Rower Rescued off Australia After 10-Month Journey

An Italian adventurer who spent 10 months rowing more than 9,500 nautical miles across the Pacific has been rescued a mere 65 nautical miles short of his goal — Australia — after rough weather sapped him of his final shreds of energy.

Alex Bellini, (pictured, right) who began his voyage off Peruin February, contacted his wife Friday to say he was too exhausted torow his 25-foot (7.5 meter) boat any further, despite being nearly insight of the eastern Australian town of Laurieton.

Bellini’s wife contacted authorities, and an Australian tug boat towed the 30-year-old to shore. They reached Newcastle, 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Sydney, Saturday morning.

Althoughlooking weary and thin and sporting a bushy beard, Bellini grinned andappeared in high spirits as he was reunited with his tearful wife,Francesca.

“I’m feeling good. I’m exhausted,” Bellini told The Associated Press. “I need some time to relax.”

A strong wind had hampered his efforts to get closer to shore for days. By Friday, he said, his energy was gone.

“Forthe next few days, the weather would have been even worse,” saidBellini, who has also rowed across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.”It has been a grueling, grueling effort.”

Bellinisaid the journey was not about breaking records; he is not the firstperson to row solo across the Pacific and is not yet sure whether histrip is the longest solo journey. Instead, he said, the voyage was about testing his own limits.

“Thereasons of my trip was double. First of all was to cross the Pacific,”Bellini said. “But the other reason of my trip was making a tripinward. So it was discovering something of myself.”

Bellini used a satellite phone to keep in contact with those on land and survived on dried food and desalinated ocean water.He also used a small cooker to fry up fish and to boil water for pasta.He found himself craving sweet foods — especially tiramisu and apple cake — and was looking forward to gorging on desserts.

“It made me crazy. I want all the sweets here in Sydney,” he said with a laugh.

Theworst part of his journey was the loneliness and the longing he feltfor his wife. But despite their 10 months apart, Bellini said it was asif no time had passed when they laid eyes on each other Saturday. Thetwo plan to return to their home in Trieste, Italy, in about a week.

For now, Bellini has no immediate plans to return to the open ocean. He has other priorities.

“I miss my bed. I miss my home,” he said. “I need to go back and settle down.”