Kayaker doing well, with help
Another supply drop to kayaker and former Matamata College student Scott Donaldson has been successful.
Donaldson, who could be the first person to paddle solo across the Tasman, was found about 460 kilometres west of New Plymouth on Thursday. He appeared to have survived stormy conditions unscathed.
He retrieved the packages that were dropped to him, including water, food and a new rudder assembly.
Although some water was lost because of breakage on landing, he now has enough food to last four weeks, and enough water to last 10 days – which his Rotorua-based team believes is enough for him to complete his journey.
Helicopter Services BOP chief pilot John Funnell, who has been dropping supplies to Donaldson from a fixed-wing plane, said yesterday that, despite the foul weather brought by storms that hit most of the country, the kayaker was being pushed towards New Zealand by the wind and needed to make the most of that.
A water container broke on his previous drop, but Funnell said he would ensure that that did not happen again.
Funnell said Thursday’s drop was ‘‘much more success- ful’’ than previous efforts.
He said he was operating in a tight window and could see lightning strikes in the distance – but still managed to complete the drop with most of the supplies intact.
He spoke to Donaldson, who he said was in typically high spirits, despite the prospect of another bout of bad weather.
‘‘We’re the only buggers he’s spoken to in a while,’’ he said.
‘‘But he’s in very good form. He wasn’t saying ‘pick me up and take me home’. He’s very determined.’’
The pilot said he was still funding the supply drops out of his own pocket, and he did not want to do it alone.
‘‘They [Donaldson’s family] don’t have sponsors ... the guy needs some support,’’ he said.
‘‘I hope someone steps up to the mark to help him.’’
Donaldson’s wife, Sarah, said her husband was going well mentally and physically, and making a fair amount of progress despite the weather. She was looking for sponsorship to help Funnell.
Donaldson is paddling from Coffs Harbour in New South Wales to New Zealand on behalf of the Asthma Foundation to raise awareness for the need for physical activity.
He expects to land in New Plymouth in four to six days’ time. – Fairfax NZ