Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Faulconbridge kayaker attempts circumnavigation of Australia

No looking back: Stuart Trueman paddles South Australia’s Victor Harbor. Photo: The Times.
Somewhere in the seas to the south of Australia a Faulconbridge man is paddling his sea kayak in a monumental attempt to circumnavigate the continent.
Stuart Trueman set off from Broome in April and has since overcome heavy seas, wild weather and heat stroke to recently make it past the treacherous waters of the Great Australian Bight.
The 48-year-old made it relatively unscathed through the area, though the geographical names did not always fill him with confidence.
“You pass ‘Coffin Bay’ and ‘Misery Bay’ to get to ‘Avoid Bay’, (was not sure ‘Avoid Bay’ was a suggestion or the bay’s name!),” Stuart said on his blog. “After which you round ‘Point Avoid’ to get to ‘Cape Catastrophe’ where the islands, which are named after sailors who drowned here, are home to large Great White Sharks.
“Anyway, apart from being blown over and losing my hat nothing bad happened and I got to the other side.”
The expedition has also had its difficult moments for wife Sharon, most notably a 1am knock on the door from Springwood police, who had heard reports of a flare being let off near Stuart's expected location in the Bight.
“It couldn’t have come at a worse time. But luckily it turned out not to be him. But yeah, pretty scary,” said Sharon.
Sharon and the couple’s two young children had an emotional reunion with Stuart in mid-October during a week-long rest period in Adelaide following the challenging stage of the journey.
Now back on his way, Stuart will reach the halfway point of the 16,000 kilometre trip when he makes it to Sydney around Christmas, before continuing on to his scheduled arrival back in Broome by July or August.
It is not the first foray into adventure for the Department of Defence employee who has previously scaled mountain peaks in Europe and paddled his kayak across Bass Strait and around the Antarctic Peninsula, the latter with close friend Andrew McAuley, who went missing off the New Zealand coast in 2007 as he attempted to cross the Tasman Sea in a kayak.
Sharon said the memory of his friend had emphasised the importance to Stuart of being prepared for every possibility.
“I'm sure it’s sharped him a little bit . . . He’s as Andrew was, extremely careful, and everything [is done] with meticulous planning.”
To follow Stuart on his trip go to vents/australia-by-kayak.html.

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