Supplies dropped to trans-Tasman kayaker
A supply drop to kayaker Scott Donaldson has been successful, and he is now expected to have enough supplies to reach New Zealand.
Donaldson, who will be the first person to paddle solo across the Tasman, was found about 460 kilometres west of New Plymouth today and appeared to have survived last night's stormy conditions unscathed.
He retrieved the packages that were dropped to him, including water, food, and a new rudder assembly.
Although some water was lost due to breakage on landing, he now has enough food to last four weeks, and enough water to last 10 days - which his Rotorua-based team believe is enough for him to complete his journey.
Helicopter Services BOP chief pilot John Funnell, who has been dropping supplies to Donaldson from a fixed-wing plane, said yesterday that despite the foul weather brought by storms that hit most of the country, the kayaker was being pushed towards New Zealand by the wind and needed to make the most of that.
Funnell said today's drop was "much more successful" than previous efforts.
He said he was operating in a very tight window, and could see lightning strikes in the distance - but still managed to complete the drop with the vast majority of the supplies intact.
He spoke to Donaldson, who he said was in typically high spirits, despite the prospect of another bout of bad weather.
"We're the only buggers he's spoken to in a while," he said.
"But he's in very good form. He wasn't saying 'pick me up and take me home'. He's very determined."
His previous drop saw a water container break, but Funnell said he had gone back to the "tried and true methods" to make sure it doesn't happen again.
The pilot said he was still funding the supply drops out of his own pocket, and he didn't want to do it alone.
"They [Donaldson's family] don't have sponsors . . . the guy needs some support," he said.
"I hope someone steps up to the mark to help him."
Donaldson's wife Sarah said her husband was going well mentally and physically, and making a fair amount of progress despite the weather.
He was expecting to land at New Plymouth in 10 to 12 days time.
She is looking for sponsorship to help Funnell fund the supply drops.
Donaldson is paddling from Coff's Harbour in New South Wales to New Zealand on behalf of the Asthma Foundation to raise awareness for the need for physical activity.