A 57-year-old man is "lucky to be alive" after he ran into equipment problems off the Santa Barbara County coast while trying to kayak from California to Hawaii, the U.S. Coast Guard reported Tuesday.
The man, whose name was not released, left Monterey on May 30 with the intent of paddling the 2,397 miles to Honolulu, said Adam T. Eggers, a Coast Guard spokesman.
On Tuesday, the Coast Guard received a report that the kayaker was stranded 63 miles southwest of Point Conception.
"The kayak was equipped with solar panel technology that charged all of his electronics, which assisted during the voyage," Eggers said. "The solar panel malfunctioned on June 7, causing the kayaker to turn back toward the mainland."
A distress call was made as the man became disoriented, Eggers said, and a helicopter and Coast Guard cutter were sent to look for the kayaker.
The copter spotted the man, and directed the cutter to his location, where he was rescued and found to be uninjured, Eggers said.
“A voyage from California to Hawaii is a long and treacherous journey for any vessel ,and exponentially more dangerous for a kayaker," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Hall, a watch stander at the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach Command Center.
The Coast Guard reminded mariners that filing a float plan with a friend will increase their chances of being rescued in an emergency.