Kayak found: now to retrieve it

AIMEE GULLIVER
Last updated 16:50 15/07/2014

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Scott Donaldson is on a mission to retrieve the kayak he spent almost three months in while trying to cross the Tasman.

Donaldson, 44, was rescued by helicopter last Friday 74 kilometres off the Taranaki coast, after suffering head and chest injuries in rough weather on what was the last night of 83 days at sea.

He left Coffs Harbour in New South Wales for Port Taranaki on April 19, on a voyage designed to raise awareness of the need for physical activity, in partnership with the New Zealand Asthma Foundation.

If he had completed the trip he would have become the first to paddle a kayak across the Tasman solo.

Taupo-based helicopter pilot John Funnell, who dropped food and water to Donaldson when he ran low on supplies, said the pair found the kayak this morning.

"I picked Scott up this morning from New Plymouth," Funnell said.

"I said 'let's go and find this damn thing, the day's good - and see if we can't find someone to go and pick it up for you'."

The kayak was found about 20 nautical miles off Farewell Spit, at the top of the South Island.

It had taken on some water, but would be salvaged this afternoon.

Donaldson was "delighted" when they spotted the kayak he spent so much time in.

"You know, it's about all he owns," Funnell said.

"With the help of many Golden Bay locals and a generous donor, the MV Maggie Rose has been engaged to take Scott to his kayak."

Funnell said he would fly out to the kayak and guide the boat to it.

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