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Ocean crossings

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Atlantic Ocean: Genoa (Italy) – Fortaleza (Brazil) 11.000km in 227 days from 18th September 2005 to 2nd May 2006.

This is the story of a record-breaking adventure, but also the story of a 27-year-old guy who, with indomitable spirit and a lot of patience, made an impossible dream come true.

On September 18 2005 Alex left Quarto (Genoa) in an attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean alone by rowing boat. This departure is preceded by two failed attempts in 2004, the last of which ends with a shipwreck on the island of Formentera after only 23 days of navigation. Alex is saved, does not report severe consequences, but his boat is irreparably destroyed by the impact.

 - Alex Bellini

In 2005, Alex’s progress is rather slow due to the difficult sea conditions, which will force him to spend 18 consecutive days in the cabin. As a result of numerous flips, much of the food on board is no longer edible. On the one hundred and sixtieth day of navigation, about 2500 km from the coast of Brazil, he runs out of food. He manages to get some food by two passing ships, but two weeks later he is hungry again and afraid of not making it. He paddles for days without food, “assisted” by his ground team who gives him moral support and, on the fifth day, he reaches the small archipelago of Sao Pedro and Sao Pablo where he is welcomed by some scientists.

He sets off again a few days later and on May 2, 227 days after his departure from Quarto, he sets foot in Fortaleza (Brazil) in front of a cheering crowd.

Touching land in Brazil, he promises to never set foot on a row boat again, but the promise does not last long, in fact a month after his return to Italy he is already thinking about crossing the Pacific.

If I quit now, I'm sure that I will want to cross the Atlantic again sooner rather than later. If I stop now, I will live the rest of my life wondering if I had reached my limit or if there was energy inside me to resist and go on one more day. I would never have the answer, so I'll go ahead. Because it is the only, perhaps the simplest, thing to do.
Alex Bellini

If the crossing of the Atlantic was for Alex a test of tenacity and stubbornness, the expedition across the Pacific was something very different.

After 294 days and 3 million rowings, Alex faces very dangerous weather conditions. On December 13, one hundred kilometers from land, Alex decides to stop navigation and activate the EPIRB system.

Alex is assisted by the Australian tug Katea who brings him safely to Newcastle.

Giving up on this great goal after chasing it for almost a year is extremely hard, but at the same time it is proof of maturity. There are some criticisms to which Alex will reply that “the value of a man is not judged by his successes, but by the dreams that live inside him and guide him”.

Alex still describes this mission as the greatest success of his life.

My navigation is so slow that it is as if, due to the rotation of the earth, the sea is passing under my boat
Alex Bellini