PERDIDO KEY, Fla. (WKRG) – From Nova Scotia to the Gulf Coast, Mark Ervin has come a long way in the last 144 days, kayaking every mile of his journey.

“I’m 65 years of age, and to set on a major kayak journey that’s over 7,000 miles is a super undertaking,” said Ervin.

For months he’s paddled rivers and bays, sleeping in a tent wherever he can find shelter.

“The biggest strain I’ve had is where am I going to sleep tonight. I’ve swam in the Georgian Bay which is north of Lake Huron, come out of the water and rested a bit on the shore and I look up and there’s a bear swimming in the same place where I was swimming,” he explained.

This week he’s kayaking from Mobile Bay to the Florida panhandle, then on to south Florida before turning north to head home. He’s on a mission to raise money for Doctors Without Borders, which provides emergency aid and medical care around the world.

“In life it’s about ability and resources. Ability is here. Health, can you do it? Don’t wait because one day that health isn’t going to be there,” continued Ervin.

Ervin’s wife of 25 years, Kirsten, died of brain cancer in 2013. She was an orthopedic surgeon who’s still inspiring him to help others.

“Some of her focus and energy I’ve taken that on this trip and I thank her for her dedication,” he said.

He expects the trek back home to take about 4-5 months, and even though he’s leaving our part of the Gulf Coast, he says the southern hospitality here is something he’ll remember forever.

“And that’s been the spice in this whole tour is the people that I’ve met,” Ervin said.