Overdue Kayaker Reaches Hawaii From West Coast
KAHULUI, Hawaii (AP) _ An intrepid 36-year-old paddler completed a 2,200-mile trip across the Pacific Ocean from California on Thursday when he pulled his 22-foot kayak onto a beach on Maui Island.
Edward W. Gillet of San Diego, whose family became concerned when he failed to reach Hawaii by mid-August as planned, said he lost 25 pounds since setting out alone June 25 from Monterey, Calif.
″It was very taxing, very stressful, with stress coming every moment,″ said Gillet. ″Just about every day I went to the edge.″
He said he thought there would be discomfort, ″but no real hardship.″
Gillet, who had taken along enough food for a 60-day trip, said he cut his rations in half a few weeks ago and had eaten nothing for the past three days.
His first action after reaching safety was to call his father, Edward J. Gillet of Pensacola, Fla., to let the family know he was all right.
″When I was at my worst,″ Gillet said, ″I wanted to call them together and apologize for putting them through this.″
The elder Gillet had criticized the U.S. Coast Guard for not searching for his son after he failed to arrive in mid-August.
However, the Coast Guard had said it would be impossible to locate the kayak in the open ocean, and noted Gillet’s craft was equipped with an adequate food supply, equipment for making fresh water, a life raft and emergency locator beacons that had not been activated.
Gillet was last seen by the crew of a passing ship July 7, the same day his homemade transmitter stopped working, he said.
Gillet said his wife, Katie Kampe, with whom he operates a kayak shop, would be joining him immediately.
As for his future plans, Gillet said he may sell the kayak and take up rock climbing.
″I think it would be nice to leave it (the kayak) in Hawaii.″