Mittwoch, Oktober 31, 2007

Progress Report 10/31/07 Wednesday - updated by Freya 04.11.07

Satellite text message received from Freya:
2.50 173.19 Gore Bay 60km 10.5h a bit boring in quiet wind and water...1st campfire tonight, listening to easy surf, it's a lovely night!

Update by Freya 04.11.07:
Another uneventfull paddling day, again way offshore crossing over from the Kaikoura Peninsula.
I came in closer to the shore at the point where the main road ( and the noisy trains...) left the shoreline, enjoying a bit more the view of a now remote coastline again. It was a tough paddling day for me, I took lots of breaks, but could count 60 km at the end of the day anyway.
I came almost into Gore Bay, but decided to stay off the little village, and landed at 7 pm on a gravel bar before, just surrounded but sheep and cows. It was a lovely night! I put up my first campfire with the plenty of convenient driftwood around, and just enjoyed being on my own actually! The surf didn't look to threatening.
When landing on lower tide you have to pull the kayak more up, but the waterline doesn't reach the steep gravel bar and stays on more shallower sandy areas where landing doesn't hurt the boat or me at least...

Dienstag, Oktober 30, 2007

Progress Report 10/30/07 Tuesday - updated by Freya 04.11.07

Freya made impressive progress today. Following is the text message she sent from her satellite phone.

Satellite message from Freya Tuesday 30.10.07:
42.26 173.41 Kaikoura South Beach 12.5hrs 70km no break dead calm fighting only my aching body with closed eyes paddel, plenty seals & dolphins on a sunny day.

Forecast by Karel Vissel:
Tues mrng nw 4bft noon nw 3bft aft nw 3bft seas 1.60 to 1.20 mtr from se

Update by Freya 04.11.07:
The launching this morning looked like it's gonna be wet through some dumping stuff...I saw some fishermen down the beach launching their boat just when I started chance to ask for help!...but they came in again already when I was just about to start!!! I waved frantically to make them coming closer to help me launching, but off they were...driving away with the fishing boat on the trailer...

I need to get that launching in dumping surf done on my own!!! And don't forget the skeg help rope...

Actually, I guessed when you try to stay dry you probably will be thrown sideways by the next wave, so I just walked in the water on a lull between the sets pulling my boat behind me, straddled it quickly and paddled out with the open spray deck to a quiet spot - but still caught a wave which filled my cockpit. But pumping this time was assisted by my helmet used as a bailing device - you know on a trip like this any piece of equipment needs to have double function... :-))

The day was a quiet paddle, far offshore, uneventfull besides lots of dolfins and seals again, I probably missed to see way more as I use to paddle on such long days with about 80% closed eyes...a meditational day...but I liked to reach Kaikoura that night, a 70 km day.

Around the Kaikoura Peninsula the reef was full of seals and plenty of tourists parking their vans exaxtly at the place where my little boy and I were sleeping 7 years ago (as tourists...) with open van doors and some seals on the doorstep...good rememberings!

Two snorklers were probably as surprised as I was when they lifted their head out of the water, but I kept on going around the Point to the South Beach. The sun was low and bright, and I unfortunately couldn't see much.

I felt a bit sorry for the missed chance of great pictures! But I had to land in last light again, not being too picky about the obvious "no camping" area on nature reserve ara on a walkway along the coast...a paved corner with a bench served well for "homeless" Freya :-)) - but although I got up at 6 am next day some jogging guys were already on their way...

Montag, Oktober 29, 2007

Progress Report 10/29/07 Monday - updated by Freya 04.11.07

Satellite Messages Received from Freya Today, Monday 29.10.07:

Message 1: Rounded the Cape in rough conditions landed to find a way to launch without this f*&%^% skeg becoming stuck and climbing out in rough seas :(

Message 2: 41.55 174.06 35km only skeg problem wore me a bit, but rope trick works now :) ugly dumping stuff to launch tomorrow :( dolphin played with me

Forecasted weather from Karel Vissel ( ):
Mon mrng nw 4bft noon nw 3bft aft nw 4 bft seas 1.90 mrng south of cape campell seas 2.90mtr from s and se
Tues mrng nw 4bft noon nw 3bft aft nw 3bft seas 1.60 to 1.20 mtr from se

Update by Freya 04.11.07:

Cape Campbell...Joe Heberley told me I might not make it around in Moday's forcasted was about 7 km away from where I camped last night.

