Showing posts with label Atlantic Ocean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Atlantic Ocean. Show all posts

South African Adventurer Crossing the Atlantic on a SUP Board

This story was sent my way by a reader a couple of weeks back (Thanks Brian!), but it got lost in my inbox while I was at Outdoor Retailer. Still, it is such an amazing adventure that I just had to share.

Back on December 6, South African adventurer Chris Bertish set out on what promises to be one of the most challenging and wild waterborne expeditions of all time. That's when he hit the water in Agadar, Morocco on his attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a stand-up paddleboard, an undertaking that he has embarked upon to raise funds for charity.

Now, more than a month and a half into the voyage, Bertish has now paddled past the Canary Islands, and is making his way into the open ocean on his way to Antigua in the Caribbean. He is covering about 25 miles (40 km) each and every day, and at that pace he expects the journey to take roughly 120 days to complete, covering a total of 4500 miles (7500 km) in the process. Once he arrives in Antigua, weather permitting, Chris hopes to continue northward across the Caribbean Sea to end his adventure on the coast of Florida.

Of course, Bertish isn't paddling a typical stand-up paddleboard. He has a custom-built model that was designed for use on the open water and has a small, but comfortable cabin for him to take refuge in when he needs a rest. The vessel has four water-tight storage containers for keeping all of his gear, food, and other supplies protected from the elements. It also has a tank for storing 50 liters of water too, and is equipped with a para-anchor, which is a specially developed parachute that is deployed under the SUP board to hold it in place. The craft is about 20 feet (6 meters) in length, and reportedly weighs about 1335 pounds (600 kilos) too. Chris' SUP board also comes equipped with solar panels to help power his radios and satellite communications equipment, which allows him to stay in touch with those of us following along back home.

Bertish is paddling across the Atlantic to raise funds for the Signature of Hope Trust, Operation Smile, and The Lunchbox Fund, all of which are nonprofits that work to improve lives of the underprivileged in various ways. In this case, Chris is hoping to build schools, provide medical attention, and food for children in need. So far, he has raised nearly 5 million South African Rand, which is about $370,000.

We may be a month and a half into the SUP crossing, but there is still plenty of distance to be traveled before Chris is done. You can follow his progress at TheSUPCrossing.com, where you'll find live tracking and daily updates.

Good luck Chris.


The 2016-2017 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Rowing Challenge is Underway

One of the great annual endurance events in the world got underway yesterday as the 2016-2017 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge began in the Canary Islands off the coast of northwest Africa. Over the next two months, 12 solo, two-person, and four-person teams will row across the Atlantic Ocean to the finish line on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean Sea, covering some 3000 nautical miles (3452 miles/5556 km) in the process.

The rowing crews departed at 9:30 AM local time from the harbor of San Sebastián de La Gomera with a large, and loud, crowd to see them off. As you can imagine, the teams were pretty excited to get underway, but they didn't leave without a bit of trepidation. Most won't see their loved ones for awhile, as the two-person teams are estimated to take roughly 50 days to cross the Atlantic. Of course, the four-person squads – which includes an all-women's team from the U.K. – should go a bit faster, while the solo racers will take longer.

One of the teams from the U.S. consists of brothers John and Kurt Suchwartz, who managed to catch some media attention when it was learned that they would row the Atlantic naked. Of course, experienced rowers know that this isn't completely uncommon, as it helps to lower the level of friction and reduces blistering. Still, it made for a salacious headline or two leading up to the start of the race.

Now that they're underway, the teams will face everything from perfectly calm, lovely weather, to potential tropical storms, heavy waves, and high winds. It's all part of the challenge of course, but that won't make it any easier to complete.

You can follow the progress of the teams in the weeks ahead at race's official website.


Video: Where is the Most Remote Inhabited Place on Earth?

Here's an interesting video that will leave you thinking the next time you want to get away from it all. It gives us a reference point for some of the most remote places on Earth, which in this case is defined as the furthest points away from any other humans. For instance, the video mentions the island of Tristan Da Cunha, which is only home to a couple of hundred people, is located more than a thousand miles from the next closets settlement, and is only visited by outsiders a few times a year. There are other similar places that get spotlighted in the video as well, but you get the gist. If you've ever wondered where you should go to completely escape other humans, your answer is here.

