Sons of the Pacific Arrive!

Thursday, July 28th, 2016 – Race Day 53

WEATHER: The tradewinds are back in flow with a consistent 15-20 knots ENE forecast for the next 24 hours. 

Today we welcomed Sons of the Pacific to the shores of Hawaii.  Erden Eruc and Louis Bird rowed for 54 days and 42 minutes, crossing the finish line at 3:42 pm local time in order to complete their crossing.

This row was very significant in many ways.  Even though it was just last October when Louis Bird decided to row the Pacific, and only days before they left Monterey that Erden joined the team, this particular story has been years in the making.

Louis’ original rowing partner had to cancel due to appendicitis – news which Louis received after stepping off a long-haul flight from England.  Louis was not sure what to do at this point, but somehow had faith that everything would work out.  That’s just the way Louis is.

The week before the start, Louis traveled from Monterey to San Francisco for the memorial service of Kenneth Crutchlow. Kenneth founded the Ocean Rowing Society in 1983 and was a dear friend of Louis’ father.  It was at this service that Louis met Nancy Board, the wife of Erden Eruc. When Nancy heard Louis’ story, she said, “you must speak to my husband.” Nancy immediately gave Erden her blessing.

“I just couldn’t say no to this,” Erden told everyone this afternoon. “As an elder in the sport of ocean rowing, I saw it as my duty.”

Louis and Erden met for the first time in Monterey, just days before the start.  Erden, who had 880 days of ocean rowing experience at that point, said to Louis who had never rowed a day on any ocean “Your duty is to make sure I don’t beat your dad’s record” which is 938 days of rowing on the ocean.  The gauntlet had been dropped and Louis was up for the challenge!

Today, when we asked Erden about being such a last minute addition to the row he said “It just lined up so nicely with a lot of help from you guys too to get us off the dock. It was meant to be.”

With their crossing taking 54 days and 42 minutes, Erden is just four days shy of that all time record.

Upon their arrival, Louis said “I feel pretty emotional to be honest, and I hope that wherever my dad is that this will give some closure for both of us, because I’ve finally gotten to… I’ve finished off the… yeah – he’s at land as opposed to being at sea.”  Louis was referencing the fact that his father, Peter Bird, was lost at sea in the Pacific twenty years ago when Louis was just 4 years old.  Then to lighten the mood just a little, in that wonderfully charming way that Louis has he said “And I’m the first Bird to get to Honolulu by rowing boat and not crash it into Maui!”

Louis also told us “It doesn’t even feel completely real to be honest. My mind has gone to jelly. I’ve forgotten how to walk it seems, and I’m absolutely delighted to be here.”

Meanwhile, out on the Pacific … 

Two teams remain out on the Pacific.  Row Aloha is expected in tomorrow morning.  The team of Todd and Rick are our local team as Todd lives here in O’hau and Rick hails from Monterey.  We also have our girls on Fight the Kraken who will be arriving not that long after.  Family and friends of the Kraken girls started arriving today.  It has been great having so many of our families and friends supporting all of the teams as they arrive here in Hawaii.  This is a true testament to the the ever growing ocean rowing family.

PREDICTED ARRIVAL 07-27-16 @ 21:00 PST









1 Uniting Nations: FINISHED – 39 Days 9 Hours 56 Minutes
2 Team Ocean Hearts: FINISHED – 46 Days 17 Hours 47 Minutes
3 Moana Uli: ROWING – FINISHED – 48 Days 2 Hours 40 Minutes
4 Sons of the Pacific: ROWING – 54 Days 0 Hours 42 Minutes
5 Row Aloha: ROWING – 23 NM to finish, Rowed 2415 NM
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING – 135 NM to finish, Rowed 2288 NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED – Rowed 241 NM
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED – Rowed 207 NM

Sons of the Pacific Arrival

As Sons of the Pacific get closer to the finish we will be updating this news post with their expected arrival time to ensure that everyone supporting them can easily see when we expect them to cross the finish line. All timings are Hawaii Standard Time (local)

This page was last updated at 07:00 (7am) 27th July

With 88.1 nm to go the expected finish time of Sons of the Pacific is 20:00 (8pm) on July 28th plus or minus 10 hours

The expected arrival time of Sons of the Pacifics at the Waikiki Yacht Club is 22:00 (10:00pm) on July 28th plus or minus 10 hours

Please remember that the finish line is around 3nm away from the arrival party at the Waikiki Yacht Club and can take crews anything from 50 minutes to 2 1/2  hours to row there from the finish.  

