Two days ago I blogged about the solo kayaker, Andrew McAuley, who's completing a 1600 km trans-Tasman journey from Australia to New Zealand. With less than 100 km to go, he will be the first person ever to have done that by paddling a kayak. According to news reports, he has endured numerous capsizings, rogue waves, the attention of sharks, and the worst weather the Roaring 40s could throw at him. I ended my blog with the following words:
“He will be completing his adventure on Sunday, his family is already there waiting. God speed, Andrew!”I don’t know him, but I certainly felt the joy of his accomplishment.
I was in total shock to notice tonight the NewsBreak headline in the Sydney Morning Herald: “Freak wave blamed for kayak mystery” as they found his kayak but Andrew is missing. Rescue efforts is intensely ongoing. That's not what was supposed to happen. It can't be!
Dear God, please, please, please help the rescue team find him, help them rescue Andrew successfully, bring him back alive. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Update: As we are in the early afternoon EST on Monday, it's already Tuesday morning in New Zealand and Australia. News report just reported that New Zealand authorities have decided gave up the search for McAuley as his friends said a freak wave may have swept him from his tiny craft:
Search and rescue officials had the heartbreaking task this evening of telling the 39-year-old's family they were calling off an aerial search - four days after McAuley issued a garbled radio distress call.So it is no surprise that freaque wave is the culprit again. But what was sad was that he was so close to his goal. He may have already preparing his own arrival after over 30 days hard struggle in the sea, he may have just momentarily letting his guard down and everything appeared calm -- that unfortunately seems to be also the time a freaque wave is likely to attack, out of the blue. What a loss, what a wretched tragedy! It just happened. We know it happened before, and it will happen again. Why can't there be a miracle -- let Andrew be miraculously washed over or swam to some shore, there should still be time for that. Dear Lord, if you would, have a miracle now!
. . . it was a devastating blow for McAuley's wife, Vicki, but she refused to give up hope, even after his damaged kayak was found on Saturday in rough seas off New Zealand's South Island.
The craft was found just 80km from Milford Sound, which was to have been the final destination in McAuley's bid to become the first person to kayak across the Tasman.
. . .
"Regrettably, and despite the best efforts of the Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ) and all others involved in the rescue, we have been unable to find Andrew," said Peter Williams, Maritime NZ deputy director of safety and response services.
"Taking into account the wide search area that has been covered, and bearing in mind that Andrew has now most likely been in 15 degree (Celsius) seas for around 70 hours, we have decided to suspend the aerial search."
. . . Family spokeswoman Jen Peedom said McAuley had survived much harsher conditions during his voyage from Tasmania than those that existed on Friday.
A freak wave may have been to blame for swamping his kayak and tearing off a metre-high capsule designed to cover the kayak's cockpit and protect McAuley while he slept and also when he was in rough seas, she said.
It was possible that because McAuley - named Australian National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2005 - was in relatively calm waters, he may have had the capsule open.
The cover was not with the kayak when it was found.
"What appears to have happened, and one can only assume, is that he was hit by a wave while it (the capsule) was not up," Peedom said.