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submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 20.12.2011

James Castrission and Justin Jones. Its bitterly cold in Antarctica

James Castrission.

James Castrission on the bow of Lot 41 in the middle of the Tasman Sea

James Castrission was born, 14 March 1982. That makes him only 29 years of age in 2011. But in those 29 years he has crammed a “hell of a lot of living”.

His heritage is Kytherian. His paternal grandfather was Jim Castrission, originally from Kastrissianika, and his paternal grandmother was Theothora Coroneos (Belo Kostandinos) from Potamos. Jim Castrission established the famous Niagara Café at Gundagai, in New South Wales. Jim would later sponsor his brothers Vic and Jack to Australia from Kythera. The Niagara was famous for having piped music that could be dialled to every cubicle, and for the Southern Cross constellation, which lit up on a blue domed ceiling, that arched over the interior of the café. The Southern Cross stars were painted stars, set into the ceiling. You can read more about the Castrission family's Niagara Café

James Castrission fathers’ name is John. Mother Vivienne’s Hellenic heritage derives from Akrata, Greece.

In his book Crossing the Ditch, James states “that almost from the day I was born I always seemed to have too much energy. My parents had a rough time chasing me around and trying to protect me from myself. They did a pretty good job, though, until I decided it was time for my first BASE jump.
Climbing my first peak – the kitchen bench-top – during a rare moment when my parents had turned their backs, I threw myself off, yelling, “Look at me – I’m Superman!” before thudding into the tiled kitchen floor and bursting into tears, with a broken leg.

From a young age, father John encouraged his children to enjoy camping, allowing them to light their own fires, and to pitch their own tent. By age five James had developed impeccable navigation skills. He was intrinsically adventurous by nature.

He attended Roseville Public school, until 5th class, when he proceeded to the prestigious Knox Grammar school situated in the northern Sydney suburb of Wahroonga, NSW. http://www.knox.nsw.edu.au/

His adventures continued during his school years. He and two friends trekked to the source of the stream in the New South Wales Southern Highlands that fed into the Murray River. They then proceeded to float down the stream, through rapids, on their backpacks, where James’ father and other support crew, including Greg Thanos and John Miller, were waiting at the streams end.

His first major adventure involved kayaking the entire length of the Murray River, from the source of the Murray to the end. The first time this had been done.

On another occasion while he was in the cadets and undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh Award, he undertook a 250 kilometre walk with other colleagues through the Snowy Mountains. The group was caught in a huge snowstorm, and many of them where winched to safety. James and a few colleagues were allowed to continue their trek in the dangerous conditions. We just knew that they could and would survive, said the coordinator.

After completing his Higher School Certificate, he went onto Sydney University, where at age 25, he gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Finance and Accounting. He gained employment as a consultant and analyst for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu before deciding that mountaineering, rock climbing, bushwalking and kayaking should be the focus of his life. He decided to pursue dreams beyond the corporate world.

He has climbed some of the most challenging peaks in Australia and New Zealand and walked some of the most breathtaking tracks. He shot to world prominence however, when he and close friend Justin Jones completed the first Trans-Tasman kayak expedition from Australia to New Zealand. For photographs and a great deal more information about that epic journey, see: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

Dual paddlers in kayak

On November 13 2007 James, Justin and their kayak Lot 41 departed Forster, Australia, and 62 days later they arrived in New Plymouth, New Zealand. They had kayaked 3318km, braved 10 meter swells, faced howling winds of over 50 knots, endured severe food and sleep deprivation, wasting muscles and adverse winds and currents to become the first kayak expedition across the Tasman Sea as well as become the longest trans oceanic kayaking expedition undertaken by two expeditioners.

Crossing the ditch Tasman Map

Wasted legs walking up onto the beach in New Zealand

A documentary was produced about Crossing the Ditch (Ditch would be translated as lagathi in Greek, and is colloquial language used to refer the expanse of water, the Tasman Sea, which lies between Australia and New Zealand). The documentary won it's category for best film on adventure and exploration at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada - the "el primo" outdoor film festival in the world! Cass expressed “a big thanks to the crew from Quail Television for helping this all happen, especially Greg Quail and Doug Howard who saw the merit in our expedition and made it possible for us to share our little trip with the rest of the world”!

On Sunday 20th November 2011, Crossing the Ditch won the Grand Prize at the prestigious Kendal Mountain Film Festival, which is staged in England.

The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal

Kendal's Brewery Arts Centre, is the main venue for the Kendal Mountain Festival More than 7,500 people are estimated to have attended the festival over the November weekend to watch films ranging from high-level mountaineering epics, to behind-the-scenes looks at the production of nature documentaries in high environments, as well as listen to a host of speakers. Now in its 12th year, the festival featured 61 films totaling 150 hours, covering a wide range of outdoor and adventure subjects including climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, kayaking, culture and exploration. Cas (James Castrission’s “nick name is Cas), and Jonesy’s efforts to be awarded the Grand Prize against such illustrious competition is extraordinary.

The DVD Crossing the Ditch can be purchased on the website: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

Cas, spoke for both young men when he commented that “through committing ourselves to achieving one of "Australia’s last great first" adventures, we wish to inspire others not to be afraid of pursuing their own adventures and dreams”.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Education Department contracted them to lecture to school students, on the need to aspire to achieve their dreams and fulfill their potential. The Greek Orthodox Archbishop, held a ceremony blessing them, and thanking them for what they had done for New Zealand.

In 2008, after the Tasman Sea crossing, James Castrission was a fitting Guest of Honour at the Kytherian Ball, the youngest guest of honour in the history of the event.

When he is not training for, or engaged in adventures, he has a full time career as a motivational speaker, lecturing to schools, organisations, and corporations at the highest level.

Cas is currently engaged in his most difficult adventure yet. You can read all about it at Cas ands Jonesy’s website: http://casandjonesy.com.au/

In 100 years of polar exploration no-one has EVER walked from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again without assistance. Many have tried, none have succeeded.

Facts about Crossing the Ice:

•This will be the first EVER unsupported return journey to the South Pole.
•The summer of 2011/12 will mark the 100 year anniversary of Scott and Amundsen.
•Cas and Jonesy will be the youngest team to ever reach the South Pole.
•Previous attempts: Jon Muir, Peter Hillary and Eric Phillips attempted the return journey in 1998. They reached the South Pole after 84 days on the ice and didn’t complete the return. Kiwi adventurers: Kevin Biggar and Jamie Fitzgerald also attempted the return journey in 2007, their attempt was also unsuccessful.
•Distance: 2200km return (1100km from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole)
•Less people have man hauled to the South Pole (58 people) than have stood on the summit of Mt Everest (4600).

At this moment (Saturday 26th November is day 25), James Castrission and Justin Jones are attempting to achieve the impossible. For the next three months and over 2200km they will drag 160kg sleds with everything they need to survive in the harshest environment on Earth.

[See the website (Nov-Dec 2011) for their current location.]

Antarctic route & Comparative Map

Antarctica - a lonely expanse

21st century hero

Cas and Jonesy are using this expedition to raise much needed funds and awareness for ‘You Can‘; an Australian national fundraising campaign to build specialised youth cancer centres across Australia. This expedition is called Crossing the Ice – and everyone on the planet can be a part of adventure by following their progress on the website, and by interacting with the pair of adventurers. You can read up on the expedition here on the site, or leave a message of support on Facebook.

