Aleksander Doba weathering a storm in New Jersey

Shortly after Olek managed to put in to the Atlantic, a storm built over the ocean.

Aleksander Doba before the first storm in the Atlantic

The beginning of the 3rd Transatlantic Kayak Expedition by Aleksander Doba (nicknamed “Olek” by his friends) certainly is not easy. Shortly, after he managed to put in to the Atlantic, a storm started coming over the ocean. Although, storms by themselves are not a big problem, but their timing, and thus the location of the kayaker on the ocean, is crucial.

Weather forecasts at the beginning of the expedition indicated west winds for next 3 days, therefore allowing the kayaker enough time to paddle away from the danger, to a safe distance of 120 miles from the shore. In fact, the wind then changed after 24 hours, preventing the continuation of the east or southeast course.

On the third day of the trip, Olek was still relatively close to the coast. There was a serious threat that a reversing storm wind would push the kayak to the shore, posing a potentially serious hazard to the kayaker.

As the wind began to intensify and the kayak started to be pushed toward land, Olek, after consulting with his navigator Jacek Pietraszkiewicz, changed course, first to the south, and then to the southwest, aiming for one of the New Jersey ports. On Thursday evening, Olek made his way to Barnegat bay, where he landed and decided to wait out the storm.

“The North Atlantic does not have good conditions, sometimes it is a little better than bad,” Olek repeats.. He only needs the moment of weather window enabling him to escape as far as possible from the shore.

Asked about his first impressions of the North Atlantic, Olek pointed to one main thing – the cold! During his previous, almost tropical, ocean crossings he longed for the cold, since he really does not like the heat. This time he will probably have to get used to missing the heat!

The ocean is an element that seems to give him energy. And that’s how I found Olek yesterday after I met him from the boat I rented to see if he needed help reaching the shore. Focused on intense paddling and neatly jumping over the waves, he kept his kayak confidently on the water while the waves seemed to be almost absorbing him. That was a moment to witness Olek’s incredible strength and expertise; just an unforgettable sight. Chapeau bass, Olek.

The option of retreating and waiting out the storm on land, in the event that Olek got too close to the shore, has been a possibility since the beginning of the journey. Still, the kayaker had hoped to escape far enough.

“I did not think I would be eating a grilled steak and sleeping in a normal bed so soon,” Olek said jokingly, after dinner at the local restaurant.

Now let’s keep our fingers crossed for the storm to end quickly.

Go, Olek, go!

Piotr Chmieliński

Barnegat Bay, NJ

May 12, 2017

Previous post: