Kayaker do­ing well, with help

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

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

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