Friday, 30 November 2007
Kayaking the Tasman Sea.
Caption: Justin Jones and James Castrission leaving Australia on their attempt to kayak across the Tasman Sea a few weeks back.
With co-paddlers, Paul Caffyn has twice attempted to kayak across the Tasman Sea from Tasmania to New Zealand but has been thwarted on both occasions by the Tasmanian authorities and bad weather. (Cackle TV website)
In 1988 I joined Paul Caffyn in an attempt to be the first kayakers to paddle the Tasman Sea. After two hours into the trip, we had to return to shore for adjustments to the front cockpit I was sitting in. The rudder cables were cutting into my knees.
Once on shore we were served a summons by the Tasmanian Police and forbidden to make another attempt on the Tasman Sea.
So I am following with great interest the current attempt by two kayakers to cross the Tasman Sea. In today's paper I read the following:
Equipment failures and the "gnawing" elements have hampered a trans-Tasman paddle with fears two Australians face certain danger as they get closer to New Zealand.
Justin Jones, 24, and James Castrission, 25, have been forced to dump overboard the bilge pump from the cabin of their custom-designed double kayak after it stopped working.
Their electric desalination pump also broke, requiring them to use a manual version to produce up to 10 litres of filtered drinking water a day.
The effort takes two hours from their paddling regimen, which can last up to 15 hours each day.
The pair departed 18 days ago on their 2,200km adventure and hope to be the first Australians to complete a tran-Tasman paddle by reaching New Zealand by Christmas.
The pair have just reached the halfway point of their journey and posted their most recent audio message on their website.
I have been thinking a lot about the guts and commitment it takes just to prepare, train and get on the water. For our attempt in 1988 I remember doing a double crossing of the Cook Strait, a another 70 km crossing of the same strait from Paraparaumu, paddling past Kapiti, Brothers Islands, and Cape Kaomaru to reach the South Island at Cape Jackson. I also did a lot of night paddling to get accustomed to reading the sea in the dark. Paul and I did a few trips together but little preparation in the kayak we started out in, as it was stored in Tasmania after his unsuccessful the previous year. Paul was worried that if we were seen practicing in Tasmania the Police would become supiscious and arrest us, which finally happened.
I have a sad photograh in my current dairy under an entry on February 14 this year of Vicky McAuley, the wife of Andrew McAuley, kneeling and weeping by her husband's kayak that was found about 80 km off Milford Sound, without him. His body was never found.
This is a reminder of the seriousness of such a journey and my thoughts and prayers are with Justine and James out on the Tasman, Hang in there guys, you can do it.