A kayaker who planned an epic 70-day solo voyage from California to Hawaii had to give up just six days in—and leave his kayak behind. Cyril Derreumaux, who set off from Sausalito in his 23-foot ocean kayak on May 31, was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter around 70 miles off Santa Cruz after he called for help Saturday night, the Guardian reports. In a Facebook post, the 44-year-old Frenchman thanked the Coast Guard for their "professionalism and efficiency" and said he made the difficult decision to call for help after rough seas, high winds, and problems with his sea anchor made it impossible to eat, drink, sleep, or communicate easily with his support team on land.
Derremaux said his GPS had stopped functioning properly and his sea anchor was either lost or damaged, causing him to be "violently tossed from side to side, along with all the equipment that was stored in the cabin." A diver helped him into a rescue harness before they were hoisted up to the Coast Guard helicopter. Derremaux, who spent three years preparing for the trip, tells the San Francisco Chronicle that his kayak is still adrift but he hopes to retrieve it and could set off again within three weeks. "It showed that I wasn’t ready for the conditions," he says. "But I don’t think it’s a lack of preparation. It's a lack of experience. In general, nobody knows about crossing the ocean in a kayak." (Read more kayaking stories.)