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From Nazi Germany to Australia: The Incredible true story of history’s longest Kayak journey

by William Prochnau & Laura Parker 11 Jan 20:48 PST
Oskar Speck in his kayak, Sunnschien. Inset, Speck's German passport. © John Ferguson

Sheets of monsoon rains, pushed by southeasterlies running to 25 knots, forced Oskar Speck and his 18-foot folding kayak off the open water into the protection of the mangrove forests of New Guinea.

It was the second piece of bad news for Speck on this day in September 1939. Earlier, in the primitive village of Daru, where the natives dried crocodile hides to eke out a living, a fisherman had given him a report from the far side of the world: war had been declared in Europe.

Steering alone into the sheltered waters of the coastal swamps, Speck had kayaked 30,000 miles on a trip that began seven and a half years earlier on the Danube River in Germany. It was the longest kayak trip in history.

When Oskar Speck set out from his ruined country in 1932, Germany had only a small army and Adolf Hitler had not come to power. Now Hitler's Panzer divisions had stormed into Poland in a lightning strike that began the Second World War. The invasion had finally provoked Great Britain into declaring war and Australia had immediately followed suit.

To read more please go to the original article.

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