Solo: Lost at Sea
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Solo: Lost at Sea

2008, Sports  -   86 Comments
7.57
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Ratings: 7.57/10 from 75 users.

Solo: Lost at seaIn December 2006 Andrew's first attempt to cross the Tasman Sea in a standard one-man kayak was aborted after two days due to trouble keeping warm inside the cockpit. Andrew's second attempt began on 11 January 2007 and ended on 12 February when the search for his missing body was called off following the recovery of his partly flooded kayak on 10 February just 30 nautical miles short of his destination Milford Sound.

The sleeping arrangements at sea involved deploying a sea anchor, squeezing his body down into the kayak and sealing the hatch with a bulbous fibreglass capsule (dubbed "Casper") fitted with an air-only ventilator which, with its self-righting capabilities, made it possible to ride out the most severe storm conditions that are inevitable in that part of the ocean. Unfortunately, when the capsule was pivoted to its stowing position behind the cockpit, it made it impossible to kayak roll due to being filled with water like a bucket. Therefore, whenever he capsized, he had to swim out of the kayak, push it upright and perform full self-rescue.

When his kayak was recovered, only this capsule was missing. It was presumed to have been torn off by a freak wave. One of its pivot arms had already been damaged. Veteran sailor Jonathan Borgais, who was directing the expedition by providing weather predictions, explained: "From the beginning, my biggest concern was the approach to New Zealand. And this part of New Zealand is notoriously dangerous. On a good day you can get rogue waves: a two or three metre set that can come out of nowhere. Not big, but powerful. That's very dangerous. I have no doubt that a wave got him."

The documentary of Andrew's journey Solo: Lost at sea incorporated video footage recovered from one surviving memory stick in his camera as well as interviews with people on his team during the expedition. It begins with the distress call he made on 9 February.

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Igor
Igor
1 year ago

dude with balls and it's not for us to judge hi

Kruse Kyler
Kruse Kyler
6 years ago

"Play stupid games - Win stupid prizes"
What else can you say.

Ruining his small family by taking away himself as a father. Shame on him.

R MacDonald
R MacDonald
6 years ago

He was brave. He pushed the limits but sometime nature will push back and she pushed back this time and took his life. Ships have been lost in and on that ocean - strong ships with seasoned sailors that didn't survive. It's one of the most dangerous oceans on the planet. I wished he had made it and it's one less miracle on Earth that he didn't. He was a mountain climber I note and people have been calling mountain climbers selfish for decades but they are a special breed and humanity would be less without them. Sometimes the greatest failures are remembered with the greatest honour - for example Scott and the failed 1911 expedition to Antartica.

Brent A
Brent A
8 years ago

Im not saying what he did was a bad thing, just a selfish thing, he knew the risk, he knew he would probably die, he knew he would never see his wife and kid again, but he went anyway. If he loved his wife and kid, I doubt he would have done this. I would love to do something like this, but I wont, I don't want to hurt my family and I am not capable of living in a kayak. Good for him for what he did, but he did it for 1 peron, himself, with no regards to his family, selfish selfish man.

Brent A
Brent A
8 years ago

I watched this documentary 2 years ago and posted this was a selfish act. I still think this is a selfish act, he said the tasman sea isn't a competition but his actions totally disregards that's statement, he was a selfish man who was looking to get famous. I hope his wife found a new husband, one that wont abandon her, and I hope his kid his happy and wonders why his dad did what he did. What did he prove? No one would have heard of him if he accomplished this goal, some dude just kayaked 202 days across the atlantic. that makes this 30 day trip peanuts, he wanted to become famous, and had to die in the process, not much sympathy for him.

Ian
Ian
8 years ago

He killed a little boy's father. He put his own immature urges higher than taking proper care of that little boy - he didn't deserve to have that family as he clearly didn't value it appropriately, he listened to nobody with an adverse take on this trip, left in a vessel laughably under-equipped to deal with that vicious sea - and latterly was clearly well aware of how bad it could go towards the end of the recordings they used for this documentary. Anyone with a little vision could have foreseen an ending of that approximate sort - ie, he'd end up feeding the sharks.