Canadian Adventurer Completes Solo Atlantic Crossing in a Rowboat

Back in June I wrote about Laval St. Germain, a Canadian adventurer who was preparing to embark on a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat. He was using his ocean crossing as a platform to raise funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation, and set out from the coast of Nova Scotia back on June 15. This past weekend, he wrapped up the journey at long last, reaching the shores of France on Saturday.

It took St. Germain 53 days to complete the Atlantic crossing, which he said he was able to do thanks to the good weather he had throughout the voyage. He told the Canadian media that he had plenty of time to become accustomed to his boat and the daily grind of rowing before bad weather and difficult seas set in. By that point, he was much better prepared to deal with the conditions, which were expected even during the summer months when the North Atlantic is at its calmest.

All told, St. Germain covered approximately 4500 km (2796 miles) on his aquatic journey, which began along the eastern coast of Canada and ended in Brest, France. That is the opposite direction of most Atlantic rowers, who tend to start in Europe or at the Canary Islands, and head west to the Caribbean.

Laval says that he is happy to have completed the journey, but he is disappointed in his fund raising efforts. He had hoped to bring in $200,000 to support the Cancer Foundation, but has raised just $51,000 to date. That is still an impressive number, but far short of the goal that he had set for himself. He promises to continue with those efforts even though the ocean crossing is now complete.

Despite not raising as many funds as he would have liked, this was still a fantastic effort. Rowing an ocean as part of a team is a heck of a challenge, and doing it solo even more so. Congratulations to Laval for completing this undertaking and doing so for a worthy cause at the same time. He should be very proud of what he has accomplished on both fronts.

Canadian Adventurer To Row Across the Atlantic Solo

A Canadian adventurer who was the first person from that country to summit Everest without the use of oxygen is now preparing to embark on his next big challenge – a 4500 km (2796 mile) solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean to raise funds to fight cancer.

This month, Laval St. Germain will set out from Halifax Habor on what he calls the Confront Cancer Ocean Row. His hope is to arrive in France in a few months time, braving big waves, hundreds of miles of open water, and potentially dangerous storms along the way. Traveling west to east across the turbulent North Atlantic will test his stamina and determination with cold water and icy seas as well.

St. Germain is making this solo Atlantic crossing to raise funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. He hope to pull in $200,000 in donations to help support that organizations cause, which is to work towards the cause of curing cancer and bringing an end to the disease which 43 Albertans are diagnosed with on a daily basis.

But Laval has another inspiration for rowing across the Atlantic too. In July of 2014, his oldest son drowned in a canoe accident on the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territory of Canada. He was 21-years old at the time, and had been attempting to lend assistance to a girl who was panicking while swimming in those waters. The young man lost his life, which as you can imagine had a dramatic impact on his family's life.

According to his Twitter feed, Laval will launch his epic crossing starting tomorrow – Wednesday, June 15. His specially designed rowboat has been placed in the water, and has been stocked with supplies, and the weather looks good for the start of the journey.

If you want to follow this adventure as it unfolds, it looks like Laval's Twitter is the best way to go. I wish him godspeed on this expedition. It should be a challenge unlike any other.

Aleksander Doba Abandons Third Atlantic Crossing

In April of this year I told you that Polish long distance kayaker Aleksander Doba was planning to attempt a third crossing of the Atlantic Ocean under his own power at the age of 69. His plans were to set out in late May on a voyage that was expected to take four or five months to complete. Unfortunately, those plans came to an abrupt end just a few days after he set out thanks to unexpectedly powerful waves that capsized his boat.

According to ExWeb, Doba set out on May 31 after waiting for forecast of good weather. But a few days later on June 2, he ran into trouble. A small (1 meter) – but powerful – wave hit Aleksander's kayak, tipping it over not once, but twice. The wave caused damage to the boat, which caused Doba to abandon the crossing, and head back to shore.

Once back on dry land it was determined that the damage done to the kayak was too much to repair and relaunch the Atlantic crossing. Aleksander had hoped he could be back on the water within a couple of days, but it soon became evident that his boat would require repairs that would take an extended amount of time, closing the window on paddling from the U.S. to Portugal this year.

This would have been Doba's third Atlantic crossing, but the first to go west to east. His most recent crossing was completed in 2014, when he paddled more than 7716 mile (12,417 km), starting in Portugal and ending in Florida. That was enough to earn him recognition as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, and recognition for what is possible even at an older age.

Aleksander had hoped to celebrate his 70th birthday in Portugal this year following his epic paddle. Now, he'll delay his third Atlantic crossing until next year, when he'll give it another go. Hopefully that expedition will be more successful.

Aleksander Doba to Kayak Across the Atlantic Ocean Again at Age 69

Long distance kayaker Aleksander Doba is at it again. The 69-year old paddler who gained recognition as a Nat Geo Adventurer of the Year back in 2015 for his 7716 mile (12,417 km) crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, is getting ready to do it all over again. The Pole has announced that he will set off in May on what will be his third – and possibly toughest – Atlantic Crossing.

Doba will launch his 21-foot sea kayak on May 29, 2016. This time however he'll be traveling from west to east, departing New York City near the Statue of Liberty with the intention of reaching Lisbon, Portugal completely under his own power. While out on the ocean, he will celebrate his 70th birthday.

Doba made his first Atlantic crossing back in 2010-2011, setting out from Senegal and paddling to Brazil. Three years later he returned to the water once again, completing his epic crossing that would become the longest open water kayaking expedition in history. On that journey he set out from Lisbon and arrived in Florida. This time out he wants to complete the trifecta by kayaking the opposite direction from North America to Europe.

According to this story from Canoe & Kayak, this year's expedition will likely prove to be Doba's most difficult yet. This time out he'll be paddling through colder, more turbulent waters, where unexpected storms, high winds, and heavy waves are common. But he encountered similar conditions on his last crossing, and should be well prepared for what is to come.

We'll be following Aleksander's latest adventure closely and watching his progress. I want to wish him good luck on this venture. We should all be up to such adventurous endeavors at the age of 70.

The 2015 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge Gets Underway on Monday

One of the toughest endurance races in the world is set to get underway on Monday, when the 2015 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge begins in San Sebastian on La Gomera in the Canary Islands, and ends when competitors reach English Harbour in Antigua. In between, they must cross more than 3000 miles (4828 km) of open ocean, completely unassisted and under their own power.

This year there are 26 teams from around the world taking part in the race. They are competing in two separate divisions, with some solo racers, as well as two- and four-person squads. The faster boats (read the 4 person teams) will be able to finish in under 40 days, while the solo racers could take upwards of three months to complete their ocean crossing. Doubles teams typically finish in 60-70 days, although weather conditions can of course play a huge role in how fast these teams can go.

As you would expect, these rowboats are marvels of modern technology and engineering. They have each been designed to be as efficient as possible out on the water, and come equipped with solar panels to help power navigational and communications systems. They also have desalinization equipment that can create drinking water from the ocean. Small cabins allow the crew to get some respite from the elements, particularly while sleeping, and they'll carry 2+ months of food and supplies with them as well.

The two- and four-person crews will man the oars 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the cross the Atlantic. They'll work in shifts, with one or two people rowing for two hours before taking a break. Of course, the solo rowers will need to stop to sleep, but They'll often row for 12+ hours per day themselves.

The boats will depart from La Gomera at about 6:30 PM local time on Monday, with everyone getting underway at the same time. From there, we'll be able to track their progress using GPS, but don't expect the first teams to arrive in Antigua until late January at the earliest.


South African Mother-Son Team To Pedal Across the Atlantic

Yesterday I posted a story about a Frenchman who is preparing to cross the Atlantic on SUP board. Today we have word of another Atlantic crossing, this time under pedal power.

