Andrew McAuley Disappeared In Sight of Land


According to this article over at Stuff.co.nz Andrew McAuley perished less than 30 nautical miles from land. Photographs from the kayaker’s camera, show that he was in sight of the taller peaks of the South Island of New Zealand before he went missing.

McAuley was attempting to become the first man to cross the Tasman Sea, between Australia and New Zealand back in February. He was expected to reach land on Feb. 10th, but on the 9th he sent a distress signal. The next day his kayak was found, but his body is still missing.

A camera found on board the kayak shows McAuley at various stages of the expedition, including the photo I’ve linked to here. One of the last images were of the high peaks of the South Island, which surely gave him hope that he was nearing the end of his journey. It’s sad that he came up that short, and didn’t quite make it, but he also went out living an adventure, and doing one of the things he loved best.

44 thoughts on “Andrew McAuley Disappeared In Sight of Land”

  1. As I watched the episode the only thing I could think about was the absolute selfishness of this so called ‘adventurer’. These people who claim to be living life to the full but who take the feellings and welfare of others forgranted for ones selfish desires is the furthest thing from living. His story confirms that in this world there are those who don’t deserve to have life at all and Andrew McAuley was one of them. And for those who say he died doing what he loved I doubt that was what he was thinking as his lungs filled with water. He was no doubt thinking about his wife, son and friends, therefore the moments before he died were the only moments of sanity in his pathetic life.
    There was only one thing worthy for this man and he got it.

    • All people die. Weather they kayak or not. The selfish person is the one who would deny the right a person has to risk their life in pursuit of their dreams.

  2. Wow! You might not agree with his approach to life and his acceptance of risk in going after the goals he set up for himself, but saying that someone doesn’t deserve to live is harsh and uncalled for. I respect your opinion, even if I don’t agree with it, but I it’s not your place to judge him in this way.

  3. Thanks for the link Jonathan. Very interesting article. I’m guessing from the amount of traffic that I’ve been getting lately on “Andrew McCauley” that there has been some kind of television special or report on him. I must have missed it, but it seems a lot of people have discovered Andrew’s story of late.

  4. It’s really unfortunate that he had already reproduced before nature cleansed itself of his defective genes….

    Lor St. John

  5. It’s amazing to me how stupid and judgmental people are. If someone is successful at setting and achieving a seemingly impossible goal he or she becomes a hero. But if they fail they get called an idiot for trying. Steve Fosset flew around the world non-stop. What was the point? Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Who cares? The fact is that there are people among us who risk everything to push the boundaries of what we think of as being humanly possible. Adrew McAuley was one of these individuals. To say that he deserved to die is to confess what a narrow minded, small, fearful person you are. Clearly, you are personally threatened by someone that is willing to risk his life to push the boundaries of human possibility. You have my sympathies for being such a limited pathetic person.

    I am very thankful that our creator, in all his wisdom, chose to create people like Andrew. With only people like you around we would be a very limited species indeed.

  6. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    I respect people’s opinions, as I have already said, but to wish someone’s death just because you don’t agree with their approach to life and pushing themselves, is just inane.

  7. Anynomous wrote; It's really unfortunate that he had already reproduced before nature cleansed itself of his defective gene –

    as far as I'm concerned you are one ignorant human being. You obviously have no understanding of the human will & determination.

    I don't even know why you are subscribe to this website.

    …wow, this anynomous guy is one worthless piece of*&?*&%#. People like you make this world a sorry place to live.

  8. Being anonymous on the Internet makes a lot of people talk tough and say things they normally wouldn’t I’ve gotten use to it, but it doesn’t make it any easier to take. Some people will never “get it” when it comes to doing some of these adventures.

  9. I’ve just watched a documentary on this idiot. Yes, idiot. Sorry, but that is what he was. If he had arranged for a support craft to follow him like cross-sea swimmers do, it would NOT have lessened his achievement had he made it – as long as he never made use of their assistance. And if he was to capsize, he wouldn’t have had to die and leave a child fatherless – it just would have meant failure, something we all have to live with in our lives at some stage or another.