I launched through some moderate surf from a small cobbels beach, and for sure I got the rope skeg stuck...with a sidewind becoming stronger I felt the urgent need to figure that problem out at some point.

So I just climbed out straddling the back deck, slid backwards until I could reach the attached loop on the skeg and luckily pulled it out. Balancing act succesfull done...but was that a solution for the next lauchings, too???

But first around the is a flat area with very confused seas through lots of reefs. I knew there was a way sneeking around close in to the beach, but the water was so shallow I got stranded on the first try...
I took my chance to jump out and to have a look around the point to check the situation, and what I saw was very confused seas, but at least I thought I could manage to stay close in as planned. Some fat seals were occupying the beach at the Cape, obviously surprised to see a person out there...I hurried to leave them alone and launched again - again with a stuck skeg...

Paddling around proved to tricky and some hard body work, but it was actually even more rough south of the Cape then! For some reason I expected it to be somehow sheltered, but I should have better studied Karel's forecast more carefully...wind 3-4 from nw (following), but seas 2,90 m from s/se!! Still I wasn't used to seas coming from the opposite wind direction, but for sure it created some lovely water...

Should I dare to land again and hopefully manage to launch then with an idea of a rope-system for a non-stuck-skeg, or just keep on going with no skeg? There was no inviting place to land around the Cape in these conditions, lots of reefs with intimidating spray going over it. Just don't look at it and stay far off and out...

I decided it was worth a try to climb out again to loosen the skeg, I trusted my balancing skills even in rougher water...but it happened what must have happened - I lost balance on straddeling the stern and slid into the water :-((

Not too much of a big deal, as I was in a dry suit and had lots of options to get in again, but being out there on your own first time in such a situation makes it feel a bit different.
I decided not to go for the wet-hair option with an elegant re-enty and roll, but rather just pull myself up again, straddling and slide in - just into a fully flooded cockpit from the next set of waves then...hmmmm, ok, pumping out was the next job to do, and I was really missing my electrical pump I used to have in my older kayaks...the manual pump with an almost full on spray deck eventually did it's job half, but I felt it was not worth to keep on pumping, I was a bit exhausted and chilly, and rather spotted a bit of a protected gap behind a reef to somehow land safely.

I gave my body and soul a full two hours break after that funny exercise, and pulled a piece of string out of my repair kit which I threaded through my already existing little pull-out-loop on the tip of the skeg. I attached it behind my seat, and on the next launching it worked well! The rope skeg was stuck from cobbles and sand again as usual, but I released the main rope, pulled on my "help rope", and out it was!
Just releasing the help rope off the skeg loop then, and I will never launch again on my own without that piece of string attached to the rope!
I was already thinking about how to release the skeg on my own when I paddled with Greg around Iceland, but you actually DO what you feel what needs to be done at some point just sometimes a bit later...

After a two hours break the launching off that beach was almost impossible, as the ebbing tide left only a kayak wide gap in the reefs...I really hadt to kick me to give it another go, as the strong following winds were so tempting out there...

But I noticed once being on the rough sea again, although I made good progress, the previous experiences were telling on my body and mind today, and I pulled to a next inviting looking beach spot after only 1 1/2 hr of paddling again. Some broaching sideways in a moderate dumping wave, still keeping dry hair...well, I am used to paddle with my dry suit hood on :-))

I stuck my helmet under the back deck net only without clipping it to teh net, that it first gives me an easy access to grab it, and second somehow forces me to put it on on any landing and not to loose it then in any size of surf. It doesn't hurt or bother me to put it on, and it is easy to underestimate the conditions...being out there on your own anyway. And a dangling helmet besides the kayak which came off the net but still being clipped on is nothing worth either.

