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





 Caribbean Sea. From Barbados to Cuba

Page 1. May 14 - May 27 2006
Page 2. May 28 - June 9th 2004
Page 3. Cuba. Puerto de Chivirico and Santiago de Cuba
Page 4. Caribbean Sea. From Cuba to Jamaica

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May 27th 2004
18:55 GMT

Just now we received a call from Pavel. He is rather worried - for approx 1 1/2 - 2 hours an American plane and then a helicopter were flying above him. All attempts to contact them on VHF were useless. It looked like people from helicopter were filming him. Then at last Pavel  got a response on channel 16, but could hardly understand the officer, so he gave them the phone number of ORS, which officer repeated correctly.  Pavel managed to explain that he is an oceanrower, and that he is  traveling  heading either Cuba or Miami, depending on winds and currents. Its understood, that Pavel was nervous - it's not a usual thing to attract such a persistent  attention in the middle of nowhere. "I  am absolutely anxious - what if they will try to pick me up?"

Kenneth F. Crutchlow immediately called Miami Coast Guard and spoke to Duty Officer Anderson, who said that most likely the plane came from San Juan, Puerto Rico and was on routine patrol. Kenneth referred the Duty Officer to ORS website and told him that Pavel has enough food and water supplies and needs no assistance ( at this time)

20:45GMT   We had a call from Duty Officer Patrick Castro from the US Coast Guard in San Juan (Puerto Rico).  D.O. Castro had received an e-mail from Miami Coast Guard and he confirmed that the plane and the helicopter were looking for a suspect high-speed power boat and wanted to know if Pavel had seen it. He then informed ORS that it is their intention that in the next 30 minutes a US Coast Guard cutter will approach Pavel and put a zodiac-style boat in the water as they want to question Pavel. Tatiana has phoned Pavel who said that he will welcome and cooperate with the US Coast Guard (as long as they do not ask him to leave his boat), and he understands that they are doing their job.

21:15GMT Just called on satphone to Pavel, but he said, that he could not speak as the Coast Guard cutter was just approaching his boat.

Called Marion-Lviv, Pavel answered and said, that he had a guest on his deck and they were peacefully chatting .
Kenneth asked Pavel to give the receiver to his guest and spoke to Lt. Scott Bobin of the US Coast Guard Miami, who was onboard the boat. Lt. Scott Bobin said, that he found Pavel "very cooperative" and that he wanted to make sure that Pavel was safe. Now Pavel will proceed and the cutter will leave him and resume its patrol.

21:55 GMT A call from Pavel: "Everything looked VERY impressive - two cutters approached me, one of them - with a helicopter onboard. They put zodiac on the water and a blond officer came by it to my boat. He studied my passport thoroughly, I explained him who I am and what I am doing, and I showed him my charts.

 It was a nice talk, after which Lieutenant wrote down an official letter and left it with me, so that if I am stopped again, I would be able to show it "to who it may concern" so that not to be checked again. I had chance to take photos of the cutters and of the officer, but it was most impressive indeed - when a small boat is being surrounded by huge cutters with machine-guns, and I had nothing but a harpoon onboard :) ( "Thank you, Fraser!")
Well, now I am going even to drink some rum - after all my mileage still was not going to be so great today..."


 May 26th 2004

11:09 I can't stop  enjoying the sun - everything looks incredibly beautiful, the seascape is just stunning. Now I am listening to radio of Dominican Republic. Very nice rhythms, but something is definitely  happening over there - the music is being interrupted now and then, and I can distinctly hear a crowd shouting "Democracy!" [ then Pavel had no idea about the disaster on the island ].

 The night went quiet, and the wind was equable. From time to time I got up and rowed South, and then let the wind carry me North again.
There is still no fishing, I've never seen a single fishing vessel in the area.
So, now I'm going to have my cup of coffee, and - back to oars. The sun has not yet warmed all up and this is  perfect time.

20:47  As it was reported, the recent weather in Dominican Republic was "the worst in living memory"

"What an unimaginable sun-heat! With a sort of regret I even started to miss those rains... Well, Man is rather a capricious creature".

"But that was not just a torrential rain, I was completely amazed to watch such a continuous down-pour being accompanied by wind of that force - my progress was fantastic, nothing compares to it - unforgettable experience!"

