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Sydney South Head ceremony for lost kayaker


Naval chaplain, Fr Stuart Hall, yesterday conducted a memorial service at Sydney's South Head for Andrew McAuley, while the lost Trans-Tasman kayaker's father asked "where would we be if people were not prepared to venture out of their own cocoon of safety and follow their aspirations?"

A recording of observations McAuley made on his last journey - an attempt to become the first person to kayak from Australia to New Zealand - that had been found in his overturned vessel was played to shocked mourners at the service, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

McAuley, who left Fortescue Bay on the east coast of Tasmania on January 11 and was close to completing the journey when he disappeared on February 9, had described the hardships of his journey.

He had had "a miserable time", had capsized in 30-knot winds and had had to bale up to 100 litres from his cockpit. He had lost some gear and wanted it to be "all over".

It was "wild out there really extreme, full on, f---ing full on. I really could die. It is an excellent adventure, providing I make it. I just hope I have not bitten off more than I can chew".

McAuley's widow Vicki, who attended with her son, Finlay, 3, insisted on playing the recording. Addressing Andrew, she said the lighthouse itself was fitting because "it symbolises what you have always been and continue to be, a beacon of light".

Andrew's father, Peter McAuley, said his son had "done more in his 39 years than most people would in three lifetimes Where would we be if people were not prepared to venture out of their own cocoon of safety and follow their aspirations?"

Richard Styles, a bushwalking friend, said the Tasman crossing had been "an extreme project that required a mental approach few people would be capable of. The fact that he got to within 50 kilometres of his goal will go down as being one of the most remarkable achievements for a kayaker".


SOURCE
'I really could die' - missing kayaker's last words (Sydney Morning Herald, 27/2/07)

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Andrew McAuley

27 Feb 2007