Crossing the Ditch: Australia to New Zealand by Kayak


Two Australians are over halfway in their quest to find a decent milkshake. Having set out from Forster on the NSW coast of Australia they were, at last look, 57% of their way along the 2,200km (1,367 miles) that separates them from the land of dairy cows and greenstone.

Originally they were due to make landfall at Auckland, New Zealand pretty close to Christmas. But as the map indicates a change in predicted weather patterns had them buffeted by massive head winds, and various technical hassles with their bilge pump and desalinator, plus an entangled rudder, have all contributed to progress being much slower than planned.

If successful James Castrission (25) and Justin Jones (24) will be the first to complete the journey across the Tasman Sea by kayak (albeit a customised craft with sleeping cabin, see pic after the fold) and indeed the second longest modern kayak ocean journey.A solo attempt by experienced adventurer Andrew McCauley ended in tragedy when he went missing in sight of land. To minimise such risk the pair consulted marine meteorologists, Navy doctors and leading sailors, to help them compile a 40 page risk management manual. "From a safety point of view, we've done the same preparation and survival training as a round- the-world yachtsman would undertake." We wonder if that includes being stuck in close quarters with another bloke for six weeks. That can be very hazardous, especially if you are eating packaged food.

They've chosen not to employ the assistance of the wind through use of sails so they can retain the human-powered ethos of the challenge. (See also our round up of other muscle and mind-powered journeys.) Check their progress via the regularly updated webmap and listen to podcasts from the waves. ::Crossing The Ditch.