Antonio de la Rosa
Antonio de la Rosa is a pretty incredible man. He loves the ocean, he loves the water, and he really loves adventure. Antonio spent a lot of time on the water before deciding to take the trip of a lifetime. He lived in San Francisco, California, and he wanted to travel to Oahu, Hawaii. Millions of people do this every year, but most of them travel by plane. This isn’t very adventurous, and it isn’t a very big deal, He wanted to make the trip on his paddleboard. He would be the first person to make the trip this way. He knew that it was going to be a difficult trip, so he made sure that he was prepared.
Not Your Typical Paddleboard
A typical paddleboard is designed for a few hours out on the water. You can bring along a bottle of water to drink and maybe a sandwich in a backpack. Since Antonio would be spending much longer than an afternoon on the water, he had to make some serious modifications. He was planning to take the trip on his 24-foot paddleboard, that he dubbed, the Ocean Defender. He was going to go from San Francisco to Hawaii without a motor or any other type of power. He was going to have to rely on his arms and legs to allow him to make the 3,000-mile journey.
Because Antonio was going to be out on the water for over three months in such a small area, he wouldn’t be able to pack bottles of water. He could have had a support boat follow him that could hold everything that he needed, but that isn’t how he wanted to make the trip. He wanted to do it all on his own. Because he couldn’t carry water with him, he had to come up with another idea. He brought with him a system that could take the salt out of seawater, making it safe to drink. Since the water was one of his biggest necessities, his system was extremely valuable during the trip. He also needed a way to radio for help and to contact his loved ones back home. Since he was just going to be on a paddleboard, he wouldn’t have access to any type of generators or electrical equipment. Based on the small amount of space that he had on the paddleboard, he knew that he only had one option. He was going to bring solar panels to keep his communication system working. When it came to food, he didn’t have the room on his paddleboard to bring too much. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to bring much, so he brought along some fishing equipment. He figured that he could catch his meals in the ocean, saving a lot of space on the paddleboard. In total, his supplies weighed 1,500 pounds. He needed to make his supplies as light as possible since he would be powering his paddleboard with just his arms and his legs. When he had everything that he would need for during his journey, he set off.
On the Water
Antonio set out on the water with high hopes. He was going to need to travel 3,000 miles to get to Hawaii. On a good day, he could travel 50 miles. On the days when the current was strong and working against him, he could only make it about 10 miles. Without an ample supply of food, he started losing weight after the first few days of the trip. When he got to Hawaii, he says that he lost around 25 pounds. If it weren’t for the fish that he was getting from the ocean, he says that he would have lost more.
Antonio says that he has great respect for the ocean, and he wishes that other people did as well. The painted a sign on the side of his board that read, “SAVE the OCEAN. NO plastics, NO nets, RECYCLE. He had seen the pollution in the bay with his own eyes, and even some evidence of pollution in the water, but nothing like what he saw while he was traveling from San Francisco to Hawaii. He says that the reason why he was taking the trip in the first place was to raise awareness of ocean pollution.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
During his trip, Antonio came across an area known as the Great Plastic Garbage Patch. This is a 918,000-square mile area of waste plastic. He says that each day, he would see plastic packaging, plastic bags, and the remains of fishing nets. He says that there wasn’t one day that he wouldn’t see some type of plastic floating in the water. He believes that if we don’t do something to change things soon that we will destroy our oceans.
It took Antonio a total of 76 days to get to his destination in Oahu, Hawaii. After this guy paddled from San Francisco to Hawaii, he had a startling warning for the world. If we don’t keep plastic out of our oceans soon, the whole planet will regret it.