Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Update on Aleksander Doba's Atlantic Kayak Crossing

We are now nearly three months into Aleksander Doba's third crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by kayak, and while the Polish adventurer has made good progress on his journey, there is still a long way to go before he is through. So far, he has battled tough conditions just to escape the coast of the U.S., altered his route in order to catch more favorable currents, and survived multiple storms, including one that broke his rudder, forcing him to abandon his solo status and receive outside aid from a passing ship. But, the voyage is still far from over and some of the biggest challenges still await.

If you look at Doba's tracking page, you'll see that he has made steady progress since the last time we checked in. At this point, he has covered nearly 2000 nautical miles (2301 miles/3704 km), and is now closing in on an end point somewhere in Europe. But, any sailor will tell you that this section of the trip could be the most treacherous yet, as he passes across the North Atlantic in an area rife with storms. In fact, as of yesterday the ocean paddler was dealing with a major storm that could be disastrous. That storm continuous to rage today and at this point all we can do is wait and hope that he comes out of it safe and sound with a boat that is undamaged. Conditions during the next few days could include winds reaching as high as 90 km/h (56 mph) and waves cresting at 5 meters (16 feet).

But it isn't the stormy conditions that seem to be creating issues for Doba. According to this story at Explorer's Web, the Polish paddler has been experience severe loneliness and despair while out on the water. His communications devices – upgraded from previous Atlantic crossings – have not functioned as planned, and there have been times when he has been unreachable for extended periods. This has led to bouts of uncertainty and even depression as he battles on alone.


In that same story, we learn that it is now unclear where Aleksander plans to make landfall. The original plan was to paddle to Lisbon, Portugal, but he is now well north of that spot and may not decide to head south. According to expedition manager Piotr Chmielinski, Doba is now about 1120 nautical miles from that original destination, but he is also just 980 miles from the coast of Spain, 1100 miles from France, and 890 miles from Ireland, although Piotr is quick to point out that Doba didn't wish to land on the island but continue on to the continent instead.

An alternate landing spot could be the town of Police in Poland as well. This is Doba's hometown, and while it is still 1900 miles away, it can be reached by paddling up the English Channel to the Kiel Canal. That seems like a long shot, but it is doable should he choose to go that way.

No matter where he chooses his final landing spot to be, we're still likely weeks away from an end of the journey. At the moment, that probably seems like an eternity to the man who has already been out on the water for more than two months and has been battling feelings of isolation. But, Doba has been here before and will likely continue to forge ahead.

And we'll continue to follow his progress and share updates along the way.

No comments: