TL;DR: Mental incompetence, moving violations, brothels, COVID deniers, drug addiction, and polytheism.
There are so many smarter ways to try to get to Alaska than the R2AK. There are airlines, roads—and if you’re hell-bent on getting there by boat, there are plenty of options with motors, cabins, buffet lines, and floor shows. Alaska’s remote but it ain’t Mars. People have figured this out.
If the perils of a cruise ship cabin ain’t your style, there’s public transit. Alaska Marine Highways operates a ferry from Bellingham to Ketchikan that leaves one to two times a week depending on pandemics, the time of year, and the status of state funding. The ferry offers options for both cabins and top deck camping for folks looking to get themselves from the “Lower 48” to the “Upper 1” at a price that’s more than nothing but far less than the cost of entering the R2AK. True, there’s a 0% chance of winning a set of steak knives from the MV Columbia’s heat lamped upper deck, but there’s an identical chance of hypothermia.
It should shock no one that R2AK isn’t the smartest inter-American transit option. It should shock less that R2AK on a rowboat might be the best dumbest idea anyone’s had since that one guy unicycled across America. Rowing solo to Alaska isn’t impossible, it’s been done, but as the comedian Chris Rock once said: “You can drive a car with your feet if you want to, that don’t make it a good idea.”
Indeed sir, indeed.
Even if you are wrapped in a sponsor pandering Mustang drysuit—click here for the deal of a LIFETIME—rowing solo anywhere in the cold waters between Washington and Alaska is an act of faith, denial, and impenetrable self-confidence. Like raw dogging brothels or getting a maskless haircut in rural Utah during the Omicron surge, taking a rowboat to Alaska, by yourself, is to believe consequences are for other people.
Team Bangarang is rolling up to the R2AK with a drysuit and legit, condom-off arrogance—but not without reason. First, the boat. The Angus RowCruiser was developed for the R2AK, and has successfully completed multiple R2AKs, starting with 2016 when Colin Angus (“Himself”) made the trip in less than two weeks. Bonkers cargo capacity, small and light enough to row, the Angus RowCruiser packs at least 25’ of habitat and locomotion into its 19’ of waterline—more than robust enough to carry a human and their stuff into the great Canadian coastal unknown. Unlike “Himself”, not everyone is a Nat Geo Adventurer of the year, but the RowCruiser might be the vehicle to transform mere mortals into hard chargin’, rowcruisin’, R2AKin’ adventure heroes of their own making.
The crew brings the kind of spartan opulence cred you’d expect from someone who has spent their adultish years getting as far away from their comfort levels as is humanly possible. Packrafting hundreds of miles through Alaska and Oregon, kitesurfing, windsurfing, fat biking mountains, Arctic Circle camping (-20F in the tent)—not to mention building their own race boat then rowing/sailing it for hundreds of miles to get ready for the big push north to Ketchikan. Team Bangarang joins at least one other team choosing a RowCruiser to Alaska in 2022—two identical boats racing to Alaska, race on!
Welcome to the R2AK, Team Bangarang. Yes, solo rowing 2AK is impressive, but while it’s not the smartest choice, at least it’s dumb.