Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Indomitable Human Spirit.

I have doubts about whether I am worthy to write about our brave fellow sea kayaker Andrew McAuley. As I write, Andrew has become separated from his kayak about 80 km off the fjord coast of New Zealand South Island. Andrew has nearly completed his amazing crossing of the Tasman Sea from Tasmania. A search for him will be launched shortly as the sun comes up. My thoughts are with his family during their anxious wait.

It is the boldness of spirit that has been shown by people like Andrew that has ensured the survival of our species through times of flood, war, famine, earthquake and ice age. People like Andrew never say "You can't do that" or "It's impossible". We lesser mortals owe our existence to exceptional people like Andrew. Indeed, Polynesia was populated by a few brave souls paddling into the emptiness of the Pacific in open canoes.

Being separated from my kayak is something that concerns me greatly. In 1985 the joint that linked my windsurfer to its rig broke. The board disappeared downwind in seconds and I was left with a useless rig, a harness and a wetsuit. I was 1 km offshore in a force 6 wind and an ebb tide. I was sailing on my own. I had no means of summoning help and the visibility was poor. I decided to dump the rig and swim at right angles to the current. 3 hours later, a combination of wind and swimming took me ashore 3 km down tide from where I had launched. I have never been so exhausted and relieved as when my toe first felt firm Solway sand.

While playing in surf, kayaking just offshore, I have several times lost my hold on my boat after baling out. My fear of separation from my boat caused me to write this recent post.

I pray that dawn brings good news of Andrew.