By Lauren Fruen and Jack Williams
A CAMPAIGNER has completed a solo crossing of the Atlantic on a pedal boat eating only out-of-date food.
Baptiste Dubanchet pedaled from Paris to New York City, powered only by calories that would otherwise have been discarded, in an attempt to show just how much food we waste.
The French activist, 29, said he risked his life on the journey – coming into close contact with whales and battling against huge storms.
He ate lentils which expired in 2008, rice which went out of date in 2011, and honey dating back to the 1960s.
Baptiste left Paris in January making his way through France, Spain, Morocco on a bike before sailing across the Atlantic and pedaling from Miami to New York.
Cyclist and skipper Baptiste covered around between 40 and 75 miles a day on land.
On water he would do about 40 nautical miles.
The remarkable journey took ten months and Baptiste spent 91 days alone on the water.
He said: “The goal was to pedal from Paris to New York eating only food meant to be thrown away.
“On the boat I was completely alone. It was a solitary crossing and no assistance. I could call every now and then with a satellite phone. The journey felt like 10 years.
“On land I would always meet people on the road, and I was hosted by people at night.
“A giant whale came right up to the boat. She was two times bigger than the boat so she could of flipped it or broken it with her tail. It was so scary.
“I could not do anything to help it, I froze, I couldn’t move.
“The storms were scary as well but as they come slowly you have the time to realize what’s happening.
“Some of the machines broke too, and sometimes it would take me time to fix it.
“The the radar detector broke and I had no idea if boats where coming as I was sleeping, so I could only sleep for 20 minutes at a time and had to make sure no huge boats were around.
“I would be afraid in these times because it was very dangerous, I would ask myself more than ever if I would still be alive the next day.
“But the stars at night were amazing. There were millions and millions, like sparkling dust all over the sky.
“When I finished I was glad it was over and I had done it, but it took me a long time to reconnect to normal life, I felt like on another planet.
“I think I had kept all the anger, the fear, and the stress locked inside of me.
“The next day that I arrived I spent half of it laughing that I was still alive and the other half crying for all that had happened during the four months I guess.
“This project was a way to find and promote ways to end food waste for good. Fresh food should be freeze-dried instead of thrown away. And dry products should no longer be thrown away if we remove the best before dates, people will keep them until they are eaten.
“I had a satellite phone. One of the crew members would help me with the weather and I would call him every 4 or 5 days.
“The thing I missed most was humans – touching and talking.
“Most of the hallucinations I had, due to lack of sleep and being alone for so long, were people talking, or seeing people on the water.
“I miss eating something else than expired rice, I really enjoyed the Pizza when I hit land.”
It’s not the first time Baptiste has carried out such a trip.
He added: “In April 2014 I crossed seven European countries, from Paris to Warsaw, eating only food from the dumpsters.”
Baptiste’s petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/europe-lets-reduce-food-waste-get-rid-of-unnecessary-best-before-dates