Landfall: Aleksander Doba Reaches South America
(Ed’s note: This story has been updated, 10:40 a.m. PST, Feb. 4, with photos just received by C&K.)
By Conor Mihell
Published: February 2, 2011
After 99 days at sea, trans-Atlantic sea kayaker Aleksander Doba of Poland made landfall on a sandbar near the small community of Acara, Brazil, at approximately 2 p.m. local time today.
Polish sea kayaking enthusiast and blogger Bartosz Sawicki confirmed in an email with C&K that Doba was awaiting high tide to complete a three-mile paddle up a small river to Acara. “[The] support team talked with Aleksander. Now he is paddling upstream to the Acarau village, [where an] official welcome party is organized,” Sawicki said.
Earlier, Sawicki wrote that Doba’s partron, Jerzy Arsoba, had emailed him with this message: “They see that Aleksander is walking and pulling [his] kayak”—apparently on a sandbar—”about 2km from the beach. Because of tides, water level is very low. I don’t know anything more. We should wait for final confirmation that he is safe.”
Doba, 64, departed Dakar, Senegal on the west coast of Africa in late October in an attempt to complete the first continent-to-continent crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by sea kayak. The 3,345-mile expedition was plagued by bad weather and opposing ocean currents right to the end, when offshore winds and coastal currents forced an exhausted Doba to battle his way to shore northwest of his intended target of Fortaleza, Brazil. Acara is about 100km northwest along the Brazlian coast from Fortaleza.
Doba’s effort is believed to be the longest open-water crossing ever undertaken by a kayaker, roughly 99 days, 6 hours. The previous longest kayak crossing belonged to Peter Bray, 76 days in 2001, from Newfoundland to Ireland.
Stay tuned to CanoeKayak.com for further updates.
Links of Note:
• Doba’s official website
• Doba’s detailed GPS tracker
• Aleksander Doba on Twitter
• Bartosz Sawicki’s unofficial Doba website, TransAtlantic2010.blogspot.com
Earlier Canoe & Kayak coverage:
• Day 97: One day away from crossing the Atlantic, published Jan. 31
• Day 77: In circles across the Atlantic, published Jan. 12
• One paddler, one ocean, published Nov. 17