Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Problems returned

Christmas has gone, and old problems returned :(. During two last days winds and currents moved kayak over 70 miles (110 km) to the North. Today Aleksander is paddling in good direction, but it takes him another few days to catch up.

Current situation reminds me what said Andrzej Araminski (designer of Aleksander's kayak). As a main challenge he pointed the very low driving power of this boat. The power of single paddler is much, much lower comparing to what sailing yachts or power boats have. This is the main reason, why Aleksander has no chance in the direct fight with ocean. All he can do is just wait for favorable conditions.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas ! :) Let me send you best wishes from Poland.
Christmas Eve (Wigilia) is very special time in Poland. I'm sure Aleksander is missing his family: wife, sons, grandchildren.

The most important news is that it seems that finally, after 30 days of fighting with opposite currents and stormy weather, he is on the right current. GPS plot shows very good progress last two days. That's nice, christmas present.
It seems that he is now on South Equatorial Current. Only 1200 miles left to Fortaleza.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Great day

Hurray! Today our paddler has passed Turning Point. This is very important moment because of three reasons:
  • Turning point is the beginning of South Equatorial Current. This very strong current will drive Aleksander directly to Fortaleza.
  • Mentally Aleksander is starting the second half of the expedition. This should be easier now.
  • Weather on South Atlantic more stable than near Equatorial. So every day there should be less storms.
It's amazing how tough guy he is. After nearly 30 days of bed weather, still optimistic and paddling 40 miles (65 km) a day. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Shark visit

Latest message from Aleksander:
It was an hour before dawn, when I was paddling, suddenly I felt hit in the rudder. It was shark, 10 feet (3 meters) long. Swam several times under the kayak. I punched him twice on the head, run away.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weather forecast

I've found very good ocean weather forecast for sailors (and paddlers ;)). Wind, waves, precipitation - all important stuff. They try to predict weather for 7 days, which is in my opinion rather guess that predictions. Nevertheless webpage is definitely worth bookmarking.  (

The problem is that weather in this region of Atlantic is extremely unstable, and unpredictible in the local scale. General map of winds, and waves looks good, but hundreds of small storms are crawling around all the time. None of them are very strong, but they make Aleksander's life not easy. I'm afraid that if he doesn't manage to catch South Equatorial Current, he won't finish this expedition in Brazil.
Rain fall and many small storms visible around Aleksander.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

50 days

50 days on the ocean. Aleksander has paddled already 1350mi (2170km), but future of the expedition is not clear. For last 20 days he is constantly attacked by the storms, what caused nearly no progress made for that time.

I'd like to remind you that he is prepared to survive 100 day. So now he has to make serious decision: whether he wants to continue expedition? This is the last moment to get back to Afrika.
Official webpage mutes. GPS plots crazy lines. We are all waiting for any info from Aleksander.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Problems again

Recently we realized slow down on the map. Yesterday Aleksander called his wife  in Poland:
The last two days were the hardest that I have met. After a few easier days, bed weather hit again. It was difficult, but yesterday afternoon began to deteriorate.  Huge, dark clouds heavy with rain, hung over me. Tropical rain started falling. Conditions were deteriorating rapidly, a very violent storm came with strong winds and high waves breaking over the kayak. The storm lasted all night, which was the worst ever. I was so tired that I hadn't shut tightly the hatch. Water was slowly flooding me all night. Morning, it appeared that the water got into the batteries. Fortunately, not all of them are kept in one place, so others survived. 
The wind is all the time against me blowing from the south. It's very tiring. When the wind get weaker, try to paddle to the south-west. GPS shows me that I'm spinning around. This happened third time of this expedition. I do not know when I will be able to get out, I hope the weather improves.

Today sky over Aleksander looks better:

For more satellite images visit NESDIS webpage.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

First trial: Kaylantic 2004

Have you known, that this expedition is actually the second trial taken by Aleksander? The first was in 2004.

Original idea to cross the Altantic from Africa to South America and use power of South Equatorial Current was presented by Paweł Napierała somewhere between 2000-2003. Pawel was rather unexperienced that days in sea kayaking, but his passion and brave idea attracted Aleksander Doba, who has already paddled thousands miles through the seas. 

The first attempt was in 2004. Pawel and Aleksander organized tandem expedition. They wanted to use two tandem kayaks (Prijon Excursion model, which is quite popular in Poland) and connect them with four pipes. On the platform constructed that way, they planed to set up the tent to sleep in. This low-cost plan failed on the ocean.

On December 10th, 2004, they launched their boats at city Tema in Ghana (see the map). For two days they were fighting with Guinea Current, which was pushing them to the East. They suffered problems with leakages  and with connecting boats to build the platform.

Finally, after the second night, they decided to break the expedition. They landed on the beach near Atitati village. Breaking waves destroyed kayaks and local natives stole most of the equipment (none of photos survived this landing).

Paweł Napierała and Aleksander Doba preparing to Kaylantic 2004. (

Kaylantic 2004. They plan to connect two tandem kayaks, and build platform where they can set up the tent.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Good week

Last 7 days have been very positive. The weather is better and Aleksander is finally moving in the correct direction. Another 200km(120mi) to the south, and the major difficulties will be behind him.

Message sent on Dec 6th: "Beautiful dawn. Six dolphins were playing around me for 15 minutes. Barracudas still very close."

The barracuda is known for its large size and fearsome appearance.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Back to paddling forward

It seems that finally, after two weeks of turning around by storms, Aleksander gets back to paddling forward. Last 5 days was quite optimistic, he did 75mi (120km) in correct direction. Of course it is much below expected average, still 1200mi (2000km) left to Fortaleza.

Today is 40th day on the ocean. He still has food for 60day, but it won't be enough if he didn't manage to break through storm zone and find the South Equatorial Current. Now he should does his best to keep south direction. When he will be approximately 200 miles (320km) to the South, his chances for successful finish increases significantly.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

On standby

Don't worry. In spite of crazy GPS plot, he is fine! :) He just waits for better weather. In the meantime he caught some fish. :)

Today is 36th day on the ocean. In the kayak there is enough food to survive 100 days, so Aleksander is not under time pressure. He could be on standby one or two weeks more. After that time he will have to decide whether to paddle to the Brazil, or get back to Africa.