Landing at 4pm already gave my some rest I needed, I was in cell phone range and could call all my contacts who wanted to hear from me...

Samstag, Oktober 27, 2007

Progress Report 10/28/07 Sunday - updated by Freya 28.10.+ 04.11.07

Updated weather from Karel Vissel:
Mon mrng nw 4bft noon nw 3bft aft nw 4 bft seas 1.90 mrng south of cape campell seas 2.90mtr from s and se
Tues mrng nw 4bft noon nw 3bft aft nw 3bft seas 1.60 to 1.20 mtr from se

Satellite Update received from Freya:
Sunday 28.10.07 S41.43 E174.12 65km 9hrs, just 6km close to Cape Campbell...kicked my ass I was not fighting my way through Tory Channel entrance earlier than 11.30 h...
6 dolfins 1 penguin 1 seal 2 surfies and 100 aching muscles beach camp in sand tired but happy

Update by Freya 04.11.07:
This means Sunday I had to land in last light 20.30 h at a beach close to Cape Campbell, but as I started that late I couldn't make it around on Sunday in still kind of quiet conditions.

Arriving at the White Bluffs at the end of the x-ing of Cloudy Bay I actually wanted to land, but a strong current around that corner wasn't inviting at all. I preferred to rather fight on southwards to get rid of that current, and just to keep on paddling...prepared to live in the boat all day as usual.

Who is starting late has to paddle a bit harder and longer... once I felt I could at least make it close to the Cape I decided to cut across not only Cloudy Bay, but Clifford Bay, too, heading somewhere to the Lake Grassmere campsite.

I paddled the hell out of my body and against the haunting "estimated arrival time" on my GPS, hoping to make still a landing in last light.

The first wider surf lines were breaking off the Awatere River mouth, and what I guessed were two seal playing in the waves turned out to be two guys on their surfboards!

Approaching the Lake Grassmere area I was looking for where the official DOC motorcampsite might be, and saw some lights by the water, but I never guessed this was the campsite so close on the narrow strip bewteen the water and the bluffs...and I landed about 200 m to the right. It was almost dark, and I actually guessed why should I bother with an "official" campsite...I was more than happy to relax in my own sand dune spot than to deal with elderly people travelling in motorhomes (who needs a motorhome...) :-))

Update 28.10.07 by Freya:
Sunday morning 9.30 am, and I'm on the computer again...why??
I haven't got a floating office yet...

My hosts left early this morning for going to town, getting up at 5am together with me.
Joe checked the forecast again, put his nose outside, but had to tell me the weather was not following the forecast was still blowing force 6 out of the south, and the tide was still running into the Channel, pointless to give it an early start to be able to reach Cape Campbell today...

I waved the family goodbye, standing at the sheltered beach, not able to see what was going on there around the corner of West Head.

I guessed better than hanging out for three hours I'll give it a try and poke my nose around the corner, see how it looks like!
Who's not trying, won't get an answer...

First start at 7.30 am, I ferryglided across the Channel entrance, made it up further than the lighthouse, but then my GPS told me my speed was down to ZERO...actually a lovely playspot if you don't want o go anywhere, but I wanted to go SOMEWHERE!!!
I had to turn around then, getting flooded downstream with 10-12 km/h, and just enjoying the morning sun.

Joy Heberley, Joe Heberley jun. wife, was still at home and asked me to come inside to warm up again, not really unwelcome for a 3-hrs waiting time. Thanks, Joy! She was just out feeding three abondoned lambs with a bottle!
They do have a lovely big modern house, too, with lots of wood and a nice backyard.

I picked her up yesterdy with her husband Joe riding the family's motoryacht shuttle deep into the fjord to Picton, the interisland ferryharbour town, actually a good chance to get further inland without the "hard" work of paddling off course...
The ride was cold and rough, and standing on the way back felt much better than sitting! I prefer my kayak on the long run...

