(NEWSER) – A father disappeared from New Zealand with his 6-year-old daughter shortly before a custody hearing, then survived a weeks-long sea journey with a broken rudder.
Alan Langdon showed up Wednesday in Australia after 27 days at sea aboard a homemade, 19-foot boat, the Times of London reports.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Langdon didn't tell anyone where he was going when he set sail with his daughter Que. That left Que's mother, Ariane Wyler, to hire a child recovery specialist to look for them.
It wasn't the first time Wyler had hired Col Chapman; the specialist had previously found Langdon and Que living in rural Australia, the New Zealand Herald reports.
He figured correctly they were probably heading that way again, though one of the catamaran's rudders broke four days into the trip, leaving Langdon to steer with just one.
Langdon and Que crossed 1,200 miles of "treacherous" sea while the New Zealand air force searched for them.
"We were always safe, we just couldn't let anyone know," Langdon later said. "I tell you I learnt a lot about sailing."
When he and Que turned up in a seaside Australian town, they were quickly recognized by local sailors from photos disseminated by Chapman. Officials took father and daughter in for questioning, and Chapman says Langdon should face charges in both New Zealand and Australia.
Wyler hasn't seen Que in nearly two years and is fighting for the right to do so. Langdon says his daughter was "happy" on the trip; they "saw lots of whales."