Retired engineer Aleksander Doba is not your typical retiree. Rather than settling down, the 67-year-old Polish kayaker launched his second trans-Atlantic paddling voyage. This time it was a 4,700-mile journey from Lisbon, Portugal to New Smyrna Beach, Florida USA.
On 10 January 2014 according to Amy Bucci of National Geographic, Doba was 900 miles from his destination.
At three knots (30 miles per day), Doba has paddled about 3, 800 miles since leaving Lisbon, according to Bucci.
Aleksander Doba left Lisbon on 6 October 2013. He plans to arrive in Florida by mid-February 2014.
His crossing has not been easy. He endured numerous storms, saltwater exposure and equipment failure.
He has not been able to text or talk to anyone since 20 December 2013.
His family and friends are concerned. However, Doba is a seasoned kayaker. In 2010, he paddled from Africa to South America. He made the 3,400-mile voyage in 99 days. He was 64-years-old.
Doba is the fourth person to paddle a kayak across the Atlantic, according to journalist Dave Costello. He was the first to do so from Africa (Dakar, Senegal) to Acara, Brazil. His 99-day journey is the longest kayaking voyage in history.
With the completion of his first voyage, Doba joined “an exclusive club of solo kayak adventures,” according to Costello.
The tradition began with Franz Romer in 1928. He paddled from Portugal to Puerto Rico in 58 days. Dr. Hannes Lindemann was next to gain the honor in 1956. He paddled from the Canary Islands to the British Virgin Islands. He was 72 days at sea.
Dr. Lindemann left a record of his remarkable adventure in his book Alone at Sea.
Peter Bray made two attempts to cross the Atlantic in 2001 and again in 2002. On his first voyage, he spent nearly two days submerged in 36-degree waters. It took him four months to regain the use of his legs.
A year later, he paddled from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Beldereg, Ireland in 75 days.
Aleksander Doba had at least one important advantage when his time came to conquer the sea. He was part of an established tradition. Therefore, he had the opportunity to learn from the adventures and misadventures of his valiant predecessors.
Andrzej Arminski designed Aleksander Doba’s kayak. It is 21 feet long, 40 inches wide and equipped with solar panels. The cabin contains five months’ supply of food. This includes chocolate bars and his wife’s homemade plum jelly.