Montag, Januar 14, 2008

I found some NZPA finish day pics

Picture by Tim Cuff
Picture by Tim Cuff

There are some more on that link:

I'm back home! Some dumper launching pics...

I made it safely back home again, quiet flights, no overweight money, low kayak shipping fees...lucky kid!

What a difference being back into the winter! Early darkness, cold, grey sky...but there is no time to be sad...

I joined already a buisiness meeting, checked on my shops, and am at home mostly busy answering e-mails, phoning friends, and editing all my hundreds pics !

The write-up of the trip is waiting, besides a pile of bills, newspapers, three month of accounting needs to be done...and so on...

And I do want to spend some quality time with my family, too!

Anyway, I've got now the full set of four pics of that exciting East Coast launching.

Pictures are taken by Mary Kirk-Anderson.

Martin Fraser (left) and John Kirk Anderson (with helmet and pfd), waiting as close as possible for the right time to launch me

They are not pushing yet...just dealing with the previous dumper...

A BIG push now, Martin lost his Teva sandal in the surge...the disaster is piling up already...

JKA looks like he is saying:"Come on Freya, I know you are in there somewhere!" - and I was!

John Kirk-Anderson's posting on Paddlewise:
"After she had a few days off while waiting for swells to decrease we took Freya out at dawn on Sunday, back to the place she had landed on Thursday.
The surf had decreased but was still dumping on the steep shingle beach with the larger sets over two metres, easily enough to smash boats and bodies.
We watched the surf for a while and Freya finally decided to launch with our help. After a bit of a battle with the surge we launched her into a low surf which she got through, with one high brace after being knocked half-over.
She lost her speed in the set and the next wave was one of the biggest of the morning.
I have no idea how she managed to get through it. Her kayak stood on end and the wave collapsed on top of her. Martin and I sprinted away from the area, expecting her smashed kayak to be flung out on top of us. After the carnage cleared she rose from the spray and calmly paddled away, stopping to give us a wave before continuing south.
We were left shaking and gob-smacked, while some watching fishermen were still clapping.
She made good progress and was met further south by another friend who camped with her before helping her launch again.
Last night I had a call from her, sitting in "A meadow in the middle of nowhere", as she put it. Another long day, she is in good spirits and making good progress.
She asked how big the surf was when she left, as she had her head down. She said it took her an hour to lose the adrenaline feeling from her legs!
Paul Caffyn is going to meet her for a few days, but the forecast is for gales, so her paddling may come to a halt again for a while."

Freitag, Januar 04, 2008

Back Home on Wednesday

I managed to change my flight, being back home on Wednesday, January 9th.

I just need to fight 12hrs of jetlag all the promised calls have to wait some time then...and back to buisiness soon again, too!

It's still here a busy time, plenty of media interest! But anyway, I feel my biggest challenge after the trip was the announced booklet...but if you don't get it out in the open you might not do it at some longish office work will put on some weight on me again soon :-)) Paul promised some support!

Donnerstag, Januar 03, 2008

The Final Leg - I'm done!

Well, what shall I write - too much going on again! So many people wishing me well in person, via e-mail, on blog comments or on the phone - busy times! I would like to thank everybody again for mental and practical support, and will answer all your lovely e-mails shortly!

I finished my trip on Wednesday 2nd, 3.15 pm, after a last day and night’s leg of 165 km, just to make it a bit harder… Actually, the forecast for the next two days sounded like stronger winds again, and I didn't want to wait any more days to be done!

I had already planned to finish off with an 85 km crossing of Tasman Bay before I started the trip, therefore I decided to launch from Okiwi Bay.

French Pass would have been even better and would have saved another day, but it would have been just such a loooooooong drive to get out there...and I was just happy about Bevan Walker driving me spontaneously out to Okiwi Bay at all that night before starting, after his own long hard day's work. Thanks again to Bevan!

To add even a bit more icing on the trip cake, the final crossing started at 10pm after I had paddled 80 km in 15 hours – the night paddle would add another 17.5 hours to a challenging 165 km leg.

The overall trip data statistics are available
here (thanks to Derrick Mayoleth for uploading the file).

Just some key figures here:
2386 km total, 70 overall days, 48 paddling days averaging about 50 km per paddling day. First woman to circumnavigate the South Island, 30 years after Paul Caffyn's brilliant first trip, the third solo, unsupported and continuous journey, fifth person to complete the whole circle. Fastest circumnavigation ever.