Check out the finish information page for latest details of the arrival process.

All Is Quiet On the Pacific Front

Monday, July 25th, 2016 – Race Day 50

WEATHER:  Crews have been enjoying 10-15kt out of the ESE today which will gradually back to the ENE over the next few days at similar strength. 

As the saying goes, no news is good news and today has been one of the quieter days here at race headquarters.  The seas have calmed.  The storms have moved along and out of the way of our rowers, and communications have been minimal, which is a good thing.  It is, as they say, a slow news day and that is OK.

Last night, our amazing crew on board the Support Yacht Galen Diana took the opportunity to spend the night with one of our crews – Sons of the Pacific.  Here is their report.

“Last night we pulled in behind Yves as darkness covered the ocean. We spoke to Erden who was on the oars while Louis was at rest. Erden took a brief break from rowing to say hello and chit chat a bit about the weather, their ETA to Diamond Head and the positions of other crews.

Erden is completely aware that there is still a race for first place in the Classic Pair contest. With Row Aloha well within striking distance and Fight the Kraken not too far behind, navigating the entry point to the Molokai Channel in the optimal position is critical. He estimates they are on plan for a Thursday afternoon finish.

Erden asked what our plans were for the night and we told him we were going to stay with them all night. He was really happy to hear that. Erden wanted to save his power on his VHF radio so we maintained radio silence for the remainder of the night and just stayed behind them about a quarter mile so they could see our anchor light as they rowed, with the comfort of knowing where we were through out the night.”

As an aside, we have had the pleasure of having Louis’ mum Polly here in Waikiki.  She mentioned to us that Louis had texted her this morning and said what a comfort it was last night to see the white light of the support yacht out there, keeping a watchful eye for the night.

Skipper Rod Mayer’s report continued with:

“In the twilight hour of 0530, we could start to clearly see Yves.  As the morning light increased with the sunrise we were able to capture a partial rainbow behind Yves with Erden in the photo.

We broke radio silence with Erden around 0645.

Erden: Galen Diana, Galen Diana this is Yves over.

GD: Yves this is Galen Diana over.

Erden: What’s for breakfast?

GD: Eggs, Oatmeal, Mahi Mahi, cereal.  How about you?

Erden: Cereal

Erden seemed pleased with his breakfast cereal and we bid him farewell for the time being. We let him know we were heading North to Row Aloha and would catch up with them again later along the way.

The current weather has been a mix of sun, light rain, sun and rain again on the horizon. It looks like another hot day on tap reaching 85 degrees. Wind has been light at 10-14kts out of the ESE. Swells down to 2-4 feet with a medium chop on the ocean surface.”

With their morning breakfast exit, we thought that this might be a good time to ask our other crews what’s for breakfast.  Row Aloha replied “I will take the kim chee fried rice with two eggs for Rick and one loco moco and two each hawaiian power bars to go (spam musubi) for Todd”  We are not exactly sure what some of those items might be, but it does sound good!  Perhaps Greg Vlasek of team Moana Uli Rowing will share the SPAM he received upon arrival as a special gift from his sisters!


PREDICTED ARRIVAL 07-25-16 @ 21:00 PST









1 Uniting Nations: FINISHED – 39 Days 9 Hours 56 Minutes
2 Team Ocean Hearts: FINISHED – 46 Days 17 Hours 47 Minutes
3 Moana Uli: ROWING – FINISHED – 48 Days 2 Hours 40 Minutes
4 Sons of the Pacific: ROWING – 178 NM to finish, Rowed 2240 NM
5 Row Aloha: ROWING – 196 NM to finish, Rowed 2239 NM
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING – 282 NM to finish, Rowed 2137 NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED – Rowed 241 NM
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED – Rowed 207 NM

Family and Friends

Thursday, June 30, 2016 – Race Day 26

WEATHER: At last, the three crews in the second half of the fleet should experience a reprieve from the 20-25 knot winds before the front runners. Winds will clock for all teams from the NE to the preferred direction of ENE. As the high pressure system jostles about to the north, the wind over the next 48 hours will fluctuate between 10-15 knots and 15-20 knots. Surfing conditions will last through the weekend with 2-3 meter following seas, so we should continue to see high mileage days for all teams. 

We are pleased to announce that the Great Pacific Race Headquarters have officially made the move to Hawaii!

You too may be thinking of making travel arrangements to the islands and so we would like to give you an insight on how to anticipate the arrival dates for the rowers.

