UPDATE: HUNDREDS of excited onlookers clapped and cheered as Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov completed a gruelling five-month solo row across the Pacific Ocean at Mooloolaba
Onlookers cheered for the Russian hero and waved the white blue and red flag of his homeland as he waved to the crowds from his nine-metre carbon fibre vessel.
Around 250 onlookers, many waving the white blue and red flag of his homeland, watched excitedly as he took his first steps on dry land at Mooloolaba, after the gruelling 16,800km solo voyage.
Mr Konyukhov is a national icon in Russia, having scaled Mt Everest twice, climbed the highest peaks on each continent, and trekked on foot to both the North and South Poles.
"I did this crossing only with the help of God," Mr Konyukhov, also an ordained Russian Orthodox Priest, said through his interpreter and son Oscar, of his journey.
EARLIER: FEDOR Philippovich Konyukhov is a celebrated artist, sculptor, author, journalist and a highly skilled navigator.
He is also undoubtedly one of the most remarkable adventurers of the modern age and may eventually be ranked as the greatest in history. What sets Mr Konyukhov apart from others who have climbed the highest mountains, sailed the seven seas or trekked to the poles is that he has done the lot.
Born on December 12, 1951, on the coast of the Sea of Azov, he was just 15 when he crossed that section of the Black Sea in a row boat.
The descendant of fishermen went on to graduate from Odessa Navigation College and the Leningrad Artic College as well as studying in the Theological Seminary and Arts College in Bobruisk, Byelorussia. At 60 years of age he was ordained a Russian Orthodox priest.
Clearly discussion of this week's State of Origin match will not be the first thought on his mind when Mr Konyukhov steps ashore as expected at Mooloolaba this morning after a 16,800km solo, non-stop, unassisted row across the Pacific from Chile, the longest of its kind ever completed. Instead the highly spiritual adventurer who carried large wooden crosses with him has expressed a desire to attend church. Brisbane's large Russian Orthodox community is set to embrace him.
His career has seen him circumnavigate the world four times, becoming the first Russian to achieve the feat solo, climbed Mount Everest and the 14 peaks of the Himalayas and trekked to the North and South poles.
There have also been a host of other projects including land and ice crossings with dog sleds, ocean scientific expeditions and mountains conquered more often alone than in company.
Anton Volskiy, UK bureau chief and reporter for Russia's NTV Channel Four, said "Konyukhov" had become synonymous with "adventure" in Russia where literally everyone knows of his many feats.
"This is a very big story in Russia,'' Mr Volskiy said.
"His name is a brand.''
Mr Volskiy, who was in Chile to witness Mr Konyukhov's departure, arrived on the Sunshine Coast from London on Monday. He and his crew have filed stories on Mr Konyukhov's impending arrivals and will wrap up a documentary on his exploits with interviews set against Sunshine Coast backdrops.
The voyage has been the subject of twice-daily updates in the Russian media since Mr Konyukhov rowed Tourgoyak out of Concon Harbour and out into the Pacific.
It was the second attempt to get the voyage under way after his first departure on December 14 - two days after his 63rd birthday - was aborted because of a malfunctioning accumulator.
The remarkable journey has taken Mr Konyukhov through two seasons, from summer deep into autumn on a track that first angled northward in a loop before dropping down from a line above Papua New Guinea to bring him off the southern coast as he approached Mooloolaba.
Original plans to end the journey in Brisbane or the Gold Coast were scrapped on the advice of Buderim instrument technician Chris Wood, brother of the owner of the Essex marine business where the boat was built.
Mr Wood convinced the adventurer's support crew he would find a warmer welcome and more friendly harbour entrance on the Sunshine Coast. Mr Konyukhov's son Oscar, one of his three children who understandably did not see much of their father when they were young, graduated from university and has become director of his father's business. He organises sponsorship and logistics, leaving Mr Konyukhov to focus wholly on his expeditions.
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