Latvian paddles across the Pacific

The 2-year trip has ended. Latvian traveler, Kārlis Bardelis, may have become the first person to have crossed the Pacific Ocean alone in a paddle boat, without an engine, sails or an accompanying ship, reported Latvian Television on July 4.

During the journey, Kārlis has seen sharks, turtles, he has experienced loneliness and amazing company, and unspeakable beauty of nature above all. Kārlis has finished his trip in Malaysia and is beginning to complete the formalities to return home.

“I'm in Malaysia right now, I've spent two years on my way and crossed the Pacific Ocean in this boat,” says Kārlis. In January 2018, Karlis Bardelis left Latvia. He went to South America and, along with his friend, Linda and a tandem bike, crossed the distant continent. And then, two years ago, on July 14, he boarded a boat, pushed off the coast of Peru and started his way across the Pacific Ocean.

The trip lasted 2 years, covering more than 26 thousand kilometres. 8 months were spent on various islands to recover, restore food stocks and avoid typhoon seasons. Such trips are my job and my life, says Kārlis. "Rowing these 2 years was my job: I rose in the morning, ate breakfast and walked 1 meter to work – at the paddles. Back to the booth in the evening and to sleep. Mostly paddled for 8 to 12 hours, once even 23 at once."

The boat is 7 metres long and reaches 2 metres at the widest. The small cab is watertight, includes navigation equipment, a radio station for communication with other ships and a water desalination plant. 

While spending a lot of time alone listening to audiobooks or simply thinking, Kārlis realized that the greatest joy in life was meeting people. “When you meet good people everyday, as I have seen in these 2 years, where people are simply helping selflessly being friendly because they have a good heart, it just reminds you of what the world needs to be,” says Kārlis.

At the moment, the Latvian traveler is sorting out formalities to bring his boat to Latvia. He hopes to see family and friends at the end of July.

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