The CWF Africa to the Americas Expedition
The CWF Africa to the Americas Expedition left Dakar, Senegal on January 23rd 2013 to row unassisted across the Atlantic Ocean on a daring 3,569 nautical mile journey to Miami, USA. Using human power to propel the boat, and solar and wind power to charge its instruments, the crew conducted research on the ocean and themselves, sharing it in real-time to viewers world wide.
The crew of four men (2 Americans + 2 Canadians) rowed the open ocean self-supported, 24 hours per day in 1-, 2- and 4-hour shifts. Along the way, OAR Northwest Education delivered FREE STEM-based curriculum to classrooms worldwide, collected a robust data set about the ocean and themselves for future research on the state of ocean health, and inspired kids to pursue their own adventures to share.
On the morning of April 6, 2013, the rowboat was hit by two irregular box-shaped waves traveling out of the usual swell pattern. While the crew was in shift change, exchanging rowers between the cabin and on-deck, water inundated the open hatch and capsized the boat, its self-righting capabilities compromised by the rapidly filling main cabin. Read the report of the capsize, rescue, and boat recovery (.pdf – 10mb).
Thanks to United States Coast Guard personnel, emergency personal locator beacons from ACR Artex, and our own survival and emergency training procedures, all four rowers were found safe aboard the life raft, attached alongside the capsized rowboat.
After the capsize, Wade Luzny, CEO of the Canadian Wildlife Federation, made the bold decision to offer their services to launch a recovery operation to find the needle in the haystack, and bring home the valuable film and science data. The result of which are two PhD thesis reports, a full-hour on Dateline NBC, and a feature-length documentary that is now in production.
The crew of the ocean rowboat James Robert Hanssen:
- Jordan Hanssen - Capt. and Guinness World Record holder
- Adam Kreek - 2008 Beijing Olympic rowing gold medalist
- Markus Pukonen - Adventure filmmaker and wilderness firefighter
- Patrick Fleming - Wilderness EMT and whitewater raft guide
- Shore-based expedition coordinator and ocean rowing veteran Greg Spooner
This nearly 3659 nm Atlantic-crossing and Guinness Record attempt (first to row from mainland Africa to mainland USA) left no room for mistakes, and much less for sleeping quarters on their 29-foot rowboat.
This ocean-crossing demanded that the rowing team demonstrate expertise in meteorology, navigation, nutrition, oceanography, technology, shipboard and oceanic emergencies, expedition planning, sports medicine, interpersonal communication, leadership and, of course, perseverance.
- Rowers, Mission Control & Family recount the capsize on Dateline NBC
- Watch Adam’s TEDx talk about the capsize in the Bermuda Triangle
- Watch Jordan & Patrick interview with Seattle’s KING 5 News
- Watch Adam interview with CTV’s “Canada A.M.”
- Read/hear/watch additional stories in our Press/Media section