Kayaker ‘lucky to be alive’ after failed journey

A U.S. Coast Guard spokesman says a 57-year-old man who set out on a kayaking journey from Monterey to Hawaii is “lucky to be alive” after his trip came to an end off the Central California coast.

The Coast Guard says after receiving a distress call Tuesday from the kayaker,  it launched a helicopter out of its Los Angeles facility and a cutter to try to find the man.

A friend told Coast Guard officials that the kayaker had left Monterey on May 30th to try to kayak the nearly 2,400 miles to Hawaii.

But when the kayak’s solar panels malfunctioned Saturday — eight days into the journey —  the kayaker turned back. The solar panel was used to charge the kayak’s electronics, which the man had hoped would help in his journey across the Pacific.

The Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter sent to find the kayaker spotted him about 63 miles southwest of Point Conception — or about 260 miles from Monterey — and directed the Cutter Aspen to the man’s location.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Hall with the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach Command Center, said of the man’s journey and rescue:

“A voyage from California to Hawaii is a long and treacherous journey for any vessel and exponentially more dangerous for a kayaker. His preparedness allowed him to call for help but he is very lucky to be alive.”

The man did not suffer any injuries and was in good health. His name has not been released.