WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Two adventurers arrived at a New Zealand beach Sunday after paddling more than 3,300 kilometres from Australia in a kayak – the first such journey by kayak.
James Castrission, 25, and Justin Jones, 24, spent 62 days crossing the Tasman Sea in their custom-built fibreglass vessel and battled strong winds and tides that spun them in circles at one point and forced them to change their original plans.
The two pulled in at Ngamotu Beach near the town of New Plymouth on New Zealand’s west coast shortly after midday and were greeted by a clutch of traditional Maori canoes and welcomed as pioneers by a crowd of about 2,000 kayak enthusiasts.
The pair, who left Australia on Nov. 13, had intended to make it to Auckland, the country’s largest city, before Christmas but changed plans after being buffeted during the journey.
They were taken immediately to a medical clinic for a checkup, amid fears their leg muscles may have deteriorated because of the long period of inactivity.
Their trek is believed to be the first successful crossing from Australia and New Zealand by kayak.
In February last year, Australian kayaker Andrew McAuley vanished during his attempt at the feat, after reaching within sight of New Zealand’s mountains. His kayak and equipment – including a camera with the last images he shot – were found later, but not his body.