The U.S. Coast Guard saved a man stranded at sea for 11 days on Tuesday. The unidentified man, 57, was attempting to kayak from California to Hawaii, a journey that has only been successfully completed once, in 1987. The man began his journey on May 30, when he embarked off the coast of Monterey, CA. Had he been successful, the voyage would have been nearly 2,400 miles.
The aspiring mariner equipped his kayak with electronic navigational tools and solar panels, planning to recharge any electronics by harnessing the sun’s energy. The solar panels failed, and the man sent out a distress call.
The California Coast Guard encourages Americans to file a float plan — and work directly with the U.S. Coast Guard — before attempting such a feat. “A voyage from California to Hawaii is a long and treacherous journey for any vessel and exponentially more dangerous for a kayaker,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Hall said in a news release. “His preparedness allowed him to call for help, but he is lucky to be alive.”
Ed Gillet, then 36, is the only person to complete the trip in a kayak. It took him 63 days — 23 days longer than he estimated. Friends, loved ones, and Coast Guard service members were already looking for him.