This is James Castrission’s most challenging and dangerous adventure yet.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 20.12.2011

Australia to New Zealand by kayak

Wasted legs walking up onto the beach in New Zealand

On November 13 2007 James Castrission , Justin Jones, and Lot 41 departed Forster, Australia. 62 days later they arrived in New Plymouth New Zealand.

They had kayaked 3318km, braved 10 metre swells, faced howling winds of over 50 knots, endured severe food and sleep deprivation, wasting muscles and adverse winds and currents to become the first kayak expedition across the tasman sea as well as become the longest trans oceanic kayaking expedition undertaken by two expeditioners. Find out how they did this incredible feat!!

Crossing the ditch Tasman Map

Interview with Cas and Jonesy

1. Why did you call the project Crossing the Ditch?

The Tasman Sea has for many years been referred to as “The Ditch” by Australians and New Zealanders. The exact etymology for this term is uncertain, however when traveling between Australia and New Zealand, it’s commonly referred to as “crossing the ditch”.

2. Tell us about your kayak Lot 41? Also, what’s with the name?

Jonesy –We reckon she’s really really beautiful … bordering on sexy. We firmly believe that paddling the Tasman was an exercise in risk mitigation rather than risk taking and I guess that’s reflected in the craft that we built. We isolated the risks we’d face on the Tasman and built Lot 41 according to that. Sure, she could have been more lightly built, but when it came to having 10metre waves out there crashing on us – I’m glad we decided not to skimp.

The kayak Lot 41 was designed for the trans-Tasman crossing by Rob Feloy, who had designed the kayak for Peter Bray´s trans-Atlantic Crossing approximately six years earlier. The Lot 41 design includes two cockpits, a cabin at the stern of the craft, a large water tank and storage for over 60 days of food for the two kayakers. An array of solar panels was incorporated into the design in order to charge the batteries used to power communication systems, bilge pumps and a water desalination unit. The fibreglass kayak was built in Australia in 2005 and fitted with support systems including emergency beacons, satellite phone, global tracking system, and GPS.

3. What you did was an incredible feat. Did your bodies hate you for it? At any point did you think the physical torture was too heavy a price to pay?

Jonesy – After a week out there, the bodies really started to degrade at quite a fast rate. We developed sores, muscle stripped off us, the joints ached, we were constantly wet and getting bashed around and in the bad storms getting ripped through 10 metre waves we really thought that we’d entered hell but we signed up for this and weren’t going to be detered.

4. With Cas’ seasickness, did it ever occur to you that crossing the ditch might not be the project for you?

Cas – When you work on something so hard and for so long, you really aren’t going to let anything stand in your way. So I went out there and had to find a solution and after 17 attempts at different remedies- Bingo! I settled for some pretty hardcore drugs that they give Chemo patients (valued at 40 bucks a tablet, self hypnosis and accupuncture. That combination made life at sea bearable.

5. One person got very close – Andrew McAuley. Cas, in your book Crossing the Ditch, you’ve talked about nursing a guilty conscience about his failed attempt. Since completing your crossing, have your feelings changed or resolved?

Cas – Andrew was an incredible adventurer who has done so much in the outdoors. We have so much respect for him as a kayaker and expeditioner. It was a real shame that a rivalry popped up between both expeditions. When he disappeared it messed with my mind like you would believe.

Spending 62 days out on the Tasman helped me deal with his dissapearance enormously. I felt Jonesy and I were able to get a tiny glimpse into the suffering Andrew would haver gone through in his voyager- and interestingly, that time out there, semmed to help me make peace with him. I’ve now come to grips with the enormous difference in the trips that we were planning, the different ways and different risk profiles we each had. Jonesy and I can’t hold any responsiblity for the ways that others will act. Beacuase of the profound impact Andrew had on me, I dedicated the book to the memory of Andrew as a sign of the respect and admiration that I have for his amazing attempt.

6. Obviously many months were spent getting boat and yourselves ready for the journey – what would you do differently (if anything) if you had your time again?

Jonesy – Probably pick a better person to paddle with, Cas has the long hair but the curves just aren’t in the right spot!

Cas – Calm down J! In all seriousness, we’d make some minor changes to the hull structure and make the kayak slightly more aerodynamic but not too much more…perhaps paddle from NZ to Australia but we werern’t to know that we’d get a abnormal weather pattern across the ditch.

7. What was the single-most difficult aspect of the expedition? The sores, mental strength, physical labour, planning, surviving each day, or something else?

Jonesy – Of the actual trip, I would really have to say the sleep deprivation…you get so tired that your bones would ache and you’d feel like shit for hours on end. Sure we suffered with sores, the physical toil etc but the tiredness really just added to everything else.

8. Each day you used a Desalinator to convert salt water to freshwater. Did you consider calling the expedition off after your de-sal unit carked it?

Cas – Not a chance, for every bit of critical kit or system we tried to have 2 or 3 levels of redundancy as back up. So when the de-sal broke, we pulled out our manual pump and were resigned to having to pump that by hand for 3 hours a day. It sucked.

9. Were there any moments when you contemplated the possibility of failure – or even the chance that you might not survive the journey?

Cas – Yep the para anchor tangle was one for sure, but there were a couple of other occasions. Stuck in that 2 week whirlpool in the centre of the Tasman, trying to untangle the rudder on another occasion in 10metre waves…all very confronting and you can’t stop negative thoughts popping up. The only thing you can do is trust in the preparations that you have made prior to heading off and our actions and proceedures out there.

10. Cas’s book paints a penetratingly personal picture of the quest. By contrast, the DVD seems a bit ‘lighter’ – was this intentional? Is documenting your excursion in various ways and sharing it with others as important as the mission itself?

Jonesy – A book is the better vessel to really explore the deeper and darker aspect of any expedition. You have alot more time to delve into a number of diifferent themes and do them justice, somthing hard to complete in a 70 minute doco. The doco was deliberately much lighter because this expedition was a success- Cas and I have always been great mates and whenever we’re in the outdoors we’re normally having fun and i guess that was reflected in what we filmed.

11. Jonesy, did you ever use that enormous two-pronged fork your mum bought you for stabbing sharks?

Jonesy – Unfortunately (or fortunately) not! Even on the nights we had sharks grinding up against our hill we never really thought of it as an option. We really took it along solely to placate my mum and it had the unplanned effect of making us smile everytime we pulled it out.

12. Did you have a daily routine and did you ever break it?

Cas – Yep we had a routine that involved getting up at 6am for a sked and then paddled for 12-15hours before retiring into the cabin for a sked, dinner and attempted rest. We varied the schedule when we had to ask dictated by heavy weather.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 20.12.2011

Australia to New Zealand by kayak

Paddling hard

On November 13 2007 James Castrission , Justin Jones, and Lot 41 departed Forster, Australia. 62 days later they arrived in New Plymouth New Zealand.

They had kayaked 3318km, braved 10 metre swells, faced howling winds of over 50 knots, endured severe food and sleep deprivation, wasting muscles and adverse winds and currents to become the first kayak expedition across the tasman sea as well as become the longest trans oceanic kayaking expedition undertaken by two expeditioners. Find out how they did this incredible feat!!

Crossing the ditch Tasman Map

Interview with Cas and Jonesy

1. Why did you call the project Crossing the Ditch?

The Tasman Sea has for many years been referred to as “The Ditch” by Australians and New Zealanders. The exact etymology for this term is uncertain, however when traveling between Australia and New Zealand, it’s commonly referred to as “crossing the ditch”.

