With better luck, a kayaker's ill-fated journey from California to Hawaii might have been feasible, a Coast Guard spokesman said.
The 57-year-old man had to be rescued 60 miles out to sea after the solar panel he used to charge his electronics malfunctioned about a week into what would turn out to be an 11-day trip. He was rescued by the Coast Guard on Tuesday, roughly 200 miles down the coast from where he set off in Monterey.
It was unclear how far the man, who was not immediately identified, actually kayaked before becoming disoriented.
Coast Guard spokesman Adam Eggers said he has never heard of a kayaker completing the sea route from California to Hawaii, but that doesn't necessarily mean it couldn't be done with the right precautions, experience, equipment and luck.
“It’s a no-joke trip. You have to know what you’re doing and be in shape to do it," he said.
Luck comes into play with factors such as weather and the functionality of equipment. While the kayaker rescued Tuesday did not have fortune on his side, Eggers said he did have all the necessary equipment, was in good health and had done the right thing in creating a plan with a friend -- the one who eventually called for his rescue.
A friend who alerted the Coast Guard to his position set off the rescue. A helicopter found the kayaker and directed a cutter crew to his location. He was brought back to shore in Santa Barbara.
“Had he still been able to kind of understand his bearings of where he was, we probably wouldn’t have been involved," Eggers said.
The kayaker did not seem too disappointed when rescuers picked him up, Eggers said.
“It’s something you come to grips with. He had a malfunction, he had to turn around. It’s better to be safe than sorry," he said. "He can attempt it again at his convenience, as long as he’s checking the weather and things like that.”
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