ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News
Traversing an ocean alone is nothing new, but a Turkish man has achieved something remarkable. Using only his own strength, Eren Eruç rowed across two oceans, deftly traversing the first and achieving a Guinness world record for spending the longest time on the Pacific Ocean when he partially completed the second.
Eruç became the first Turk to cross the Atlantic Ocean with a rowing boat. He also became the record-holder for the longest solo row, at 312 days, two hours. It is this journey crossing the Pacific Ocean east to west that gained him entry to the Guinness Book of World Records. That may sound like a big enough achievement for a man of 41, but Eruç believes that he has just started and said he will continue to travel �around-n-over� the world using only his muscle power.
�I followed my dreams and will continue to sail and ride around the world to show the children that there is nothing they can't do,� said Eruç, in a press conference on a boat in Istanbul yesterday.
�I talked to many children in rural areas of Turkey via satellite telephone while I was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean,� said Eruç. The children mostly asked him whether he fears loneliness, sharks or hunger, which are their own fears. �I am a mirror for their fears and I show them that there is nothing to fear,� said Eruç.
More than a sailor
Eruç is not only a good sailor but also a good trekker. His future plans are to sail to six continents and to climb the highest summits in each of them. This �Six Summit Project� will be a tribute to Göran Kropp, a friend he lost while climbing together.
Eruç already climbed 6,194 meters high Mount McKinley in Alaska. Traveling there from Seattle, he rowed all the way there and back in 2003.
The solo Atlantic crossing time of 92 days began Jan. 29, 2006 in Las Palmas. Eruç made landfall at the island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean May 5, 2006. Then, he traveled on the Pacific Ocean, leaving Bodega Bay, California on July 10, 2007 and finishing at Papua New Guineas on May 17. �He is powerful inside and outside. I am proud of him,� said his wife, Nancy Board.
�The worst thing for a child is to realize that his dreams cannot become true,� said Eruç. He told a story about his own experience: �I watched a documentary when I was little and wanted to be an astronaut. Then I realized that all astronauts were Americans so I can't be,� said Eruç, adding he hoped his success would inspire more people to break prejudices.
His travels have a purpose, such as inspiring children, promoting the protection of the environment and finding funds for children's education. His donation campaign for education reached $50,000. He also founded Around-n-Over Foundation, a nonprofit organization to share his experiences and find funds for children around the world available at