South African Davey Du Plessis and his mom Robyn Wolff plan to set out in the next few days, depending on the weather conditions. They'll leave from Cape Town with the intention of pedaling their custom made boat all the way to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Their journey will cover an estimated 6450 km (4007 miles), and is expected to take anywhere from 90-150 days to complete.

The mother-son crew are obviously in for a big adventure out on the high seas, but they are undertaking this epic journey to help raise awareness of how man is causing the mass extinction of life across the globe. Through our own actions, we are having a deep, and lasting, impact on the planet that is resulting in a sever loss of life that will be irreversible. Davey and Robyn hope to bring this cause to the forefront of world issues through their efforts. You can find out more about his issue at ExtinctionSix.com.

If Davey's name sounds familiar, its because he made world-wide headlines back in 2012 when he attempted to travel the length of the Amazon River, but was attacked by gunmen, shot, and left for dead. His story was a brutal reminder that not all of the challenges that we face while traveling through remote areas are due to Mother Nature. Other humans can still be a major threat too.

Davey and his mother intend to set out before the end of November, so they are starting to run low on days. But they are prepared to be begin when the weather allows them to, and they know that the ocean may not be all that accommodating to their schedule. They'll make their Atlantic crossing in  a boat that has no sail or motor. Instead, it has been outfitted with a specially created pedal drive that will allow them to make progress as if they were pedaling a bike. The boat was also made from sustainable materials to help make it safe for the environment as well, and it it is outfitted with the standard equipment you would expect on an ocean crossing, including water purification system, GPS navigation, and emergency radios.

Good luck to Davey and Robyn on this voyage. It should be an amazing one.

Frenchman to Attempt Atlantic Crossing on a SUP Board

A Frenchman by the name of Jarossay Nicolas has set quite a goal for himself. In January, he intends to launch a specially built stand-up paddle board from the African Coast on which he will attempt to become the first person to SUP across the Atlantic Ocean. He expect to spend 75 days at sea as he paddles towards the Americas, covering approximately 4000 km (2500 miles) of open water.

The key to his survival on the Atlantic Ocean is the 21-foot long, custom built SUP board. Large and ponderous looking, it has never the less been built to help him survive for two-and-a-half months at sea. It features a host of high tech gadgets to help with the crossing, including GPS navigation, emergency beacons, radios, and a water purification system that is capable of producing 3.5 liters of fresh water per hour. The board also includes a 7-foot long storage compartment that will be packed with freeze dried food for Nicolas' meals, and an emergency suit in case he experiences bad weather along the way. It is even large enough for the man himself to squeeze inside in dangerous situations.

It appears that the Frenchman will be paddling alone and without a safety boat on this voyage. He will be in daily contact via satellite phone with a friend back home, but will not have the luxury of a boat following along to help avert disaster. Should he run into problems, he could be days away from anyone who could assist him. Tropical storms are less common during the time of year that he'll be crossing the ocean, but they can happen, and this tiny craft would have a difficult time surviving such an onslaught.

You can find out more about the SUP crossing of the Atlantic at Nicolas' official website, and on Facebook. Big thanks goes to the Gear Junkie for sharing this story.

Sarah Outen Arrives in Montreal, Won't Row Atlantic Ocean Again

Last week I posted the news that round-the-world adventurer Sarah Outen had been forced to abandon her attempt to row solo across the North Atlantic due to an impending storm. The British woman was picked up by a ship called the Federal Oshima, which was bound for Montreal Canada at the time, although we knew it would be a few days before the vessel reached that destination. On Saturday,  Sarah was delivered safely back to dry land, and has finally had a chance to share her feelings about having to not only give up on her Atlantic crossing, but also abandon her rowboat in the middle of the ocean.

Sarah spent 143 days out on the water, on what would have been the final leg of her London2London via the World expedition. She has spent the better part of the past four years attempting to circumnavigate the globe under her own power. During that time, she has traveled by bike, kayak, and rowboat through some remote areas of the world, and the Atlantic crossing would have seen Outen return home to where the entire journey first started. Unfortunately, Hurricane Joaquin had other plans, and now Sarah is back in Canada, where she set out from back in May.

