“He read ‘Kon-Tiki‘ as a kid.” That’s one explanation Beach Drive resident Peter Goldman gave for the solo outrigger journey his 27-year-old nephew Alex Kongsgaard launched this morning from the rocky shore below Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook on Beach Drive – West Seattle to Glacier Bay, planning on about 30 miles a day over the next eight weeks or so. Kongsgaard is actually from Napa, California, sixth-generation Napan who works at the family winery:
His West Seattle aunt Martha Kongsgaard, Peter’s wife, provided that photo – she says Alex and his dad “just finished bottling the Kongsgaard 2008 vintage of Chardonnay, Cabernet, VioRous, and the famous ‘The Judge'” – as well as sharing this next photo, with a closer look at Alex:
Martha says her nephew has paddled long distances before – in 2007, he and a friend kayaked to Port Hardy, on the north tip of Vancouver Island. The 33-pound outrigger he’s paddling this trip is based on a Kevlar racing kayak, she adds. This morning, she had to catch a ferry to Bainbridge, so we were on the beach with Peter – the solo sendoff party for the solo paddler – and rolled video on his first minute and a half at sea:
Alex called out “See you in two months!” to Peter, who had to head off to work before the sun even finished rising above the Me-Kwa-Mooks hillside (note that Alex isn’t in sunshine till about half a minute into our clip); Peter yelled back, “May the Force be with you!” (Earlier, Alex had joked that he blamed his adventurousness partly on Peter, who’s climbed in the Himalayas, among other places.) Once Alex had paddled away, we drove over to Alki Point to watch until he was out of West Seattle waters, Canada- and Alaska-bound (Peter says his nephew plans to sleep in a hammock each night). We’ll let you know how he’s doing if the family shares any updates they get along the way.