SIBERIANS ON EQUATORIAL CIRCUMNAVIGATION

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MOSCOW, November 17 (Mikhail Smirnov, RIA Novosti sport analyst) - Two Siberian travellers are on an equatorial round-the-world voyage. Vladimir Lysenko, 49, and Sergei Dudoladov, 31, left their native Novosibirsk by air, September 20, for Ecuador, their starting point. The initial stage was over, November 15, after they made three thousand kilometres across Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil.

Lysenko, endeavour mastermind, has divided the west-east route in three stages, with tentative deviations not to exceed two degrees, or 220 kilometres.

The daring travellers started from the Equador Monument, equatorial obelisk of sightseers' magnetic attraction, to get across the mountains to Quito, Ecuadorian capital, and on to Colombia. They took a motorboat to go along the river Putamayo, and then reached another river, the Caqueta, by jeep. They went down the Caqueta by catamaran eventually to take another motorboat.

Once in Brazil, the Siberians travelled along the Japura and Branco rivers. They went north along the latter to reach the town Caracarai, and on by foot as far as the Rio Negro. From there, they reached the city Rio Branco by motorboat, and went on as far as Macapa city, now by foot, now boat, now car.

The second stage, due next spring, will be an African route from Gabon to Somalia. The final stage, to begin some day toward next year's end, will start in Kenya to cross the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, with Gabon's Libreville for destination point.

"We have secured a fine boat. All we need is 15,000 Euro or so to make all provisions for the transatlantic voyage. If we find a generous donor, we shall be through by the end of 2006," says Sergei Dudoladov.

Mike Horne of South Africa went down in the Guinness Book with an equatorial round-the-world voyage of 1999 into 2000. His deviation made 5.4 degrees.

The two Siberians' deviation from the equator made four degrees after their guide lost his way in the Latin American jungle, complains Dudoladov. "We're making better than Horne, all the same-and then, we are going to cover the ill-starred stretch all over again," he says, never put out.

The explorers have many breathtaking endeavours on their records. Dudoladov, photographer by profession, is a versatile athlete. He has rafted down all Siberian rivers, with token exceptions. Sergei intends eventually to go snowboarding down the world's highest mountains peaks, make parachute jumps in all continents, and climb the highest Caucasian, Pamir and Himalayan points-Elbrus, Communism Peak and Everest, respectively.

Vladimir Lysenko is among Russia's foremost survivalists. He won the title of his nation's most desperate traveller in 1996. With an academic degree of Candidate in physics and mathematics, he is employed with a research centre in Novosibirsk, though he appears there only on occasions-in between his many endeavours. The daredevil was the world's first to row down mountain streams from all continents' highest peaks. Once in Tibet, he broke a world mountain stream rafting record to start his route at a 5,600 metre height. Vladimir rowed down the mountain sources of the Amazon and the Nile, the world's biggest rivers. He spent 1997 through 2002 in Russia's first round-the-world drive along an unprecedented route via every continent's extreme points. He crossed each by car two times-north to south and west to east, and made 160,000 kilometres to visit 62 countries.

Last year saw another of his breathtaking ventures-Lysenko followed the unforgettable Gold Rush route to canoe down the Yukon as far as the Klondike mouth, just as trailblazing prospectors were in the 19th century.

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