According to journalist Richard Conn, 24 April 2014 “Aleksander “Olek” Doba, the intrepid kayaker who last week arrived in New Smyrna Beach after a solo, six-month, continent-to-continent journey across the Atlantic Ocean, was honored Thursday at the Polish Embassy in Washington D.C.”
The 67-year-old Doba, according to Conn, received the Amicus Poloniae award from Poland’s Ambassador to the United States, Ryszard Schnepf. “The Amicus Poloniae Award recognizes significant contributions enhancing knowledge of the Polish and Polish American heritage by individuals not belonging to the Polish American community.”
Mr. Doba’s transatlantic journey began in Lisbon, Portugal on 5 October 2013. Initially, he planned to complete the – 5,400 miles voyage from Portugal to New Smyrna Beach, Florida no later than 21 February 2014. However, he encountered numerous setbacks including severe weather and a broken rudder. Eventually, his circumstances forced him to seek refuge on the island of Bermuda so that he could repair his ailing vessel.
Supposedly, according to author Piotr Tomza, who reportedly interviewed the Polish kayaker on 4 February 2014, Mr. Doba was quite distraught about his unfortunate set of circumstances. Although he was determined to complete his journey, he revealed to Mr. Tomza “I felt like Sisyphus. The more the current threw the stronger, the longer and me backward I paddled. After five days, when I thought I was finally moving forward, I suddenly realized I was again in the same place.”
However, in spite of his misgivings Aleksander “Olek” Doba reached his destination 0n April 19 at 4:18 PM, according to Jayme Moye, making him the first person to paddle across the Atlantic Ocean at its widest point. Five days later Mr. Doba received the Amicus Poloniae award from Poland’s Ambassador to the United States, Ryszard Schnepf.