All those praising this ridiculous fool are only showing your own tenuous grasp on what is important in life. This wasn't glorious, it wasn't helpful to anyone - it was an utter waste.

S de Vere
S de Vere
10 years ago

His sort are not Captain James Cook(s) or Christopher Columbus(s)....they are not discoverers. Being the first to cross the Tasman Sea in a kayak, bathtub or giant teapot is an exercise in self-aggrandisement ("look at me"!!) by people lacking self-esteem. If a life only has meaning or happiness through risking it to such a ridiculous purpose......

Hollis
Hollis
11 years ago

if i had a wife and young son, i'd love them more than breaking some stupid record. he died, living recklessly, drunk on adventure, risking his son's future as a fatherless child. give him a break? yeah, right. he was about as self-centered as you can get, and his wife and son pay the price every day of their lives.

ekhoff
ekhoff
11 years ago

What a courageous man. He believed he was invincible. Sadly I believe reality bit him in the ass (literally). If he was unable to apply ointment to sooth his sores on his rump, he had no way of dealing with passing waste and staying clean. Combined with constant salt water immersion and pressure/chaffing points his body tissue simply would have broken down to the point he could not go on. Without a plan to provide for his own sustainability, he was doomed. My heart goes to him as the situation had to be unbearable. He could not eat to stay warm and strong without adding to his other problems. Things we take for granted become life threatening under adverse conditions. His strength, willpower and skill, while huge, were not quite enough. I did water immersion testing for space travel and can not imagine the anguish he must have endured.

Chris Rosamond
Chris Rosamond
11 years ago

Andrew made it. And didn't make it. People who live life large run risks, and, in the end, any of us who do virtually anything at all, stand on the shoulders of the Giants who came before us. Many of those people died while trying to figure it out for those who would follow. Thousands died trying to figure out how to make an oceanic crossing in a sailing ship. Hundreds died while the engineers were trying to figure out how to make automobiles that could cruise comfortably at highway speeds. Many people died trying to figure out how to make airplanes cross mountain ranges, continents, oceans. Next time you drive or fly somewhere, think about those people. What Andrew did was very courageous. His death helps clarify some technical equipment deficiencies that those who want to kayak across huge expanses will learn from. There will definitely have to be a better hatch cover for those wishing to do trans oceanic crossings, and a redundant, perhaps inflatable, storm dodger (cover) for a kayak will have to be built. The issue of the hatch sleeping cover was one of Ed Gillette's main problems when he kayaked from California to Hawaii. An adequate solution to that problem has not been discovered yet. But it will. And someone else will paddle the Tasman sea Solo and live to tell the tale.

Lyndsey
Lyndsey
11 years ago

legend

Truik
Truik
11 years ago

If no one ever tried anything courageous, we would all still die. We would just die without ever really living.

mpuryear
mpuryear
11 years ago

I think we alll try to understand things in our terms and think that others should be like us. It was his life and he should be able to follow his dream. Most of us are too afraid of death to do something like this and thats fine. HIs relationship to fear was the area he was exploring in himself. His wife and friends mourn his loss but understood the risk he was taking and still supported him. Life goes on.

MrSluggo
MrSluggo
11 years ago

This kind of reminds me of Donald Crowhurst only Andrew wasn't trying to deceive anyone except maybe himself. I just don't see how anyone can do this to their family. If you're single yeah go for it but not if you have a wife and a kid.

Hammer2Fall
Hammer2Fall
12 years ago

Who else detected some doubt in his voice but not his words.....

Paul Alexander
Paul Alexander
12 years ago

So sad, so brave and so stupid. He lived his life the best way he could and HE MADE IT!!! NO ONE CAN SAY HE DIDN'T LOVE HIS WIFE AND KID'S!!
He just dreamed a dream that was too big, that's why no one has ever done it. God bless him and his family.

bud oracle
bud oracle
12 years ago

So sad that he didn't make it. What nerve, but still a bit too foolish, imo. There is something in this kind of pursuit that is not rational to people like me. There is nothing in it except personal glory after all. A type of vanity that serves no one but himself. His one words on camera reveals his understanding of the folly that he got himself into. Sad for his son and wife.

