Anthony Smith, 85, of London had dreamed of crossing the Atlantic on a raft as a young boy. In April, 2011, he finally got his wish when he made journey in 66 days with three friends. The crew of four said they wanted to “raise awareness about the environment and to prove the elderly are capable of embarking on adventures that are mistakenly considered dangerous”.
The 2,800 mile trip was to raise money for the British nonprofit group WaterAid, which provides potable water to impoverished communities. Everything went well except for some rudder damage to the 40 foot raft (named An-Tiki) built with water supply pipes. But, my favorite part of the story is Smith’s quote about how the trip was funded:
A stroke of bad luck paid for the trip, courtesy of Smith, who was hit by a van and broke his hip.
“I got some compensation money,” he said. “So what do you blow the compensation money on? You blow it on a raft.”
Smith’s farewell speech before the launch:
Be sure to check out the blog of their An-Tiki adventures.
You know by now that I love stories about seniors doing the unexpected, and this one ranks as one of my favorites, so far.