Recollections...Rowing an ocean alone gives you this luxury of thinking with no fear to be interrupted, and you can browse your memory, getting into its most remote corners.

" Now I am passing by Haiti, which for people of my generation used to be a synonym of a relaxed Paradise on Earth... Can't help thinking about cruel senselessness of so called "revolutionary remaking of society", that took place on this poor island, and in my poor Russia in 1917, and ..."
"I remember the times, when Cuba - 'Island of Freedom' - was on everybody's lips, it was like a fresh wind, it was a new phenomenon. I knew somebody, who  were returning home after visiting Cuba, and their tales were adding a giddy charm to our enthusiasm. ................   So long ago it has been, what young dreamers we were!...."

22:14 Yeeeess! I caught dorada,  BUT..  a magnificent 1 1/5 meters long  fish pulled the lead under the rudder and while I was  trying  to  release the lead  through the aft hatch  - my catch broke loose and escaped :( Animated Fish

    May 25th 2004                                                                                                                                                     

 21:05 "The whole day long the weather was just splendid. I am fighting the wind and I am the winner. Beware of this South wind, I should not let it carry me away to the North: before me there is the southern cape of Haiti island [Hispaniola] - Cabo Beata with Beata Island next to the cape.

God save me from getting close to them! - there is neither a single port, nor a landing-pier over there. That's why I have to fight. My spirits are high. It appears that telephone has completely changed my life, to compare it to the one I had in the Atlantic. Then I was like a thing inside itself, and now I am getting messages and can communicate - how much better!"

Days of torrential rain, that has completely tired Pavel out, were followed by flooding on the island of Hispaniola (Haiti), shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Floods and mudslides have killed more than 500 people, more than 200 people were believed to be missing, thousands were left homeless in the two countries.


May 24th 2004

11:20 "There is a sea-scape all around me - blue sea, blue sky and little white clouds - idyllic! Though beyond the horizon there is something threatening forming...
Three birds have chosen to travel next to me on my boat. Last night, when I opened the hatch to air the cabin, I was immediately pecked at. I jumped out on the deck with a flashlight - in the darkness it was difficult to guess who it was that bit me. It appeared to be white-headed coastal birds (they are called "krachki" in Russian - sorry, don't know the English for it). Lazy birds, they don't mind to find an object like my boat for a short break, for a night's sleep or just as a means of moving.

21:00 The pressure of the South wind is terrible - I can't cope with it and had to cast a sea-anchor. So my rapid progress towards West will drop for a couple of next days. I managed to dry my clothes, it's dry in the cabin, so everything seems to be all right. And the sun has disappeared again

May 23rd 2004

16:16 The miracle has not taken place and the morning of this day was similar to all the previous ones - a rain...
"But - everything's ok. I am not overstrained, not much rowing so far - I have given myself  up to the will of winds. Now I have South-East wind, so I can move West without problems - with the rudder.
For an entertainment ... I am eating nuts :); keep changing one bite for another, but - not-a-single fish...; I am writing my log, but there is nothing too special to write about... I repaired my tape-recorder, which had been broken during the Atlantic crossing, so I have music again. And now on VHF I am listenning to radio of Puerto-Rico - a very pleasant music indeed. Well, the following delicacy in my menu will be radio of Dominican Republic.
The current is unexpectedly powerful here and it gives me 1 mile per hour - 24 miles per day! And these - not taking into account rather a strong wind. So I am quite pleased with the progress and there is only one thing missing - the sun..."

19:34 "For three minutes only a ray of light has made its way through the clouds - what a joy! - but the sky is still overcast with two layers: the lower one - of cumuli, and above it - a dense layer of cirrus clouds. Inconceivable weather, but it doesn't pour from the sky, at least for now, and wind is good. "

21:00 "Brilliant! Cumuli have almost dissapeared, though high in the sky there are cirri  still hanging above me. And you won't beleive what I am doing now -   I AM BASKING IN THE SUN! What a pleasure.............."


May 22nd 2004

11:00 No changes in the weather, can hardly catch up with pumping the rain water out of the boat. Horizon is invisible, everything's hazy and I am navigating only with GPS. It's not a problem and I keep the course, but I am longing for a sea-scape!