I'll give it another start at 11 am, when the tide has turned running out of the Channel and going south, and the wind died out a bit more then. No wind against tide anymore, but it will still be rough seas out there, I expect. Hope to nake it at least to Fighting bay, maybe White Bluff, but no way to reach Cape Campbell today... :-((

Thank you all guys for all the new best wishes for my trip, it really motivates then to get on the computer again by the next chance...

New Zealand is 17 hours ahead of EST (Standard time zone: UTC/GMT +12 hours; Daylight saving time: +1 hour; Current time zone offset: UTC/GMT +13 hours), so please keep that in mind as you follow Freya's progress. (And please excuse any mistakes that I make when trying to post the correct blog date!) -

Karel's weather reports indicate wind strength via the Beaufort Wind Scale. If you are unfamiliar with this scale, please see the excellent reference (adapted for kayakers) that Derek Mayoleth has posted at -- Greg

Following is the latest weather report from Karel Visel:
Sun mrng s 4bft se 2.70mtr noon e 2 to3bft aft ne 2 to3bft seas 2.40mtr from se
Mon mrng nw 4bft sea 1.70 mtr noon nw 4bft aft nw 4 to5bft sea 1.40mtr se dir

Progress Report 10/27/07 Saturday - updated by Freya 28.10.07

Forecasted weather from Karel Vissel:
Sat mrng s 4bft noon s 4 to5 bft aft s 4 to5bft seas 2.90mtr from se
Sun mrng s 3bft noon e 2bft aft e 2 to3bft seas going down to 2mtr from se dir
mon tru thu looks good nw winds 3bft seas around 1mtr

Satellite text message from Freya 10/27/07:
It's going to be a rest day which I don't mind...I feel good, have pumped up shoulders like bodybuilder :-))

Update 27.10.07 by Freya:

Saturday turned out to be an (already welcome...) rest day, as strong headwinds wouldn't be much fun and progress. I took my chance to get on the family computer and typing these updates.

Joe talked me through lots of good fishermen's experience along the upcoming coast, and the forecast looks like it is really necessary to get past Cape Campbell by Sunday night, even on some headwinds and bad tide tomorrow morning. Tide and wind can only change to the better by afternoon and night, and when I'll make it around the Cape by daylight I'm fine. Means I'll have to dig in hard tomorrow again for some 60 km whith not perfect conditions...

When the wind turns to stronger NW on Monday, which is an offshore wind and very much welcome south of Cape Campbell, he said it would be too rough to pass the rocky reefy point of Cape Campbell...especially on Monday morning when there is wind against tide I'll get up VERY early tomorrow to make that leg well in time...let's pray for the southerly winds easing down enough to get against!!!

Monday past the Cape it would just blow me down the coast with not much big seas running on the beach...continuing with these conditions probably Thu and Wed.

Thanks to anybody who wished me well on the comment site! I appreciate all people being mentally with me in my lonely trip...

Freitag, Oktober 26, 2007

Progress Report 10/26/07 Friday - updated by Freya 27.10.07

Satellite text message from Freya 10/26/07: (Updated by Freya 27.10.07)

S41.12 E174.18 Okukari Bay near entrance of Tory Channel. Started paddling 7.40 am, smoking catabatic SW following winds off French Pass/ Admirality Bay, pretty rough stuff! Tide was turnig to follow at 8.30am that day.

Not much "real" surfing, as the boat is heavy and I wanted to save energy for the day. On passing an oil platform halfway to Clay point, the workers on deck probably guessed what is that crazy lonely kayaker doing out there...

Around Clay Point the same strong smoking gusty wind was still up, but now 90 degrees from the right...I ducked down low, and kept on paddling...good to be flexible. But it doesn't take much to capsize a kayak or to get rolled around even a couple of times :-)) - almost feels like a propwash of an helicopter !

I happily put in a brief relaxing food and pee stop, once getting off the catabatic mountain winds on the next channel entrance.

