French Adventurer Crosses the Atlantic in a Giant Barrel

Over the years here at The Adventure Blog we’ve seen numerous people cross the Atlantic Ocean in row boats. Heck, there’s even an annual race in which the participants do just that. But, we’ve never seen anyone float across that vast body of water in a giant barrel. At least not until now. Last week, a French adventurer by the name of Jean-Jacques Savin did exactly that, putting an end to a four-month long odyssey that put him mostly at the whims of the ocean currents.

Savin set out from the Canary Islands back on December 26 of last year. His method of transportation was a barrel shaped contraption that he had built entirely by himself. The strange craft –– which measures just 10 feet in length and about 7 feet wide, was outfitted with solar panels to provide power and had room for a bed, a tiny kitchen, and storage for the supplies that he brought alone. According to CNN, he mostly fed himself by catching fish.

The barrel also had no means of propulsion and was just pushed along by the ocean currents themselves. That meant he averaged just two miles an hour throughout the trip, which ended when he arrived at the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius. At that point, he had traveled more than 2930 miles (4731 km). Originally Savin had hoped to complete the journey in March, but the currents were slower than he expected so it took a few weeks longer.

This is one of those adventures that is inspiring for the simple fact that one man decided to undertake an ocean crossing completely on his own. He built the barrel, charted his course, and simply set off. He had a plan, found ways to not just feed himself but make fresh water while out on the ocean, and entertain himself for four months on his own. We’ve talked about the mindset that comes with crossing an ocean in a rowboat, but at least ocean rowers can propel themselves along and have something to do for hours each day. The patience required to just drift along is even more impressive. Most of us would probably go a little stir crazy inside a ten-foot barrel for days on end, although I guess it is a glimpse at the future for anyone considering a trip to Mars.

You can read more about Savin and his project on his official website. Provided you can read French that is.