Almost a month into his 2,500-mile summer paddle, Ryota Yamada has been forced by strong spring winds on the Columbia River to seek shoreline shelter at Mosier, Ore.
The 42-year-old Tokyo man left Kennewick in his sea kayak in mid-April, hoping to complete the first leg of a 10,000-mile adventure across the Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea before foul weather arrives later this year.
Yamada said Friday that strong winds that can whip up big waves on the Columbia River have forced him to wait several days.
Yamada has been preparing for two years to make a kayak journey he hopes will prove that ancestors of Ainu or Jomon people from Japan could have paddled to North America thousands of years ago.
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"I believe (they) came like the Kennewick Man," Yamada told the Herald last month before beginning the trip.
Yamada, who has paddled rivers in Alaska and Japan, is traveling alone, carrying all his survival gear in a 20-foot-long sea kayak.
He is about one-twentieth of the way to Whitehorse, B.C., his target goal for this year.
Yamada expects it will take him four summers of kayaking before he touches his homeland shores to prove that Kennewick Man could have come from the land of the rising sun.