A New Zealand yachtsman and his six-year-old daughter, who went missing more than three weeks ago, have been found alive and well at Ulladulla, on the New South Wales south coast.
Alan Langdon left Kawhia Harbour on a small catamaran with his daughter on December 17.
But what could have been passed off as an innocent pre-Christmas sail took an odd turn when the girl’s mother Ariane Wyler hired a child-recovery service in an attempt to locate the pair.
Ms Wyler is estranged from Mr Langdon.
New Zealand Police on Wednesday confirmed the duo had arrived at the coastal town, about 225 kilometres south of Sydney, on Mr Langdon’s catamaran.
Col Chapman, the Australian child recovery expert hired by Ms Wyler, said he had suspected Mr Langdon would attempt the near 2600km journey.
“Despite initial thoughts to the contrary and, nothing against the New Zealand authorities, they did think it [the journey] was foolhardy and that no one in their reasonable mind would attempt it, he did,” Mr Chapman said.
It was reportedly the second time that Mr Chapman had been hired by Ms Wyler to look for the pair after he found them living in rural New Zealand more than a year ago.
Mr Langdon and Que had spent 27 days at sea in Mr Langdon’s 6.4-metre boat. One of the catamaran’s two rudders reportedly broke four days into the journey.
“I tell you I learned a lot about sailing,” Mr Langdon told the Milton Ulladulla Times. “Yes we are safe and well. We were always safe, we just couldn’t let anyone know.”
He is talking to Australian officials, and New Zealand Police are waiting for more information about Mr Langdon’s crossing of the often-stormy Tasman Sea. But Ms Wyler always thought it was possible Mr Langdon would attempt to reach Australia.
“He knows the sea, he knows the wind, he understands that,” she said on Friday. “He’s a very capable man. He’s able to fix things as they go wrong.”
In a statement, New Zealand Police confirmed they would assess “the background” to the matter before taking further action.