Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Slightly Belated Introduction

I remember three English teachers from high school. English teacher number one was notorious for giving out terrible grades. I think I got mostly D's in that class. English teacher number two, after I submitted a particularly fine analysis of The Scarlet Letter, asked me if I had copied it off of the internet. I got a B on the paper which means that she either didn't believe me or it wasn't that good after all. And English teacher number three who claimed that the reason why I did better in some classes then I did in others was because of an early traumatic childhood experience that I may not remember. I am not making this up.

In writing this blog I was hoping to get feedback from a person of English teacher status or greater so I thought back to my high school days, now 9 years past. I couldn't cope with what I imagine might be English teacher number one’s honesty “D- Consider instead a job as a garbage truck driver.” Or even worse, the psychoanalysis into my writings that comes from Number Three: “Dov, this writing tells me that you need to to prove yourself to your peers as a way of compensating for the fact that you still wet your bed.” That leaves English teacher number two.

“Dov, your writing is nice, but you need an introduction,” she told me. So I will write here who I am and what I intend to do.

My name is Dov Neimand. I am 8 years old and I intend to kayak from Spain to Israel starting this August. No, just kidding, I'm 26. The rest of that crazy statement is true though.  After months of planning and mostly failed attempts to organize sponsorship I have now most of the logistical issues behind me and am training in earnest.
There are some questions that people frequently ask me when they hear about my trip and I will try to answer them here.
Q: What countries will you go through on the way?
A: I will start in Cadiz Spain, after France and then Italy I will cross to Albania. South of Albania is Greece which I will cut through then across the bottom of the Aegean hopping through the Grecian Islands. At that point I will need to consider how safe Turkey is. If I proceed then I will continue along Turkey and then cut south to Cyprus then make the final longest crossing from Cyprus to Haifa, Israel. From Haifa I will head south and conclude my trip in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Q: Were you often dropped on the head as a child?
A: I am only familiar with two such occasions. Once by my brothers and once when I was in the back seat of my mom's bike.
Q: Will you sleep in your boat at night?
A: I hope to sleep every night on the shore except for during my crossings the longest of which is 160 miles. I hope to make that in under 40 hours of paddling and then sleep on shore. I will however be prepared to sleep in my boat if I am unable to complete the crossing without it.
Q: What does your mother think?
A: She doesn't like it that much.
Q: What kind of safety gear will you have?
A: I will not have any safety gear.
Q: You where really dropped on you head as a child, weren't you.
A: No, just kidding (though not about being dropped on my head as a child), I'll have lots of safety gear with me. I will not risk my life for any kind of fun or thrill on this trip, my list of safety gear is too long and boring for me to get into here.
Q: How many miles is it?
A: About 4,200. I came up with that number by having google maps measure the length of the roads along the coasts. In order to complete this trip in 6 months I will have to average at 32 miles a day 5 days a week.
Q: Will you be using that boat we see you training in?
A: No no no no. I'll be using an Epic 18 which I tried out at Jersey Paddler. It fits like a glove and is a damn fine boat.
Q: Will you be doing it alone or with a group?
A: I haven't yet found a partner and I still hope to have one for all or at least part of my trip. Would you like to come?
Q: No thanks I'm married / have a job / can't kayak / too old / need to finish school / have a life / need to study the topography of my navel.
Q: What made you think of such a crazy idea?
I've always wanted to do a really long trip like the Appalachian trail or one of the E trails that cuts across Europe. I've wanted to see Europe for some time now. Since I live in Israel I thought it would be nice to do a trip that starts or ends in Israel and that pretty much leaves only one direction. Lucky for me I've been kayaking since I was a little boy. There's one last question that only a very few people ask. “How can I help?” There are three things I still need though I'll manage without them. A partner, logistical help, and money (Anything I raise above half the cost of the trip will go to the Alliance For Climate Protection). If you can help me with any of these things, please email me at
I hope you continue to read and enjoy this blog,
Dov Neimand


  1. 4 times: also once, while in a backpack, your father leaned into the side door of his VW van, smacking your head on the top, outside the door; and, again your fathers fault, you slipped in a puddle of motor oil and hit your head on the driveway. you looked a little like one of those Pelicans in the gulf, but ugly becuase you didnt have any feathers yet.

    id love to join you, if you were climbing in the Alps, id be all over it!

    good on you for following your dreams!

  2. Parker TrauernichtJuly 16, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Your mother told me about your trip yesterday. I am green with envy. My longest kayak trip being about 10 miles, I'd be a great sea anchor. (Also see "A" regarding age, job and navel contemplation...) My son is somewhere in the Australian Outback with no communication ability for the next six or so weeks studying the burn rate of some native tree and whatever else a botanist does in the bush, so I am quite aware of how your mom feels. I can tell you this - Given the time he and his fiancée would join you in a nano second! Have an exciting, safe trip. Parker

  3. Thanks.
    I am open to people joining me for part of my trip also. Maybe he would like to kayak from Rome to Israel or something like that?
    As for you, mid age people do stuff like this, it would just require some training. I hope your son is having a great time in Australia

  4. שמעתי את הרעיון היום ברשת ב'. מאחל לך הרבה הצלחה
    בנסיעה הבא שלך, ואשמח לעקוב אחריך במסע המעניינת
    הרבה הצלחה מישראל

  5. Hi Dov. I will surely be following your blog as you wend your way through your journey. It's been a pleasure paddling along the Hudson with you this summer.
    Ah youth! Bravery, a sense of adventure, fearlessness and focus and so funny you are.
    Best of luck to you. My good wishes and thoughts go along with you.

  6. Thanks Jody,
    I just found out my kayak will be arriving September 4th which means I'll probably be around for another couple of weeks.
    I hope you won't take your kind words back now that I'm not on the edge of d...

  7. My flight to Spain has been changed to September 6th do to a delay with the shipping of my kayak. I'll be starting my trip after the Jewish new year a few days later.

  8. Not at all. The same goes whenever you get underway.
    I've told a number of people about you and your trip.
    Lots are very impressed . Stay safe.

  9. ישראל ריזהJanuary 5, 2011 at 3:31 AM

    דב שלום, משמח לקרוא! תהנה ותחזור בשלום. ישראל ריזה

  10. "About 4,200. I came up with that number by having google maps measure the length of the roads along the coasts. In order to complete this trip in 6 months I will have to average at 32 miles a day 5 days a week."

    Currently my best estimate is 2700 nautical miles.

    As for 32 miles a day five days a week, in hindsight - Ha! Fat chance.