72-year-old French explorer completes journey across the Atlantic inside big, orange barrel
A 72-year-old French explorer completed a four-month long trip across the Atlantic in a large orange barrel using only ocean currents, he announced on his Facebook page and in an interview with the New York Times.
Jean-Jacques Savin started his journey from El Hierro in the Canary Islands of Spain in December inside a 10-foot-long, 7-foot-wide barrel. After being at sea for 122 days, the ocean’s currents dropped him in the Caribbean Sea, and a Dutch oil tanker pulled him to the tiny island of St. Eustatius. A few days later, he made his way to Martinique.
He originally planned to reach his destination in three months, he told the New York Times. The barrel was equipped with a bed, kitchen, storage space, as well as porthole on the floor for viewing marine life below.
In addition to freeze-dried food, AFP News Agency reported that Savin brought along a bottle of Sauternes white wine and foie gras to celebrate New Year's Eve and a bottle of Saint-Émilion red wine for his 72nd birthday, which passed in January while he was in the barrel.
Savin, a former military paratrooper, described the challenge on his website as "a crossing where the man would not be captain of his boat, but passenger of the Ocean."
He spent his days swimming, catching fish, replying to messages, cooking, reading and writing a book slated to be published in August, he told The Times.
"The time at sea passed very quickly," he said.
He noted, "I decided to do this. I had the need for solitude. It was my desire to leave and to be alone."
The explorer reported on his Facebook page that he spotted mahi-mahi, dolphins, swordfish and other exotic fish during his journey. He also stated that he “went 4 months without meat."
Savin said there were two times he feared for his life: once after an oil tanker got close to him and another time when a large ship came near.
"The most difficult moment, though, was during my arrival. I was moving quickly with a strong wind, and I was afraid I was going to run aground on the reefs. Again, luckily, the American Coast Guard was always watching me," he said.