    I really think some of you need to pull your tongues out of his dead ass – comparing him to Neil Armstrong or Steve Fossett and other first time great achievers is as stupid as attempting to kayak the stretch of open sea McAuley did. Most adventurers have rescue procedures in place or, if not, much better strategies in place to limit the risks. This was a one nasty wave and you’re dead situation.

    But in saying all that, I also won’t agree with those that wished him dead or said he deserved to die – no one has the right to say who deserves to die or not. That is just nasty. But to sum up, at the moment in the UK we are having the slow death of a female celebrity with terminal cervical cancer televised – so forgive me for saving my sympathy for people who don’t have the choice to live or die. I also reserve sympathy for McAuley’s son, who never asked to be born to a selfish moron of a father.

  10. I agree with the comments that see this as a selfish act.I work as a sea kayak guide and in no way am I inspired by this persons actions.Sea kayaks historically are coastal vessels,not blue water craft.Heroes are people who give themselves for the sake of others(token PR induced charity mentions not included).I fail to see how this mans family could have benefitted from this,’successful’ crossing or not.If he had landed,no doubt a further silly,pointless venture undertaken because of a psychological need that hadn’t been addressed would follow.

  11. to the Anonymous blogger. Maybe it was selfish, and undoubtably he has put his loved ones through hell, but to declare that he doesn’t deserve life and that he got what he deserved is disgusting, true he paid the ultimate price on this occasion but I’m sure his life up to this point was anything but pathetic, with thousands of experiences most people (yourself included) could only dream of. i just hope no one who knew him come across this blog because your words are truelly hurtful, and no one deserves their memory spoke of in such a way.

  12. This ‘adventure’ amounted to nothing more than a suicide.

    There has never been a situation that so clearly illustrated the need to follow the 6 P’s.

    Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

    How could his team even entertain the idea that it was possible? what with his poor, thrown together equipment and the lack of support craft.

    out of the 1600km journey only 200kms either side of the crossing were covered by helicopter rescue.

    one word for this trip. waste.

    now, i cant continue, im off to inflate my dingy, get some sandwiches from tesco, and tackle a huge expanse of water. you think my mobile phone will work in the north sea?

  13. After watching the documentary aire on Monday the 23 of feb, i would like to say that although this man’s actions where not all that responsible for a person in such a role, as a father or husband.
    However it was his wish to undertake the chalenge and to take the risks involved whether it was a resonsible decision or not, no ones perfect.
    Only the most pecimistic and cowardly of you people would look at this mans death as a waste or that his actions were selfish.
    Surely he consulted his family and friends on the risks and they felt that to stop him from undertaking his ‘adventure’ would be a selfish act thmselves. i doubt anyone considered theyre thoughts on that matter!
    furthermore To condone someones death just because they took an unneccesary risk is callous and immoral . It is in human nature to reproduce, so why is it wrong for him to have a son? im sure when his son is old enough to express his own opinion his wont be one of anger towards his dad for fathering him!
    these people blogging here will take risks every day of thier lives crossing the road or driving a vehicle. only in decairing themselves Agoraphobic would these peolple honestly be backing up thier own opinion.
    Personaly i think these people are hypocrits.
    ultimately this man will be an insparation to many and a deterrant to others!

  14. chris,

    so everyone who condemns this act is a coward?? it was the last sorry act of a deluded individual.

    i think in years to come when his son grows up he, with someone else playing the father role, will feel resent and loathing towards his birth father,killing himself chasing a stupid, pointless dream that if he had completed it anyway would not have advanced the human race on millimeter.

    everyone takes risks, but not in the same league as this idiot, and if you believe that his death has advanced the human race then i am afraid that you to, are an idiot, and you should sit down and shut up and keep your stupid opinions and ideas to yourself, dont try to make out you are some kind of daredvil adventurer by placing yourself above others by calling anyone who thinks it was stupid, a coward.this was suicide, plain and simple, would you have been so full of respect if he had taken an overdose or hung himself. no, because he died paddling across the tasman, he is a fantastic adventurer. why didnt he try and swim it? he would have been the first but that would just have been stupid right?

    now shut up and go and take a half arsed kayak across one of the most deadly stretches of water and then come backand tell me you have advanced the human race. idiot.