The row across the Atlantic was originally expected to take about 120 days to complete. But traveling west to east in a rowboat brings different challenges, and as a result it took much longer than expected. Ocean currents worked against Sarah's efforts, and heavy storms often kept progress to a minimum or negated it altogether. As a result, 143 days in she was still 1000 miles (1600 km) from the finish line, with time quickly running out.

As anyone who has followed Sarah's adventures knows, she has experienced similar issues in the past. While crossing the Pacific back in 2012 she was hit by a storm as well, smashing her boat and forcing her to call for assistance than too. But unlike then, Sarah now says that her expedition is over. In an interview conducted after her arrival in Canada, she says “I don’t have the resources, financially or physically, to take on another trip.”

The journey isn't completely over just yet though. Sarah will fly home to the U.K. today, and will then ride her bike from Falmouth, England to the finish line in London, completing a portion of the final stage of her journey. That ride will cover about 400 miles (643 km).

It's a shame that such a grand adventure had to end this way. Sarah has overcome a lot in the past few years, and for her to be so close to finishing before this latest setback is crushing I'm sure. But as always, she'll make the best of the situation, and solider on the end. Mostly, I'm glad she's safe, and on her way home at last.

Sarah Outen Forced to Abandon Atlantic Crossing

If you've been following Sarah Outen's London2London via the World expedition over the past few years, you know she's faced some tough challenges in her attempt to circumnavigate the globe completely under her own power. This weekend she may have reached her biggest hurdle yet however, as the 30-year old adventurer saw the final stage of that journey hit with a major setback. One that threatens to put an end to the entire project.

Sarah was 143 days into her Atlantic ocean crossing in a rowboat this weekend when she was forced to call for help by a passing boat. The seas had become incredibly turbulent and winds as high as 60 knots (69 mph/111 km/h) were being recorded as hurricane Joaquin took aim at her position. The storm, which is raging in the North Atlantic now, put Sarah in jeopardy, forcing her to call for assistance even as she was closing in on London, the starting point for this epic round-the-world adventure that began more than four years ago.

On Saturday, Sarah was safely retrieved by a passing ship called the Federal Oshima. That vessel is currently bound for Montreal, Canada and is scheduled to arrive there later in the week. Unfortunately, Sarah's rowboat – Happy Socks – was damaged in the rescue and had to be left behind on the Atlantic Ocean. That leaves her now heading in the wrong direction, and without a boat to complete the journey home.

The expedition first started back in the spring of 2011. Sarah paddled under the London Bridge on the Thames River, than set out across the English Channel to France. From there, she rode her bike across Europe and Asia, eventually returning to her kayak long enough to reach Japan, where she intended to row across the Northern Pacific Ocean. Her first attempt to complete that stage met with a similar setback when a major storm hit the region, forcing the British woman to call for a rescue, and abandoning another rowboat. She was able to recover from that challenge, and returned a year later to finish the crossing of the Pacific, reaching the Aleutian Islands in Alaska in 2014. Sarah than paddled the Aleutians to the mainland, returned to her bike, and rode across the U.S. and Canada, arriving in New York City this past March. After waiting for spring to arrive, she set out on the last leg of the journey – the crossing of the Atlantic.

It's hard to say where this puts Sarah's circumnavigation attempt now. As you can imagine, she is heartbroken over having to call for assistance, and leaving her boat behind. Whether or not she'll be able to raise the funds to buy another boat remains to be seen, but I have no doubt that she'll still want to see this undertaking through to the end.

We should know more once she reaches Canada in a few days. It'll probably take some time to sort out the logistics, but I suspect she'll find another way to overcome this obstacle in time as well.

London2London via the World Update: Sarah Outen Nears Half-Way Point of Atlantic Crossing

The last time we checked in with Sarah Outen, she had just wrapped up her crossing of North America on a bike, and was enjoying some time in New York City. That was back in the spring, and since then she has pedaled her way north back into Canada, and more importantly launched the final stage of her expedition, as she is now rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, and making her way back home.