Now the wind was a friendly following WNW up to Cape Jackson, a pleasant paddle with good progress in sunny conditions! Even the view of two snow capped mountains came up to the right, and I just felt like being in the Icelandic fjords, paddling way offshore from point to point. Just Greg wasn't with me...I took my heavy PFD off, felt just great and enjoyed digging in deep.

Cape Jackson was well known for a heavy tidal race around the point, but the tide was still with me, sneaking in close to the rocks was no problem then, I just got washed through in a good speed! This was the time I started to turn my GPS on, to check what the speed was doing, actually a good device to have in tidal areas!

Conditions, time and weather were still good, so I left the last possibility to pull in somewhere into Queen Charlotte sound for the night, hoping to at least reach Tory Channel or even Fighting Bay, if conditions stayed ok.

But for sure they didn't...although there was not much wind left I still made good progress towars Cape Koamaru, but for sure the tide turned around the Cape and I was sneeking along close to the rocks to avoid the biggest tidal stream against me more offshore.

Some bigger rocks close to shore left the decision open how to go against upstream, in between or around...both options proved to be hard work! I just kept on paddling double speed for some minutes, actually the smalles gaps for sure turned out to be the fastest streaming areas. But the longer way around the rocks against the stream wasn't tempting either!

And then some bad weather came in...actually predictable, after the following wind all morning there was a lull for about two hrs, and then the wind turned to the forcasted southerly. At least after Rununder Point the tide was with me again, but wind against tide created some choppy stuff, and I was hiding behind most bigger rocks, now getting flooded through again. At some point I should have better already put on my helmet, just in case...being alone out there...

Reaching smoother waters of Tory Channel entrance, I sneeked around the corner of Okukari Bay where I expected to hopefull have a good landing. That bay looked really inviting to me after that long time on the water!

Well, I must admit after I kept on going around Cape Koamaru I would have loved to reach Fighting (girl's) Bay, as Paul Caffyn aimed for that on his trip 30 years ago and couldn't reach it :-)), but to reach that bay in time before nightfall I should have started earlier and should have had that on my mind the whole day. But weather and tide didn't allow me after going around the Cape Koamaru, and I was happy to be just safe in Tory Channel. No, I'm NOT competitive... :-)))

A big interisland ferry boat just came out the channel when I came off behind a huge rock gap, pretty impressive!

In Okukari Bay I think I made the right choice on landing on th beach to the right! Landing on a remote corner to the left where a lovely meadow seemed to be just waiting for me I climbed uphill to the biggest of the three houses to ask for allowance to camp.

Joe Heberly, the owner of the two impressive fishing boats moored in the bay and patron of the whole "Hebeley Clan" living in that bay, invited me to stay in the sheering shed, which was very welcome on that windy wet night after 12 hrs of paddling! He drove me downhill to the beach again in one of those funny working vehicles called "rhinos" reminding me to fast running golf carts with a gas engine.

He showed me around in the shed, a luxury accomodation compared to a wet and windy tentsite!

I was just about to paddle my kayak closer to the shed, as the cart came down again, this time with Heather, his wife, and an upgraded invitation to a stay in their big luxury house! How could I say no...a hot shower, warm bed and some company was more than welcome at that time!

I first hosed myself down outside in my saltcrusted drysuit, then I enjoyed some less cold water with way less clothes inside...what a life! A call to Bevan that I'm fine, the regular sat-phone update for the rest of the world, and a great dinner with some good talk finished up that exciting day.

A big thanks to Heather and Joe Heberly hosting me two nights in Okukari Bay!

The Heberly family clan owns a fishig fleet and some land with 2000 sheep, operated already some previous generations in that bay and obviously well prepared for the future! Two sons and some grandchildren live in the other houses, at high sheering season assisted by some workers helping out. An obviously fullfilling life!

Freya is on her way!

