How Aleksander Doba, Who Kayaked Across the Atlantic, Died at 74 on Mount Kilimanjaro’s Summit
Aleksander Doba, Kilimanjaro

Before Aleksander Doba passed away at Uhuru Peak, Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit on February 22, 2021, he was a remarkable adventurer, who made history by kayaking solo across the Atlantic Ocean three times, covering a distance of 5400 kilometres under his own power. His most recent feat occurred in 2017 when he achieved this incredible feat at the age of 70. However, tragedy struck in 2021 when Doba passed away while climbing Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak.

Despite his age, Doba’s spirit for adventure remained undiminished. His determination and resilience were evident as he conquered challenging waters and treacherous conditions during his kayaking expeditions. His passion for exploration and pushing the limits of human endurance earned him admiration and respect worldwide.

Doba’s final journey to Kilimanjaro showcased his adventurous spirit once again. After reaching the summit, he requested a brief two-minute break before posing for a photo. However, during this short rest, Doba unexpectedly passed away. His peaceful departure, described as “just fell asleep” while sitting on a rock, marked the end of a life filled with extraordinary adventures and remarkable achievements.

After being born on September 9, 1946 in Swarzędz, which is located close to Poznań in the Greater Poland Voivodeship of Poland, Aleksander Doba resided in Police, which is located close to Szczecin in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. After completing his education in mechanical engineering at Poznan University of Technology, he spent the majority of his life working at a chemical assembly plant. Bartłomiej and Czesław were the names of his two boys, whom he had with his wife Gabriela.

His heart yearned to sail over a sea that was so huge that it appeared to be endless. After accomplishing this feat three times, he became a national hero in Poland and set records in the process.
Aleksander Doba, a Polish explorer who once paddled solo across the Atlantic Ocean at the age of 70 while subsisting on his wife’s fortified plum jam, passed away on February 22 on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. Doba had previously paddled solo across the Atlantic Ocean twice when he was in his 60s. He was 74 years old.

According to his son Czeslaw, the cause of death was suffocation brought on by pulmonary edema brought on by rising altitude.

In the late hours of Monday morning (February 22), Polish explorer Aleksander “Olek” Doba, who was 74 years old at the time, burst into a broad smile and yelled “Wild Africa!” into the wind while standing on the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, which is 19,341 feet vertical. After a few moments, he sat down and passed away. It was not possible to ascertain the cause of death.

The three courageous journeys that Mr. Doba has undertaken have earned him titles from the Guinness World Records, and in 2017, he won the honor of being the oldest person to kayak across the Atlantic Ocean. Through his achievements, he became a national hero in Poland.

Mr. Doba, who had been the most skilled kayaker in his nation for a long time, was currently residing in a little river town and had previously worked as an engineer at a chemical factory. His urge to conquer the water originated from a simple thought that progressively overtook him: he had kayaked everything else, so why not the Atlantic Ocean? He had kayaked everything else.

When he was a young man living in Communist Poland, he became a member of a local kayaking club, and he became quite enthusiastic about the sport. He broke the record for the most days paddled by a Polish guy in a single year in 1989, which he had previously already held. Later, he paddled around the whole perimeter of the Baltic Sea for a total of one hundred days. He also kayaked from the coast of Norway to the Arctic Circle; during that expedition, he was pushed from his boat during a storm, and he woke up to the sound of his own screams after washing ashore. He also kayaked from Norway across the Arctic Circle.

However, Mr. Doba had a strong desire to traverse an ocean that was so enormous that it appeared to be endless, and he started making plans to kayak across the Atlantic Ocean.

When Mr. Doba was interviewed by The New York Times Magazine in 2018, he stated, “With my hand on my heart, it wasn’t my idea.” I was afflicted with a virus on my body.

He paddled off from New Jersey in the spring of 2017, marking the beginning of his third attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean. This particular crossing was the one that received the most attention from the media. Following his departure from Barnegat Bay and his pursuit of the horizon, he did not take long until he became a blip in the water.

During the course of 110 days, Mr. Doba paddled his specifically made fiberglass kayak, Olo, in an easterly direction. Freeze-dried goulash and oatmeal, chocolate bars, and homemade wine were some of the things that he consumed in addition to jars of plum jam that his wife had cooked. When the irritation caused by his garments that were soaked in salt water got too much for him to bear, he decided to spend the rest of his vacation nude. He slept in a small cabin in the shape of a coffin, which he entered by sliding through a portal. When flying fish arrived on his deck, he ate them alive and ate them as a snack. (“It’s fantastic,” he remarked. “More delicious than sushi.”)

Mr. Doba was subjected to a severe storm that lasted for two days and came dangerously close to consuming him in its whole. The rope that was tying his sea anchor, which was the only thing that was holding his kayak steady, snapped off as he was bracing himself for his life. After coming to the realization that Olo may momentarily break into pieces, he fastened a harness around his neck and climbed across the deck in order to securely fasten a new anchor before crawling back to his nook.

Following yet another storm, Olo’s rudder sustained significant damage, prompting him to grudgingly make contact with his crew using satellite phone in order to request assistance. After being picked up by a ship, the Filipino crew who was on board rebuilt the rudder. Even though the guy was disheveled, the captain of the ship was hesitant to let him go back into the water by himself. However, Mr. Doba was adamant, and as a result, he was reduced to a little speck in the water once more.

