Sonntag, November 11, 2007

Progress Report 11/11/07 Sunday - update by Freya 14.11.07

Update: I received an additional image from John Kirk-Anderson of Freya's launch, which I have included - Greg.

Weather Update from Karel Vissel:
mon mrng nw 4bft noon nw 3bft aft nw 3bft seas 0.60mtr frm se
Tues mrng nw 3bft noon w 3bft aft s3bft seas 0.60 to 1.40mtr frm se

Message from Martin:
I helped Freya launch today from Taumutu about 30 km south west of Banks Peninsula into 3m high dumpers, she launched with total commitment into extremely unforgiving waves in what would rate as the gutsiest piece of paddling I have seen that left us shaking and the onlookers cheering.

Satellite Text Messages Received from Freya:
Nov 11, 2007 10:23 AM
44.06 171.41 Long Beach 62km late start with push through big surf good paddle and landing Sandy Ferguson is here I'll go past Timaru tomorrow.

Will try to pass the 140km to Oamaru harbour in 2 days...

Update by Freya Wednesday 14.11.07:

The weather for Sunday showed easy winds, but most important the se swell was supposed to go down the day, starting about 1,80 m to about 1,20 m at night.

John and Mary got up early with me at 5 am, meeting Martin and Fiona at a junction on the way up to Fisherman's Point at 6.30 am. I appreciate all those people getting up that early to see me being off (and to help me launching, actually...)!

Arriving at the beach, everybody guessed hmmmmm, is that the water you want to get through this morning? Still crushing dumpers, but there *were* occasionally lulls in between...every 15 min or so...if you do it wrong and get washed back into the surge you and your boat won't be having much of the original shape...

We were all watching, discussing, watching and thinking if it will be worth a try and the risk, actually. i was sure i won't have tried on my own at all. The water behing the "barrier" looked ok and easy, if there won't be that launch...and actually a landing, too, at the end of the day!

I decided to get at least the gear and kayak down and to pack. Something to keep me busy while everybody else was still watching and thinking and discussing...

We got paul on the phone, and listened what he was thinking about it, too. But at the end it was really up to *me* to say "yes, I'll do it"... everybody said I would be welcome to stay another night, Monday was supposed to be really down with the swell.

John said eventually he would do it (but he didn't... :-)) )...and was dressed already in shorts, PFD, helmet and tow belt...and he had to meet a student at 10am...and Paul organized Sandy Ferguson to meet me at the end of the day to give me a catch if NOW or not that day at all and maybe tomorrow if I'd stay on the beach on my own without help...

There was a good chance with a good push to do it. But if things went wrong and you get braoched sideways and rolled up the beach again...only one try to *not* get it wrong.

I felt like before an exciting skydive in former times, fully aware of the risk, but quiet and fully concentrated, and relying on the good job of the "launchers"...and then the GO!

John advised me to give it a good scream, but I guessed a mouth full of water was the least I would need by then :-)) So just paddle from zero to full speed, until you feel clear...

One wave crashed above me (see that picture...), I ducked down and had to brace a bit. But I kept straight! The next one came, and according to John it was one of the biggest on coming through all morning...I couldn't size the amount of water, just ducked down again and kept on going after the shower was over...but I knew that I made it after that! I didn't realize (actually couldn't hear...) the shouting and screaming crowd on the beach, just lifted my thumb up to thank them and kept on going a slight bit more out. I turned around in safe waters, waved them good bye, and was just keeping me busy getting my skeg launched with my rope trick (worked again!), taking helmet and pfd off and to get into a smooth going mood again. But it took me about an hour to get the shaky feeling out of my legs...

The day was an easy paddle then, just NO landing in between...but eating, drinking, peeing was no problem.

Sandy (Alex) Ferguson was waiting at the Asburton River mouth, 50 km further south , equipped with a VHF radio for contact. I arrived at about 5.30 pm, guessed, the day is so nice, despite the late launch I made good progress with 7-8km/hr, and I need to keep on padling for at least two more hours! But I decided to land and to talk to Sandy about his plans in person rather than just letting him know over the VHF: "Sandy, it's nice you made it out here to catch and meet me, but I just don't want to land yet..." :-)

Talking to Sandy on channel 16 only didn't seem to bother anyone here...he didn't see any need to move over to another channel to keep on talking.

My landing through moderate rough stuff was probably not really out of his kayaking book Sandy wrote, but this was the German beginner's way :-)) - rolling up the beach again with a most elegant gravel handroll...his wife caught everything on video! No publishing without editing by the actor, please... :-))

We greeted, talked about the plans and I found out they came with a van raedy to stay the night! Means another helpful hand in the morning...thanks Sandy and wife, to spend the time for me! But I dared to ask if they wouldn't mind if I kept on going for another two hrs or so...the meeting point was Long Beach then.

The beach in general changed from the gravel only Kaitorere Spit up to Fisherman's Point beach down to the Ashburton River mouth, having some steep gravel in front of cliffs now. It was probably the going down swell in general, or the beach was creating just a bit less of a dumper, but during the day the landing was not that much scary any more for me. Or maybe I was just able to calm down, knowing that there was someoneone waiting for you raedy for catching...

It turned out that the road acces on the map wasn't existing, and Sandy spotted me from a cliff top already further down south!! Means I had to turn about 500 m back to meet them...but oh well, for some good company and talk at night and a helpful hand it was well worth going back!

The second landing of the day was easy going, and probably the dumpers were even less, as forecasted. The only problem was Sandy's van and wife were sitting high on top of some cliffs already on a private farmer's meadow, the best acces he could find, and I was down there at the cobblestone beach with kayay and big use to carry the gear up the cliffs. Sandy made it easier accessible with a rope, not to just slide downhill again...

I put up tent and came up to the van the for a short night's talk, it was good to meet them! But back to my tent I was just discussing the next day looking at the maps with Sandy, and cooking was too late then...and avocado and some soup from the hot water in my thermos did the job. keeps me slim anyway...

Forcast for Monday showed a calm and easy day, Tuesday was supposed to get some southerlies in again!

I hoped I could make it to Oamaru harbour by the end of Tuesday, not to worry about any big landing on steep beaches any more...but (to be continued next day)


Blogger karel said...

I,m happy you made it through the wall.

5:12 nachm., November 11, 2007  
Blogger Michael said...

A wall indeed! Awesome feat, Freya. Keep it up!

12:31 vorm., November 12, 2007  
Blogger derrick said...

Nice. You get to have all the fun! LOL!

4:22 vorm., November 12, 2007  
Blogger Andy said...

What happened? You got bored of us locals saying 'Freya, people die walking and fishing on Birdlings Flat every year' and had to get away?

I'm astounded that anyone is gutsy and skilled enough to kayak out into those waves. Have a great paddle, it probably won't get much harder than that - although you still have Fjordland and the west coast to go ;-)

6:06 vorm., November 12, 2007  

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