Andrew McAuley

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Planned route from Tasmania to New Zealand

Andrew McAuley (born August 7, 1968 in Goulburn , Australia ; lost February 9, 2007 in the Tasman Sea off New Zealand ) was an Australian adventurer who perished while trying to become the first person to paddle a sea ​​kayak from Tasmania to New Zealand.


McAuley had vast experience in deep sea kayaking. He had already crossed the Bass Strait and the Gulf of Carpentaria between Australia and New Guinea by kayak. In February 2006 he headed an expedition aboard a kayak about 1,000 km off the coast of Graham Land in the Southern Ocean. On December 2, 2006, McAuley made the first attempt to cover the 1,600 km long distance from the Tasmanian east coast to Milford Sound in southern New Zealand through the Tasman Sea in a sea kayak . However, he had to stop this after a day because of hypothermia.

The second attempt

A month later, on January 11, 2007, McAuley made a second attempt. He survived a severe storm and approached the New Zealand coast up to 56 km. In his last radio messages, he planned to go ashore on February 11th, which is why his family and several reporters had already arrived in New Zealand. On the evening of February 9th, the New Zealand Sea Rescue received an emergency call from McAuley saying he had gone overboard and that his kayak would sink. The following day, the overturned kayak was sighted about 80 km from the coast by the coastal rescue team. McAuley's body was never found.

Reasons for the misfortune

In order to survive the heavy seas and to be able to sleep, McAuley had made a protective dome that he pulled over the opening of the kayak. When closed, the boat would straighten itself up again if it capsized. While he was paddling, however, he had to attach the dome to the stern ; In this case, if the kayak capsized, the dome would fill with water, preventing McAuley from lifting the boat with the usual Eskimo roll . Instead, he had to get out of the boat underwater and straighten it up again from the outside, which - especially in rough seas - was a strenuous and dangerous undertaking.

The kayak was found without this dome. McAuley had reported in a radio message that one of the two brackets had already broken off during the heavy storm. Later investigations found that this made it completely impossible for a person to straighten the boat once it had capsized. A court found that McAuley's kayak capsized due to a high wave and that he lost consciousness in the 15 ° C cold water and drowned within a short time after the emergency call was canceled.

McAuley had a video camera mounted on the bow of his kayak, which made it possible to trace a large part of his journey. Based on these recordings, David Michôd and Jennifer Peedom produced the documentary Solo: Missing on the High Seas in 2008 .

Individual evidence