Frenchman and former military paratrooper Jean-Jacques Savin safely arrived from his 4,500 journey on the French island of Martinique after a brief pause in St. Eustatius — using a barrel-shaped pod.
Mr. Savin told his followers on Facebook that a Dutch oil tanker towed him and his barrel whilst in Caribbean waters and dropped him off on the Dutch island of St. Eustatius, adding that whilst he hoped to drift to Martinique, ocean currents diverted his journey and he ended up instead in Dutch territory.
— MDBuoyProject (@MDBuoy) May 7, 2019
"It was an exhilarating voyage, but also quite risky," Mr Savin said.
The explorer was then offered a hotel by a local organisation on the island after they discovered his story on social media, with a French tugboat later escorting him to Martinique on Thursday.
"Some joked and asked if they were arresting him on arrival for being so crazy," St Eustatius resident Dorette Courtar said to CNN. "Others, like myself, were fascinated by this journey and technology."
The ‘floating orange' vessel was reinforced to withstand attacks from marine animals, including orca whales, and included a porthole in the floor to watch fish passing by.
Commentators on social media sent Mr. Savin both praise and criticism for his expedition. "Wow! Congratulations Jean-Jacques Savin," one user tweeted, with another calling his bespoke barrel a "cool ride".
— Mr. Grim (@12thBattalion) May 10, 2019
— Art Young (@outpostart) May 8, 2019
Thinking that he would arrive on the island of Barbados, Mr Savin joked before setting off that he would like to arrive at "a French island like Martinique or Guadeloupe," as it would be easier "for the paperwork and for bringing the barrel back."
Before setting out on his journey, Mr. Savin had his vessel christened at the festival of Ares. The vessel, named BOUTESA
Mr Savin's embarked on his journey in a 3 x 2.1m orange vessel reinforced with resin-coated plywood and was furnished with a kitchen, sleeping quarter and storage container. The explorer lived on a diet of freeze-dried food, fresh fish and supplies from passersby. His supplies also contained foie gras, white wine for New Year's Eve and red win for his birthday on 14 January. The Frenchman will return by plane to his home in France and is set to write a book on his experiences, with plans to publish it later in the year.