This past Sunday, 70-year old Polish adventurer Aleksander Doba set off on his third voyage to cross the Atlantic Ocean in Kayak. The attempt comes after a similar voyage was canceled last year just a short time after it started when prevailing winds pushed Doba’s kayak – dubbed Olo – back onto the shore, damaging it in the process. This year however, he seems to have cleared those dangers and is now making his way out into open water.
The journey began in New York City Harbor, near the Sandy Hook region, which is where Olo was damaged last year. The 23-foot custom kayak nearly ran aground again, but Doba was able to keep it away from the rocks and navigate the boat out into the water, where he is now relatively safe for the time being. Ahead of the Pole is a 5000 mile (8046 km) journey across open water that if all goes as planned should end when he reaches Lisbon, Portugal. It should take him about four months to cover that distance, arriving just before his 71st birthday.
Doba has already completed two previous crossings of the Atlantic. The previous two attempts saw him paddling east to west, so for this particular journey he wanted to go the opposite direction. His first trip took 99 days to complete, setting a record for the longest kayaking journey in history. It began in Senegal and ended in Brazil. The second expedition left from Dakar in Africa and also finished in Brazil.
Last year, Doba set out to much fanfare, with well wishers lining the shore or following along in boats and kayaks. It was a media circus that proved distracting, particularly when the trip ended so abruptly. This year, he snuck out a bit more quietly, watching the weather closely for the right window to get underway. Still, the Sandy Hook peninsula nearly got him again and for a moment it looked like the trip would end quickly once again. Thankfully that didn’t happen, and now this 70-year old living legend can press on towards his goal.
Good luck to Aleksander. You’re in inspiration to us all.
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