Last night BBC2 aired a documentary about Andrew McAuley, the Australian Sea Kayaker and all round adventurer who tragically lost his life attempting to kayak across the Tasman Sea, a distance of 1600km.
Unfortunately I missed the programme but for those of you based in the UK it is still possible to see it via the BBC’s iPlayer. The BBC has a page about the documentary.
Andrew McAuley (1968 – presumed dead 2007) was an Australian adventurer. He is best known for his mountaineering and sea kayaking in remote parts of the world. He is presumed to have died following his disappearance at sea while attempting to kayak 1600km across the Tasman Sea in February 2007.
In 2003, he made the first non-stop kayak crossing of the Bass Strait. In 2004, he kayaked across the Gulf of Carpentaria. In 2006 he led an expedition in the Australian Antarctic Territory where they paddled over 800km within the Antarctic Circle.
On 11 January 2007, in an attempt to be the first to kayak across the 1600km Tasman Sea, he left Australia for New Zealand. He made his crossing alone in a standard, commercially available kayak with only small modifications to allow him to sleep in the cockpit. On 9 February 2007, just 80km off the west coast of New Zealand’s Milford Sound, the New Zealand Coast Guard reported receiving a garbled message from ‘Kayak 1’ that contained the words ‘help’ and ‘sinking’.
The next day his kayak was recovered, partially flooded, but there was no sign of McAuley. The search, air and sea, continued for a further two days but was called off on 12 February 2007 with McAuley presumed drowned. There is a documentary film called ‘Solo’ about the attempt.
On 22 February 2009, on BBC2 television in UK, a documentary was broadcast about the fatal trip of the kayak across the Tasman Sea. It included pictures and videos taken by Andrew during the journey across the sea. The footage shown was all found on one memory card, which was discovered on the kayak. There were six hours of video tape also found on the kayak, but these had been destroyed by salt corrosion. The documentary gave all details up until the disappearance of Andrew McAuley.