2. Tell us about your kayak Lot 41? Also, what’s with the name?

Jonesy –We reckon she’s really really beautiful … bordering on sexy. We firmly believe that paddling the Tasman was an exercise in risk mitigation rather than risk taking and I guess that’s reflected in the craft that we built. We isolated the risks we’d face on the Tasman and built Lot 41 according to that. Sure, she could have been more lightly built, but when it came to having 10metre waves out there crashing on us – I’m glad we decided not to skimp.

The kayak Lot 41 was designed for the trans-Tasman crossing by Rob Feloy, who had designed the kayak for Peter Bray´s trans-Atlantic Crossing approximately six years earlier. The Lot 41 design includes two cockpits, a cabin at the stern of the craft, a large water tank and storage for over 60 days of food for the two kayakers. An array of solar panels was incorporated into the design in order to charge the batteries used to power communication systems, bilge pumps and a water desalination unit. The fibreglass kayak was built in Australia in 2005 and fitted with support systems including emergency beacons, satellite phone, global tracking system, and GPS.

3. What you did was an incredible feat. Did your bodies hate you for it? At any point did you think the physical torture was too heavy a price to pay?

Jonesy – After a week out there, the bodies really started to degrade at quite a fast rate. We developed sores, muscle stripped off us, the joints ached, we were constantly wet and getting bashed around and in the bad storms getting ripped through 10 metre waves we really thought that we’d entered hell but we signed up for this and weren’t going to be detered.

4. With Cas’ seasickness, did it ever occur to you that crossing the ditch might not be the project for you?

Cas – When you work on something so hard and for so long, you really aren’t going to let anything stand in your way. So I went out there and had to find a solution and after 17 attempts at different remedies- Bingo! I settled for some pretty hardcore drugs that they give Chemo patients (valued at 40 bucks a tablet, self hypnosis and accupuncture. That combination made life at sea bearable.

5. One person got very close – Andrew McAuley. Cas, in your book Crossing the Ditch, you’ve talked about nursing a guilty conscience about his failed attempt. Since completing your crossing, have your feelings changed or resolved?

Cas – Andrew was an incredible adventurer who has done so much in the outdoors. We have so much respect for him as a kayaker and expeditioner. It was a real shame that a rivalry popped up between both expeditions. When he disappeared it messed with my mind like you would believe.

Spending 62 days out on the Tasman helped me deal with his dissapearance enormously. I felt Jonesy and I were able to get a tiny glimpse into the suffering Andrew would haver gone through in his voyager- and interestingly, that time out there, semmed to help me make peace with him. I’ve now come to grips with the enormous difference in the trips that we were planning, the different ways and different risk profiles we each had. Jonesy and I can’t hold any responsiblity for the ways that others will act. Beacuase of the profound impact Andrew had on me, I dedicated the book to the memory of Andrew as a sign of the respect and admiration that I have for his amazing attempt.

6. Obviously many months were spent getting boat and yourselves ready for the journey – what would you do differently (if anything) if you had your time again?

Jonesy – Probably pick a better person to paddle with, Cas has the long hair but the curves just aren’t in the right spot!

Cas – Calm down J! In all seriousness, we’d make some minor changes to the hull structure and make the kayak slightly more aerodynamic but not too much more…perhaps paddle from NZ to Australia but we werern’t to know that we’d get a abnormal weather pattern across the ditch.

7. What was the single-most difficult aspect of the expedition? The sores, mental strength, physical labour, planning, surviving each day, or something else?

Jonesy – Of the actual trip, I would really have to say the sleep deprivation…you get so tired that your bones would ache and you’d feel like shit for hours on end. Sure we suffered with sores, the physical toil etc but the tiredness really just added to everything else.

8. Each day you used a Desalinator to convert salt water to freshwater. Did you consider calling the expedition off after your de-sal unit carked it?

Cas – Not a chance, for every bit of critical kit or system we tried to have 2 or 3 levels of redundancy as back up. So when the de-sal broke, we pulled out our manual pump and were resigned to having to pump that by hand for 3 hours a day. It sucked.

9. Were there any moments when you contemplated the possibility of failure – or even the chance that you might not survive the journey?

Cas – Yep the para anchor tangle was one for sure, but there were a couple of other occasions. Stuck in that 2 week whirlpool in the centre of the Tasman, trying to untangle the rudder on another occasion in 10metre waves…all very confronting and you can’t stop negative thoughts popping up. The only thing you can do is trust in the preparations that you have made prior to heading off and our actions and proceedures out there.

10. Cas’s book paints a penetratingly personal picture of the quest. By contrast, the DVD seems a bit ‘lighter’ – was this intentional? Is documenting your excursion in various ways and sharing it with others as important as the mission itself?

Jonesy – A book is the better vessel to really explore the deeper and darker aspect of any expedition. You have alot more time to delve into a number of diifferent themes and do them justice, somthing hard to complete in a 70 minute doco. The doco was deliberately much lighter because this expedition was a success- Cas and I have always been great mates and whenever we’re in the outdoors we’re normally having fun and i guess that was reflected in what we filmed.

11. Jonesy, did you ever use that enormous two-pronged fork your mum bought you for stabbing sharks?

Jonesy – Unfortunately (or fortunately) not! Even on the nights we had sharks grinding up against our hill we never really thought of it as an option. We really took it along solely to placate my mum and it had the unplanned effect of making us smile everytime we pulled it out.

12. Did you have a daily routine and did you ever break it?

Cas – Yep we had a routine that involved getting up at 6am for a sked and then paddled for 12-15hours before retiring into the cabin for a sked, dinner and attempted rest. We varied the schedule when we had to ask dictated by heavy weather.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 20.12.2011

Crossing the ice

21st century hero

The Mission:


Justin Jones and I have undertaken a world first - an unsupported polar expedition: Crossing the Ice. Traversing from the Antarctic rim to the South Pole and back, we will journey 2200kms on skis, sled-hauling all provisions essential for three months survival in one of the harshest environments on the planet.

When:
Expedition: Nov 2011 – Jan 2012

How:
On foot and completely unsupported. We’ll be man-hauling a pulk (with 160kg of provisions each).

Antarctic route & Comparative Map

Why:
Through realising a childhood dream and committing ourselves to a groundbreaking expedition, we wish to inspire others to overcome fear and pursue their own adventures and dreams....

James Castrission

James Castrission was born, 14 March 1982. That makes him only 29 years of age in 2011. But in those 29 years he has crammed a “hell of a lot of living”.

His heritage is Kytherian. His paternal grandfather was Jim Castrission, originally from Kastrissianika, and his paternal grandmother was Theothora Coroneos (Belo Kostandinos) from Potamos. Jim Castrission established the famous Niagara Café at Gundagai, in New South Wales. Jim would later sponsor his brothers Vic and Jack to Australia from Kythera. The Niagara was famous for having piped music that could be dialled to every cubicle, and for the Southern Cross constellation, which lit up on a blue domed ceiling, that arched over the interior of the café. The Southern Cross stars were painted stars, set into the ceiling. You can read more about the Castrission family's Niagara Café

James Castrission fathers’ name is John. Mother Vivienne’s Hellenic heritage derives from Akrata, Greece.

