- Associated Press - Sunday, April 20, 2014

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A 67-year-old Polish adventurer paddled his kayak into New Smyrna Beach on Saturday to mark the end of a 6,000-mile, trans-Atlantic journey.

They Daytona Beach News-Journal (https://bit.ly/1kPogQ6 ) reported that Aleksander “Olek” Doba kissed the ground after he landed. He was greeted by hundreds of cheering supporters. A flotilla of fellow kayakers joined him as he paddled into the marina.

He told the crowd that completing the trans-Atlantic voyage was his dream.

“The feeling I had when I (arrived) here in New Smyrna Beach was fantastic, so many people, so friendly,” he said.

Doba left Lisbon, Portugal on Oct. 5, but was forced to stop in Bermuda for repairs to his 21-foot kayak from Feb. 13 to March 23.

He said the most-difficult part of his trip was navigating through the choppy waters of the Gulf Stream just days before he reached the Florida coast.

Among those who greeted Doba on Saturday was Marianne McCormick of Port Orange. McCormick said she has followed Doba’s adventure since November.

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world. My husband wanted to play golf. I said, ‘I’m coming here,’ ” said McCormick, who took pictures of the celebration with her iPad.

Mary “Snookie” DeMarce, of Edgewater, brought a sign that read “Olek, you’re my hero.”

“Yes, he’s an inspiration because I’m 65,” she said.

New Smyrna Beach Mayor Adam Barringer shook Doba’s hand, calling him “Aleksander the Great.” Barringer read a proclamation in Doba’s honor and presented him with a bottle of champagne on behalf of the city.


Information from: Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal, https://www.news-journalonline.com

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