Sunday, December 2, 2007

Silly buggers

"Silly buggers". A term of endearment in NZ, and Australia, said with a bit of a smile and slight twist of the head, adding a touch of respect. But that's what you could probably call Justin Jones and James Castrission, currently paddling their custom-built tandem kayak across the Tasman Sea, on an expedition called "Crossing the Ditch" - a colloquism given to crossing the Tasman.

They left Oz on November 13 and hoped to reach Auckland by Christmas Day, pretty good timing for the 2200km trip. But fairly constant headwinds and tricky currents are taking their toll, adding another 800kms to the tally and making that deadline date probably unreachable. Today, they're about half-way across.

Increased fatigue and waning morale have taken a toll on the expedition. The pair report three indicators each night to their support team to gauge their current stamina. On a scale of one to 10, they each rate today their physical fitness as a seven but their mental toughness and fatigue levels have dropped to five and below.

The toll on their equipment's hurting as well - the salt water's buggering up their rudder cables, and their automatic desalinator pump and cabin bilge pump have given up, taking valuable paddling time away to resort to manual pumping for both.

There's been a bit of controversy (what's new) over whether it's a true "kayak" they're paddling; but who really cares. They're doing it, they're hurting, and I hope they make it. Others haven't.

[Photo above of the boys leaving Forster, Australia on November 13. That's a Mirage kayak seeing them off, a modified version of which Andrew McAuley attempted his Tasman crossing in.]


Silbs said...

Reminds me of sailing and sailboats where dependence on sybaristic systems lead to problems...and I was in fresh water. Thanks for this update. I think we are all going to learn something from their experience.

Capt'n "O" Dark 30 & Super Boo said...

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck... well then it's a duck... or kayak.

Same debate as whether a Sea Wind is a kayak or a canoe... you are right, who cares... they are out there doing it!!