What an amazing experience and finish! The previous day's scenery was the best of my whole trip, one lovely remote sandy beach besides the next, between rocks shaped in an endless row of caves and arches. I was able to paddle through three of the biggest arches on New Years day, which I suppose brings luck to me! The swell was low that day, and I could have landed anywhere without much trouble in the surf.

I knew especially this last stretch of coastline could be very difficult and would have proved to be the last challenge of the trip with no sheltered landing since Little Wanganui River (Karamea), but I felt lucky to paddle on a sunny day with quiet waters to fully enjoy this last leg of the trip. Just some moderate headwinds to deal with on the start - nothing to complain much about!

Fighting tiredness was the downside of a long push. In Iceland, Greg Stamer and I had paddled through one night for 22 hours. I was interested to see how my body could cope with a longer session without landing in New Zealand.

From dusk, I paddled without my headlight switched on until about 1am, navigating for 1.5 hours along the breaking surf off Farewell Spit by sound only. Mostly between 1am and 5am, I regularly had to collapse on to the front deck, taking 30 second powernaps.

Or I stretched out on the rear deck, using my helmet stuck under a net on the deck as a pillow and closed my eyes for some seconds. For some minutes, I just paddled like that, lying on the rear deck and having my favourite star combination in the sky for navigating, perfectly in view! And it was good to occasionally lift my backside off the seat sometimes, as it started to feel quite sore after so many hours paddling. I would always then take care to slowly raise my body back into the paddling position, to avoid damage to my spine.

Occasionally I drew too close to the surf zone, got caught by breakers, and I had to brace into them. Most breakers washed my PFD off the front deck but it remained clipped with a carabiner to my spray skirt loop. The waves were sensual to move with, up, down and sideways. Nothing seriously breaking or being violent that night! Warm waters anyway, a flat beach with no obstacles threatening. Just in case I would have been washed up and stranded on the beach, I would not have cared!

What helped me paddling through the night was I really enjoy paddling with closed eyes for long distances, being able to dance blind with the waves, and if necessary navigate by sound despite any wave conditions! One hour after I passed the Farewell Spit lighthouse, I could no longer hear the sound of waves breaking on the sand, and heard only silence. I knew I had reached the end of that very long spit. Now the open waters of Tasman Bay lay ahead and the start of a long 85km crossing.

It was the best decision I could have made, just to keep going through the night! It was such a lovely tranquil night after an already calm day without much swell - millpond seas, a clear sky with attractive new southern star pictures for me to look at and to navigate with, and some fascinating bioluminescence effects in the water!

This natural phenomena of bioluminescence while paddling through the night was like a one day delayed personal New Year's eve fireworks, endless entertainment almost all night.

On each paddle stroke, tiny waves created by the kayak bow stirred lines of glowing sparkles. Droplets splashed over my kayak, sticking to my paddle and gear, and glowing for some seconds until the next splash of glowing water.

And then the dolphins - three times for about 10 minutes, four to six dolphins played with my boat, leaving glowing traces of water behind them! I could always follow exactly where they were, by their glowing white trails in the sea beneath the sparkling starlight.

Once I felt I had to fight tiredness more than being distracted and kept alert by the bioluminescent entertainment, I switched my headlight on, trying to keep my body and mind awake- more or less successfully.

The rising sun at 5am gave my body some relief as it marked my usual waking up time. I was able to paddle temporarily a bit more strongly after a few breakfast cereal bars.

I was successfully fighting my usually early morning need for a ‘big’ toilet walk. In case I had to go, I had planned to jump into the warmish water and strip off my pants. Peeing was no problem anyway with my funnel and hose female urinating device.

I began noticing sore rub spots on my backside after sitting in the cockpit seat for so long. I was wearing a warm combination of fuzzy rubber pants over fleece pants, which gave me a kind of a slight nappy rash.

While approaching my final destination, I entertained myself with cell phone calls to family and friends, and was very happy to be in range and touch again.

I had called Paul at 9pm the previous night to let him know my estimated arrival time and to inform him about my planned night paddling. It took him a while, and about three times, asking, “So, where are you staying tonight?” to realize I would keep paddling after reaching the tip of Farewell Spit.