Freya has started her circumnaviation of the South Island of New Zealand.
I'll provide some of the satellite phone text messages received from Freya during her travels, to keep you informed of her progress.
Thanks, Greg! I am missing you on this trip...but I will do my way solo this time. We had a good time around Iceland! Freya
Karel Vissel, who provided weather tracking during our Iceland trip, will be helping Freya with weather information and forecasts for her New Zealand trek.
Thanks, Karel!!! Good job already in Iceland, looking forward to work with you in these treacherous waters :-) ! Freya

I'll stay in close contact with local fishermen for the weather, and will do frequent phone calls to locals like my lovely Nelson hosts Bevan Walker and Nora Flight, Paul Caffyn and Pete Notman. All of them will help with little bits and pieces of informations to get the best idea of what to expect.

My communication way will be like I'll send a brief position and condition report via Satellite phone to Karel every night and every morning to get the updated message on the just switched on Sat-phone in easy and fast (if you send a message the "waiting in the orbit" message comes in instantly, otherwise you have to wait for maybe long time...).

To save money and typing time, Karel is so nice to forward this message via e-mail to "1st hand" interested people like my family, local contacts and Greg, who is putting it on my blog and updating the trip map.

I'll update my own messages and add more informations next time I'll have computer access then, to give you all a better idea about what's it like here!

So it's worth checking previous postings which might be updatedby me then!

My saftey gear for a solo trip includes all availabe gadgets in these days, like epirb, VHF, Sat-phone, GPS map, mobile phones (German and NZ-Sim-cards), flares, smoke, strobe-light, flashlight, spare Reed hatch covers and underwater repair tape handy in the cockpit, helmet, spare paddles, paddle leash...and I felt comfi starting the trip in my Kokatat drysuit, as waters and temperatures are still chilly and conditions change easy. I might change to shorts, Kokatat Tec Tour jacket or Reed short sleeve cag sooner or later, we'll see.

And - if I might take my new
Kokatat Ronin PFD off to enjoy some (frequent...) "freedom paddling feeling", but to which my epirb, VHF and camera are attached (actually pretty heavy stuff...) - it sits on my spraydeck on paddling but it is clipped to it's loop, so just in case, it's still attached to my body...

I'm paddling my 3-pieces
NDK-Explorer I used on my Iceland trip, as Nigel did his best to finish and ship me the brandnew Explorer he made for me, but it arrived just one day before I left, too late for me to outfit and wrap it the last day... :-(

So I can wear this one out completely, and a brandnew one is waiting for me at home...and, just in case I'll break the old one on my trip here, I'm looking for someone willing to fly my new one over from Germany - any volunteers?? :-))

Received 10/24/2007 from Freya: (updated online by Freya 27.10.07)

I did my food shopping in the morning, packing everything in little ziplock bags, and was worried if thing will all fit in my kayak...ready to go when Bevan's finished work. After a week's waiting I was eager to start!

Bevan dropped me at Croisilles harbour at 19.30 hr. Packing in record time while Bevan enjoyed his deserved dinner, just two little bags didn't fit where they should...I just stuffed them into the cockpit...

Just to get going again, I decided to do a 45 min strong headwind warmup-test-paddle, on which Bevan joined me in his (unloaded...) Nordkapp the first 30 min.
Then I was on my own!
I fighted a bit into the headwind to feel my shoulder and body working again, but I already turned back to cross the bay to a lovely landspit camp. Not much daylight left (different to Iceland!), and I felt the heavy weight of the kayak and my untrained body...I actually was only workinh the last weeks (months...) and didn't paddle at all since Iceland besides some days on the Isle of Man symposium.

I put up my new Hilleberg Allak tent in darkness, still a bit confused about which corner belonged to which side, but I'm sure I'll learn quick. :-)
It got shaken already to the ground on the first night in strong catabatic winds coming down the mountains from just about everywhere! But this time no support from inside with split paddles was needed, it stood solid and strong. I think it was a good choice! Thanks Hilleberg!
I fell into my sleeping bag pretty tired from the day, not even having the desire to cook, write or to do a proper teethbrush...