22:30 "For a short while the sun has emerged from behind the clouds, did not stop drizzling! Passing a glance over the horizon, I can see just a solid raincloud all around me...Rather gloomy. Never mind, let there be sunshine and the spirits will go up.

No fish, and the sea looks amazingly lifeless - no dolphins, no whales - so different to the Atlantic ocean.."

In 8 days Pavel has rowed one third of the distance.

"The most difficult part will commence over there, and what do I have here? Neither distinctive coast lines, nor tides. But in general everything is fine - my progress is good, my meal is good, my sleep is good, though I have to get up pretty often: the wind keeps changing and I have to adjust the rudder."

23:44"Nothing new in the sky... So, now I'm going to open the last can of my favourite baked beans from Sainsbury's, somewhere there must be a bottle of rum,....and then I'll get some shut-eye. And what if when I get up to-morrow morning, the sun will get up and shine?!"


May 21st 2004

11:20 Everything is fine with the exception of the continous rain. I am amazed - day by day in the morning the rain is coming down in torrents  and drizzling for the rest part of the day. It's miserable and dreary to have infinitely a wet back. My progress is good - I must be on the level of Guadeloupe for now. I am fishing, but - alas! -the  last catch was the same as before - a devil-fish. It's an excruciating torment to pull  all the bones out of it...
22:30 Still not a single dry spell, but the wind is good and for the most of the time I am actualy not rowing. Now I am on the level of Puerto Rica, and soon will be approaching the longitude of Haiti. I tried (without success) to dry a little my clothes - no way; but its realy warm enough here, so - not so terribly bad, after all.
Today I was watching three torados ( or twisters?) far in the South - an obnoxious sight, wouldn't like to find myself in that area.
I am getting letters of support - what a difference they make to compare to my Atlantic crossing! They are bringing me a feeling of having a good company all the way long.

May 20th 2004
11:00 Yesterday, when I was on the phone praising the weather, it started to change, and when I put the receiver it began to pour with rain  non-stop until now. During the night the rain was so heavy, that water keapt overflowing my cockpit. When it was full I knew it immidiately, 'cause then the boat was changing her go. Gusts, thunderstorm and discharges of lightenning, following one after another, were just deafening. One more "dark night", but at some moment in the middle of the night I caught my first fish...Well, according to Murphy's Law it had to be a 1.2 metre long devil-fish. It is almost uneatable, but there's no choice, so after the rain I will cook and eat it
The sky is lowering and there's no ray of light...
20:00 It's only now that the yesterday's rain has stopped - after pouring for more than 24 hours. I am going north, will try to use islands as a cover

Photo by Brett Sparrow

May 19th 2004
Ship Observations Minor Antilles Wed May 19  06:00 GMT

Air - 26.3°C, Water - 27.4°C. Wind - Speed (m/s) 9.3; Gusts (m/s) 11.3; Direction - 90°

11:10 (GMT!) The day has just broken, the night has been pretty strained - there were many ships passing by and I had to be on alert not to collide. I am up, now will pick up something from "Mountain House" [freeze-dried food] and have my breakfast. Well, I'd rather went for some fish for a change, but nothing bites! There must be some explanation for it - it was not for no reason that though I was meeting lots and lots of fishing vessels at the Atlantic side of Santa Lucia, the moment I passed the strait into Caribbean, they all had gone!

15:00 "The sun is shining, weather looks fine and though waves are big, my progress is good. Soon I will be passing Aves Island. Well, much more south, of course."

Prior to departure Pavel was absolutely tempted to get a peep of this small uninhabited island, which had been stirring his curiosity since long ago.

But - thanks to Internet! - the information and pictures Pavel could get  appeared to be entirely sufficient for him not to sacrifice time and efforts that it would  take him to approach  this - though unique -deserted  sand-bank.



May 18th 2004
16:28GMT The night was just disgusting, continuous rain and squall wind - a sheer twist. Had to use sea-anchors. In the morning the comms were failing down - the sky was overcast and there was no sun in sight at all.
But now its wonderful here - the wind has dropped and keeping a northerly course is easy .
I am getting a lot of messages and would like to thank everybody for their support. Best regards !

