Aussie kayakers within view of New Zealand

Posted on January 12, 2008 by



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Aussie kayakers to reach NZ within hours

Posted 16 minutes ago
Updated 15 minutes ago

Australian kayakers James Castission and Justin Jones

Nearly there: Australian kayakers James Castrission and Justin Jones in their kayak on January 9 (AAP: Rob Tucker)

Two Australian kayakers who have been paddling across the Tasman for nearly two months have spent their last night at sea.

James Castrission, 25, and 24-year-old Justin Jones are now so close to completing the first Trans-Tasman crossing by kayak that the twinkling lights of the North Island port city of New Plymouth may well have made it hard to sleep.

Within the next few hours they will step ashore in New Zealand to a heroes’ welcome.

The pair left Forster on the New South Wales mid-north coast in a nine-metre kayak on November 13, hoping to reach New Zealand before Christmas.

Unhelpful headwinds and swirling currents out in the Tasman added an extra 1,000 kilometres to the journey.

But with the finish line in sight and a triumphant reunion with family and friends in mind, the pair urged family and friends to “get the party hats on”.

Media spokesman Tom Mitchell says family and well wishers will greet them at New Plymouth Beach today.

“There’s an amazing crowd building down here at New Plymouth Beach and it’s going to get even bigger as the day progresses,” he said.

“I’m hoping by the time the guys do actually make their entry, that we’ve got a huge crowd of several thousand people. So it should be a fantastic entrance for them.”

Hundreds of kayaks and local yachts are expected to escort the record-breakers the final few kilometres this morning, ahead of a ceremonial Maori welcome as they step ashore.