  15. Chris.I don’t consider myself pessimistic or cowardly,but thanks for that.Everyday of everyones life carrries risk.Most of us try to live not die.Those of us with dependants and people we love tend not to unduly jepodize our lives.Facing up to life not death is the more commendable option.I have much more admiration of a young widow bringing up an orphaned child than a man who feels the need to propel a piece of fibreglass across water for a month.

  16. Let’s also remember that AM most definitely believed he could do this. He admitted himself during the trip that he had underestimated this journey. In the end, belief is in many ways the yardstick he should be measured by (not that I actually think it’s our right to judge him). In the same way that you don’t condemn religious people for following their faith, I don’t think you can condemn AM for following his. And this is coming from someone who’s not religious might I add.
    His faith, if you want, was believing he could do anything.

    That said, I don’t understand why he didn’t get a rescue boat to follow his kayak. My guess is that it would have been possible despite the rough seas?

    Regardless, instead of criticising him you should admire him for believing so strongly in something and pursuing it despite adversity (with the blessing of his friends and family). This was undoubtedly larger than him!

    Obviously he was aware of the risk he was taking but I don’t think this sort of risk is interpreted in the same way by people like him as it is by most people. He most definitely saw his surroundings through a different lens than most of us, and that doesn’t make him a bad person.

    Finally, why would anyone even care to taint the memory of someone who’s passed away? Shame on you.

  17. I find it incredible that some people think that we must always move within the safety bubble that we build in our modern cities. Much of this planet was only explored because of people like Andrew. People still work and live in places where medical emergencies can not necessarily get modern attention, out of helicopter range.

    I am not saying Andrew did not make mistakes, the question has to be asked why he did not set off his EPIRB when he made his emergency call? It would have made rescuing him an easier option and he may not have died.

    But to attack the idea behind his journey………

  18. Just finished the documentary. Why is nobody concerned with the fact that the New Zealand authorities got a distress call from Andrew and repeated the words to him “YOUR KAYAK IS SINKING?” and did nothing. “Oh we heard the part about his kayak sinking but the rest we couldn’t understand, so you know, lets just wait it out”. what the fuck is that?

  19. To the person who goes by 'Anonymous' and has said the most disgusting things that can come from a human being – I start to wonder if you really understand what it means to be a human being (if you are one?)

    To the family that Andrew left behind – His legacy will live on forever. A life that was lived meaningfully. A life's story worth telling.

  20. To Anonymous: You seem to have a lot of hate in you. To have such a strong, negative, hateful opinion about someone you did not even know is quite sad and disturbing. No one can really understand the drive this man had to try something most would never ever attempt. I feel for his wife and son. They do not need the opinions of hateful, ignorant people. Stop the hate and all the negative comments, the world doesn't need it. Put your energy towards doing something good and stop pushing your negativity on others. Rest in peace Andrew.
    cc

  21. Yesterday i watched the documentray on german television.
    it was relaly moving. i could hardly sleep becuae andrews white face appeared in my dremas. well he surely looked like a ghots.
    i couldnt help thinking that his journey stood under a bad sign from the beginning. i can help thinking that…
    how can fate betrayal such a brave man. sinking in his kayak with land already in sight….

    what moved me the most was that photograph of his wife sitting there just touching that kayak with her hand.

    i hope she and her son can somehow cope with that loss….

  22. ANDREW MCAULEY IS THE FIRST MAN WHO CROSSED THE THASMANIEN SEA!
    HE POOSHED MANS LIMITE AS FAR AS ITS POSSIBLE. GOD BLESSE ALL HIS FAMILLY!

  23. Don't feed the trolls people.
    This foul person who is degrading a dead person should have his comments removed. It's not helping the discourse about safety or the spirit of the adventurer. Andrew McAuley RIP.