I would arrive in a decent time, by doing a night crossing, rather than sleeping for some hours and ending the crossing at 11pm or even midnight. Paul was happy to organize a ‘welcome party’ with plenty of friends paddling with me for the last kilometre. Thanks to all of you coming out to greet me!

Fiona and Martin Fraser prepared a Pavlova, with sliced kiwifruit, chocolate flakes and lashings of whipped cream on top. Luckily it was decided not to throw it in my face, but rather to allow me to eat it and share it around- the champagne sprayed by Paul was messy enough already! Thanks for the hot shower at David Oldham's house; he also provided the launch for the press and TV reporters, too!

The TV3 crew flew in by helicopter at 2pm, but couldn't spot me on the water. They landed and joined the motorboat crew to film me on my last kilometre, together with the press reporters. JKA from the Christchurch Press was not kayaking but was in the boat with cameras. So good to have a paddling photo reporter amongst the kayaking friends!

( Editor - you can view the news footage of Freya's landing
here )

But a big thanks to Paul Caffyn organizing the welcome party! He was my great public relations manager and local trip organizer throughout the whole trip, driving me around, supporting me with local knowledge and hosting me for quite a while!
I ended up (so far) with 8 different newspaper articles during the trip, some published in various papers all over New Zealand. Two times the trip got reported on the TV3 news, and a radio interview followed today. Without his contacts I probably wouldn't have bothered.

A big thanks to Karel Vissel, who supported me with reliable, regular weather text messages on my Sat-phone and provided some blog updates.

A big thanks to Greg Stamer, who updated my blog regularly.

A big thanks to all my sponsors who supported me with generously with great gear for that trip and beyond! I'll write a gear list soon.

A big thanks to my partner Werner organizing things at home and with my shops, and to be patient waiting for me at home, together with our loved son Helge.

A big thanks to my shop managers Ilona Sierks and Andrea Hoehn who kept my shops running smoothly with the great support of all my about 30 loyal lovely girls working for me!

A big thanks again to all people I've met on my trip, who supported me mentally and practically with offering their homes and hospitality to me, encouraging me with supportive e-mails and comments!

And a big thanks to all people following this blog and supporting me with lovely comments! I still owe you a trip report of the days from Riverton on the south coast to the finish! So much writing in one rush can't be done that fast, sorry. Actually I always felt pretty impolite when I got into people's houses, being hosted for a night or two, and I ‘urgently’ had to jump on the computer, to update this blog rather than talking to my hosts - sorry about that!

Not sure yet how much I'll post here and how much I'll reveal in my book only - just teasing you a bit! I can't post pics from here at Paul's computer, so this needs to wait a bit, too.

Mittwoch, Januar 02, 2008

Progress Report 01/02/08; Circumnavigation Complete!

Freya has completed her journey becoming the first woman to circumnavigate the south island! Please check back soon, for a personal update by Freya.

Freya -- on behalf of Karel Vissel and Myself, congratulations on an impressive achievement!!! We have enjoyed helping to support your efforts -Greg

The following message was received from Paul Caffyn;
Goodaye Freya completed her circumnavigation of the South Island at Okiwi Bay at
3.15pm this afternoon, 2 January 2008.

32 hours, 169km paddle from Big River to Okiwi Bay.

Good media presence, TV and newspapers.

Dienstag, Januar 01, 2008

Progress Report 01/01/08 Tuesday. Home Stretch!

Editor's note. I received a phone call from Freya, while she was still on the water. Instead of stopping at the point shown on the map, she has instead paddled through the night and was well into her crossing with about 45 kilometers remaining to complete the final leg of her circumnavigation. That makes for a very long "day" of approximately 165km! She was feeling strong and very excited to be so close to her destination. Hopefully her next communication will be that she has completed her epic journey! -Greg

Weather update from Karel Vissel:
Tues mrng e 4bft noon ne 3bft aft w 2bft seas 1.20 swell 0.70mtr frm w

Wed mrng sw 3to4bft noon w 4bft aft w 5bft seas 1.20 swell 0.60mtr frm nw

ruby bay frcst wed mrng sw 4bft noon nw 3bft aft w 3bft seas 0.30 mtr no swell

Satellite Text Messages Received from Freya:
40.33 173.01 Farwell Spit lighthouse tonight