Tasman Kayaker Leaves Lord Howe Island – Next Stop New Zealand

Tasman Kayaker Scott Donaldson has begun the next phase of his adventure, leaving Lord Howe Island on his way to New Zealand.

Donaldson left Lord Howe Island early on Friday morning and in 24-hours now lies around 50km to the East of the island.

Donaldson arrived on Lord Howe Island on May 11 as unfavourable weather patterns descended on the area.

Donaldson had initially intended on paddling past Lord Howe on his way to New Zealand, however with the bad weather approaching, and in liaison with his team leader Nigel Escott, the decision was made to make a brief stop at Lord Howe Island and seek shelter until the weather system had passed.

“It was the right call to make,” said Escott.

“One of the hardest aspects of this challenge is actually leaving the Australian coast. If he had sat out there in the weather, he would have been battered around a bit and there was a high chance he would have been blown back to Australia.”

“The weather was perfect yesterday for him to resume the trip with ‘glassy’ water conditions, we expect him to make good progress over the next couple of days.”

During his near one-week stay on Lord Howe Island, Donaldson was warmly welcomed by locals and looked after well. The adventurer was given accommodation by Pine Trees Lodge and had his food stores aboard the Kayak replenished by lodge chef, Dennis Tierney. His ‘take away’ meal consisting of 48 cups of muesli, 24 cookies and a few pieces of fruit.

Also during his stay, Donaldson was given a ‘Life Membership’ to the Lord Howe Island Aquatic Club.

Lord Howe Aquatic Club member Craig Thompson says Donaldson is the first ‘Life Member’ for the small club, which has just 51 members.

“Handing out Life Memberships is not taken lightly by the club, especially to non residents… but if anybody else wants to paddle a kayak to the island ‘twice’ from the mainland, they’re welcome to one,” said Thompson.

“To make this journey to our island once, is unbelievable, but doing it twice…on paper, would seem near impossible. Four years ago when Scott paddled into our lagoon unannounced on his first attempt, news quickly swept across the island.

We’re just a mere dot in the middle of the Tasman Sea. Never before has anybody arrived in such a small ‘man powered’ craft, it’s unheralded. Nobody thought they’d ever see that feat repeated…. Obviously, we didn’t know Scott!”

“Scott is our first ever Life Member from off the island. His double crossing of the Tasman Sea (to Lord Howe), will be written into Island folklore and the members of the Aquatic club, believe it needs to be recognised as one of the greatest feats of human endurance, this island has ever witnessed. Not since Sir Francis Chichester in 1931, who flew solo across the Tasman Sea in a Gypsy Moth bi-plane, (from New Zealand to Australia), has Lord Howe seen such an amazing solo effort in such a small craft.”

For his departure from the Island, the Kiwi adventurer has been waiting on weather guru Bob McDavitt to advise the best departure date. Donaldson set off from Lord Howe in near perfect weather conditions and has again made remarkable progress in 24 hours and now sits around 50km to the East of the island.

McDavitt is in daily contact with Donaldson, giving him course co-ordinates every day for the Kayaker to paddle to. McDavitt planning the directions in conjunction with wind and weather patterns.

Donaldson aims to make landfall on the Taranaki Coast – a distance of 2200 kilometres although he will likely paddle 3000 kilometres.

With his Trans-Tasman Kayak attempt, Donaldson is raising awareness about Asthma, a condition he suffers from.

Follow Scott Donaldson’s progress via the website http://tasmankayak.com/

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