American fighter pilot Jacob Adoram has become the first person to row the entire Pacific, solo, without stopping to stock up on food or receiving any outside support from the US to Australia – but it didn’t end the way he expected.
After a mammoth 336 day row from Washington in the US, Adoram was supposed to dock his ocean rowing boat in a marina in Cairns, Australia, to complete the longest unsupported solo crossing of the Pacific ever but strong winds made it impossible to reach the harbour.
Determined not to be towed and undermine his unsupported claim, even if it was only for the last few miles, Adoram beached his boat on the nearest suitable coast, where locals ran down to help him, and then he was put in front of a news camera. Then the coastguard insisted he get back in his boat and be towed (now having completed the row) back to the marina to meet more cameras, friends and family.
“It was pretty hectic,” Adoram said. “But the first time you see land on the horizon is an incredible feeling. When I first saw it, it was at night, so when the sun came up and the sea had changed from a deep blue to turquoise, it was a pretty intense feeling.”
After so long alone, it was a rude reintroduction back into society, but the journey was life changing.
“I started by thinking about the things around me, the things I had to do. But then, I started to look inward,” Adoram said. “And when you do that, you get a chance to reflect on your life, which is one of the reasons I did this.”
“Putting this row together has shown me I can do anything, and I can set my life on whatever path I choose,” he added.
“I’m always thinking about what’s next, but I learned to live in the now out there. But I do have the opportunity to think about the direction of my life. It wasn’t an epiphany, it was just time to reflect.”
When Adoram started the row almost a year ago, he admitted he had a “romantic” view of the time ahead. He knew it would be tough, but did not expect the daily grind of getting back on the oars hour after hour to be so gruelling.
“You don’t get time to enjoy those sunsets, or that whale circling the boat,” he said. “You get those moments, but they are fewer and farther between than I expected.
“Of course you have your bad days. But I’ll look back on the days I had to endure and enjoy them too.”
Adoram is raising money for Water Mission, and you can donate here.