My "official" start will be from that campsite tomorrow!

Recieved 10/24/2007 from Freya: (updated online by Freya 27.10.07)

S40.56 E173.50 On official campsite at French Pass. I had good, but strong gusty SW 5 all day.
Through French Pass the strong tidal race stream was still up at 1.5 hr before high tide, but I got through with no problems.
Just keep off the main stream and sneek close to the rocks on the right!
I watched a big motoryacht going upstream a bit first, then ferryglided across to the other side like we would have done it with our kayaks, too, but this fat boat got washed!! It seemed not to have much control...but eventually reached safely the othere side. This *IS* a treacherous place!
I paddled only 30km/ 4hrs today, now allowing myself a bit time to do some gear and body check :-)

Received 10/25/2007 from Freya: (updated online 27.10.07 by Freya)

A very stormy night with strongest catabatic winds again! I left a pile of gear with Dale and Chris Jenkins, thanks for dropping it at Bevan's in Nelson! Just good to travel a bit lighter... :-) My muscles were not too sore after the first day, feeling just good!
I sealed my dayhatch & bulkhead behind the seat, thanks Dale for getting me some sealant!
It looks like a sunny but windy day! Started paddling 7.40 am.

If you have questions or comments for Freya, please post them and she will respond as able on her trip. Knowing that people are following your trip and rooting for you does make a difference!

Greg Stamer

Dienstag, Oktober 23, 2007

Recovering at Paul Caffyn's house

Paul Caffyn, myself, Paul's trip partner for Greenland,Conrad, and Greg Stamer on Paul's lecture in Reijkjavik/Iceland, one day before Greg and I finished our Iceland circumnavigation

My shoulder and therefore the spirit to get going is getting better day by day, but the weather isn't quite following up...last night Paul's house was shaking in a gale to the ground, and down in the South of the Island houses roofs were flying off.
The view of the surf through Paul's window got quite impressive, but you don't want to be out there at the West Coast right least it was somehow modest the first two hours of my arrival :-), but the next front arrived quickly.
I spent my time looking with Paul at maps, contctas, gear and books, and he gave me lots of good ideas what to do in which corner of the island.
I decided to give it an early start as soon as possible anyway (maybe Thursday looks reasonable for some days...), as once I'm recovered I just don't want to be sittin' there and waiting for better and best times...then I shouldn't have flewn in that early. But I took my available time window and my chance...
This means I probably won't put in an impressive overall time around the island, not to speak about a great daily average km, as sometimes you might only be able to paddle for a few hours a day and then have to take a break again for days...patience is required.

But as that wasn't the goal of this trip, who cares. Last Icelandic summer conditions are far away...this here won't be a picnic anyway, earlier or later. So let's just take it in small bites and just start swallowing early :-))

Btw., Justine Curgenven and Barry Shaw, who will give it a go around the South Island, too, starting next January, have put up a professional website about the trip, talking about recent and upcoming expeditions as well as about what kind of conditions probably to expect. Please have a look at

Freitag, Oktober 19, 2007

I'm in New Zealand!

Ok, I'm here.

33 exhausting hrs of a quiet flight, but two hours before I touched base with NZ territory in Auckland first, I was grounded already for some days... :-((

I forgot to ask Air NZ for a sponsorship for keen circumnavigational kayakers providing a comfi buisiness or first class seat and (as usual...) I had to squeeze myself into these less than shoulder wide - at least my size shoulders :-) -economy class seats.
Waking up after a nap I felt an unbelievabale flashing pain in my left shoulder, obviously a squeezed nerv. I couldn't lift my arm any more, it hurt permanently like hell...I can tell you I was close to tears feeling temporarly disabled on such an early stage...

But who knows what it'ts good for, a good portion of humility for staying healthy in future and a bit of a delay in my start isn't a problem, as the weather has been horrible the last weeks on the South Islandanyway, and I knew it was a risk to leave home that early.