For those who haven't been following Sarah's fantastic journey, it all began back in 2011 when she set out from London to circumnavigate the globe under her own power. She first started by paddling a kayaking down the Thames River in London, followed by a crossing of the English Channel. From there, it was on to her bike for a long ride across Europe and Asia. After that, she returned to the water, making a crossing of the Pacific that took a couple of tries to complete. Eventually, Sarah made it to Alaska, where she returned to the bike for her ride across North America. She has spent the better part of this summer rowing across the North Atlantic on her way back to where she started in London.

Originally Outen believed it would take roughly two years to complete her round-the-world adventure, but a series of unforeseen incidents have stretched that time much further. For example, back in 2012 she was caught in a massive storm in the Pacific that forced her to abandon her attempt at rowing that section. It took some time to recover from the loss of her boat and schedule another attempt, but eventually she was able to finish that section as intended.

Sarah has now been out on the ocean for 90 days, and has just received a resupply in the middle of the ocean from some French sailors. She wasn't in need of any assistance at all, but three sailboats were going to be passing along her route, and they decide to rendezvous to deliver some treats, including beer, bread, salami, and chocolate, to help make the remaining leg of the trip a bit easier and more enjoyable.

As of this writing, Sarah is about 1700 nautical miles (3148 km/1956 miles) away from England. When she arrives at the shores of her home country, she will get on her bike one last time, ride it to the Thames once again, and kayak back up the river on her way to the finish line at the London Bridge. That is probably still a few months off, but she is closing in on the end at long last.

Follow Sarah on her voyage at her official website, where she is posting daily dispatches from the water.

London2London Via The World Update: Sarah Arrives in New York City, Atlantic Ocean Lies Ahead

It has once again been far too long since we checked in on Sarah Outen, the British adventurer who has been making her way around the planet completely under her own power. Since my last update on her progress, she has completed a six-month long cycling journey across Canada and the U.S. – much of it in winter – and is now preparing for the final stage of her journey, a crossing of the Atlantic by rowboat.

You may recall that Sarah launched her London2London via the World expedition four years ago by first paddling down the River Thames in London, and then across the English Channel to France. From there, she then proceeded to ride her bike across Europe and Asia, encountering many interesting people and adventures along the way. Eventually she arrived in Japan where she intended to cross the North Pacific by rowboat. That was back in the summer of 2012, and soon after she embarked on that ocean crossing she encountered a nasty storm that damaged her boat, and sent her back to shore. Undaunted, Sarah returned a year later and rowed from Japan to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. Then, last year she kayaked through the islands to the Alaskan mainland, where she returned to her bike for a long ride across North America.

On March 15, Sarah rode her bike into New York City, essentially wrapping up the final cycling portion of her journey. She will eventually tack on another 400 miles (643 km) to the ride when she heads for Cape Cod in a few weeks, but for now she is enjoying some time in NYC, where she has been catching up with old friends, making new ones, and starting to prepare for the next stage of her grueling journey.


In May, Sarah will set out across the North Atlantic in her rowboat. The plan is to cross the ocean and row back up the Thames, passing under the London Bridge, which was her official starting point those many long months ago. If everything goes as planned, the Atlantic crossing should take roughly 4-5 months to complete, putting her back home in London sometime in the fall of this year.

While the journey has taken longer than Sarah had anticipated, it has been quite the experience and challenge. Circumnavigating the globe completely under her own power is an impressive accomplishment, and now just the Atlantic Ocean stands in the way of her achieving that goal. Outen is no stranger to ocean rowing however. In addition to having rowed across the North Pacific, back in 2009 she also rowed solo across the Indian Ocean as well. When she launches her Atlantic crossing in May, it'll feel like old times I'm sure, although this time she's heading home.

Over the next few weeks, Sarah will be dealing with logistical issues, resting, and getting her boat ready for launch. The weather needs to improve and stabilize before she begins rowing the Atlantic, but by mid-May or so she should be about ready to go. There are still thousands of miles of ocean ahead of her, but London is calling and the journey is nearing an end at long last.