View interactive

Editorial: Kids pay the price

By Annemarie Quill

Add a comment
Sarah Donaldson wife of kayaker Scott Donaldson should be up for wife of the year.
Sarah Donaldson wife of kayaker Scott Donaldson should be up for wife of the year.

Sarah Donaldson must be up for wife of the year awards.

Many mothers of young children would struggle with giving their husband a pass to go kayaking for the weekend, but Mrs Donaldson let hers go for a three-month odyssey across the Tasman.

She said goodbye to husband Scott in April and was reunited with him on Friday when his attempt was aborted about 55km short off the Taranaki coast due to weather.

I wonder which of the couple was more disappointed at his second failed attempt.

Mr Donaldson was "gutted" and said he would be "irked for a long long time". He was looking forward to his wife's bacon and egg pie.

If I were Mrs Donaldson I would threaten him with said pie that he better not try again.

Mr Donaldson had hoped the mission would raise money for Asthma NZ.

He and his 4-year-old son Zak suffer from asthma.

He was also hoping to highlight the importance of increasing aerobic activity levels in day-to-day lives.

Both laudable goals.

On the one hand we could be grateful for adventurers who brave the odds. Without them we wouldn't have the likes of Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Peter Blake and Burt Munro.

Adventuring can also be a selfish pursuit. It was reported that Donaldson's mishaps and assistance flights left his team struggling to meet costs. Adventurers often rely on funding, but if things go wrong, rescue and emergency teams rush to help.

There can also be a cost more terrible than financial, particularly for adventurers with young families.

In 2007 Australian Andrew McAuley was presumed drowned after trying to kayak solo across the Tasman. His body was never found, only his vessel.

At his memorial service mourners heard a recorded message recovered from his kayak.

"This really is extreme. It's full on. It's full on. I really could die. I mean it's an excellent adventure, providing I make it."

He left behind his widow Vicki and his then 3-year-old son Finlay. Like Mrs Donaldson, Mrs McAuley was supportive even after her husband's death.

While on the one hand we can admire the bravery of adventurers, what is the thrill worth to those who risk losing a husband or parent?

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 22 Sep 2014 21:08:37 Processing Time: 490ms