Close, but no cigar - Soundings Online

Close, but no cigar

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Italian adventurer Alex Bellini, 30, spent 10 months rowing across the Pacific Ocean in his 25-foot vessel eating nothing but dried food, only to be rescued by a tugboat on the last leg of his journey, according to a report in the British newspaper The Telegraph.

Bellini set off Feb. 21 from Lima, Peru, and had planned to set foot in Sydney, Australia last Saturday. But after storms off the eastern coast of Australia had battered him to the point of exhaustion last Friday, he called his wife, Francesca, via satellite phone to ask for help. After she called the authorities, a New Zealand-registered tugboat that was just 12 nautical miles from Bellini was contacted to help him and he was towed to Newcastle, Australia. He arrived early Saturday morning, according to a report in the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

When Bellini stepped onto land, he was 30 pounds lighter than when he first set out and the last time he walked more than 32 feet was before the start of his journey, according to the AFP report. He averaged 30 nautical miles a day and said he was not disappointed by how the trip turned out.

“I didn’t put the cherry on top of the cake,” he told the Telegraph. “But the cake is very good, very big and I will never forget about it.”

This isn’t the first ocean-rowing trip Bellini has embarked upon. He has successfully rowed the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, as well as running 155 miles across a Moroccan desert and pulling a sled 870 miles across Alaska. If he had succeeded in his most recent voyage, he would have been the fifth person to cross the Pacific by rowboat, according to the AFP report.

Bellini says though the trip has made him feel “100 percent alive,” he has promised his wife he will not attempt the crossing again and will focus on his family instead, according to the Telegraph report.

— Elizabeth Ellis