Caiomhin O Murachu
Caiomhin O Murachu
12 years ago

Look..this guy died doing something he felt compelled to do, he didn't die driving recklessly or drunk, he didn't risk anyone else's life with his adventure, give him a break..a lot of you will probably die aged eighty and never LIVE a single day.

Brent A
Brent A
12 years ago

This guy is an id**t, he obviously did not love his wife and kid because no human being would ever do this to people they loved. He proved nothing and is probably ended up in a shark which he almost deserves for such an id**tic decision and selfishness. This guy was thinking for himself and his wife and kid have to suffer. I dont care what his wife said, he obviously didnt make it or he would be with his family. SELFISH GUY. OR The greatest fake death and run away of all time.

Mark Sutherland Jr.
Mark Sutherland Jr.
12 years ago

This guy is a BEAST! And when dealing with the scale of the trip that Andrew took, to get within earshot on a radio and eye shot of shore and to die of some unforsean failed piece of equipment in 15 degree water. One has to admit that HE MADE IT MAN! In My Opinion. That there is noone that can take that away from him. The guy paddeled his ass across the Tasman and bore all. He is forever one of the most HARDCORE FULL ON INDIVIDUALS I HAVE EVER EVEN HERD OF!! Cheers Andrew.

Darryl P
Darryl P
12 years ago

He killed himself and his friends let him!! Thats the truth. it was suicide!!!

drs000
drs000
12 years ago

Does anyone know from who the music is?

Arija Lee
Arija Lee
12 years ago

y didnt they send rescue out sooner ? like as soon as they got the message?

bowecho
bowecho
12 years ago

Such a shame he died. His pride, and the need for an Adrenalin rush was a higher priority to him than his little boy. I am sorry for his widow and child.

bowecho
bowecho
12 years ago

Shame he died. His pride, and a need for an adrenaline rush was more of a priority than his little son.

Patrick Leonard
Patrick Leonard
13 years ago

His voice sounds like it is slurred from hypothermia or injury...
That was an inspirational video. I know it sounds weird, but still...
Searching for the limits of human endurance is part of the nature of adventure and discovery. Many mountain climbers have paid the ultimate price to find their limits.
The fact that he made it as far as he did shows that it is possible. It is in learning from the difficulties of others and coming up with solutions that we advance. He has paved a path that one day will allow another to succeed.
What a great man he was.

machine
machine
13 years ago

I Couldn't watch this after he turned around the first time.
While I have not I can't imagine what it feels like to watch this if you lost a husband or a father to something beyond control.
Screw this guy, I hope he dies next time. Pathetic.

Karol
Karol
13 years ago

I guess we should not decide whether she should have taken on this journey... It was up to him and his family. It was their call. He was not a mad man, he knew the risks...

Rest in peace, I hope all adventure seekers will think once more about their projects. There is a limit to everything.

I hope his family is doing alright. His wive was super-tolerant! I love people with this particular trait.

Jason
Jason
13 years ago

Well...we could go on and on for days as to whether what he did was responsible or necessary. As an adrenaline junkie who also happens to be a Dad I can tell you it's not always easy to say no to the rush and there are times when we feel the necessity to do things that others deem as crazy, selfish or irresponsible. But for us there is a necessity to walk on that line from time to time. We can't live without it. If we did...we'd be miserable...we wouldn't be true to ourselves. I don't do many of the risky things I did when I was young....but I do still take risks. Do I want my kids to grow up without me? Of course I don't. I want them to see me LIVE!

No matter what your opinion is...this is an amazing documentary that made us all appreciate our time here and the people in our lives. Congrats to it's creators for that.

See you on the other side Andrew.

Piers
Piers
13 years ago

Just read the book and thought I'd watch the doco again.

An awesome story of bravery and the great generosity of a wife to accommodate the dreams of her husband. But I have to say that there are some things that the most hardened, experienced and adventurous just can't do no matter what - even with all the luck in the world. It seems Andrew's attempt to solo kayak the Tasman into Milford Sound was one of these. And the problem of the kayak flipping with the bubble (Casper) open seems to be the big - foreseeable - issue. A big wave turns the boat over while you're paddling and you're forced out of the kayak to try to right the water-logged boat. This is probably why he didn't use the epirb - he couldn't reach it and wound up separated from the kayak.

