A record-breaking canoe in the NMM collection
The New York Times Magazine claims that sailing the Amazon River unaided is similar to setting a foot on the Moon. So far, considerably more people have been on the Moon comparing to those who have conquered the Amazon. And no one has done it before in a canoe.
On 9th December 2015 in the Granaries on Ołowianka Island, Marcin Gienieczko, a traveller and an author of books, will hand over his canoe, a boat in which last year he single-handedly sailed the length of the Amazon as a part of the Solo Amazon Expedition, to the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk. The traveller’s feat will soon be entered into “Guinness Book of Records”.
Marcin Gienieczko was preparing for the Solo Amazon Expedition for two years. The expedition started on 17th May 2015 on Cerro La Virgen beach by the Pacific, and ended on 4th September 2015 on the Atlantic shore. The traveller divided his expedition into three stages: cycling, sailing and running. It took him 11 days to complete the first stage. “I reached the river on 29th May at about 12:30 local time, having covered 677 km by bicycle through the Andes,” he reported. On 31st May, Gienieczko boarded a canoe in San Francisco to sail the Amazon River. After 94 days and 5986 kilometres, he reached Belém. The final stage of the Energa Solo Amazon Expedition was an 80-kilometre run. Gienieczko dedicated his journey and feat to the children from the Pomeranian Hospice for Children.
The Amazon River
“This journey has taught me that in order to survive, one has to search for solutions in every situation. Barriers have to be conquered, obstacles have to be overcome, it is worth making dreams come true,” Marcin Gienieczko says, as sailing the Amazon was one of his goals in life. “The Amazon is a perfect river for breaking a world record in canoeing, and I will do my best to achieve my goal,” the traveller assured. From the beginning, the expedition was planned as a sports undertaking, however in the course of his journey the traveller had to face a number of challenges. “This is still a river for adventurers, but also for pirates. Everything is dangerous here. The nature, navigation, drug dealers, swamps, poisonous snakes, malaria, piranhas and a mighty river which is 100 km wide in its lower reaches,” Gienieczko enumerates.
The canoe, in which Marcin Gienieczko single-handedly sailed the Amazon, is a two-person Canadian canoe, 4.95 meters in width and 40 kg of weight. The boat was built from Royalex – a composite material, resistant to damage and deformation, with vinyl used as an outside layer and a resistant artificial ABS fibre applied on the inside. The bow and the stern of the canoe are filled in with polyurethane foam which in case of a capsizing provides better flotation and improves safety. Gienieczko sailed this boat, among others, on Río Napo (a left-bank tributary of the Amazon) and on the Baltic Sea, from Bornholm to Darłowo. On 9th December 2015, the canoe will be handed over to the National Maritime Museum in Gdańsk as a symbol of passion and triumph of a man over the water element.
“We systematically enrich the museum collection of vessels which serve as examples of an outstanding fortitude and great determination of their captains. For instance, we already have a dinghy which crossed the Atlantic under navigation of Arkadiusz Pawełek,” Jerzy Litwin, PhD, Director of the National Maritime Museum, says. “The Canadian canoe will be exhibited in the main seat of the Museum – the Granaries on Ołowianka Island. In the future, we are planning to exhibit this boat next to our three historic yachts in a newly built branch of the Museum in Tczew. Renovated due to the project of construction of the Shipwreck Conservation Centre, “Kumka IV”, “Dal” and “Opty” will serve as great company for the canoe,” Director Litwin adds.
Marcin Gienieczko, 37, specializes in large-scale exploration projects. He is a journalist, traveller and a professional deep sea and inland sailor. In 2003, he sailed the Yukon River, the largest river in Alaska, in a dinghy. He conquered the Mackenzie Mountains and the Kolyma River. In 2012, he single-handedly sailed Lena, the largest river in Siberia, in a canoe. His latest expedition, Solo Amazon Expedition 2015, Marcin Gienieczko submitted for “Guinness Book of Records” in the category of the longest journey by canoe solo.
“I have been following Marcin’s journeys from the very beginning. Each journey bears its own philosophy of life, it is a kind of a lens which his dreams, needs and anxieties are focused in. Marcin is still a young man, however he has already been on two large-scale journeys which many experienced travellers could envy. He is a proper, solitary globetrotter, a travelling psychopath in some way, certainly in a positive meaning if this word, since a psychopath does not necessarily have to be characterized merely by degradation of psyche and character. Some psychopathic features are helpful to travellers. They are brave, bold and unconventional people who at an early stage of their lives start to play by their own rules and this is how Marcin operates. A desire for something forbidden grows in him and the more forbidden it is, the more he is drawn to it.”