In his book Crossing the Ditch, James states “that almost from the day I was born I always seemed to have too much energy. My parents had a rough time chasing me around and trying to protect me from myself. They did a pretty good job, though, until I decided it was time for my first BASE jump.
Climbing my first peak – the kitchen bench-top – during a rare moment when my parents had turned their backs, I threw myself off, yelling, “Look at me – I’m Superman!” before thudding into the tiled kitchen floor and bursting into tears, with a broken leg.

From a young age, father John encouraged his children to enjoy camping, allowing them to light their own fires, and to pitch their own tent. By age five James had developed impeccable navigation skills. He was intrinsically adventurous by nature.

He attended Roseville Public school, until 5th class, when he proceeded to the prestigious Knox Grammar school situated in the northern Sydney suburb of Wahroonga, NSW. http://www.knox.nsw.edu.au/

His adventures continued during his school years. He and two friends trekked to the source of the stream in the New South Wales Southern Highlands that fed into the Murray River. They then proceeded to float down the stream, through rapids, on their backpacks, where James’ father and other support crew, including Greg Thanos and John Miller, were waiting at the streams end.

His first major adventure involved kayaking the entire length of the Murray River, from the source of the Murray to the end. The first time this had been done.

On another occasion while he was in the cadets and undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh Award, he undertook a 250 kilometre walk with other colleagues through the Snowy Mountains. The group was caught in a huge snowstorm, and many of them where winched to safety. James and a few colleagues were allowed to continue their trek in the dangerous conditions. We just knew that they could and would survive, said the coordinator.

After completing his Higher School Certificate, he went onto Sydney University, where at age 25, he gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Finance and Accounting. He gained employment as a consultant and analyst for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu before deciding that mountaineering, rock climbing, bushwalking and kayaking should be the focus of his life. He decided to pursue dreams beyond the corporate world.

He has climbed some of the most challenging peaks in Australia and New Zealand and walked some of the most breathtaking tracks. He shot to world prominence however, when he and close friend Justin Jones completed the first Trans-Tasman kayak expedition from Australia to New Zealand. For photographs and a great deal more information about that epic journey, see: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

On November 13 2007 James, Justin and their kayak Lot 41 departed Forster, Australia, and 62 days later they arrived in New Plymouth, New Zealand. They had kayaked 3318km, braved 10 meter swells, faced howling winds of over 50 knots, endured severe food and sleep deprivation, wasting muscles and adverse winds and currents to become the first kayak expedition across the Tasman Sea as well as become the longest trans oceanic kayaking expedition undertaken by two expeditioners.

Crossing the ditch Tasman Map

A documentary was produced about Crossing the Ditch (Ditch would be translated as lagathi in Greek, and is colloquial language used to refer the expanse of water, the Tasman Sea, which lies between Australia and New Zealand). The documentary won it's category for best film on adventure and exploration at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada - the "el primo" outdoor film festival in the world! Cass expressed “a big thanks to the crew from Quail Television for helping this all happen, especially Greg Quail and Doug Howard who saw the merit in our expedition and made it possible for us to share our little trip with the rest of the world”!

On Sunday 20th November 2011, Crossing the Ditch won the Grand Prize at the prestigious Kendal Mountain Film Festival, which is staged in England.

The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal

Kendal's Brewery Arts Centre, is the main venue for the Kendal Mountain Festival . More than 7,500 people are estimated to have attended the festival over the November weekend to watch films ranging from high-level mountaineering epics, to behind-the-scenes looks at the production of nature documentaries in high environments, as well as listen to a host of speakers. Now in its 12th year, the festival featured 61 films totaling 150 hours, covering a wide range of outdoor and adventure subjects including climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, kayaking, culture and exploration. Cas (James Castrission’s “nick name is Cas), and Jonesy’s efforts to be awarded the Grand Prize against such illustrious competition is extraordinary.

The DVD Crossing the Ditch can be purchased on the website: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

Cas, spoke for both young men when he commented that “through committing ourselves to achieving one of "Australia’s last great first" adventures, we wish to inspire others not to be afraid of pursuing their own adventures and dreams”.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Education Department contracted them to lecture to school students, on the need to aspire to achieve their dreams and fulfill their potential. The Greek Orthodox Archbishop, held a ceremony blessing them, and thanking them for what they had done for New Zealand.

In 2008, after the Tasman Sea crossing, James Castrission was a fitting Guest of Honour at the Kytherian Ball, the youngest guest of honour in the history of the event.

When he is not training for, or engaged in adventures, he has a full time career as a motivational speaker, lecturing to schools, organisations, and corporations at the highest level.

Cas is currently engaged in his most difficult adventure yet. You can read all about it at Cas ands Jonesy’s website: http://casandjonesy.com.au/

In 100 years of polar exploration no-one has EVER walked from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again without assistance. Many have tried, none have succeeded.

Facts about Crossing the Ice:

•This will be the first EVER unsupported return journey to the South Pole.
•The summer of 2011/12 will mark the 100 year anniversary of Scott and Amundsen.
•Cas and Jonesy will be the youngest team to ever reach the South Pole.
•Previous attempts: Jon Muir, Peter Hillary and Eric Phillips attempted the return journey in 1998. They reached the South Pole after 84 days on the ice and didn’t complete the return. Kiwi adventurers: Kevin Biggar and Jamie Fitzgerald also attempted the return journey in 2007, their attempt was also unsuccessful.
•Distance: 2200km return (1100km from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole)
•Less people have man hauled to the South Pole (58 people) than have stood on the summit of Mt Everest (4600).

At this moment (Saturday 26th November is day 25), James Castrission and Justin Jones are attempting to achieve the impossible. For the next three months and over 2200km they will drag 160kg sleds with everything they need to survive in the harshest environment on Earth.

[See the website (Nov-Dec 2011) for their current location.]

Antarctica - a lonely expanse

James Castrission and Justin Jones. It’s bitterly cold in Antarctica

Cas and Jonesy are using this expedition to raise much needed funds and awareness for ‘You Can‘; an Australian national fundraising campaign to build specialised youth cancer centres across Australia. This expedition is called Crossing the Ice – and everyone on the planet can be a part of adventure by following their progress on the website, and by interacting with the pair of adventurers. You can read up on the expedition here on the site, or leave a message of support on Facebook.

This is James Castrission’s most challenging and dangerous adventure yet.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 20.12.2011

Crossing the ice

The lonely expanse

The Mission:


Justin Jones and I have undertaken a world first - an unsupported polar expedition: Crossing the Ice. Traversing from the Antarctic rim to the South Pole and back, we will journey 2200kms on skis, sled-hauling all provisions essential for three months survival in one of the harshest environments on the planet.

When:
Expedition: Nov 2011 – Jan 2012

How:
On foot and completely unsupported. We’ll be man-hauling a pulk (with 160kg of provisions each).

Antarctic route & Comparative Map

Why:
Through realising a childhood dream and committing ourselves to a groundbreaking expedition, we wish to inspire others to overcome fear and pursue their own adventures and dreams....

James Castrission

James Castrission was born, 14 March 1982. That makes him only 29 years of age in 2011. But in those 29 years he has crammed a “hell of a lot of living”.

