study the ecology of the World Ocean. Stanislav and I told in detail about the discoveries of Kruzenshtern, Bellingshausen, Kotzebue, Litke, and other Russian sailors. We talked about our expedition, about its goals and objectives. We showed our route and the routes of Russian sailors on the map. Our story about Siberia, Tomsk, and Novosibirsk, about universities and students, about science and education, about nature, snow, and the animal world aroused great interest. The video about Tomsk during New Year was met with enthusiasm. We were often interrupted by applause,” said Evgeny Kovalevsky.

Impressed by the story, another Frenchman, Emile-Malek Hanna, decided to join Evgeny Kovalevsky, Stanislav Berezkin, and Vincent Beaujeu. He will become a temporary crew member and will go with the catamaran to Vanuatu.

The crossing to Viti Levu began quite calmly. The crew even decided to go fishing. Emile cast a line and a couple of hours later caught a barracuda that was cooked for lunch. However, soon the Pacific Ocean began to show its cool temper again.

“There are a head waves, low and hard. It is unpleasant for both a person and a catamaran. We are forced to use the motor because of the headwind. Its’s sunny, but not hot, the waves are overflowing the deck,” said Evgeny Kovalevsky.

We wish good luck to the crew. We will wait for good news from them.

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