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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 June, 2003, 10:19 GMT 11:19 UK
Solo rower's near miss
Simon Chalk
Simon Chalk has been rowing the Indian Ocean for 96 days
A Devon rower trying to row solo across the Indian Ocean has had a near miss with a ship.

Simon Chalk, a property developer from Newton Abbot, is currently 96 days and 3,171 nautical miles into his voyage from Kalbarri, Western Australia, to Reunion Island.

He has about 450 nautical miles still to go.

He is rowing the route solo because his Welsh rowing partner Rob Munslow pulled out of the attempt.

In the latest message on his website at BBC Devon Online Mr Chalk said he had narrowly avoided being hit by a ship during the night.

All this way and a near miss like that proves it is not all over until I land
Simon Chalk

He said the vessel was probably the distance of "one swell away" or about 70 yards.

"I called it on the VHF but there was no reply," he said.

"I ended up firing a flare off and at the last moment it turned away.

"My heart was really pumping.

"As it moved away I smelled the diesel from the engine, so that was fairly nerve-wracking.

"All this way and a near miss like that proves it is not all over until I land.

"I'm staying positive though.

"I'm nearly there, it's just a question of lasting that little bit longer."

Although his final destination remains Reunion Island, he is now heading towards Raphael Island, about 324 nautical miles away.

Simon chalk
Simon Chalk is 3,171 nautical miles into his voyage

The oarsman is bidding to become the first Briton to row the ocean, and the youngest person to do so.

His last attempt on the Indian Ocean in May 2002 ended with him and his partner clinging to their capsized boat for 15 hours in shark-infested waters before rescue.

This time he is aboard the self-righting craft True Spirit.

The first and only other oarsman to complete the solo row was Swede Anders Svedlund in 1971, who was believed to have made the trip from Kalbarri to Madagascar in 64 days.




SEE ALSO:
Ocean rower injured during storm
04 Jun 03  |  Hereford/Worcs
Rower targets new destination
01 Jun 03  |  Devon
Rower blown badly off course
15 May 03  |  Devon
Rower under a cloud
28 Apr 03  |  Devon
Ocean rower's boat in danger
24 Apr 03  |  Devon


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