NYC Man Completes Atlantic Paddle for AIDS Awareness

A New Yorker who rowed alone across the Atlantic Ocean for AIDS awareness is back home in Brooklyn, ending a 21-month journey.

Victor Mooney arrived at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Friday and plans a ceremony at the Brooklyn Bridge on Monday, he said on Saturday.

"I'm happy to be in Brooklyn," he said. "I still haven't absorbed it."

The 49-year-old Mooney rows in memory of his brother who died of AIDS in 1983. He said his goal is to spur people to get tested for HIV.

After failing on three previous attempts to row solo across the Atlantic, Mooney set off from the Canary Islands off the coast of African on Feb. 19, 2014.

He arrived at the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten in June 2014 and began making his way up the East Coast.

He lost 80 pounds and encountered numerous setbacks during the journey.

Mooney was robbed of his passport and food on an island off Haiti in November 2014; his passport was later recovered.

This past August, the Coast Guard rescued him off North Carolina after his boat hit a submerged cypress stump and began taking on water. The boat was repaired, and he continued on his way.

"I'm just grateful that I've been able to continue and to never give up," he said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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