Karlis Bardelis Resumes World Circumnavigation

Karlis Bardelis has resumed his human-powered, round-the-world journey. His circumnavigation started in Namibia in 2016. With a friend, he rowed across the South Atlantic Ocean to Brazil. Then in 2018, he restarted in Brazil and cycled on a tandem bicycle to Lima, Peru, with his then-girlfriend. They pedaled the 5,400km in 102 days.

Bardelis next left La Punta, Peru in 2018 and rowed 26,000km across the Pacific to Malaysia in 715 days. He became the first person to row from South America to Asia.

In Malaysia, COVID-19 put the next leg of his challenge on pause. Finally, after waiting a year and a half, he has been able to restart his journey.

At first glance, the boat seemed a little rough but in passable condition. Photo: @boredofborders


Damaged boat

Bardelis flew back to Malaysia on December 7, and has spent the last three weeks planning. He had to quarantine for a week before he could visit his boat after 16 months in storage. The boat was in one piece but when he checked inside the cabin, he found water.

“I felt quite down discovering the interior conditions”, he wrote. Before leaving, he had arranged with those storing the boat to keep it under a roof. Clearly, it had stood outside for at least part of the time. Luckily, most of the electronics still worked. After fans dried out the interior for a few days, Linda was almost ready to back on the water.

He initially had planned to row across the Malacca Strait and into the Indian Ocean. But at this time of year, winds would have been against him the whole way, making the row almost impossible. So instead, from December 20-23, he cycled 850km across Malaysia to Kuala Perlis, the new starting point of his row.

The inside of the boat had a lot of water damage. Photo: @boredofborders


The rowing begins again

On December 30, he rowed for nine hours to the island of Langkawi. He spent a few days at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, making the final few adjustments to his boat before reembarking.

The final part of his circumnavigation splits into four legs. The first, which began on January 2, is a relatively short row from Malaysia to Sabang, Indonesia. Bardelis hopes to complete this in eight days.

Here, Bardelis hopes that a friend will join him for the 50- to 60-day row to the Northern Maldives. If not, he will continue solo.

Bardelis starts his row to Indonesia. Photo: @boredofborders


From there, the Latvian will island-hop to the South Maldives. Then he may have to wait a bit for good weather before leaving. At that time of year, conditions in the South Indian Ocean may be too dangerous to row in.

When weather permits, he will row from the Maldives to Tanzania, which he plans to reach in early July. He then cycles to Namibia for the final leg. “Once I reach Namibia, the circle will be complete,” he says.

You can track his journey here.