67-Year Old Kayaker Completes Atlantic Crossing

Polish kayaker Aleksander “Olek” Doba completed an epic paddling expedition this weekend when he reached the coastline of Florida. The 67-year old Doba wrapped up a 6000-mile (9656 km) long journey that carried him solo across the Atlantic Ocean in a specially modified sea kayak.

Doba set out from Lisbon, Portugal on October 5 of last year, with the intention of kayaking the Atlantic at its widest point. That meant arriving at Cape Canaveral, which he did on Friday. But his ultimate destination was New Smyrna Beach, where friends were waiting to greet him Saturday. By the time he stepped ashore, he had spent 195 days alone at sea, and paddled an estimated 6700 miles (10,782 km) in total.

The journey was not without its challenges. Back in February, bad weather damaged the rudder on the kayak, forcing Aleksander to stop in Bermuda to make repairs. That same bad weather knocked him hundreds of miles off course, so once repairs were complete, he caught a ride aboard a ship, which returned him to his original position, so he could resume the journey where he had left off. That was on March 23. Less than a month later, he was crossing the finish line in Florida.

In staying true to the nature of his solo expedition across the Atlantic, Doba did not restock his boat with food and other supplies when he stopped for repair in the Bermuda. Instead, he continued to use the items he brought with him when he set out from Portugal back in October.

This is a pretty impressive accomplishment at any age, and I respect Aleksander for sticking to the “rules” of the challenge that he set down for himself. Inspiring stuff to say the least.

Kraig Becker