His heritage is Kytherian. His paternal grandfather was Jim Castrission, originally from Kastrissianika, and his paternal grandmother was Theothora Coroneos (Belo Kostandinos) from Potamos. Jim Castrission established the famous Niagara Café at Gundagai, in New South Wales. Jim would later sponsor his brothers Vic and Jack to Australia from Kythera. The Niagara was famous for having piped music that could be dialled to every cubicle, and for the Southern Cross constellation, which lit up on a blue domed ceiling, that arched over the interior of the café. The Southern Cross stars were painted stars, set into the ceiling. You can read more about the Castrission family's Niagara Café

James Castrission fathers’ name is John. Mother Vivienne’s Hellenic heritage derives from Akrata, Greece.

In his book Crossing the Ditch, James states “that almost from the day I was born I always seemed to have too much energy. My parents had a rough time chasing me around and trying to protect me from myself. They did a pretty good job, though, until I decided it was time for my first BASE jump. Climbing my first peak – the kitchen bench-top – during a rare moment when my parents had turned their backs, I threw myself off, yelling, “Look at me – I’m Superman!” before thudding into the tiled kitchen floor and bursting into tears, with a broken leg.

From a young age, father John encouraged his children to enjoy camping, allowing them to light their own fires, and to pitch their own tent. By age five James had developed impeccable navigation skills. He was intrinsically adventurous by nature.

He attended Roseville Public school, until 5th class, when he proceeded to the prestigious Knox Grammar school situated in the northern Sydney suburb of Wahroonga, NSW. http://www.knox.nsw.edu.au/

His adventures continued during his school years. He and two friends trekked to the source of the stream in the New South Wales Southern Highlands that fed into the Murray River. They then proceeded to float down the stream, through rapids, on their backpacks, where James’ father and other support crew, including Greg Thanos and John Miller, were waiting at the streams end.

His first major adventure involved kayaking the entire length of the Murray River, from the source of the Murray to the end. The first time this had been done.

On another occasion while he was in the cadets and undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh Award, he undertook a 250 kilometre walk with other colleagues through the Snowy Mountains. The group was caught in a huge snowstorm, and many of them where winched to safety. James and a few colleagues were allowed to continue their trek in the dangerous conditions. We just knew that they could and would survive, said the coordinator.

After completing his Higher School Certificate, he went onto Sydney University, where at age 25, he gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Finance and Accounting. He gained employment as a consultant and analyst for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu before deciding that mountaineering, rock climbing, bushwalking and kayaking should be the focus of his life. He decided to pursue dreams beyond the corporate world.

He has climbed some of the most challenging peaks in Australia and New Zealand and walked some of the most breathtaking tracks. He shot to world prominence however, when he and close friend Justin Jones completed the first Trans-Tasman kayak expedition from Australia to New Zealand. For photographs and a great deal more information about that epic journey, see: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

On November 13 2007 James, Justin and their kayak Lot 41 departed Forster, Australia, and 62 days later they arrived in New Plymouth, New Zealand. They had kayaked 3318km, braved 10 meter swells, faced howling winds of over 50 knots, endured severe food and sleep deprivation, wasting muscles and adverse winds and currents to become the first kayak expedition across the Tasman Sea as well as become the longest trans oceanic kayaking expedition undertaken by two expeditioners.

Crossing the ditch Tasman Map

A documentary was produced about Crossing the Ditch (Ditch would be translated as lagathi in Greek, and is colloquial language used to refer the expanse of water, the Tasman Sea, which lies between Australia and New Zealand). The documentary won it's category for best film on adventure and exploration at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada - the "el primo" outdoor film festival in the world! Cass expressed “a big thanks to the crew from Quail Television for helping this all happen, especially Greg Quail and Doug Howard who saw the merit in our expedition and made it possible for us to share our little trip with the rest of the world”!

On Sunday 20th November 2011, Crossing the Ditch won the Grand Prize at the prestigious Kendal Mountain Film Festival, which is staged in England.

The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal

Kendal's Brewery Arts Centre, is the main venue for the Kendal Mountain Festival. More than 7,500 people are estimated to have attended the festival over the November weekend to watch films ranging from high-level mountaineering epics, to behind-the-scenes looks at the production of nature documentaries in high environments, as well as listen to a host of speakers. Now in its 12th year, the festival featured 61 films totaling 150 hours, covering a wide range of outdoor and adventure subjects including climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, kayaking, culture and exploration. Cas (James Castrission’s “nick name is Cas), and Jonesy’s efforts to be awarded the Grand Prize against such illustrious competition is extraordinary.

The DVD Crossing the Ditch can be purchased on the website: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

Cas, spoke for both young men when he commented that “through committing ourselves to achieving one of "Australia’s last great first" adventures, we wish to inspire others not to be afraid of pursuing their own adventures and dreams”.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Education Department contracted them to lecture to school students, on the need to aspire to achieve their dreams and fulfill their potential. The Greek Orthodox Archbishop, held a ceremony blessing them, and thanking them for what they had done for New Zealand.

In 2008, after the Tasman Sea crossing, James Castrission was a fitting Guest of Honour at the Kytherian Ball, the youngest guest of honour in the history of the event.

When he is not training for, or engaged in adventures, he has a full time career as a motivational speaker, lecturing to schools, organisations, and corporations at the highest level.

Cas is currently engaged in his most difficult adventure yet. You can read all about it at Cas ands Jonesy’s website: http://casandjonesy.com.au/

In 100 years of polar exploration no-one has EVER walked from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again without assistance. Many have tried, none have succeeded.

Facts about Crossing the Ice:

•This will be the first EVER unsupported return journey to the South Pole.
•The summer of 2011/12 will mark the 100 year anniversary of Scott and Amundsen.
•Cas and Jonesy will be the youngest team to ever reach the South Pole.
•Previous attempts: Jon Muir, Peter Hillary and Eric Phillips attempted the return journey in 1998. They reached the South Pole after 84 days on the ice and didn’t complete the return. Kiwi adventurers: Kevin Biggar and Jamie Fitzgerald also attempted the return journey in 2007, their attempt was also unsuccessful.
•Distance: 2200km return (1100km from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole)
•Less people have man hauled to the South Pole (58 people) than have stood on the summit of Mt Everest (4600).

At this moment (Saturday 26th November is day 25), James Castrission and Justin Jones are attempting to achieve the impossible. For the next three months and over 2200km they will drag 160kg sleds with everything they need to survive in the harshest environment on Earth.

[See the website (Nov-Dec 2011) for their current location.]

James Castrission and Justin Jones. It’s bitterly cold in Antarctica

21st century hero

Cas and Jonesy are using this expedition to raise much needed funds and awareness for ‘You Can‘; an Australian national fundraising campaign to build specialised youth cancer centres across Australia. This expedition is called Crossing the Ice – and everyone on the planet can be a part of adventure by following their progress on the website, and by interacting with the pair of adventurers. You can read up on the expedition here on the site, or leave a message of support on Facebook.

This is James Castrission’s most challenging and dangerous adventure yet.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 20.12.2011

Crossing the ice

The Route

The Mission:


Justin Jones and I have undertaken a world first - an unsupported polar expedition: Crossing the Ice. Traversing from the Antarctic rim to the South Pole and back, we will journey 2200kms on skis, sled-hauling all provisions essential for three months survival in one of the harshest environments on the planet.

When:
Expedition: Nov 2011 – Jan 2012

How:
On foot and completely unsupported. We’ll be man-hauling a pulk (with 160kg of provisions each).

Why:
Through realising a childhood dream and committing ourselves to a groundbreaking expedition, we wish to inspire others to overcome fear and pursue their own adventures and dreams....

