Explorer and Adventurer at Heart
Born into a totalistic regime in Nachod, Czech Republic, I always knew I was going to visit the U.S. one day. Perhaps, this conviction was in part due to the fact that my parents were never able to leave the country until they were in their mid-30’s or maybe, more so, due to my curiosity, determination and natural disposition for adventure.
At the age of 22, I chose to leave the very place I called home, leaving family and friends behind to pursue a new beginning in a foreign land with the hope of establishing a decent life for myself. When I first stepped foot into the U.S., I began my journey in California where I landed my first job – washing dishes for a retirement home in North Hollywood, but left 9 months later as I soon realized the value and importance of acquiring a tangible set of skills that would allow me to specialize in a stable vocation. With that being my primary focus, I moved to New York City with nothing save my backpack and the little savings I had managed to accumulate, and I did just that – it was in NYC, where I built the occupational foundation and skill set that has remained with me until this day having started only as an electrician’s apprentice but eventually becoming an independent mechanic. However, before obtaining the independence that I now hold today as an electrical engineer, I embarked on a somewhat atypical expedition driven once again by my curiosity and propensity for adventure. However, with this adventure, I encountered an obstacle that only time could resolve.
After a few years of time, I was finally able to jumpstart a lifelong dream of becoming a commercial diver when I was awarded legal status with the much awaited green card. To even be considered for such a role, I had to undergo an intense six-month training program at Divers Academy International, from which I was awarded the Presidential Award as valedictorian and graduated with highest honors. Soon thereafter, I left for Lafayette, Louisiana – an epicenter for offshore diving in the Gulf of Mexico, where I had yet to secure a job. Being roofless and barely gaining any traction on the job front, my optimism began to fade as I tried to sleep night after night in a car. After application one after the other, I was fortunate to get hired by one of the local dive companies, Legacy Offshore, with whom I was not only able to rediscover who I was and what I was capable of, but also immerse myself in the world of commercial diving and discover what it is all about. Servicing oil fields and completing challenging dives, I met some of the most hard-working and most resilient people there are, made life-long friendships and forged unforgettable memories.
For a long while, I thought “this is it, I want to dedicate my life to commercial diving.” Even though I felt blessed for the remarkable experience, I eventually felt that I had hit a plateau and realized that I wanted something different, something with less risk of severe physical injury and more stability where I can take on increasing amounts of responsibility. As I came to this realization, I knew I had to return to New York and start over again but this time, I was looking to establish a long-term career in a field where I could rely less on physical brawn and more on my analytical capacity. With that focus in mind, I pursued opportunities in the Construction sector. After half a year of working in the industry and progressively exceeding expectations, I was offered the position of Project Manager for a New York-based electrical contractor, where I am to this day. I am grateful for having the opportunity to join the IBEW Local 3 Union here in New York City as I am able to partake in some of the most incredible projects for which I can utilize my technical engineering background.
Though I take pride in having accomplished all the above, I did not feel as proud as I did on the day that I became a citizen of the United States last year, in September 2018. For the first time in 12 years, I felt at-home. Since that day, I finally feel like I am a part of something bigger than myself, something greater than an individual’s trials and tribulations – as this country has offered me so much, it feels appropriate that perhaps there is something more I can do to pay it forward.
FOLLOW ME ON MY ADVENTURE
About the Crossing
Total Distance: Approximately 3280.54 miles (5,279.51km) straight line, but it’s never straight line
Estimated Duration: Expecting Minimum 2 months but thinking realistically more like 3 Historical Statistics
There have only been 16 solo rows completed across North Atlantic from West to East however, none began the journey from New York to St. Mary’s Harbor, Isles of Scilly, UK – I will be the very first solo rower to attempt this route. In total, there have been 16 successful solo rows completed by 14 rowers (two people rowed twice), 32 unsuccessful attempts undertaken by 21 rowers and three rowers lost at sea (never found). Of the 21 solo rowers, three made two unsuccessful attempts and succeeded on the third attempt. (Data sourced from http://www.oceanrowing.com/statistics/Atlantic_W-E_solo.htm)
Expectations & Outlook
The Daily Routine Schedule
Below is an illustrative typical day.
The plan is to work up the duration of rowing to at least 12 hours per day.
6:00AM – 7:00AM: Wake up, start day with a quick breakfast
7:00AM – 12:00PM: Row
12:00PM – 1:00PM: Eat lunch
1:00PM – 7:00PM: Resume rowing
7:00PM – 8:00PM: Eat dinner
8:00PM – 9:00PM: Prepare water supply for next day’s rowing
9:00PM – 10:00PM: Write in journal, run through daily hygiene
10:00PM Get some rest, hopefully
The Anticipated Reality
Environment | Weather conditions are expected to vary tremendously – it will be quite cold for at least half of the way, mostly overcast and rarely sunny. I will encounter storms, winds, high waves10-15 feet, strong current, rain.
Physical | My body will be in pain from the physical strain and the constant effort to push farther than the day before, which is the most probable reality of this trip – I do not expect good quality sleep. I anticipate capsizing at least 20-30 times, but that is just a wild guess based on the stories and experience of others.
Chances are that my stomach may get upset from all the rather “monotonous” dry food and also, perhaps, the weather. Heartburn is likely to occur as well due to the high acidity of these types of food, so I’ll definitely bring some baking soda for that.
There is a risk of injury, major and minor, including abrasions, blisters, cramps, etc. Some of the preventative measures include stretching when possible during my breaks and keeping everything as dry as possible, especially my hands and feet, and my butt as well. 😊
Mental | How will I keep myself upbeat and in good spirits? For me, I think that will be easy given my overcoming of many challenges in my life to have come this far, having some great role models and mentors and knowing that people are capable of truly extraordinary things – I am no exception. If / when I feel down, I’ll just think of what my father used to tell me when I was a young child facing any challenges and difficult tasks, “Son, if you really want something, you’ll make it happen; you can do anything you set your mind to. It’s as simple as that.” Like father, like son.
Entertainment | How will I entertain myself? I’ll definitely be playing some of my favorite music to keep me going and replaying mental clips of some of my greatest memories. Otherwise, I think I’ll be pretty preoccupied with making sure everything is up and running (I’ll have to constantly keep an eye on navigation to ensure that I am on the right course) on top of maintaining good health (eat, rest and prepare for the next day). I don’t think I’ll have much spare time to read, but I will bring some books just in case (not sure what yet).
Common Questions I Am Being Asked
Q: Are you worried about sharks?
A: No, absolutely not. In fact, they are the last of my worries. I’d probably be more afraid of a whale due to its size. I dove and swam along with sharks before – one thing I know is that we are not on their menu, and there isn’t exactly a high concentration of them on my route. Besides, I intend on staying on the boat and rowing most of my time, not planning on entering the water.
Q: Are you worried about the deep ocean?
A: Not at all. That thought never crossed my mind.
Q: How about toilet use?
A: Well, there is no toilet, so this will be simple – into the ocean.
Q: What about emergencies? Is anyone else with you, other boats?
Do you have a cellphone / radio to send an SOS?
How long could it take for help to come?
A: No, there is no one with me. It will be a completely solo, unsupported row. Yes, I will have a satellite radio in case of emergencies but, depending on the distance from shore, it could also take a couple of days or more for anyone to arrive on location… so, best to have no emergencies.
Thank you for your interest!
If you have any specific questions or interests, feel free to send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Atlantic Solo Ocean Crossings from West to East (2018, August 4). Retrieved from Ocean Rowing