His yellow kayak, Madeline, named after his five-year-old daughter, was equipped with watertight compartments and a spare emergency paddle clipped to the hull. A distress beacon was attached to his life jacket, and near his hands were the 1990s adventurer’s tools: a portable GPS receiver and a cell phone.
He used the phone to communicate progress to Mercer and the GPS receiver to plot his course in the open sea – except when it failed on his longest run from Port Albert in Victoria to Hogan Island.
He brought some food and drink. The rest he took from the sea. An hour before landing, he caught and cleaned a fish that was ready to cook when he landed.
For the first few weeks he was sore after a day of paddling, but then he settled into a rhythm and chewed 40 kilometers a day.
Yesterday he cut through cold southerly squalls on the Derwent River to reach the dock, the traditional destination of Sydney-Hobart racers. Next week he will go back to work in Sydney, the adventure is over.
But he has an idea. “And this is a scandalous idea. Sydney to Tokyo. A journey of goodwill. It would take a year. That would be a great life.”