James Castrission

James Castrission was born, 14 March 1982. That makes him only 29 years of age in 2011. But in those 29 years he has crammed a “hell of a lot of living”.

His heritage is Kytherian. His paternal grandfather was Jim Castrission, originally from Kastrissianika, and his paternal grandmother was Theothora Coroneos (Belo Kostandinos) from Potamos. Jim Castrission established the famous Niagara Café at Gundagai, in New South Wales. Jim would later sponsor his brothers Vic and Jack to Australia from Kythera. The Niagara was famous for having piped music that could be dialled to every cubicle, and for the Southern Cross constellation, which lit up on a blue domed ceiling, that arched over the interior of the café. The Southern Cross stars were painted stars, set into the ceiling. You can read more about the Castrission family's Niagara Café

James Castrission fathers’ name is John. Mother Vivienne’s Hellenic heritage derives from Akrata, Greece.

In his book Crossing the Ditch, James states “that almost from the day I was born I always seemed to have too much energy. My parents had a rough time chasing me around and trying to protect me from myself. They did a pretty good job, though, until I decided it was time for my first BASE jump. Climbing my first peak – the kitchen bench-top – during a rare moment when my parents had turned their backs, I threw myself off, yelling, “Look at me – I’m Superman!” before thudding into the tiled kitchen floor and bursting into tears, with a broken leg.

From a young age, father John encouraged his children to enjoy camping, allowing them to light their own fires, and to pitch their own tent. By age five James had developed impeccable navigation skills. He was intrinsically adventurous by nature.

He attended Roseville Public school, until 5th class, when he proceeded to the prestigious Knox Grammar school situated in the northern Sydney suburb of Wahroonga, NSW. http://www.knox.nsw.edu.au/

His adventures continued during his school years. He and two friends trekked to the source of the stream in the New South Wales Southern Highlands that fed into the Murray River. They then proceeded to float down the stream, through rapids, on their backpacks, where James’ father and other support crew, including Greg Thanos and John Miller, were waiting at the streams end.

His first major adventure involved kayaking the entire length of the Murray River, from the source of the Murray to the end. The first time this had been done.

On another occasion while he was in the cadets and undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh Award, he undertook a 250 kilometre walk with other colleagues through the Snowy Mountains. The group was caught in a huge snowstorm, and many of them where winched to safety. James and a few colleagues were allowed to continue their trek in the dangerous conditions. We just knew that they could and would survive, said the coordinator.

After completing his Higher School Certificate, he went onto Sydney University, where at age 25, he gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Finance and Accounting. He gained employment as a consultant and analyst for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu before deciding that mountaineering, rock climbing, bushwalking and kayaking should be the focus of his life. He decided to pursue dreams beyond the corporate world.

He has climbed some of the most challenging peaks in Australia and New Zealand and walked some of the most breathtaking tracks. He shot to world prominence however, when he and close friend Justin Jones completed the first Trans-Tasman kayak expedition from Australia to New Zealand. For photographs and a great deal more information about that epic journey, see: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

On November 13 2007 James, Justin and their kayak Lot 41 departed Forster, Australia, and 62 days later they arrived in New Plymouth, New Zealand. They had kayaked 3318km, braved 10 meter swells, faced howling winds of over 50 knots, endured severe food and sleep deprivation, wasting muscles and adverse winds and currents to become the first kayak expedition across the Tasman Sea as well as become the longest trans oceanic kayaking expedition undertaken by two expeditioners.

Crossing the ditch Tasman Map

A documentary was produced about Crossing the Ditch (Ditch would be translated as lagathi in Greek, and is colloquial language used to refer the expanse of water, the Tasman Sea, which lies between Australia and New Zealand). The documentary won it's category for best film on adventure and exploration at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada - the "el primo" outdoor film festival in the world! Cass expressed “a big thanks to the crew from Quail Television for helping this all happen, especially Greg Quail and Doug Howard who saw the merit in our expedition and made it possible for us to share our little trip with the rest of the world”!

On Sunday 20th November 2011, Crossing the Ditch won the Grand Prize at the prestigious Kendal Mountain Film Festival, which is staged in England.

The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal

Kendal's Brewery Arts Centre, is the main venue for the Kendal Mountain Festival. More than 7,500 people are estimated to have attended the festival over the November weekend to watch films ranging from high-level mountaineering epics, to behind-the-scenes looks at the production of nature documentaries in high environments, as well as listen to a host of speakers. Now in its 12th year, the festival featured 61 films totaling 150 hours, covering a wide range of outdoor and adventure subjects including climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, kayaking, culture and exploration. Cas (James Castrission’s “nick name is Cas), and Jonesy’s efforts to be awarded the Grand Prize against such illustrious competition is extraordinary.

The DVD Crossing the Ditch can be purchased on the website: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

Cas, spoke for both young men when he commented that “through committing ourselves to achieving one of "Australia’s last great first" adventures, we wish to inspire others not to be afraid of pursuing their own adventures and dreams”.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Education Department contracted them to lecture to school students, on the need to aspire to achieve their dreams and fulfill their potential. The Greek Orthodox Archbishop, held a ceremony blessing them, and thanking them for what they had done for New Zealand.

In 2008, after the Tasman Sea crossing, James Castrission was a fitting Guest of Honour at the Kytherian Ball, the youngest guest of honour in the history of the event.

When he is not training for, or engaged in adventures, he has a full time career as a motivational speaker, lecturing to schools, organisations, and corporations at the highest level.

Cas is currently engaged in his most difficult adventure yet. You can read all about it at Cas ands Jonesy’s website: http://casandjonesy.com.au/
In 100 years of polar exploration no-one has EVER walked from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again without assistance. Many have tried, none have succeeded.

Facts about Crossing the Ice:

•This will be the first EVER unsupported return journey to the South Pole.
•The summer of 2011/12 will mark the 100 year anniversary of Scott and Amundsen.
•Cas and Jonesy will be the youngest team to ever reach the South Pole.
•Previous attempts: Jon Muir, Peter Hillary and Eric Phillips attempted the return journey in 1998. They reached the South Pole after 84 days on the ice and didn’t complete the return. Kiwi adventurers: Kevin Biggar and Jamie Fitzgerald also attempted the return journey in 2007, their attempt was also unsuccessful.
•Distance: 2200km return (1100km from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole)
•Less people have man hauled to the South Pole (58 people) than have stood on the summit of Mt Everest (4600).

At this moment (Saturday 26th November is day 25), James Castrission and Justin Jones are attempting to achieve the impossible. For the next three months and over 2200km they will drag 160kg sleds with everything they need to survive in the harshest environment on Earth.

[See the website (Nov-Dec 2011) for their current location.]

Antarctica - a lonely expanse

21st century hero

James Castrission and Justin Jones. It’s bitterly cold in Antarctica

Cas and Jonesy are using this expedition to raise much needed funds and awareness for ‘You Can‘; an Australian national fundraising campaign to build specialised youth cancer centres across Australia. This expedition is called Crossing the Ice – and everyone on the planet can be a part of adventure by following their progress on the website, and by interacting with the pair of adventurers. You can read up on the expedition here on the site, or leave a message of support on Facebook.

This is James Castrission’s most challenging and dangerous adventure yet.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 20.12.2011

Australia to New Zealand by Kayak - the Route Map

On November 13 2007 James Castrission , Justin Jones, and Lot 41 departed Forster, Australia. 62 days later they arrived in New Plymouth New Zealand.

They had kayaked 3318km, braved 10 metre swells, faced howling winds of over 50 knots, endured severe food and sleep deprivation, wasting muscles and adverse winds and currents to become the first kayak expedition across the tasman sea as well as become the longest trans oceanic kayaking expedition undertaken by two expeditioners. Find out how they did this incredible feat!!

Interview with Cas and Jonesy

1. Why did you call the project Crossing the Ditch?

The Tasman Sea has for many years been referred to as “The Ditch” by Australians and New Zealanders. The exact etymology for this term is uncertain, however when traveling between Australia and New Zealand, it’s commonly referred to as “crossing the ditch”.

2. Tell us about your kayak Lot 41? Also, what’s with the name?

Jonesy –We reckon she’s really really beautiful … bordering on sexy. We firmly believe that paddling the Tasman was an exercise in risk mitigation rather than risk taking and I guess that’s reflected in the craft that we built. We isolated the risks we’d face on the Tasman and built Lot 41 according to that. Sure, she could have been more lightly built, but when it came to having 10metre waves out there crashing on us – I’m glad we decided not to skimp.

The kayak Lot 41 was designed for the trans-Tasman crossing by Rob Feloy, who had designed the kayak for Peter Bray´s trans-Atlantic Crossing approximately six years earlier. The Lot 41 design includes two cockpits, a cabin at the stern of the craft, a large water tank and storage for over 60 days of food for the two kayakers. An array of solar panels was incorporated into the design in order to charge the batteries used to power communication systems, bilge pumps and a water desalination unit. The fibreglass kayak was built in Australia in 2005 and fitted with support systems including emergency beacons, satellite phone, global tracking system, and GPS.

3. What you did was an incredible feat. Did your bodies hate you for it? At any point did you think the physical torture was too heavy a price to pay?

Jonesy – After a week out there, the bodies really started to degrade at quite a fast rate. We developed sores, muscle stripped off us, the joints ached, we were constantly wet and getting bashed around and in the bad storms getting ripped through 10 metre waves we really thought that we’d entered hell but we signed up for this and weren’t going to be detered.

4. With Cas’ seasickness, did it ever occur to you that crossing the ditch might not be the project for you?

Cas – When you work on something so hard and for so long, you really aren’t going to let anything stand in your way. So I went out there and had to find a solution and after 17 attempts at different remedies- Bingo! I settled for some pretty hardcore drugs that they give Chemo patients (valued at 40 bucks a tablet, self hypnosis and accupuncture. That combination made life at sea bearable.

5. One person got very close – Andrew McAuley. Cas, in your book Crossing the Ditch, you’ve talked about nursing a guilty conscience about his failed attempt. Since completing your crossing, have your feelings changed or resolved?

Cas – Andrew was an incredible adventurer who has done so much in the outdoors. We have so much respect for him as a kayaker and expeditioner. It was a real shame that a rivalry popped up between both expeditions. When he disappeared it messed with my mind like you would believe.

Spending 62 days out on the Tasman helped me deal with his dissapearance enormously. I felt Jonesy and I were able to get a tiny glimpse into the suffering Andrew would haver gone through in his voyager- and interestingly, that time out there, semmed to help me make peace with him. I’ve now come to grips with the enormous difference in the trips that we were planning, the different ways and different risk profiles we each had. Jonesy and I can’t hold any responsiblity for the ways that others will act. Beacuase of the profound impact Andrew had on me, I dedicated the book to the memory of Andrew as a sign of the respect and admiration that I have for his amazing attempt.

6. Obviously many months were spent getting boat and yourselves ready for the journey – what would you do differently (if anything) if you had your time again?

Jonesy – Probably pick a better person to paddle with, Cas has the long hair but the curves just aren’t in the right spot!

Cas – Calm down J! In all seriousness, we’d make some minor changes to the hull structure and make the kayak slightly more aerodynamic but not too much more…perhaps paddle from NZ to Australia but we werern’t to know that we’d get a abnormal weather pattern across the ditch.

7. What was the single-most difficult aspect of the expedition? The sores, mental strength, physical labour, planning, surviving each day, or something else?

Jonesy – Of the actual trip, I would really have to say the sleep deprivation…you get so tired that your bones would ache and you’d feel like shit for hours on end. Sure we suffered with sores, the physical toil etc but the tiredness really just added to everything else.

8. Each day you used a Desalinator to convert salt water to freshwater. Did you consider calling the expedition off after your de-sal unit carked it?

Cas – Not a chance, for every bit of critical kit or system we tried to have 2 or 3 levels of redundancy as back up. So when the de-sal broke, we pulled out our manual pump and were resigned to having to pump that by hand for 3 hours a day. It sucked.

9. Were there any moments when you contemplated the possibility of failure – or even the chance that you might not survive the journey?

Cas – Yep the para anchor tangle was one for sure, but there were a couple of other occasions. Stuck in that 2 week whirlpool in the centre of the Tasman, trying to untangle the rudder on another occasion in 10metre waves…all very confronting and you can’t stop negative thoughts popping up. The only thing you can do is trust in the preparations that you have made prior to heading off and our actions and proceedures out there.

10. Cas’s book paints a penetratingly personal picture of the quest. By contrast, the DVD seems a bit ‘lighter’ – was this intentional? Is documenting your excursion in various ways and sharing it with others as important as the mission itself?

Jonesy – A book is the better vessel to really explore the deeper and darker aspect of any expedition. You have alot more time to delve into a number of diifferent themes and do them justice, somthing hard to complete in a 70 minute doco. The doco was deliberately much lighter because this expedition was a success- Cas and I have always been great mates and whenever we’re in the outdoors we’re normally having fun and i guess that was reflected in what we filmed.

11. Jonesy, did you ever use that enormous two-pronged fork your mum bought you for stabbing sharks?

Jonesy – Unfortunately (or fortunately) not! Even on the nights we had sharks grinding up against our hill we never really thought of it as an option. We really took it along solely to placate my mum and it had the unplanned effect of making us smile everytime we pulled it out.

12. Did you have a daily routine and did you ever break it?

Cas – Yep we had a routine that involved getting up at 6am for a sked and then paddled for 12-15hours before retiring into the cabin for a sked, dinner and attempted rest. We varied the schedule when we had to ask dictated by heavy weather.

Photos > Working Life

submitted by Kytherian Biographies Project on 20.12.2011

Kendal's Brewery Arts Centre, the main venue for the Kendal Mountain Festival

On Sunday 20th November 2011, Crossing the Ditch won the Grand Prize at the prestigious Kendal Mountain Film Festival. Kendal is loctaed in England.

The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal is a multi-purpose arts complex presenting a year round programme of theatre, music, films, lectures and exhibitions, together with a range of amateur participatory activities including art and craft workshops, Cumbria Youth Theatre, and classes.

As well as holding superb music and theatre from across the globe, the centre also hosts an array of great festivals throughout the year, such as the Kendal Mountain Film Festival, as well as the annual Gateway - international roots music festival, and the NEW Women's Arts International Festival - described by the Guardian newspaper as 'The Mother of All Festivals', and many many more.

Well over 300,000 people walk through the door of the 9th Best Attraction in the UK, each year, the Brewery Arts Centre is now a top place on the UK cultural map!

James Castrission

James Castrission was born, 14 March 1982. That makes him only 29 years of age in 2011. But in those 29 years he has crammed a “hell of a lot of living”.

