We’ve been following the progress of trans-Atlantic kayaker Aleksander Doba since he began his attempt at a third crossing of the ocean back in May. This hasn’t been an easy outing for Doba, who has faced poor weather, difficult sea conditions, and an array of other challenges. In fact, the last time we checked in, he had just repaired damage done to his rudder during a storm and was continuing onward towards Europe. It turns out, those repairs weren’t enough, and Doba had to get a little outside help before proceeding.
According to a story posted at ExWeb, despite indications that the 70-year old Pole had managed to fix his kayak – dubbed Olo – he continued to have trouble keeping the boat pointed in the right direction. This impacted his progress dramatically, keeping him rowing in circles as he sought a better solution. After a time, it became abundantly clear that further repairs were necessary, and plans were put in motion to lend a hand.
The first idea was to scramble a yacht out of the Bahamas to find Doba on the water and assist with the necessary repairs. It would take more than 10 days for that ship to set sail and reach Olo in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. While this wasn’t an optimal solution, it seemed the best and only choice for a time.
But, before long another option presented itself. Another ship – the Baltic Light – was passing close by and was less than a day away from Doba’s position. After making a few phone calls and talking to fleet management for the cargo vessel, the ship was soon diverted to lend a hand. They managed to find Olo out on the water, pull the kayak from the water, and complete repair the damaged rudder.
The entire process didn’t take much more than 4 hours, and soon Aleksander was back on its way. Now, he is making steady progress towards his goal, which is Lisbon, Portugal. Initially, he was expected to reach that point in September, but thanks to delays it will likely be later in the year before he completes the journey.
For now, things are at last going Aleksander’s way. He is no longer fighting Atlantic winds and currents and his kayak is in a good state. There is still a long way to go before he reaches Europe, but the paddler has to feel a sense of relief and confidence for the first time in awhile.
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