Journalist Cooper Stevenson of The Royal Gazette reported early Thursday morning March 27, 2014, that Polish kayaker Aleksander Doba suffered another severe setback. This was a near-fatal incident that could have ended his plans to continue his last 900-mile voyage to New Smyrna Beach, Florida
However, according to Stevenson “Despite significant damage to his vessel, Doba is still determined to ‘forge on’ and not give up on his quest to become the first man to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to North America in a kayak.”
However, due to numerous storms, equipment failure and finally a broken rudder, Aleksander Doba had to make a 300-mile detour to the island of Bermuda in order to make repairs.
Although this was a disappointing and discouraging event Doba received a hero’s welcome and expressed deep gratitude for all of the hospitality and generosity extended to him by the people pf Bermuda.
Finally, on March 25, with his vessel repaired Doba was ready to resume his nearly 900-mile journey to his destination at New Smyrna Beach, Florida. There was only one slight dilemma. He needed a 300-mile hitch back to the location where his rudder broke and he made his detour to Bermuda.
This is where the story takes a strange, ironic and nearly tragic twist, according to Cooper Stevenson. The rescue vessel nearly becomes a death ship.
“After three days at sea, the Spirit of Bermuda, carrying the kayak, reached the point where Doba had to abandon his crossing due to a broken rudder, more than 300 miles south of the Island.”
However, “Shortly after Doba and his kayak ‘OLO’ had been safely lowered into the ocean, a large swell broadsided the three-masted sloop, causing it to roll on top of the kayak.
“The 1,300lb kayak became trapped under the ship’s rub rail, inflicting severe damage.”
Denise Riviere, CEO of The Spirit of Bermuda confirms Cooper Stevenson’s report.
“As soon as he [Mr. Doba] hit the rolling water, a swell came causing Spirit to take a roll,” said Spirit of Bermuda CEO, Denise Riviere.
“The wing, the big structure on top of the kayak, got caught and pretty much crushed it. There was significant damage to the top of the kayak, so Olek [Doba] cut the structure away.”
However, according to Riviere, Doba chose to forge ahead with his adventure.
“Olek pretty much refused any option but to continue with the kayak in that state.”
“The Spirit of Bermuda did bid farewell to Aleksander Doba after the incident yesterday, with a rough return to Bermuda expected,” according to Stevenson.
Stevenson ends his article with a quote from Denise Riviere:
“Let’s keep Olek in our prayers as he continues his journey.”