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Crossing the Ditch : Two Mates, a Kaya/Castrission, J/Paper/0732288606/S010-B
With more than 2,000 km of treacherous seas and dangerously unpredictable weather and currents, not to mention the ever-present threat of sharks, it was little wonder no one had ever successfully crossed the Tasman by kayak. Australian adventurer Andrew McAuley had come close just months earlier - though, tragically, not near enough to save his life. But two young Sydneysiders, James Castrission and Justin Jones, reached the sand at New Plymouth - and a place in history - on 13 January, 2008, 62 days after they'd set off from Forster on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. In the process, they overcame a litany of difficulties, including dwindling food supplies, a string of technical problems and two close encounters with sharks, as well as one demoralising 14-day period in which - caught in a whirlpool - they found themselves being dragged back to Australia. When they arrived in New Zealand, they were sunburnt, bearded, underweight, physically and mentally wasted - and, most of all, happy to be alive.