Highlights of Escape

  • Everything hinged on my getting out of town without getting caught.
  • I thought no further than my arrival in Kiev. The most important thing was getting to Meg.
  • After two weeks in Kiev, my parents kidnapped me and stole my passport. Without Meg’s intervention, I would have been dragged back to Russia.
  • My passport had been stolen: no commercial carrier would allow me boarding. Even had I my passport, getting a tourist visa, to travel to Canada, would require my going back to Russia, and my parents (my attackers).
  • Meg and I fled to Canada, and not some other country, because Meg had a home there, is a citizen of Canada, and — at the time — felt confident that her country would uphold its UN 1951 Convention on Human Rights obligations, provide me asylum and grant me basic human rights and dignity in a timely manner. Meg was proud of her country. She believed it was the best place for me, for us.
  • We headed to sea from Marmaris, Turkey. It provided sailboats for purchase and I, a Russian citizen, could enter Turkey without traveling to a Turkish consulate in Russia to obtain a visa.
  • To purchase the sailboat that would carry us to Canada, Meg mortgaged her home in Victoria, British Columbia.
  • The entire endeavor: preparation and sailing to the other side of the planet, was undertaken without financial or psychological support of families, governments or organizations.
  • Extended, high-seas passage making aboard a small sail powered vessel has nothing to do with pleasure, leisure or luxury. Every aspect of survival, including the functionality of the boat’s equipment and your own life, depend on you, and you alone. Staying alive is hard work, pain, uncertainty, snap-judgement and decision making, 24 hours a day.
  • Our ocean passage from Turkey was initiated as a nonstop voyage around Cape Horn to Canada’s west coast. Meg and I had no way of knowing that in the Canary Islands and the Panama Canal, kind, but shocked, authorities would look the other way and allow provisioning and passage.
  • Only two months after fleeing Ukraine and landing in Turkey with nothing but the clothes on our backs, Meg and I took to the open sea with no way to turn back. It was Meg’s first time on open water. I had taken six one-hour sailing lessons in Turkey.
  • Landing was forbidden by all en-route countries.
  • Life threatening situations were a cause for concern; an SOS call would result in my arrest and deportation to Russia. Meg and I would be separated.
  • Meg repaired or jerry-rigged most equipment failures.
  • Air temperature outside and inside the boat varied from +40c in the Atlantic to -1c in the North Pacific.
  • En-route, we survived an Atlantic hurricane, a storm-force outflow in the Mexican gulf of Tehuantepec, and multiple winter storms in the North Pacific.