His heritage is Kytherian. His paternal grandfather was Jim Castrission, originally from Kastrissianika, and his paternal grandmother was Theothora Coroneos (Belo Kostandinos) from Potamos. Jim Castrission established the famous Niagara Café at Gundagai, in New South Wales. Jim would later sponsor his brothers Vic and Jack to Australia from Kythera. The Niagara was famous for having piped music that could be dialled to every cubicle, and for the Southern Cross constellation, which lit up on a blue domed ceiling, that arched over the interior of the café. The Southern Cross stars were painted stars, set into the ceiling. You can read more about the Castrission family's Niagara Café

James Castrission fathers’ name is John. Mother Vivienne’s Hellenic heritage derives from Akrata, Greece.

In his book Crossing the Ditch, James states “that almost from the day I was born I always seemed to have too much energy. My parents had a rough time chasing me around and trying to protect me from myself. They did a pretty good job, though, until I decided it was time for my first BASE jump.
Climbing my first peak – the kitchen bench-top – during a rare moment when my parents had turned their backs, I threw myself off, yelling, “Look at me – I’m Superman!” before thudding into the tiled kitchen floor and bursting into tears, with a broken leg.

From a young age, father John encouraged his children to enjoy camping, allowing them to light their own fires, and to pitch their own tent. By age five James had developed impeccable navigation skills. He was intrinsically adventurous by nature.

He attended Roseville Public school, until 5th class, when he proceeded to the prestigious Knox Grammar school situated in the northern Sydney suburb of Wahroonga, NSW. http://www.knox.nsw.edu.au/

His adventures continued during his school years. He and two friends trekked to the source of the stream in the New South Wales Southern Highlands that fed into the Murray River. They then proceeded to float down the stream, through rapids, on their backpacks, where James’ father and other support crew, including Greg Thanos and John Miller, were waiting at the streams end.

His first major adventure involved kayaking the entire length of the Murray River, from the source of the Murray to the end. The first time this had been done.

On another occasion while he was in the cadets and undertaking a Duke of Edinburgh Award, he undertook a 250 kilometre walk with other colleagues through the Snowy Mountains. The group was caught in a huge snowstorm, and many of them where winched to safety. James and a few colleagues were allowed to continue their trek in the dangerous conditions. We just knew that they could and would survive, said the coordinator.

After completing his Higher School Certificate, he went onto Sydney University, where at age 25, he gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Finance and Accounting. He gained employment as a consultant and analyst for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu before deciding that mountaineering, rock climbing, bushwalking and kayaking should be the focus of his life. He decided to pursue dreams beyond the corporate world.

He has climbed some of the most challenging peaks in Australia and New Zealand and walked some of the most breathtaking tracks. He shot to world prominence however, when he and close friend Justin Jones completed the first Trans-Tasman kayak expedition from Australia to New Zealand. For photographs and a great deal more information about that epic journey, see: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

On November 13 2007 James, Justin and their kayak Lot 41 departed Forster, Australia, and 62 days later they arrived in New Plymouth, New Zealand. They had kayaked 3318km, braved 10 meter swells, faced howling winds of over 50 knots, endured severe food and sleep deprivation, wasting muscles and adverse winds and currents to become the first kayak expedition across the Tasman Sea as well as become the longest trans oceanic kayaking expedition undertaken by two expeditioners.

Crossing the ditch Tasman Map

A documentary was produced about Crossing the Ditch (Ditch would be translated as lagathi in Greek, and is colloquial language used to refer the expanse of water, the Tasman Sea, which lies between Australia and New Zealand). The documentary won it's category for best film on adventure and exploration at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada - the "el primo" outdoor film festival in the world! Cass expressed “a big thanks to the crew from Quail Television for helping this all happen, especially Greg Quail and Doug Howard who saw the merit in our expedition and made it possible for us to share our little trip with the rest of the world”!

On Sunday 20th November 2011, Crossing the Ditch won the Grand Prize at the prestigious Kendal Mountain Film Festival, which is staged in England.

Kendal's Brewery Arts Centre, is the main venue for the Kendal Mountain Festival More than 7,500 people are estimated to have attended the festival over the November weekend to watch films ranging from high-level mountaineering epics, to behind-the-scenes looks at the production of nature documentaries in high environments, as well as listen to a host of speakers. Now in its 12th year, the festival featured 61 films totaling 150 hours, covering a wide range of outdoor and adventure subjects including climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, kayaking, culture and exploration. Cas (James Castrission’s “nick name is Cas), and Jonesy’s efforts to be awarded the Grand Prize against such illustrious competition is extraordinary.
The DVD Crossing the Ditch can be purchased on the website: http://www.crossingtheditch.com.au/

Cas, spoke for both young men when he commented that “through committing ourselves to achieving one of "Australia’s last great first" adventures, we wish to inspire others not to be afraid of pursuing their own adventures and dreams”.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Education Department contracted them to lecture to school students, on the need to aspire to achieve their dreams and fulfill their potential. The Greek Orthodox Archbishop, held a ceremony blessing them, and thanking them for what they had done for New Zealand.

In 2008, after the Tasman Sea crossing, James Castrission was a fitting Guest of Honour at the Kytherian Ball, the youngest guest of honour in the history of the event.

When he is not training for, or engaged in adventures, he has a full time career as a motivational speaker, lecturing to schools, organisations, and corporations at the highest level.

Cas is currently engaged in his most difficult adventure yet. You can read all about it at Cas ands Jonesy’s website: http://casandjonesy.com.au/
In 100 years of polar exploration no-one has EVER walked from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again without assistance. Many have tried, none have succeeded.

Facts about Crossing the Ice:

•This will be the first EVER unsupported return journey to the South Pole.
•The summer of 2011/12 will mark the 100 year anniversary of Scott and Amundsen.
•Cas and Jonesy will be the youngest team to ever reach the South Pole.
•Previous attempts: Jon Muir, Peter Hillary and Eric Phillips attempted the return journey in 1998. They reached the South Pole after 84 days on the ice and didn’t complete the return. Kiwi adventurers: Kevin Biggar and Jamie Fitzgerald also attempted the return journey in 2007, their attempt was also unsuccessful.
•Distance: 2200km return (1100km from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole)
•Less people have man hauled to the South Pole (58 people) than have stood on the summit of Mt Everest (4600).

At this moment (Saturday 26th November is day 25), James Castrission and Justin Jones are attempting to achieve the impossible. For the next three months and over 2200km they will drag 160kg sleds with everything they need to survive in the harshest environment on Earth.

At this moment (Saturday 26th November is day 25), James Castrission and Justin Jones are attempting to achieve the impossible. For the next three months and over 2200km they will drag 160kg sleds with everything they need to survive in the harshest environment on Earth.

[See the website (Nov-Dec 2011) for their current location.]

Antarctica - a lonely expanse

21st century hero

James Castrission and Justin Jones. It’s bitterly cold in Antarctica

Cas and Jonesy are using this expedition to raise much needed funds and awareness for ‘You Can‘; an Australian national fundraising campaign to build specialised youth cancer centres across Australia. This expedition is called Crossing the Ice – and everyone on the planet can be a part of adventure by following their progress on the website, and by interacting with the pair of adventurers. You can read up on the expedition here on the site, or leave a message of support on Facebook.

This is James Castrission’s most challenging and dangerous adventure yet.