His journey came to an end in September of that year, when he paddled into the harbor in Le Conquet, which is located in France.

In an interview with The Times, he stated, “I came very close to the line of my necessity and the possibility of humanity.”

However, on his two prior attempts to cross the Atlantic Ocean, Mr. Doba had tested the boundaries of what was possible.

When he kayaked from Senegal to Brazil in 2010, his skin broke out in rashes that were caused by the salt content of the water, his fingernails came dangerously close to falling off, and his eyes suffered from conjunctivitis. During the year 2013, as he was paddling from Portugal to Florida, a Greek tanker made the mistake of attempting to rescue him.

Mr. Doba yelled out in English to the crew of the ship, “Me, fine,” to which they responded with a thumbs-up.

There was an offer made to throw ropes at him. He did not agree.

Mr. Doba yelled something obscene in Polish as the ship made its way back around to him, and then they departed for good.

In the course of his travels, he enjoyed the splendor of the ocean and delighted in the marvels that he was the only one who could see. When he could see shooting stars in the night sky, he would make wishes, which he said would eventually come true. While he was swimming beside the turtles, he made a fun tapping motion with his hand. He was present for the building of storm clouds as well as the eerie silence that preceded them.

At one point, he was persuaded that someone was observing him with their eyes. It was the water that he examined deeply.

“And then I saw it: a huge head, sticking out of the ocean,” he said in an interview with Canoe & Kayak magazine in November of 2014. I was paddling about in my kayak when I noticed a whale swimming around. A tail that was twenty meters long was wagging. The whale then immediately dived under and vanished into the water, leaving no trace behind.

The 9th of September, 1946 found Aleksander Ludwik Doba being born in the city of Swarzedz, Poland. The mechanic Wincenty was his father’s occupation. Eugenia (Ilijna) Doba, his mother, was a housewife and a homemaker.

As a child, he spent his time snowboarding through forests and ice skating on ponds. When the boy was 15 years old, his father constructed a bicycle for him out of junk pieces, and he rode it all the way across the nation.

At the beginning of the 1970s, Mr. Doba received his degree in mechanical engineering from Poznan University of Technology, which he had first attended. He wed Gabriela Stucka in 1975, and the couple eventually made their home in a town known as Police. It was there that he found employment at a chemical facility. His coworkers approached him in 1980 and asked if he would be interested in joining their kayaking club. A short time later, he began spending all of his weekends on the water.

One of the earliest adventures was paddling a kayak on the Baltic Sea at a period of time when the Communist Party had deemed it illegal in order to deter people from defecting. In the event that Mr. Doba came into contact with border patrol agents, they informed him that he had committed a significant violation of the law.

He said, “I was just paddling down the river,” and he was right. “I have no idea how I got to be in this location.”

All the while, he pursued adventure. His exploration of the numerous rivers in Poland resulted in the accumulation of records and firsts.

It was in the year 2010 that he began making serious preparations to go across the Atlantic Ocean. He devised a kayak that was unsinkable and had food stores as well as a cabin that could be used for sleeping. It took him 99 days to paddle all the way from Senegal to Brazil during that October.

His son Czeslaw had this to say about his father: “He was not the type of man who necessarily looked forward to spending Christmas with the family.” He requested to be dropped off on a river when we were on our way to my grandmother’s place for the holidays, and he asked us to pick him up on the way back in the other direction.

According to his son, “A typical person’s Christmas wish is to spend time with their family while sitting by the fireplace.” In the middle of the snow, he would have liked to be dumped off on a river that was very cold.

Mr. Doba is left by his wife, another son named Bartek, a sister named Wanda Kedzia, and three grandkids. Czeslaw is the only member of his family to endure his passing.

In recent years, Mr. Doba has been able to enjoy the position of a superstar in Poland. As he was walking down the street, people stopped him to snap selfies. In recognition of his appearance, a monument of him with a scruffy beard was erected at an elementary school. Additionally, he started making preparations to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, an endeavor that had been on his list of things to do for a very long time. In order to prepare himself for the challenge, he went on lengthy treks every day and jogged up and down the steps of a high-rise building while carrying a hefty rucksack.

It was one month ago when he came in Tanzania. With the assistance of two guides, he arrived at the peak of Kilimanjaro on the morning of February 22. He sat down on a rock to take a break after soaking in the panoramic vista.

According to his son, “He expressed repeatedly that he did not wish to pass away while lying in his bed.” Based on the information that we have gathered, he was overjoyed to reach the peak. After that, he sat down and promptly slept off.

The Polish mountaineer Boguslaw Wawrzyniak, who was also climbing Kilimanjaro on that day, was one of the last persons to see Mr. Doba alive. He was also one of the individuals who saw him alive. When he came across Mr. Doba at an altitude of 18,700 feet, he was thrilled to see one of the heroes of his hometown, and he snapped a selfie with him on the mountain.

In a phone chat, Mr. Wawrzyniak expressed his hope that the individual would be successful in reaching the peak. “After that, I inquired of the local guides who were accompanying him, ‘Do you have any idea who this individual is?’ They responded with a “Yes.” We are aware of who this person is. It is said that he is the king of the sea.


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