If you visit the YB Race tracker on the website, click the triangle above the word ‘Leaderboard’ in the white box on the bottom left. Look for a drop down box in the top left of the white box, which offers the VMG options: Start and Recent. The closer teams get to Hawaii, the closer those two dates become. For example, for Uniting Nations, their VMG Start arrival date as of this post is 17 July and their VMG Recent arrival date is 14 July. Therefore, it is a pretty safe bet (but not a guarantee) that Uniting Nations will arrive between 14 July and 17 July. This assumes that the team will continue to row steadily.

On the app, click on the icon ‘Leaderboard’ on the bottom right. At the top of the page there are two boxes, VMG Start and VMG Recent. Look at the estimated arrival date listed under VMG Start. Now compare that to the VMG Recent. For example, the VMG Start arrival date for Fight the Kraken is 19 August and the VMG Recent is 2 August which is a bit wider of a window.

VMG stands for Velocity Made Good, meaning speed which counts as progress made towards the intended goal. If you recall at the beginning of the Great Pacific Race, all teams were forced by the prevailing conditions to head SSW and SW. This period of the race gave most teams poor VMG as they were heading for the mark in a roundabout way, on a course south rather than west. Now that all teams are, more or less, pointing straight for the finish line, the VMG Recent brings the arrival dates closer.

We suggest booking closer to the VMG Recent if you HAD to book today. Otherwise we suggest waiting just a bit longer until the dates get closer together.

If you are planning on coming to Hawaii, please reach out and let Race Headquarters know. We can be contacted at

Meanwhile, out on the Pacific, our support boat continues to make its rounds. Today they are making their way toward Pat and Liz on Team Ocean Hearts, to share a bit of belated birthday love.

Louis Bird on Sons of the Pacific (SOTP) was still talking today about the visit they had from the Galen Dianayesterday. “It was so great seeing those guys on the Galen Diana. Such a morale boost. I can’t wait to have a drink with them in Hawaii.” We also received a little insight as to the battle happening in the back half of our fleet. Louis told us “You know I didn’t care about racing, but you know when you’re in a race and it becomes competitive… Can you tell me how far ahead Row Aloha is and how many miles there are between us and Fight the Kraken?” Sounds like Louis is getting serious about the race! We look forward to seeing if they are able to make a move on Row Aloha who are only 41 NM ahead of them, and if they will be able to fend off the Fight the Kraken girls who have once again closed the gap with SOTP by another 4 NM.

Louis went on to tell us a bit about his adventure and experience thus far in the Great Pacific Race. Here is what he said:

I’m on deck. We’ve got a big following sea, so I’m steering with one oar and we’re doing 2.5kts!

I feel good physically. Both Erden and I are in good spirits. I probably get about 5 hours of sleep in every 24 hour cycle. I have trouble sleeping during the day, but I lie down and I read and I get some rest.

It sounds like Louis has really settled into the cycle of being on board an ocean rowing boat. We look forward to what will happen in the coming days with our three boats battling it out.

We might have heard of a slight advantage that Row Aloha and SOTP might have over the Kraken girls this morning. They reported in “burr, good morning! woke up to rain and an ipod that deleted all music. Vicki is considering calling it. going to be rough!”

Of course we know they are kidding, but we are wondering if they have started singing to make up for the deleted iPod.

1 Uniting Nations: ROWING – 813 NM to finish, Rowed 1471 NM
2 Team Ocean Hearts: ROWING – 1008 NM to finish, Rowed 1378 NM
3 Moana Uli: ROWING – 1131 NM to finish, Rowed 1179 NM
4 Row Aloha: ROWING – 1308 NM to finish, Rowed 1068 NM
5 Sons of the Pacific: ROWING – 1349 NM to finish, Rowed 1010 NM
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING – 1373 NM to finish, Rowed 988 NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED – Rowed 241 NM
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED – Rowed 207 NM

The Great Pacific Race

We will begin rowing on Saturday
June 3, 2016     
The Great Pacific Race from Monterey Bay to Honolulu will begin on Saturday. I will be rowing with Louis Bird on a two person classic rowboat. If you look up crews under Great Pacific Race, our team is "Sons of Pacific." On this website, there is also the menu item about the race which will provide details including the start and how to watch it by live streaming.

I will be using a deLorme tracker in addition to the YellowBrick tracker that the race organizers will provide. The race will provide a tracking page where you will be able to follow all boats. With our tracker, I wll show only our own boat’s progress and I will post short updates along the way using the tracker itself. To follow that, please bookmark Erden & Louis and visit it often to see our progress. We hope to reach Honolulu by the end of July or in early August.

