‘Solo’ – Andrew McAuley documentary


The documentary “Solo” was released for the first time in Australia as part of the Adelaide Film Festival and several members of the Marathon Canoe Club of SA were there to witness it.

In December 2006 Andrew McAuley set out to become the first person to kayak solo across one of the worldÕs fiercest bodies of water, the Tasman Sea. It was a quest which was to cost him everything.

Jennifer Peedom (who initially hails from Adelaide) and David Mich™d have gained unique access to McAuleyÕs family, support team, and his own video footage to assemble this unique and highly affecting record of his journey and of the beliefs that motivated it. McAuley emerges as a complex hero, an extreme sports enthusiast but also a family man all too aware of his vulnerability. He believes that life is best understood when you go out on to the edge and challenge its limits, when you stare into the face of death and despair. He must balance this against his love of his wife and young son.

The somber documentary captures his words as he paddles into the abyss, attempting to survive fierce storms, enormous sharks and over a month of confinement in a one-man sea kayak travelling across the Tasman Sea with pressure sores on his flanks that made his journey all the more a trial.

In addition, the documentary features interviews with his supportive wife Vicki, his close friends who defend his actions, and archival news footage.

The empty sea kayak of Andrew McAuley – 2005 Australian Geographic Adventurer of the year – was found drifting in rough seas about 30 nautical miles from the New Zealand coast on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007.

McAuley was attempting to be the first solo paddler to make the ill-advised 1,000-mile crossing of the Tasman Sea between Tasmania and New Zealand.

The former IT worker had the Òexplorer/adventurerÓ DNA, which make some of us leap from planes skydiving, and others without it wear water wings in the shallow end of the pool.  He will traverse one of the most treacherous stretches of open ocean to reach New Zealand in a craft barely bigger than himself.

In doing so, he left his wife a widow; his son with vague memories and no Father.

“Solo” is a tale of defiance in the face of responsibility and what many would term common sense. 

McAuley managed to survive several hardships during the long journey, including a monster storm that generated nearly 40-foot swells and winds gusting up to 70-miles per hour.  However, two days before the trip was expected to end on the New Zealand coast, authorities retrieved a garbled distress signal from a vessel identified as “Kayak One” — with words deciphered as “my kayak’s sinking.”

McAuleyÕs body was never found. He was just 50 miles from his finish line. 

His widow insists, “He made it.”