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Sea explorer to try Tasman crossing again

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/05/2016 By Paul Purcell

© Facebook The discovery of the kayak belonging to a Kiwi who unsuccessfully attempted to paddle across the Tasman has reaffirmed his commitment to give the voyage another go.

Gold Coast-based Stuart Cleary set off on his bid to be the first person to kayak solo across the Tasman in December 2014 but was rescued after his vessel began taking on water 12 hours into his journey.

He abandoned the home-made kayak about 110km out from Coffs Harbour in New South Wales.

But it was discovered, covered in barnacles but with the name of the kayak - Tasman Odyssey - still visible, by local Auckland man Nathan Marshall on Muriwai Beach on Wednesday.

Now with the kayak found largely in-tact, the 54-year-old has talked it over with his wife and believes it is time to build a new vessel to try and make the crossing late next year.

"It's incredible. I had given up all hope of ever finding the kayak again after six months," he told NZN.

"It probably wouldn't be worthwhile trying to salvage but I'll probably pop over there in the next few days. We're just trying to co-ordinate getting it off the beach and to a property in Muriwai."

Much of the equipment and personal effects that were sealed inside the kayak when it was abandoned are believed to have been either destroyed or lost.

For the next voyage, the new kayak is expected to be a little different from the original with Mr Cleary opting for pedal power rather than the traditional paddle due to a shoulder condition.

The purpose of the Tasman Odyssey was to conduct research of marine species between Australia and New Zealand with Mr Cleary aiming to become the first person to successfully complete the voyage.

His was the 12th unsuccessful solo attempt to kayak the Tasman with the next attempt to be number 13.

The crossing has been fraught with danger with another Australian sea kayaker Andrew McAuley presumed dead after his kayak sunk within sight of New Zealand's Milford Sound in 2007.

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