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February 28, 2003 


Ocean adventure: Simon Chalk on the eve of his departure from Kalbarri yesterday.

SIMON Chalk is not crazy as some might expect but he does have an obsessive drive.

This morning, all being well, the 30-year-old Englishman will be cast into the perils of the open ocean.

He will have nothing but a rowboat, albeit a specialised one, between him and the landfall he hopes to make in 64 days in Africa. 

It will be his second attempt after he and Bill Greaves lasted three days before their boat was hit by an object, presumed to have been a whale, last year. 

Their boat capsized and both were lucky to be rescued. Greaves gave up ocean rowing but Chalk is clearly undaunted.

His aim is to row from Kalbarri to Reunion Island, a French territory about 400km east of Madagascar. Geographically, it belongs to Africa and if Chalk succeeds, he will emulate a feat only one other man in history, Sweden’s Anders Svenlund, can boast. He rowed the Indian Ocean in 1971.

“There are three rowable oceans. The Indian, the Pacific and the Atlantic,” Chalk said.

“I rowed the Atlantic with George Rock in 1997 and I’ve been wanting to row the Indian for two years. There are all sort of records to be broken because it’s only been done once.

“It will also be historic as the someone is rowing the Atlantic right now and it will be the first time two oceans have been rowed at the same time. I’m surprised no-one aside from Anders has done this before now. 

“The Atlantic has been crossed over 60 times, and that’s just solo and the Pacific about 10 times though not always successfully.”


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