'Everest of sea kayaking' mission succeeds

HANNAH FLEMING
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2012
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Adam Millen kayaked across Bass Strait, between Victoria and Tasmania.

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Successfully crossing the "Everest of sea kayaking" was an experience that New Plymouth man Adam Millen will not forget.

The 23-year-old has kayaked across Bass Strait, between Victoria and Tasmania, with a group of four others to raise money for Destiny Rescue, an organisation that rescues children from slavery in brothels and red light districts.

The 345km journey took the group 14 days and Millen said certain points of the trip were "a real slog".

"There were times when I wasn't sure we were going to make it through safely," he said.

"The conditions were very rough and at one stage we were paddling through five-metre seas. It was pretty intense," he said.

Millen, who gained attention as part of the group which took a barbecue to the top of Mt Taranaki last year, crossed the strait in a double kayak with Australian Craig Jorgensen and said during the rough weather the boat proved difficult to handle.

"I was incredibly sore at the end of it but it was nice to achieve."

Their paddle times varied from four hours a day to their longest slog of 12 hours between Deal Island and Royden Island on day 10.

"We were having to paddle through waves that were breaking over our heads. Craig and I actually rolled over at one point and we were finding it difficult to roll back over. After a few seconds under the water I decided to bail and did a wet exit," Millen said.

Being wet was a concern, but Millen said they were well equipped with warm clothing and aside from some significant chafing, which he still has scars from, they made it to their stop in one piece.

The group had a goal to raise $50,000 for Destiny Rescue and Millen said they did not quite get there but were happy with the $35,000 they had collected so far.

"It's good to know you're doing it for a reason and for a purpose. The trip was a real stretch for me," he said.

"It really strengthened me as a person, it definitely improved my paddling technique and it was just really great to be able to raise the money for Destiny Rescue," he said.

The adventurer, who has also paddled a couch from Port Taranaki to Fitzroy Beach, said he was not sure what feat he would attack next.

"This trip was two years in the planning so I think it will probably be a while before I do something else," he said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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