Our budget shortfall includes funds to ship the rowboat from Honolulu back to her owner in addition to expedition food, travel and various incidental costs that I incurred. In an ideal world, I would like to raise sufficient funds to reimburse half the costs of boat rental and race fees to either Louis or his former partner James, depending. My hope is to raise 25,000 USD to achieve this goal. If you would like to participate in this effort, please consider sharing this crowdfunding page where contributions will be tax-deductible.


About to launch from New York – "Row For Peace"

May 20, 2015     
After a period of preparations, I drove a rental truck with my rowboat in tow across the USA from Seattle to New York. My high school coach Al Rosner who helped shape my adolescence with sports, was with me during this adventure. We drove through Estes Park to meet Tom Hornbein, another childhood hero of mine who was on the American first ascent team of Everest in 1963. It was a joy to stop by to connect with old friends along the way.

We made it to New York in one piece and took the rowboat to the International Bulb warehouse in Montvale that owner Jan Doornbosch kindly offered. My Australian partner Kendon Glass arrived on May 5, I presented at the Explorers Club Headquarters on May 6 and have been busy since. A week later we moved the rowboat to Home Tile warehouse in South Hackensack that Başar Yüksel owns. Both of these connections were thanks to Dr. Ali Seçkin from Nyack. 

It was then time to put the boat in the water on Sunday. We had a low tide that day and the trailer found the end of the concrete ramp, so we waited for the tide to rise again before we could launch the boat. The public ramp was in the Liberty State Park on the New Jersey side, allowing us to row past the Statue of Liberty, then Ellis Island to the North Cove Marina in the heart of Manhattan. The marina management decided to not charge us for mooring which was a treat.

Kendon and I have been busy sorting and configuring all the new gizmos we gathered. Tablets, wireless connections, Go-Pro’s, wireless backup drives, satellite modem hotspot, texting, social media and tracking, all are done differently than I was used to. It will be a learning experience for sure! Thankfully Kendon has taken on the IT end of things and I can focus on the boat.

We will be launching from the North Cove Marina in Manhattan then touch mainland in New Jersey before continuing down the Hudson River with ebb tide. The launch is at 12:00 noon on Saturday, May 23rd.

We are grateful for all the local help. Special thanks go to our project coordinator Barış Öztürk of AKUT-USA, and to Gökçe Sezgin who has become a strong team member. She and Dr. Yuksel Sezgin also went out of their way to host us for over a week and even provided a car for Kendon and I to get around. Grateful is a word that falls short of my feelings... I feel in debt, and the best way to pay back is to succeed in our mission with Kendon Glass, and eventually with our other teammate Mark Gasson.

For more details on the journey, please follow the dedicated website for this row from New York to Gallipoli, which will be

Do follow our journey with its unique symbolism. Please promote our new website with our causes and please consider sharing our CrowdRise fundraising page.


Historical Dispatches

Update on our documentary    Jan 4, 2015 
A brand new year is upon us and we wanted to start 2015 sending best wishes to all our friends and supporters. We have been quiet for a while, so an update on progress with the documentary is long overdue...

We succeeded!    August 31, 2013 
Our 30-day Kickstarter campaign to finance the production costs of our upcoming documentary Castaway with Purpose ended on August 18th. A total of 286 backers pledged an average of $262 each...

Last 10 days to succeed!    August 9, 2013 
Our 30-day KickStarter campaign to finance the production costs of the documentary: "Castaway with Purpose" has 10 days left...

KickStarter campaign to finance our documentary!    July 23, 2013 
Time flies! It was a year ago on July 21 that I returned to Bodega Bay in California, to conclude my human powered circumnavigation...

So much to say!    June 26, 2013 
I have been silent for quite some time. March through May was a whirlwind of travel and much introspection in between. While I knew that I would have changed, I was not ready for how difficult...

TV, News, Awards and brief update    February 4, 2013 
I am now in Sydney, Australia for a while where I joined Nancy. This is a city with excellent public transportation that is sunny with a steady sea breeze, quite an improvement over...

Dolphin meat, whale meat, who cares?    November 19, 2012 
I was finally preparing to sit down and share with you stories from the last few days of my human powered circumnavigation leading up to my conclusion at Bodega Bay on 21 July 2012, and...

Push back on NBC    October 14, 2012 
Today, I was riveted in front of my computer to watch the live broadcast of the high altitude jump by Felix Baumgartner...