Aleksander Doba Abandons Third Atlantic Crossing


In April of this year I told you that Polish long distance kayaker Aleksander Doba was planning to attempt a third crossing of the Atlantic Ocean under his own power at the age of 69. His plans were to set out in late May on a voyage that was expected to take four or five months to complete. Unfortunately, those plans came to an abrupt end just a few days after he set out thanks to unexpectedly powerful waves that capsized his boat.

According to ExWeb, Doba set out on May 31 after waiting for forecast of good weather. But a few days later on June 2, he ran into trouble. A small (1 meter) – but powerful – wave hit Aleksander’s kayak, tipping it over not once, but twice. The wave caused damage to the boat, which caused Doba to abandon the crossing, and head back to shore.

Once back on dry land it was determined that the damage done to the kayak was too much to repair and relaunch the Atlantic crossing. Aleksander had hoped he could be back on the water within a couple of days, but it soon became evident that his boat would require repairs that would take an extended amount of time, closing the window on paddling from the U.S. to Portugal this year.

This would have been Doba’s third Atlantic crossing, but the first to go west to east. His most recent crossing was completed in 2014, when he paddled more than 7716 mile (12,417 km), starting in Portugal and ending in Florida. That was enough to earn him recognition as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, and recognition for what is possible even at an older age.

Aleksander had hoped to celebrate his 70th birthday in Portugal this year following his epic paddle. Now, he’ll delay his third Atlantic crossing until next year, when he’ll give it another go. Hopefully that expedition will be more successful.

Kraig Becker