Solo Paddle Across Tasman
New Zealander Scott Donaldson becomes first person to kayak solo across Tasman Sea
Posted on 03.07.2018
A New Zealand man has become the first person to kayak solo across the Tasman Sea.
Scott Donaldson looked weary and a little bedraggled when he raised his arms in jubilation on Monday night.
He was helped up a beach by supporters after arriving at the New Zealand town of New Plymouth, two months after leaving from Coffs Harbour on Australia’s east coast.
The 48-year-old said the journey was “epic” and his arrival was giving him sensory overload.
“I’ve seen water for the last, I don’t know how many days it was, and that’s all you see,” he said.
“A couple of birds, some fish, but it’s just water.”
He said his journey included surviving a lightning storm and at one point coming close to what he said was a large and “frisky” shark.
“On a good day, you’re paddling for 16 hours,” Mr Donaldson said.
“On a bad day, you’re stuck in the cabin. And on a worse day, you’re going backward.”
Mr Donaldson said there was an upside to being alone on the ocean without any screens or other worldly distractions.
“It’s very pure.”
He added that he needed a shower. He was then processed by border control officials.
‘We just need to finish that job off’
The 2,200-kilometre passage is regularly hit by fierce storms and Mr Donaldson was forced to abandon a previous attempt in 2014.
He came within 80 kilometres of New Zealand and was within site of Mount Taranaki when he was famously winched to safety.
“We just need to finish that job off,” Mr Donaldson said before he set off from Coffs Harbour in April.
“We got a bit smashed out there and all the safety gear was basically wrecked and our safety options were dwindling, so we had to make the call and it was a once in 40-year storm blowing us back to Australia at that time.”
An unrepairable rudder made him late and put extra pressure on the gear before he was rescued.
This time Mr Donaldson had an improved carbon fibre kayak which weighed significantly less than the old model, and he carried dehydrated food for the 62-day journey.
“I have a bit of a magic mix of carbohydrate and protein and electrolyte drinks, which all sounds very easy but when you’ve got to have two hands on a kayak paddle, it can get quite tricky sometimes,” he said prior to his departure.
New Zealand Herald
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