Landfall: Kayaker in Bermuda after Nearly Five Months at Sea

Aleksander Doba stops for soup, sandwich and repairs; plans to continue to Florida

Olek

Doba depating Lisbon, Portugal on Oct. 5, 2013. He arrived in Bermuda 142 later. Photo Ricardo Bravo, Canoe&Kaya/Canoandes

By Jeff Moag

Sixty-seven-year-old kayaker Aleksander “Olek” Doba landed at Ely’s Harbour, Bermuda early this morning, 142 days after leaving Portugal in a 23-foot kayak. Despite storm winds that pushed him in circles for six weeks, and finally a broken rudder that forced him to divert to Bermuda for repairs, Doba reached the Atlantic island under his own power. The voyage is the longest kayak trip in history, 43 days longer than Doba’s first Atlantic crossing in 2011.

“I’m happy to have reached Bermuda without assistance, but I am only 75 percent satisfied until I reach Florida,” Doba said through a translator, his friend Piotr Chmielinski. The men were in the restaurant at the St. George’s Club in Bermuda, where Doba had devoured the soup-of-the-day, followed by a pork sandwich, French fries and coffee.

The bright yellow ocean-going kayak that has been Doba’s home for nearly five months is undergoing repairs at a nearby boatyard. The boat could be ready as soon as tomorrow. It’s still loaded with a six-week supply of food, and Doba remains as determined as ever to reach Florida.

The problem, as always, is the weather.

Though remarkably seaworthy, Doba’s kayak is at the mercy of the wind. Doba cannot make sustained progress against headwinds of 15 knots or more, which are exactly the conditions he is likely to encounter if he tries to paddle from Bermuda to Florida.

Doba now hopes to find a ship large enough to carry his kayak approximately 250 miles southeast, to resume his Portugal-to-Florida route from a point he reached before he lost his rudder Feb. 13.

“If we can find a ship that is large enough and willing to help, he will unload the kayak at the crossing of his previous trip,” Chmielinski says. Another option is to ship the kayak to Puerto Rico, and continue from there.

Doba will take the day to rest, and then begin planning the next leg of his journey.

67-year-old Polish adventurer Aleksander Doba waves to would-be rescuers in the mid-Atlantic Dec 23. Photo courtesy Piotr Chmielinski

67-year-old Polish adventurer Aleksander Doba waves to would-be rescuers in the mid-Atlantic Dec 23. Photo courtesy Piotr Chmielinski

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Add a Comment

  • Al

    To be honest, if I were paddling from Portugal to Florida (as if), I’d
    swing by Bermuda for a coffee & sandwich myself, (maybe a slice of pie as
    well). :)
    Best of luck to you as you continue your journey, I know you can do it!!!!
    Al from Maryland

    • Janusz Dacewicz

      thats true

  • mike

    I am not sure if I would have the energy to have a sandwich and coffee
    after 5 whole months of paddling

    If we cold get all our boys motivated like that there they would be eagle scouts in
    about 18 months or less

    Hats off to you !

    Mike T582 Md

  • Evan

    great job man almost there! :)
    From Maryland T582

  • Missy

    Prayers for light winds-calm sea-safe travel
    Missy
    T582

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