OM
OM
13 years ago

Thank you for the sharing the documentary.

Andrew Buen Camino Hermano.

SK OM

Adam
Adam
13 years ago

I am finally able to watch this video again. I think i watched it too many times before and they cut me off i guess.

anyway, i think this was one of the all-time great adventures and he was one of the great adventurers.

Leroy
Leroy
13 years ago

What an inglorious selfish bast..., to seek fame in such a way that flies in the face of responsibility to those he could leave behind for eternity.

Thomas
Thomas
13 years ago

The whole 9th minute i believe lends credence to my opinion ...

Thomas
Thomas
13 years ago

Addiction- is an uncontrollable compulsion to repeat a behavior regardless of its negative consequences.

This man was addicted to strong nero-chemicals......

this is my opinion....any thoughts?

Peter
Peter
13 years ago

"...Yet I cannot tarry longer. The sea that calls all things unto her calls me, and I must embark. For to stay, though the hours burn in the night, is to freeze and crystallize and be bound in a mold." KG

Totally get it!

whatever
whatever
13 years ago

There is some footage of some i@#$% going over Niagara in a kayak. They also never found his body. Brave, yes, smart, no. This is about as stupid for someone to take unnecessary risk that doesn't require much skill. Andrew hadn't been kayaking that long. Anyone can go get themselves killed.

I don't like the title "Solo" this implies anyone paddling solo is asking to die.

The cheerleaders here enjoyed seeing someone die like that and doesn't care about his life or family. He should have gotten a job and gone kayaking with his family, but he didn't like to work hard at anything.

cooldude
cooldude
13 years ago

hahaha the loser was deaded

he sux

kia
kia
13 years ago

its 2007 and he didnt he didn't use gps, or it seem by the way they had to search for him. (wonder who paid all those costs)

kia
kia
13 years ago

I only wish I had a quarter of this guy's balls and passion for adventure. wow! It seems suicidal to the rest of us..for very good reasons. (personally, I woulda brought scuba gear.. or a boat behind me somewhere) A kayak? with no help in reach. (its the luck of the draw of the conditions) At some point it stops being 'extreme adventure' and starts becoming the very real probably that you're going to die. 15 degree water? Love to him and his family.

Torrque
Torrque
13 years ago

What an AMAZING adventurer!!! What an AMAZING journey!!

Torrque
Torrque
13 years ago

WTF!! So many people here think a person cannot make a choice for themselves?! If you wouldn't choose to do it, your choice. That's fine. You don't even have to be labeled for not taking risks. But for this guys, that he was married and had a child; sad, true, but a person must live by their own god. Plain and simple. He hurt his wife and child however indirectly.

NOT directly through directed action like abuse, hate or otherwise. Some people HAVE to do what they do. And it was his choice. In all its finality! Lay off him and live your own life and hope they do a documentary on your model citizenship. Personally, I love that he has inspired something, ANYTHING, within you so strong that you're an arm chair judge, jury and critic... safe and sound in your own comforts.

Withing his mind and body, he struck out for his own brand of 'comfort'. Before critizing him, you'd have to walk a mile in his shoes and feel as he does to know, REALLY KNOW, why and WTF he needed to do this for. He was driven to it for his reasons and from his vantage point, not yours. Keep quiet, it wasn't your journey to take.

Dave
Dave
13 years ago

maybe not dumb but unnecessary.

Dave
Dave
13 years ago

Is a person brave for taking a dumb risk? He wasn't going to war nor was he trying to find cancers cure in the ocean. It was an accomplishment he wanted to make for personal reasons.He was well aware of the risk as well as what he had to lose.

RIP

harry
harry
13 years ago

A sad story. Many may say he was selfish, but aren't we all? No, an adventurer (in the broad sense of the term) is by definition selfish. Respect.

duncang
duncang
13 years ago

For all of those "stay at home sheep" complaining about the reckless nature of this attempt, including the wingers from sea rescue - think about it - without this kind of brave individual you would probably still not be aware that New Zealand even existed.

