TOKYO — A female adventurer was rescued off the Japanese Pacific coast a week into her solo attempt to row across the Pacific, the Japan Coast Guard said Sunday.
American Sonya Baumstein, 30, had left Japan’s Choshi port, east of Tokyo, on June 7 in an attempt to row across the Pacific non-stop to San Francisco.
But at around 2:20 pm (0520 GMT) Saturday she sent a distress signal to a freighter traveling nearby because of expected bad weather.
She was located at about 155 miles (250 kilometers) off Iwaki, a city on Japan’s Pacific coast, a local coast guard official told AFP.
“She was rescued by a patrol ship of the coast guard at about 8:55 pm. She suffered no injuries,” the official said.
Baumstein, a Jewish athlete from Orlando, Florida, waited for weeks to set out in her custom-designed rowboat from Choshi, a port east of Tokyo, headed for San Francisco.
With a few last-minute adjustments to her supplies and a brief call to her parents, she rowed out of the marina on Sunday, a tiny sliver on the glittering horizon, hoping to finish the 6,000-mile (9,600-kilometer) journey by late September and become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific.
Her rowboat, the “Icha,” short for an Okinawan phrase meaning “Once we meet we’re family,” is a lime-green, 23-foot (7-meter)-long vessel that weighs less than 660 pounds (300 kilograms). It has no motor or sail.
She had planned to row 14 to 16 hours a day, breaking her sleep to check her location. She had hoped to stay within the 62-mile (100-kilometer)-wide Kuroshio current that arcs across the Pacific, at least for the first part of the journey.
Baumstein rowed competitively in high school and at the University of Wisconsin, but was sidelined by a bad car accident. After recovering, she joined three men in rowing the mid-Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Barbados in January 2012.
She has kayaked from Washington state to Alaska, stand-up paddle-boarded across the Bering Strait and bicycled 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) from the Mexican border to Seattle.
Only three other rowboats have made the journey across the Pacific, and no woman has ever done it alone.
AP contributed to this report.