  24. You fools call this hero a selfish man, but you are insulting him whilst his family probably read this. YOU are the selfish ones. You dont believe he deserves life, yet chances are you spend yours sitting in front of your computer!… you obviously dont even have a life. So if anyone should lose theirs its YOU!! Dumb Fux! You might spend 100 years but still wont have experienced half of what Andrew McAuley has and his child will have more love and support in his life than your children will ever have because you guys are obviously friendless cause you are dikheads!!

  25. Good Afternoon!!! adventureblog.net is one of the most excellent innovative websites of its kind. I enjoy reading it every day. I will be back.

  26. This documentary is running on the National Geographic channel here these days.

    I am an avid fan of the Shackletons & Viesturs of the world but I can't put AM in that category. I cannot help but decry these "experts" on his "land team" and be incredulous about his "experience."

    Ok French Guy? I love your accent and I love the holistic way you talk about the mighty weather. You really had me convinced of your expertise. THEN WHY didnt you tell him he would likely be dead with his current setup? You were an expert?

    Kayak Designer Guy? Wow, how can you call yourself that when you didnt foresee the total limitation of that stupid casper head? Why didnt anyone at any point posit the immediate death scenario of that thing malfunctioning? It robbed the kayak of the very function that makes it a kayak??!!? At least some sort of auto-eject release if it did in fact, get submerged and filled with water in this um, STORM FILLED OCEAN?

    What's sort of astonishing and almost mystical is that the Sea let him make it so far. She really let him think he made it, and at the last minute, smote him like the self-described "speck", a few miles from shore. In calm seas. A rogue set of waves. [deep sigh]

    I really appreciate (?) the guy for his fascination with deep fear, I really dig the whole spirit of man in nature but why oh why was this experiment almost setup to fail?

    Here 3 years later, I'm still really moved by the poor guy's last transmission and the thoughts of his rolling in dark seas for hours on end for almost a month only to succumb from what seems like otherworldly exhaustion and delirium. Wow.

    I wish someone had thought to send a boat to follow safely behind so his kid had a dad.

  27. When you become a parent you have to take that new life into consideration when you made decisions. This boy will grow up with out his father now. Not because of a bad accident while he was innocently driving to work one day. He put himself into great danger. I too think it is very selfish.

    Died doing what he loved? I would hope he would much rather die an old man with his child by his side. After watching him grow up and getting a lifetime of experiences with him. How is that NOT better then paddling around in a kayak?

    This was not worth it and yes it is a little selfish.

    Whatever beauty and happiness he got out of what he was doing has nothing to do with the terrible way he died. So to say "He died doing what he loved…" who loves drowning in the night?

  28. I believe some people need this kind of extreme thrills to feel alive, to appreciate life and live life to the fullest.
    I am really moved by his story. I admire his perseverance, his faith, his respect for nature. Some people are driven by things stronger than themselves to do extreme things. This magnificent adventure turned into a nightmare but while remain a source of inspiration for me.
    true: his wife, son, family and friends are left behind. But I believe they understand the urge he felt, they know he needed this to be the man he was.
    RIP Andrew

  29. RIP
    anyways, lets get to the nitty gritty, Andrew was really after what? MONEY! lol i bet in his mind he was thinking of how he will get him million and maybe do some young babe while happily living the family life in style and all lavished. anyhow someone else got the mil but the wife got 'donations' so to speak. they didn't have time and were low on money. the team's budget and rush just made the whole thing a perfect failure. Andrew was crying the second he took off from shore.

  30. Just watched the documentary "on National Geographic Channel at June 29th 2012 @ 2am in the USA. never heard of this life story. it was great to see his strength and how sad the 1st launch went with him crying hard as his son kept saying bye dad. You could feel the pull to do this and the pull he had to come back to his family.

    I hope his son and wife are doing well…shocking how old his son must be now (mabe 9 or 10???)

    Andrew McAuley was born AUGUST 7th 1968.. Would be 44 this year..

    rip Andrew

  31. As a parent I can NOT understand what this man was thinking, leaving a very young son (and his wife a single parent) all for his burning desire to experience an "adventure".
    Maybe one of you more daring people can explain to me what would be so "compromising" to have had a support crafty trailing him.
    I am really, really sorry he disappeared at sea; I am not in the least surprised.