In fact you would probably all still be living in some tiny corner of africa !!!

Get a life or just stay a home behind your TV and keep your opinions to yourselves.

Tegan
Tegan
13 years ago

PS... this is an absolutely amazing documentary. Extremely gripping, overpoweringly emotion - I wept many times throughout. Most of all tho, I'm NOT raging on Andrew McAuley (sorry for spelling it wrong in my previous message). He was vey obviously an AMAZING human being, and I'm sure that anyone that had met him would have instantly seen him dripping with charisma... I just find the tale to be so amazingly tragic. Its right there with "Touching the Void", "Into the Wild"... all three stories are focussed on some type human error, lapse in judgement. I'm just really sad for his family... His on Father and his wife and child, with such high hopes - waiting on a beach in New Zealand for a man that never came... McAuley was absolutely addicted to addrealine - however, unfortunately, that type of addict is typically praised. Now, other than the two being addictions in their own rights, a drug addict needs to break an addiction as, if let run free, it will take over his life til rock bottom or death; but people intervene and help them break the cycle. And now that foods, gambling, shoplifting, sex are all forms of addiction now, I think its time people started looking at the opposite end of it. Just because its socially acceptable, it doesn't mean its not unheathy... too much of a good thing is a bad thing...

thats all I've got to say
Regards,
T

Tegan
Tegan
13 years ago

Some good comments here (SOME, certainly not anywhere even close to half of them tho) I can see both sides clearly, and can agree with points made on both of them... Yes, Adventurers are the basis for expanding the waorld, but you've got to understand that - tho being the first kayak between two relatively meaningless points, he wasn't adding to the world in any real way. Brave, yes, courage, yes, addicted to addrenaline, yes, to a fault, absolutely. Do it when you're young, do it when you're not leaving your wife and young child to fend for themselves... Everyone of you, look back on your life: can you imagine how ripped off you'd have felt if you grew up without all of your amazing, heroic father's knowledge and wisdom being passed on? Andrew McAuly was tremendously brave, had the heart of a warrior, and a commitment to edurence unrivaled by many... but the fact of the matter is, all those things are in past tense, and all the dying doing what you loves, and its takes people like him to ...'s don't mean a THING to a boy growing up. Yes, he'll always be able to look back and be proud of his dad - but personally I'd have like my Dad to do be REALLY couragous, and comprimise his addrenaline addiction for ME. And not so much that I'd ever ask it of him, I would have wished that he could have come to the conclusion the I was more important than paddling accross a virtually abitrary stretch of sea... REST IN POWER ANDREW MCAULY... You WERE heroic, and you WERE brave... but I know of at least a couple people in Australia that wish, more than anything, that they sould say that you're STILL all of those things, including a father to you beautiful boy, a husband you your gorgeous wife, and a friend to your gang of mates...

RIP

(i didn't proofread,edit, or spell check any of this -- far too early for that! so, just bear with me

TheRandomGuy
TheRandomGuy
13 years ago

Rest In Peace.

Andrew truly "made it across the Tasman Sea". 30 miles is zilch when compared to what he had already covered in those conditions. There will always be a bunch of people to criticize someone, and thats the way our society is. One will always have a family, wife, kids or parents, so does that mean one should not go ahead with such ambitions? If an accident occurs people talk crap, if it doesn't people talk more crap.

Through the documentary I had been thinking, why wasn't any ship or boat or whatever accompanying him? Why was he not using a satellite phone, I mean when could message using it, why not call people on land ? Why was he not tracked using a GPS device ? (now a days we have cars, dogs tagged that way, so why not a guy who was so helpless at the sea? he was about to make history after all)

Brave Guy! I pay my respects to him.

L.Lesyk
L.Lesyk
13 years ago

I believe that deeply he did not want to make this journey ,previous accomplishments that created his mind set strongly out way the common mans way of thought .then add the element of competition now he's put aside any thought of quieting this goal and what ever happened to the two young fellas that were attempting this quest?were they successful? I'm sure that finnley will be fine and grow up surrounded by loving family.RIP Andrew.