Challenging the Pacific: The First Woman to Row the Kon-Tiki Route

Maud Fontenoy, Author, Anthony Roberts, Translator , trans. from the French by Anthony Roberts. Arcade $24 (155p) ISBN 978-1-55970-818-0

In 2003, 25-year-old Fontenoy was the first woman to row solo across the North Atlantic, a daunting journey described in Across the Savage Sea . No sooner was she home in France than she was planning her next sea challenge. In January 2005, in homage to Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki expedition some 58 years earlier, Fontenoy set off solo from Lima, Peru, across the Pacific to Hiva Oa in French Polynesia. She rowed some 4,400 miles in 73 days. She describes the experience of being alone at sea for days and nights on end—although she did have a satellite phone and communicated regularly. While she passed some fearful hours fretting about getting run over by container ships in the shipping lanes, about sharks attacking her while she unfouled her rudder, about pirates stealing her desalinator—no dire tragedies actually occurred. Exhausted and somewhat lame when she arrived in Tahiti, she revived quickly and enjoyed a celebrity welcome. While she shares very few of the practical details of her voyage—how she navigated, the design of her boat, how she prepared her food—Fontenoy writes lyrically of the beauty and power of the sea and of her struggle to reach her goal. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/25/2006
Release date: 11/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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