RGS’s Circumnavigation Leaves For Easter Island From Talcahuano Port

Курс – на остров Пасхи. Фото участников экспедиции.

We, the inhabitants of the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere, are used to the fact that winter ends on February 28. However, for our "antipodes" from the Southern Hemisphere, this date marks the end of summer. On the last "southern summer" day, the round-the-world expedition of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society set off from the Chilean Port of Talcahuano on a long journey to Easter Island. The brave crew of the inflatable trimaran – Evgeny Kovalevsky, Stanislav Berezkin, Egor Muzileyev, and the dog Pasoka – will have to cover 2,000 miles of open spaces of the Pacific Ocean. Our travelers expect to do this in about three weeks.

The RGS’s circumnavigation arrived in Talcahuano in mid-February, finally escaping from the tenacious embrace of the "fierce south" of the American continent. Before crossing the Pacific Ocean, both the vessel and the people needed rest. It is noteworthy that the famous Russian scientific round-the-world expedition of Otto Kotzebue was preparing to continue sailing in the same Chilean port 207 years ago. The brig "Rurik" was anchored here in the bay.

“The Spanish commandants – first from Talcahuano, and a little later Concepcion – warmly welcomed the navigators and were amazed at the appearance of Russians here. Talcahuano’s commandant arrived on the vessel and politely said: ‘We are glad to welcome the Russian expedition in our land. The Russian flag has never flown here before. We are happy to welcome the people who, during the reign of the great Alexander I, sacrificing themselves, brought freedom to Europe,’” Evgeny Kovalevsky, the head of the current circumnavigation, reminded about the history of the expedition.


В порту Талькауано. Фото участников экспедиции.

The crew of the RGS’s trimaran was also warmly welcomed on Chilean soil. Thanks to the agreements of the Russian Embassy and the Russian House in Santiago with the municipality of Talcahuano, the local Sports Department provided travelers with free parking for the vessel and comfortable living conditions. In two weeks, the Russians held five meetings with the public in the hospitable port. For local residents, they have become a real discovery.

“Chileans were surprised to learn that there is seafaring in Russia, that in the 19th century half of 100 circumnavigations of the world were made by Russian sailors. They learned that there are universities in Siberia and it doesn't always snow, that Russians are open and friendly. At meetings, we gave Chileans crew paraphernalia, sang songs, took pictures and shouted together: ‘Russia, Chile – amigos,’ friends," Kovalevsky added.


Экипаж перед выходом в Тихий океан. Фото участников экспедиции.

Yulia Kalyuzhnaya, the head of the expedition's coastal headquarters, who arrived from Santiago, brought the necessary medicines, new video cameras, and money for the continuation of the voyage to the crew.

“We have won another presidential grant, but because of the blocking, our cards do not work abroad, we have to look for options. Yulia organized and conducted the filming for the priority educational program of the expedition ‘Lessons from the Ocean’",  added Evgeny Kovalevsky.


Кругосветка РГО в лице Евгения Ковалевского в фокусе прессы. Фото участников экспедиции.

According to him, the next lesson-teleconference will take place in May 2023. It will be dedicated to the Russian expeditions of the past and present ones to Concepcion and Easter Island. And of course, the World Ocean and its problems.

“The Russian Embassy and the Russian House in Santiago actively assisted us in our affairs in Chile. They solved many tasks and problems," Kovalevsky said.

Chileans and even Argentines helped the Russian navigators in preparing for the passage across the Pacific Ocean. Having learned that the trimaran needed serious repairs, Norberto Luna, a specialist in vessels of this class, arrived from Buenos Aires with a colleague.

“The Argentines cut off the bow part of one of the hulls, the material of which began to leak air due to prolonged interaction with salt water, powerful ocean waves, solar radiation, due to mechanical damage. Norberto Luna rushed to Talcahuano, having learned about our problems, and solved them. This is the friendship of peoples. Thank you, Norberto and Julio!” Kovalevsky thanked his colleagues.


Капитан тримарана Станислав Берёзкин. Фото участников экспедиции.

Also on the trimaran, the fasteners that failed were replaced, the side hulls were strengthened, five-meter thick boards were fixed on top, so that the noses would get less turned up by the waves. New retractable fins – centerboards – were made of special plywood, since both old ones broke in the ocean during the voyage to Cape Horn. Many other small but necessary tasks were carried out; provisions, fuel, and fresh water were purchased.

“The same crew members that have been on the trimaran for the last two months are leaving for Easter Island: Evgeny Kovalevsky, Stanislav Berezkin, Egor Publio Muzileyev. Of course, the tiny Chihuahua Pasoka will go with us," Kovalevsky said.


Закупка 400 литров воды – до острова Пасхи. Фото участников экспедиции.

The cute dog, who has become the favorite of the entire crew, will be the first Chihuahua to cross the Pacific Ocean on a sailing trimaran.

“Our trimaran should reach Easter Island by mid-March, where we will shoot video material for "Lessons from the Ocean" and films that are created based on the expedition ‘Following the paths of Russian explorers’. There will be meetings with the local population, preventive maintenance, and then we will go farther, to French Polynesia. The whole Pacific Ocean is ahead!” Evgeny Kovalevsky shared his plans.


Пасока первой из чихуахуа отправилась через Тихий океан на надувном тримаране. Фото участников экспедиции.

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