Mark Fuhrmann, a Canadian kayaker paddled for 183 days through seas, rivers and the channels of 15 European countries on a 5,400 kilometre journey to Greece that began in April, according to Reuters.
The 60-year-old Vancouver man arrived at the port of Piraeus on Tuesday after having kayaked alone from Oslo, Norway in order to promote a campaign that rewards acts of peace, kindness and humanity.
“The challenges are the personal, which are physical and mental, and every morning when I started to paddle I did not know what was going to happen that day,” Fuhrmann told Reuters.
The man said that he has lost 15 kilograms since he started the long journey and that he faced many perils, such as harsh winds and waves. He even was hospitalized for a while after suffering hypothermia when his kayak capsized and he fell into the cold Swedish sea.
“I saw a wave, and I said, ‘I can handle that wave,’ and I paddled a bit more and now I am like a rubber duck in a washing machine,” Fuhrmann said. “I paddled further and it was a big wave and I decided I maybe should retreat, but it was too late – a wave of around three or four metres hit me, and I capsized and I could not get back into my kayak. That was the first time since kayaking that I could not get back in.”
Fuhrmann travelled to countries including Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Albania, Croatia, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He chose Athens to end his journey in recognition of Greece’s efforts to help tens of thousands of migrants, the Reuters reports said.
As founder of the humanitarian project, “Piece Prize”, Fuhrmann found ‘silent heroes’ in various cities – citizens who carried out acts of kindness towards others in their community.
Fuhrmann; a father of three who lost his wife to cancer six years ago, said he wanted to send the message that small acts of kindness can go a long way.