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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Across the Tasman?

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One of the last major untamed crossings for sea kayakers is the Tasman Sea, a hefty swath of cold, unforgiving water between Sydney, OZ and Auckland, New Zealand. Two Aussie grad students - Justin Jones and James Castrission - headed out nine days ago hoping to be the first to claim the honor. Their heavily-sponsored expedition, dubbed "Crossing the Ditch," will be the longest trans-oceanic crossing ever attempted in a tandem kayak. It's worth checking their web site just to see images of their custom-designed glass boat and learn the history of its construction. One of the expedition sponsors is a New Zealand company called Daestra, maker of a software called TracPlus that utilizes satellites to allow companies to track vessels in motion. Log onto Crossing the Ditch to chart their progress or read the frequent updates they are logging online via their sat link.

The widow of paddler Andrew McAuley might have a few words of caution for the duo as McAuley died earlier this year when his boat capsized within sight of the NZ coast and the completion of his journey. The prevailing consensus was that McAuley dozed off, dumped and was unable to right the boat.

More information on the life of Andrew McAuley and his Trans Tasman Kayak Expedition can be found on his web site at Tasman Solo. As you will learn, McAuley was a very experienced paddler and an accomplished adventurer.

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