News: 60 Hour Paddle Across Bass Strait Completed | Adventure Kayak Magazine | Rapid Media
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Brian and John at the start of their adventure. Photo: Flickr.com/trackthetribute

The paddle was done following a 65-day run across Australia

Adventurer and army veteran, Brian Freeman with world marathon kayaking champion, John Jacoby are pleased to have made it to the mainland of Tasmania, Australia after a mammoth kayak of Bass Straight – in what they believe to be the second fastest attempt on record.

The kayak from Wilsons Promontory, Victoria to Little Musselroe Bay, Tasmania, was completed unsupported in exactly 60 hours with the guys arriving late in the evening on 10 August, 2015. The pair set off on Friday 7 August, 2015 at around 8:30 am.

Brian, Brisbane (QLD), completed the kayak following running a massive 65kms a day, over 65 days, starting in Bamaga in far north Queensland, running to the bottom of Victoria, Australia before commencing the kayak. 

The epic adventure has never been completed before using only human power.

Brian said the time of year to cross wasn’t ideal, but they had a very small weather window to perform the crossing which made it very hard.

“August is not the month you should be kayaking Bass Strait - March is most ideal. But we had to do this off the back of the Everest trip and the Traverse schedule. It was hard. We did it unsupported without any safety boats; on our own. There were certainly some hairy moments. We saw one shark about 5km out from Tasmania, a few seals but not a single fishing boat so there were definitely times the isolation was very paramount,” Brian said. 

On the first day, Brian and John covered 95.3kms; 78.18kms on the second day; and 93.27kms on the third day. “In all, over three days we paddled about 270kms in 60 hours - approximately 4.5kms an hour.

“The scariest part was when the kayaks were submerged when we were hit by two to three metre swells, which came right over us up to our necks. Keeping the kayaks up right after being hammered with freezing cold water was pretty scary and challenging,” Brian said.

Brian and John, Torquay (VIC), a four times World Marathon Kayaking Champion and six times Australian Kayaking Champion (10k to 42k), kayaked Bass Strait together previously, and also kayaked from Australia to New Guinea before running Kokoda in under six days.

“John said this crossing was the hardest and coldest he’s done, with massive swells. We feel good despite pins and needles in our fingertips; blisters on hands, sore lower back and shoulders,” Brian added.

But there was no rest planned for Brian, as before daybreak of the morning after he and John made it to shore, he set off on foot again aiming to complete 65kms of walking as he commenced the walk across Tasmania.

THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN TRAVERSE

The kayak is part of the Great Australian Traverse, supported by Virgin Australia, which aims to raise awareness and funds to help wounded ex-soldiers and Families of the Fallen. The Traverse has seen Brian and his support team of wounded soldiers and parents of fallen soldiers pass through 89 of Australia’s towns and cities, mostly in regional areas, and now will take them across Tasmania. They expect to finish 22 August in Dover. 

“We understand it will be the first ever north to south traverse of Australia using only human power.

“It’s certainly the first following an attempted summit of Mount Everest. We were high on the mountain when the devastating earthquakes struck Nepal. Subsequent avalanches were triggered by the earthquakes and we were stranded at Camp 2 without sleeping bags for two nights prior to being rescued by helicopter and returned to Base Camp. Twenty-two people lost their lives and 160 were badly injured.

“The mountain was closed although I am committed to returning with the Roll of Honour next year,” Brian said. 

Brian will be joined by family members of fallen soldiers from 14 August, 2015.

“We laid 41 poppies in Cape York, and we’ll lay another 41 at the South East Cape of Tasmania. Forty-one poppies will be laid at South East Cape on 22 August, which is the anniversary of Private Matthew Lambert (his mother and father will both be joining Brian in Tasmania for the day),” Brian said.

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