“Incredible passionate”, “great traveler”, “lived what he told about”, “kidnapped crowds” – this is how his “colleagues on the oars say” about the deceased canoeist Aleksandra Doba. Some knew him personally, others from the lectures that he so eagerly gave all over Poland. Everyone is united by admiration for the deserved traveler and the fact that they are just taking part in the 1st Canoeing Rally commemorating Aleksander Dobra.
The 1st Canoe Trip has started in memory of the late great traveler and canoeist Aleksander Doba. – The idea was born relatively recently, this summer on another similar rally, also on a distance of 400 kilometers. It was a trip for Polish and German canoeists from Wrocław to Berlin. Along the way, we thought: maybe we could do something similar for Olek, who recently sailed his way – says Bogumił Jarema-Jarecki, the organizer of the event.
First, the participants of the event gathered on Saturday morning in front of the traveler’s family home in Swarzędz (Greater Poland Voivodeship).
– Olek Doba was born in this house at 8 Glińskiego Street. From there, he had 20 minutes to school and the same distance to the sports club where he trained wrestling and 30 minutes to the airport where he practiced flying. We went to the Mechanical Technical School in Poznań Dębiec together. In his conversations, Olek often mentioned his father and the principle he had taught him: when you do something, do it in such a way that no one has to fix it after you. He also often talked about his sister Wanda, who also came here today to say goodbye to the canoeists who will honor the memory of the great Ola – says Ryszard Tomaszewski, Aleksander Doba’s friend.
400 kilometers of the route
The participants of the kayaking trip have a real challenge: they want to swim 400 kilometers. The route that has been marked leads through Cybina, Warta and Odra. Just before the start of the trip, TVN24 reporter Piotr Zagórski talked to people who decided to take part in this project.
– Actually, I made my decision immediately, because I dreamed for a long time about sailing from the Warta source to the Odra river, so when it turned out that there was such a great initiative, I decided to use this moment. I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Alexander. He supported the project of the “Lepszy świat” foundation, which assumed the construction of a school in Nepal, said the traveler Maciej Pastwa.
– Great initiative, communing with nature. You have to honor a great man, I think he deserves it – said Błażej Boryczko, participant of the kayaking trip.
But not only canoeists take part in the canoeing trip. There is a place for all water sports enthusiasts. – The organizer assumed that maybe someone would even want to swim, but in this weather it would be difficult. I prepared to go SUP (Stand Up Paddling, you swim on a special board and row with one oar – ed) 400 kilometers. I was even packed, but suddenly it turned out that I would not be able to cover the entire route – said Grzegorz Pakuła, another participant of the kayaking trip. And he added: – For now I’m going to Oborniki. It is possible that on Thursday I will go by train to Gorzów Wielkopolski and join there at least for these three days.
They are sailing for Aleksander Doba
Each of the participants has their own memories of Aleksander Doba, although not everyone knew him personally.
– I hope that the strength will allow and we will reach the end in a team like I’m leaving. This is not my first such long tour. The first one was from Nowy Tomyśl to Dziwnów after the conversation with Olek. He told me that if I had such an idea and I did not implement it, I would never know if I could. That is why there is no other place today where I could be, if not here – explained the canoeist Jakub Konieczny.
– Aleksander Doba had a great talent for attracting people and sharing his passion. I saw it at Przystanek Woodstock, where tens of thousands of people listened to it and Mr. Doba said to them: so now we are rowing. And this crowd of listeners jumped up and people made such a big wave – recalled Maciej Pastwa.
– I think that if Olek sees us, he is pleased to see how his colleagues decided to continue his great work after the rowing, that is what he persuaded everyone to: have your dreams and make them come true – added Ryszard Tomaszewski, a longtime friend of the traveler.
He was 74 years old
Aleksander Doba traveled the Atlantic in a canoe alone three times. The first crossing was from Africa to South America. Doba took off from the capital of Senegal, Dakar on October 26, 2010. After nearly 99 days and traveling 5394 kilometers, he reached Acarau in Brazil on February 2, 2011. Thanks to this expedition, he went down in history as the first man to cross these waters by canoe. Subsequent canoe trips across the Atlantic took place at the turn of 2013/2014 and in 2017.
Doba was named “Traveler of the Year 2015” in the “National Geographic” poll. In 2018, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Medal of the Centenary of Regained Independence.
Traveler died in February 2021 a year after he climbed Kilimanjaro. – He was conscious, happy, he made his dream come true – said Łukasz Nowak, the organizer of his last expedition, about the traveler ‘s journey to the African summit.
Main photo source: TVN24