HONOLULU (KHON2) — Erden Eruç left California in June and rowed all the way to Honolulu under his own power. He arrived in Waikiki in September and is halfway through his ocean voyage to Asia, but his journey won’t end there.
Eruç is teaching keiki about the importance of keeping plastic out of the ocean along the way.
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“Fourth through eighth grade, they are engaged,” Eruç said, “they are just eating this up. If it’s their teachers, they see ’em everyday. If they’re parents, they deal with them every day. So it’s in one ear, out the other. But if I talk to them, they pay attention.”
Eruç holds 15 Guinness world records for ocean rowing and was the first person to row across the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans — and the first to circumnavigate the globe under his own power.
His modified rowboat has enough space for freeze-dried food, a desalination unit for water and a high-frequency hydrophone to help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study the range of beaked whales. Eruç needs to tie himself down to prevent getting tossed around when the waves get rough, and hopes his current voyage will inspire others to overcome their own battles.
“Wanting me, telling me to stop what I’m doing and go home. But I need to listen to that internal voice and say, ‘this is the fear talking, I need to stay focused on my goal.’ My message to [keiki] is to set their dreams so big that they have to set records along the way.”Erden Eruç
After reaching the shores of Asia, the 60-year-old plans to make his way to the foothills — and eventually to the summit — of Mount Everest in fall 2022. He has a message for kupuna, as well.
“If we remain active throughout our lives, breathe and move and stay active, there is just so much that we can still accomplish,” Eruç said. “Fatigue is a feeling I can manage, it’s a temporary thing. Quitting is forever, it’ll scar me.”
Eruç plans to row out from the Waikiki Yacht Club on Thursday, Oct. 7, in the hopes of making it to Asia by March 2022.
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Click here to follow along as Eruç progresses through his Tracking Map.