Canadian makes trans-Atlantic crossing history
Mylene Paquette, a 35-year-old from Quebec in Canada, on Tuesday made history by becoming the first North American to make a west-to-east solo crossing of the Atlantic by rowboat.
Paquette set out from Halifax, Canada on a 7.31-metre (23-foot) boat on July 6. She arrived in the northwestern French port of Lorient on Tuesday evening after 129 days at sea.
"Finally it is over, because it was really an ordeal at times, I am just relieved that it is over," an emotional Paquette told AFP upon her arrival.
The 2,700-nautical mile journey crosses an area known for violent winds of up to 100 kilometres (60 miles) per hour and waves of up to 12 metres (40 feet).
During her journey the boat capsized several times, Paquette said, adding she was terrified after hitting her head and nearly passing out when her boat keeled over two weeks ago.
"I was also afraid of the cargo ships. They really came very close to me. Sometimes I was afraid of not seeing my family again, so I am really happy that they are here," she said.
Ten people had previously rowed solo across the Atlantic from west to east -- considered more arduous than an east-to-west crossing -- but none had been from North America.
Of them, only two were women -- Maud Fontenoy of France in 2003 and her compatriot Anne Quemere the following year.
© 2013 AFP