The adventure begins!

At 1 pm yesterday , James Castrission and and Justin Jones left the small seaside New South Wales town of Foster to begin their epic attempt to be the first people to cross the Tasman Sea by kayak.

Nine months after Australian adventurer Andrew McAuley died on a similar mission, James Castrission, 25, and Justin Jones, 24, plan to take a different approach to “crossing the ditch”.

“There’s been a range of emotions, but I’m just keen to get out there, really keen to get out there,” Jones said shortly before setting off at 1pm today.

“I believe anyone is capable of doing anything in their life if they truly believe it.”

The friends hope their attempt will end a succession of failed bids by other kayakers and make them the first to achieve the crossing by kayak.

McAuley, 39, foundered on February 9, while he was within 65km of Milford Sound in New Zealand’s South Island.

His body was never found.

“Obviously it’s a very tragic thing that happened with Andrew,” Jones said.

“He was an amazing adventurer, but we’ve tried to learn as much as possible from that experience and also we’re taking a vastly different approach to the way he did it.”

The pair believe that travelling together in a custom designed double kayak for the 2200km unaccompanied crossing to Auckland will give them an “inherent level of safety” which McAuley did not enjoy.

“Also, his starting point was down in Tasmania where the water is 10 degrees colder,” Mr Jones said.

“Having someone out there with you to keep you in check and to work with you can bring the other one back up.”

The duo first thought up the mission six years ago and have been in serious preparation for the past four years.

They have taken part in sleep deprivation, endurance and isolation training, as well as completing a Bass Straight kayak crossing and a kayak paddle from Port Stephens to Sydney.

Happy paddling and we pray for your safe arrival at New Zealand. Latest updates here.


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