|Who are they ?
The year 2004 marked the 30th anniversary of the bravest and most risky, and unfortunately forgotten and unknown to the younger people, Bulgarian sailing achievements.
On May 8th 1974 in an open shipping life boat, two Bulgarians Julia and Doncho Papazovi set off through the Atlantic to make their dream come true.
Both of them had never seen the ocean (in their own words “neither from the air, nor from the land”).
On August 16th 1974 they successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean and arrived to Santiago de Cuba, on the Island of Cuba.
It is next to impossible to explain to the layman what such an achievement means, but it does beyond a shadow of a doubt require enormous effort and extraordinary human qualities.
The boat “Dju IV” has long now been displayed in the Navy Museum in Varna.
Later there would be other no less significant sailing trips which would be explored further on.
The purpose of this text is to provide information to the young people in Bulgaria and to all who use the Internet about little known or forgotten achievements of Bulgarians who could instill the needed confidence to the Bulgarian society in transition.
Julia and Doncho devoted a big part of their lives to carry out scientific research on the human capabilities in extreme situations during their sails through almost all the oceans on the planet.
This research was part of a number of international programs (INTERCOSMOS, SOLACE - 60) as well as UNESCO oceanographic environmental programs.
The research results, experiment and outcome have proven their significance throughout the years and it would be a mistake not to make it know to the public.
And thus the story of Dju and Doncho begins - maybe it was inspired by the experiments and research conducted by Alain Bombar.
In 1952 the Frenchman Alain Bombar equipped with an inflatable boat left the shores of the Mediterranean to cross the infinite waters of the Atlantic.
His goal was to prove that the sea could provide food to the shipwrecked traveller for a long period of time before he/she was found.
He did not take any food or water with him and relied only on what he could obtain from the sea: plankton, fish and seawater.
His 65 day adventure became a true sensation. For more than two months Bombar strove to overcome the difficulties at sea,
fought with hunger and storms and arrived successfully to Barbados after having crossed the Atlantic thus proving that the castaway’s biggest challenges are fear and depression,
rather than the lack of food and water.
It is in this way that the idea of the Bulgarian 12 year program “Plankton” was born.
This was the first program of its type.
Its goal was purely humanitarian and combines psycho-physiological research with exploration of the nutritious value of plankton and the possibilities for saving human life.
In short, the program had five stages or in other word expeditions of growing complexity and duration. The expeditions were funded by Committee for science, technological progress and higher education,
Bulgarian Commercial Fleet, Bulgarian National Television and other international organizations.
Autor: dipl.ing. L.Nachev, January 2005;
English translator: Jana Papazova, April 2005