Aleksander Doba, trailblazing wilderness expeditioner and 67-year-old Polish adventurer, proved age is just a number by kayaking solo 6,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.
Doba set off in October 2014 from Lisbon, shored in Florida six months later and, on his arrival, was greeted offshore by a flotilla of sea kayakers who joined him for his last leg in. It was the longest open-water kayaking expedition ever across the Atlantic and was voted by National Geographic as the 2015 People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year.
Kayaking world first
The Polish explorer departed from Lisbon in 5 October 2013 with the plan to paddle 5,400 miles across the Atlantic‘s widest point to arrive in Florida mid-February 2014. By the time he had finished he had traveled a 7,716-mile transatlantic journey, in his 23-foot kayak called Olo. Unexpected weather and equipment failure forced Doba to add an extra 1,300 miles and two extra months onto his journey. No one had ever kayaked across open sea for this length of time or distance.
Fighting the elements
Doba averaged about 30 miles per day and, when the temperatures were too high, he paddled at night. Indeed, once he was out of sight of shore, he found paddling more comfortable naked.
Doba fought with 30-foot waves and wrestled winds and currents that pushed him in loops around Bermuda adding 40 days to the crossing. Three times, Doba paddled hundreds of miles, only to get pushed back by winds and currents, he beat off a shark with his paddle and he ate flying fish landing in his boat.
Not bad for a man who considers himself a tourist on the water and who didn’t start kayaking until the age of 34 – he did no training for the crossing.