These days, if you want to get your message across, you need to think outside the box. This is exactly what Andrew Szabo, an environmental activist and novice kayaker did.
He wanted to raise awareness about overfishing and the destruction of our oceans. He could have written a blog or organized a march; those would have certainly grabbed somebody’s attention. Instead, he decided to set out on a 200-mile journey from Los Angeles to Tijuana, Mexico.
Andrew purchased a used 18-foot kayak online so he could embark on his great adventure. He redecorated the kayak and named it Arcoiris Explorer after a famous Greenpeace activist ship called The Rainbow Warrior. (Arcoiris is Spanish for rainbow).
The Rainbow Warrior was bombed and sunk by the French Secret Service off the coast of New Zealand about three decades ago. A photographer was killed during the attack. The crew was on a mission to put an end to French nuclear weapons testing in the South Pacific.
As an environmental activist, Andrew is concerned about overfishing because of its devastating effects on the oceans. Overfishing occurs when nets the size of football fields are used for fishing. Whatever gets caught in the net gets taken out of the ocean. The nets used for catching tuna also catch turtles, dolphins, sharks, and other species. Sadly, these do not get thrown back into the ocean so they can continue to live. Some brands of tuna are careful in making sure that only tuna gets caught and sold as food, but some of the most popular brands are actually contributing to the depletion of the oceans.
When Andrew set out from Manhattan Beach on his 150-mile journey he was not sure how his body would take the daily abuse. After the blisters, rough waves, noisy beaches, kayaking with dolphins and running into a family of sea lions, Andrew finally reached San Elijo Lagoon on day 8. This was the first time he would launch from a lagoon and it was exciting.
And just like that, on September 14, 2016, at 2:45 p.m. Andrew Szabo finally landed in Tijuana, Mexico just ten days after his departure. There were no border guards and nobody asked for his passport. Instead, local journalists and friends welcomed the Arcoiris Explorer with music. In his own words, it was an unforgettable journey.