  32. Well…I find, reluctantly, I am compelled to say, the following: One of the main reasons that people similar to AM are good Dads and a great inspiration to a whole generation and beyond is, in my opinion, because, I imagine, he would never have come on a blog like this AND started calling people who he never met, an idiot.

    He might have been a dreamer, but what all these small little people who criticise him, (like they are the evil "step mother" out of snow white and the seven dwarfs) is that he DID actually cross 97.5% of that Ocean on a simple Kayak the way the Aborigines might have, one or two dead along the way. EPIC AWESOME incase you missed that.

    That person(s) who said that AM should have never had a child, or that he was "silly" for risking his life (come on! listen to yourselves) reminds me, isn't that what the Nazi's said about the Jews? And so they tried to blot them out from History. EPIC FAIL. And didn't they also accuse them of "being idiots" because they were jealous of their success to date. Oh, you people would like to answer me? Why bother? Your "annonymous" comments will just be removed, because, like the Nazi's, you cannot stop yourself hating, while <<<<<<<<>>>>>and all the people who dared to live their dreams, will LIVE FOREVER! haha ha ha hahaha and have the last laugh.

  33. IT WAS BECAUSE HE WAS A "DAD" THAT HE FELT THE DESIRE TO LEAVE A HERITAGE! AND HE SUCCEEDED ๐Ÿ™‚ WHAT A GREAT MAN!

  34. I saw the story of Andrew McAuley a few days ago, and occupied with it ever since. was he a hero, or just a fool?

    I understand how he liked to do it alone, without much help, old school etc. and respect it, but readin the link/report below you can't but see that he made some (serious) mistakes and acted a bit 'irresponsable', I think.

    The link below is a Report on the Inquest into the Death of Andrew McAuley.

    http://nswskc.wordpress.com/2008/03/24/nsw-sea-kayak-club-report-on-the-inquest-into-the-death-of-andrew-mcauley-70/

  35. I saw the story of Andrew McAuley a few days ago, and occupied with it ever since. was he a hero, or just a fool?

    I understand how he liked to do it alone, without much help, old school etc. and respect it, but readin the link/report below you can't but see that he made some (serious) mistakes and acted a bit 'irresponsable', I think.

    The link below is a Report on the Inquest into the Death of Andrew McAuley.

    http://nswskc.wordpress.com/2008/03/24/nsw-sea-kayak-club-report-on-the-inquest-into-the-death-of-andrew-mcauley-70/

  36. There is nothing wrong with someone being an adventurer,they have made many discoveries and we would certainly be the poorer for them not having the courage and the motivation to do what others would not dream of attempting.I cannot understand why some of the comments I just read are so negative not to say hostile.That man harmed no one, his wife was entirely in agreement with his ventures,she knew the risks he took and she was proud of him, he was an achiever.So stop bashing him,the man deserves our respect.

  37. What kind of preparation or training did he have? Where was his life jacket? His hands were bleeding half way through and he was uncomfortable in his kayak which leads me to believe he had no preparation.

  38. I saw the documentary in BBC yesterday in the Americas. It is the rescuers fault 100% and in part his team that was trying to communicate with him. Without proper resources and back-up they should have never allowed McAuley undergo such a feat. Even after getting a distress radio call, they did not act immediately. He even stated his exact location which was just 30 miles away from the shore. Had the rescue team acted immediately he would have survived. After the distress call he would have be hanging on for about an hour and half before hypothermia set it. His team members knew that rouge waves were an issue in the last stretch. As soon as there was a delay in the satellite messages, they should have sent help immediately. At least a few boats. Hope the Australian & New Zealand government realize their mistake and take some accountability. I hope they set up a scholarship or a trust in his name.

    What a great soul lost. My condolence to his wife and son. They are all simple souls and in this instance, lack of planning and delayed response caused this mishap. May his soul rest in peace and may he conquer many more oceans in the heavens. What a true inspiration 'Andrew McAuley' is for the human soul. A true pioneer and a legend. You have truly inspired me and I will always remember your courage and discipline whenever I visit Tasmania.

    God bless his soul and Family.

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