“I’m really wondering why I’m doing this,” says Andrew McAuley as he leaves Fortescue Bay on the southeastern coast of Tasmania on a solo, unsupported kayak crossing of the Tasman Sea to New Zealand. “And I don’t have an answer.” On January 11, 2007, Andrew McAuley began his quest to become the first kayaker to cross from Australia to New Zealand through one of the stormiest stretches of ocean on Earth. He left behind a wife, child and a job as an IT specialist in Sydney.
Notorious Southern Sea storms can bring 10 metre swells and gusts up to 80 knots. For most of the crossing, McAuley would be out of helicopter rescue range.
On February 9, the New Zealand coast guard received his distress call. After a terrifying month at sea, amid ferocious storms, McAuley perished only 30 nautical miles from finishing his journey. His body was never found, but a memory card from his mounted camera survived. It forms the basis of SOLO, a portrait of a brave, complicated man, his family, his supporters and his attempt to conquer the unconquerable Tasman Sea.