Thursday, 19 June 2014

Trans Tasman solo kayaker to get food drop today.


 Scott Donaldson training in his specially designed sea kayak for his attempt on a solo crossing of the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand. 

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. 

 Paul Caffyn, arguably the best sea kayaker in the world in terms of achievements. Photo: Bob McKerrow


 Many kayakers  have embarked on failed attempts to make a solo crossing of the Tasman, perhaps the most infamous by kayaker Andrew McAuley, (pictured right) whose body has never been found.
McAuley was just 65km from his destination at Milford Sound on the South Island of NZ when he disappeared in 2007.

So I am following with great interest the current attempt by Scott Donaldson to cross the Tasman Sea. In today's paper I read the following:

Help is on the way to stricken kayaker Scott Donaldson, and at this point, his rescue pilot will be footing the $2000 bill.
Helicopter Services BOP chief pilot John Funnell will take three small container loads of water and freeze-dried food to Donaldson, 43, who is located 560 km off the coast of Taranaki and has been running low on supplies.
Donaldson's wife Sarah requested Funnell's assistance but said she was not able to pay for it.
"Someone had to do something", Funnell said.
He said Donaldson had not been working for the past two months and had been "light on sponsorship."
Funnell hoped to offset the mission's cost by selling photographs of the rescue to news media.
Back Country Cuisine in Invercargill had donated the food free of charge.
He had undertaken practice drops over the past three to four days. "We've done rescues before but haven't for a while, so we just wanted to hone our skills and make sure we accurately place the load in front of him [Donaldson]".
Funnell was joined by Donaldson's wife packing the containers in Taupo yesterday.
He said she described her husband as being physically fit and having a strong mindset.
He had been in text contact with Donaldson, whom he hoped to reach by about noon.
Notwithstanding five metre swells, Funnell will drop the supplies via parachute from the Piper aircraft so Donaldson could undertake the final two weeks of his voyage.
"There's no thought of getting him in", Funnell said.
Donaldson was sailing from Coff's Harbour, New South Wales to New Zealand on behalf of the Asthma Foundation to raise awareness for the need for physical activity. 
  
New Zealander Scott Donaldson begins kayak quest to cross Tasman Sea

On April 25, The Australian ran the following article under this heading.
A NEW Zealand man has set off from NSW on his quest to become the first person to kayak solo across the Tasman sea.
Scott Donaldson left Coffs Harbour at 9.00am AEST on Thursday after an aborted attempt on Wednesday.
A tracking page on Mr Donaldson's website - doubleditch.co.nz - was last updated at 10.05am AEST, with the adventurer posting a simple message: "All good".
He is aiming to land in the Taranaki region in the west of New Zealand's north island, but admits he's at the mercy of Mother Nature.
"The wind has the most say in where to land ... let you know a few days out," he wrote on his website.
Many rowers have embarked on failed attempts to make a solo crossing of the Tasman, perhaps the most infamous by kayaker Andrew McAuley, whose body has never been found.
McAuley was just 65km from his destination at Milford Sound on the South Island of NZ when he disappeared in 2007.
Mr Donaldson is undertaking the challenge in partnership with the Asthma foundation, to raise awareness of the importance of aerobic activity.

I wish Scott a safe arrival in New Zealand and pray all goes well. It is a very adventurous and dangerous undertaking.

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