'Stormy ocean' by Maria 'GOD' Bondesson

May 17th 2004
22:00 Just a scheduled evening report: fine day, with no nuisance. It's very, very hard to gain North...
16:00 The Sun has at last made his appearance - for the first time in two days; I am having fresh wind and would like to move more North, but instead my course is due West. Nevertheless the morale is high and so is my appetite.
11:03 Hi! Everything is fine, the night went off very well, the sea was calm, though I am carried away southward. Now the horizon is growing gloomy and it bodes no good. But meantime I am going to have my breakfast - I have overslept a little bit today. Speak to you later!

May 16th 2004
20:15 "Hi to everybody! So, I've dried my clothes, cleaned the boat ( now it looks even more tidy than at the departure:)) and resumed the go. Though in fact there is no need in rowing - the boat is carried at a speed of up to 3/5 knots! Waves calmed down, no rain and the horizon has cleared.
I feel good, and there is only one thing that frustrates me - now, when I have such good fishing tackle, there is no fish, I've caught none! But this is not the end of the day and I have the whole Caribbean Sea before me.
Thanks to Roger, Bernadette, Fraser and Ruairi, Tiny and Jan Meek for kind wishes! "
From the ORS HQ


At 15:47 there came a call to ORS from the British Coast Guard in Falmouth, informing us that they had received a distress signal from a 406MHz EPIRB on an ocean rowboat. The moment I got off the phone there came another call - that time it was Pavel.
 "I am all right, but have had a sort of a capsize and a huge wave has covered the boat and activated the EPIRB. What can I do to stop it? I am safe  and sound ( and dry:)), nothing wrong has happened to me, but they [The Coast Guard] can now launch a search and rescue operation!"
 The Coast Guard officer was immediately informed about this call, but could not advise how to deactivate the unit the way that it could be used again in case of a real emergency - if any. He wrote down Pavel's telephone number and later gave him a call to check if he was fine indeed.
 Then Pavel called again:
 "The EPIRB stopped flashing! The weather is monstrous, the rain is lashing down and huge waves are raising steep. The boat capsized when I was on the deck, I was tied up and it took me one single push to help the boat to self-right with no problem. But the next wave broke on the boat and it was then that the EPIRB started to flash. Well, some time later this foul weather will come to an end, so I will call in a couple of hours, if nothing else happens to me."


11:30GMT "The whole night long I was moving  past St Lucia – a lot of lights, and music was heard… The island is tremendous, fantastic mountains – like on a child’s drawing – with high acute-angled peaks. And now day is already breaking, it’s pouring, the island  is hidden under the mantle of rain, and I am carried and carried away westward… It’s a pity I had no time to have a better look at it..."


Matthew Paul, Diamont / St. Lucia

May 15th 2004
15:45GMT "Yesterday night I had a storm here, so my hands were full. Now I am approaching a strait between the islands [ St Vincent and St Lucia], I was planning to pass St Lucia from the North, but realized that I wouldn't cope with it. So I have changed my course.
I am all right. I met two cheerful fishing vessels today - four black guys were catching tuna.
How is Kenneth C doing? Is he not  picked up yet?
Best regards to everybody. And now I am going to read my mail."
21:10 GMT "I am passing St Lucia from the South, at a distance of approx 5 miles , so I can take a good look at it - a seriously


mountainous island... But I see I have played safe - I could have been rowing much closer to it. Though then I would not benefit by such a good wind - here now the boat is carried along like in a wind tunnel, there is no need to row at all. Will restore rowing only in the Caribbean Sea, I think.
I am completely worn out :) by local fishermen, who keep approaching with an offer of assistance - "D'you need a tow? Has your engine failed?" - "No, thank you! I had no engine at all "
To-night is going to be a sleepless one for Pavel - he has to be on alert until he clears the islands.
Wind - East, North-East at night and East again in the morning

May 14th 2004
Pavel called at 16:11GMT
"Everything's going fine, I am already 4 miles from Barbados, have rowed out of island's leeward  triangle and started to move pretty fast. Sea is full of white-caps, but the boat perfectly answers the helm, so I am very content with the new rudder.

 And in general - I feel happy and free!