Freya Hoffmeister Completes 2300 km Paddling Journey-The 43 year old becomes the first woman to cirmcumnavigate the South Island
- Trip started October 24, 2007
- Trip finished January 2, 2008
- 2386 kilometers total
- 70 overall days, 47 paddling days (or 48, if that 32-hour day counts as two paddling days)
- 50km per paddling day average
- First woman to circumnavigate the South Island
- About 30 years after Paul Caffyn’s “first” solo trip(76 days)
- Third solo unsupported and continuous trip
- 5th person to complete the whole trip
- Fastest trip ever
“I finished my trip on Wednesday the 2nd, 3:15 pm, after a last day’s (and night’s) leg of 165 km, just to make it a bit harder :-))…”
The following is an excerpt from Freya’s bloghighlighting the last days of her historic trip.
…….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 before I started the trip, therefore I decided to launch from Okiwi Bay.
It was the best decision I could have made, just to keep on going through the night! It was such a lovely quiet night after an already calm day without much swell going, calm 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!
On each paddlestroke, with each tiny wave created by the kayak’s bow, a rain of glowing sparkles was stirred up and came down on my kayak, stuck to my paddle and gear, 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 each a glowing trace of water behind them! I could always follow exactly where they were, themselves glowing white in the water in the sparkling star’s night.
What an amazing experience and trip finish! The previous day’s scenery was already one of the best of the 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 Year’s Day, which I suppose to bring luck! The swell was low that day, and I basically would have been able to land anywhere without much trouble in the surf.
When she’s not traveling Freya lives in Germany. Read her featured paddler bio on Cackle TV’s website .
Fighting the tiredness was the backside of the long push. Greg Stamer and I paddled already in Iceland through one night for 22 hours, and it is always interesting how your body is able to deal with it. Mostly between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. I regularly had to collapse to the front deck, taking 30-second power naps after some more or less powerful paddlestrokes.
Or I stretched out to the backdeck, using my helmet stuck under a net on the back deck as a pillow and closed my eyes for some seconds.
Some times I just paddled like that, having my favorite starsign in the sky for navigating perfectly in view! And it was good to occasionally lift off my behind from the seat sometimes, as it started to feel sore quite a bit over the hours…
I paddled without my headlight switched on until about 1 a.m., navigating for an hour and a half along the breaking surf of the Farewell Spit by sound only.
Occasionally I got too close to the surf zone, got caught by some breakers and I had to brace into them. They basically just washed my clipped on PFD off the front deck and were plain fun 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, who cared that night!
Read all her blog entries at www.freyahoffmeister.blogspot.com
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