Spirit of Malabo docks in Lewes Delaware
Today I met Victor Mooney, a man who started a journey from West Africa to Brooklyn New York, in a twenty four foot row boat, the Spirit of Malabo. Most people would say that is crazy, and I honestly thought the same, until I met the man and heard why. I mean who purposely rows across the Atlantic Ocean? Victor is and he is doing it for a reason that goes beyond himself. In 1983 his brother died of AIDS and he is making this trek to create awareness of the disease in hopes that people will voluntarily get themselves tested. He started this journey ten years ago. The boat he is using was specially made in Brazil and shipped to his home in Brooklyn, New York. He then traveled to Africa to start this journey. One he has attempted three times and failed. His mantra is “Never Give Up”
Victor put in at the Canary Islands just off North Africa on Feb. 19, 2014, and he is now on the last leg of his journey. “When I see the Brooklyn Bridge I know I will be home.” He has been on the water for fifteen months and has endured hardships that would drive most people to quit, or insane. He has been attacked and looted by pirates near Tortuga, a shark bit a large hole in his boat and almost sank him, he has starved nearly to death, and once had a swordfish jump into his boat. The row boat is twenty four feet long and equipped with navigation, GPS, a satellite phone and an ordinary cell phone. Today when I spoke with him he had some reggae jamming from his new addition, Sirius radio, he said that has been a great help on this last part of his journey helping keep his spirits up. He has the bare necessities to cook foods and make coffee. He said he is not an avid fisherman, but has gear aboard to catch fish, he only had three lures and two rods when I spoke with him today. He has had fish jump in the boat and even scooped some up for food, but there is little time for actual fishing. There are solar cells on the top of the cabin that makes an ample amount of power, but he conserves in case he needs it. He stopped in Lewes, DE to get his heater fixed, since it is getting colder it is necessary to have a heat source. The boat is an impressive vessel, and the fact he is only rowing and there is no other source of propulsion is incredible to say the least.
Victor impressed me on many levels. I have met a great deal of people in my life and there are those rare individuals that are humble, self motivated, and dedicated to a purpose. To say I was impressed doesn’t even cover how I felt after talking to him, he has an air about him that he will succeed no matter what obstacle gets in his way, but he is quiet and reserved, not a braggart by any means in fact he is the exact opposite. He is doing this for the love of lost friends and family, to help create awareness of a global problem. He is doing this for the world. When this journey is complete the Spirit of Malabo will be donated to and put on display at the United Nations as a symbol for the global fight against AIDS. I was honored to meet Victor Mooney today and I wish him well on the rest of his journey. You can follow his website www.goreechallenge.com and donate to his Go Fund me, The Spirit of Malabo Fund.
Tomorrow morning, on Columbus day, he will continue the last leg of his voyage. Escorted by Tow Boat US across the Delaware Bay and then onto his final destination of Brooklyn, New York. He will be very thankful to have completed this journey, but something tells me this is not the end of this journey in life for this man, but the beginning of many things to come. He knows that and his journey shows there is so much more to life. We can all take a lesson from his adventure, and remember his mantra … Never Give Up!