The ORS Int. is the official adjudicator of ocean rowing records for Guinness World Records



Around world in seven years, hopefully


Journey powered solely by human energy

January 14, 2005

By Kyle Albert

Globetrotting adventurer Erden Eruc stopped by the UW last night to discuss his ongoing seven-year expedition to circumnavigate the world using only human power.

In a discussion sponsored by the UW Climbing Club, Eruc gave a presentation and took questions from the audience of about 30 in the HUB auditorium. His multimedia presentation consisted of a description of his expedition, including a discussion of the early stages of the first 9,500 miles of his journey.

In 1997, while Eruc was working at a software development company in Washington, D.C., he started to dream about an around-the-world journey.

"On the wall was this big map of the world, and I often stood in front of that thing and just stared at it," said Eruc. "One day I drew this path with my finger from D.C. across the Bering Strait and all the way to Portugal and said 'Ha! Maybe I can do this.'"

Eruc's dream lead him to found a non-profit organization, Around-n-Over, to help facilitate his vision of travelling the world using only human power.

Although his journey is spread out over seven years, Eruc is spending approximately half his time in Seattle training, resting, and waiting for seasonal weather hazards to clear.

Eruc completed the second segment of his journey Dec. 24, mountain biking between Seattle and Miami, after riding to Alaska, where he climbed Denali (Mt. McKinley), carrying all his own climbing gear.

Over the next several years, Eruc plans to forge ahead, returning first to Miami in November after the hurricane season passes, then beginning to row across the Caribbean Sea and through the Panama Canal to Ecuador. From there he will embark on a trek to the top of Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina.

The next segment of Eruc's journey will involve rowing across the Pacific Ocean to reach Carstenz Pyramid in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, the highest point in Oceania. His future travels include climbing Mt. Everest and Mt. Kilimanjaro, biking across India and rowing through the Suez Canal, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

He refers to his cumulative journey as the "Six Summits Project," which will take him to the highest points on every continent except Antarctica.

Eruc said he planned to complete his journey with another bike ride across the United States in 2011.

He also strives to educate children about setting goals and overcoming challenges through classroom visits, which he plans to do when he travels and while training in Seattle.

"Goal setting, overcoming obstacles and not letting obstacles become excuses to return to safe harbours, staying focused and persevering through difficult moments --- those are the things that I focus on," explained Eruc.

Eruc is now training with U.S. Olympic rowing team coach Emil Kossev at the Pokcock Rowing Center in Seattle to prepare for the nautical portions of his journey. He is also preparing his custom-designed watercraft and finalizing his logistical plans.

"The most difficult parts will be the transitions ... The transition from cycling to rowing, precisely what I'm going through right now," he said. "I just came back from Miami with two strong legs and two strong lungs, and I need to transition that to a rowing engine."

Financing is a perpetual problem for Eruc, who is seeking contributions to help complete his quest.

"I truly believe that the expedition will happen, and the educational mission will be realized by grassroots support," he said. "It won't be by corporate donations or sponsorships -[but] by parents and teachers and students getting excited and wanting to be part of this journey," said Eruc.

Eruc continues his journey in November and will be posting updates regularly on his organization's website,

  1983-2005 Ocean Rowing Society

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