Nora was so kind to pick me up from the airport, but I felt like an old woman not even being able to lift my bags in her car...
Nora Flight and Bevan Walker are a great adventurous couple with two lovely strong kids, and I felt in good hands being hosted by them the first two days. Thanks to both of them!
Bevan has circumnavigated the whole of the South Island, too, but within 6 years. He gave me already some good advices, looking into maps and showing up potentional camp sites.

As I couldn't think about getting an early start anyway, weather- and shoulderwise, I followed Paul Caffyn's invitation and drove up on the second day to his home on the West Coast near Greymouth, in Nora's old, but trustwothy car. The Walker family was happy to go out on Labour day's long weekend on a tramping trip into the bushes.

I could hardly shift gear with my left hand, but it was at least not the first time driving right-handed on the left side, and I arrived safely after a long 5-hrs ride through on the first sunny day since weeks. But I seemed to have been quite a traffic obstacle for the Kiwis beeing used to drive that scenic windy road in a different pace...

I could reply Paul's hug on seeing him again only with an "auuutsch, please be careful!", but he took instantly up on a good job on treating my shoulder well with Arnika ointment and pain relief pills...
He offered me good local instruction on the next days, and how else can you feel more diving directly into the NZ seaside although still being comfi dry and warm, than sitting in Paul's lovely house with a great view on to the surf on the West coast, enjoying a good brew and talk.
Actually an outstanding place to live...he has a little outdoor pool on the small beachfront, which was used to be covered with some logs making a temporarly helicopter landing site when he got picked up every morning for his geologistic research work. Not to mention his hot whirlpool in the garage for cold winter days, and the miles-long library of kayaking and adventurous books of all kinds...seems like the ol' chap knows how to enjoy life! :-))

When I'm writing this now Saturday morning, he is off to guide a group through an old mining cave until lunch time, and it is the first time I take a bit of a quiet break to post something about my trip.
You might be wondering why I was so short on posting being still in Germany, but changing my main ice-cream shop as every year into a x-mas shop with 5000 items on 100 square meters takes a bit of time, love and effort.

A big "thanks" to my great long-term managers Ilona and Andrea, and to all of my 30 loyal young women working for me, that I'm able to take that long and often time off for my kayaking adventures!

I'm sorry I can't answer any e-mails so far (but I can read them!), as Paul's apple Mac computer doesn't let me for some reason...but it's good at least I can let you all know I'm safe and sound, but heaven know's when I'm gonna start paddling...

Freitag, Oktober 12, 2007

Two more last minute sponsors

Thanks to Thomas Lindner from Aquaman Deutschland to help me on my New Zealand trip with his famous waterproof Aquapack-cases for my GPS, mobile phone, camera, PDA, VHF, Sat-phone and maps and charts - let's stay dry - at least with those precious items! I'll be happy to write after my trip about how they held up in those tough conditions.

And thanks to Kenneth Westman Drake from Hilleberg "The Tentmaker" to give me a brandnew "Allak" 2008 model freestanding tent for my trip. I was a great "Hilleberg" fan ever since, and now got with the Allak my fourth "Hilleberg" tent sponsored - thanks! It will give me shelter and a "home" on my trip...a great one!
I'll write about my experiences with that new model after the trip, too.

Delmarva 2007

Thanks to the organizer Ed Zachowski from Qajaq USA for inviting me!

In between my work to prepare my x-mas shop with 5000 items and closing down my ice-cream shops (...ahhh, and between some trip-preparations for New Zealand, too...) I headed for a quick 3-days trip to Delmarva/ USA as a special guest to give a slide show and lecture about Greg's and my Iceland circumnavigation this summer.

The first time after I presented the show solo in Sweden and Finland, now it was together with Greg! I felt with both of us it was a good deal better, as we kept on in our slideshow with our love-hate relationship we developed on the trip... :-))

So if anybody would enjoy to see a great slide show about our

"Lost in Iceland"

trip - please give us a call! Greg and I will be available on next year's symposiums anywhere on the world!