Russian has been sleeping at the Punta Arenas Airport for 10 days

Russian has been sleeping at the Punta Arenas Airport for 10 days
Russian has been sleeping at the Punta Arenas Airport for 10 days

lAirports are known as places where stories from many latitudes come together, of emotional farewells and welcomes. And, from time to time, they are also a refuge for travelers stranded due to various circumstances, unable to leave either due to a pending immigration situation or due to financial problems. The story of Rimas Meleshyus, a 72-year-old Russian citizen who has been sleeping for 10 nights at the Carlos Ibáñez del Campo Airport in Punta Arenas, combines a little of all of these last factors.

Its story is as particular as it is fascinating. She was born in Lithuania around 1951, but has lived more in Russia and Hawaii than in his native country. He stayed in Moscow until 1988, when he traveled to the United States towards the Hawaiian Islands, with a Russian passport, where he has lived the last decades working as a translator. He speaks Japanese, Russian, English and Lithuanian fluently, which has allowed him to dedicate himself to that profession, in addition to being helpful for his maritime trips around the globe.

Last year it arrived in Patagonia and South America after being shipwrecked in the Pacific Ocean on October 14, in seas whose closest coasts were the Hawaiian Islands. The French cruiser “Le Commandant-Charcot” came to her aid, which was traveling to southern waters. In this way, she traveled with the crew for more than 18 days until arriving in Punta Arenas on November 3 of last year.

After having lost his papers in the shipwreck, he was “trapped” in the country, without being able to remedy his immigration situation. He has made the entry, but he does not have the papers to leave. Without worrying much, from November onwards he dedicated himself to traveling the country, passing through La Serena, Coquimbo, Valparaíso, to return to Patagonia, embarking from Chiloé to the Aysén region and then continuing by sea again to Punta Arenas. To move around the country he sold some of his technological equipment that he managed to rescue, such as cameras and navigation instruments.

On his new arrival to the city he has faced new difficulties: his bank cards and phone have been blocked. His trips, which are partly financed by a community of sailing fans who follow him on blogs and through his Facebook, helping him with donations, he has been trapped and thus arrived at the airport, where he has been sleeping for days because he finds it safe. and they have also helped him in solidarity.

It’s not the first time

He is not a lifelong experienced navigator, rather he fell in love with this hobby as an adult in 2012. From that year on, with more than 60 years on its shores, he has undertaken numerous trips around the Pacific, always sailing alone and with vague knowledge. “I like a strong adventure, I have spent long periods at sea, with storms, calm spaces and all kinds of weather conditions.”

He suffered previous shipwrecks in such varied places as Akutan Island in Alaska or another on the coast of Mexico after a trip that began from the Puget Strait, in North America, when he sought to make a circumnavigation via Cape Horn, which It did not come to fruition. They activated a search that was canceled after 122 days after appearing in American Samoa. “I have never been afraid, I love the oceans, the sea and sailing. I have very good memories of my trips,” says Rimas.

A curiosity is that for these excursions he received the sailboats for free, donations from other adventurers interested in his history and his “Kon Tiki” style of navigation, to whom he himself refers, alluding to the anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl who crossed the Pacific on a wooden raft. in 1947.

Currently you have different options in mind. It seeks to return to the port of Vladivostok, close to Japan, Korea and China. “I would like to sail under the Chilean flag from Patagonia (…) I really like sailing and I would like to prepare a trip to the Pacific islands such as Juan Fernández and others for November or December 2024.”

In the sailing community he is known by many fans for his extreme trips and for doing them with little knowledge. His determination has been the subject of analysis in numerous specialized magazines that have publicized his travels and shipwrecks around the globe. Furthermore, in various internet forums theories are being considered about his appearances and disappearances, his current whereabouts and the background to his adventures.

 
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