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Aleksander Doba

A Polish kayaker has known primarily for his long voyages crossing the ocean

Aleksander Doba (born 9 September 1946) is a Polish kayaker known primarily for his long voyages crossing oceans. In 2010 and again in 2013 he kayaked across the Atlantic Ocean westward under his own power. The two voyages were the longest open-water kayak voyages ever made. He was named 2014 Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic. In 2017 he completed an eastward kayaking trip across the Atlantic.

Doba was the first person to paddle a 7-meter sea kayak across the Atlantic ocean, a voyage that spanned 5394 kilometers. Doba’s first voyage from Senegal to Brazil in 2010 set a record for the longest open-water crossing ever undertaken by a kayaker, at roughly 99 days. He was 65 years old when he undertook this journey. While Transatlantic kayak crossings have been achieved before, Doba was the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean relying on muscle-power alone, without the help of a sail. Doba’s journey started on 26 October 2010 in Dakar, Africa, and ended when he reached Brazil, touching dry land for the first time in 98 days, 23 hours, and 42 min. When he arrived in Brazil he weighed 64 kg. He lost 14 kg in 14 weeks of the journey.

After resting there, he planned to paddle 6,000 kilometers north along the shorelines of the Americas to Washington, D.C. He was attacked and robbed when paddling in his transatlantic kayak from Peru to Brazil on the Amazon river about 20 km from Coari in Brazil.

On October 5, 2013, at age 67, he departed from Lisbon for a second transatlantic voyage, with the intention of paddling 5,400 miles across the Atlantic’s widest point. He arrived at New Smyrna Beach, Florida on April 19, 2014. The voyage took him 196 days to complete, and he paddled 6,300 miles. Doba has also paddled in a kayak with others around the Baltic Sea (in 1999, 80 days, 4227 km), from Police to Narvik (in 2000, 101 days, 5369 km) and around Lake Baikal (in 2009, 41 days, 2000 km).

On September 3, 2017, Doba completed his third solo trans-Atlantic kayak trip when he kayaked into a port in Le Conquet, France, from Barnegat Bay in May 2017. He was at sea for 110 consecutive days. He used a 23-foot kayak, weighing 1500 pounds when fully loaded. During the trip, he struggled against storms; his rudder was damaged and had to be repaired by sailors from a merchant’s vessel.

The text was written in October 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Bartosz Budrecki, a volunteer from Poland.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.