Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Freya Hoffmeister Completes Paddle Round Australia
It's been awhile since I posted anything on Freya Hoffmeister. The last time we checked in on her, she was 190 days into her attempt to kayak her way around Australia, hoping to set a new speed record in the process. Yesterday, the 45-year old German woman completed her paddle, arriving in Queenscliff, and in capturing the record too.
All told, the journey took Freya 332 days to complete the 9400+ mile journey around Australia. She has become just the second person to ever paddle that length, and the first woman as well. She beat the old record, set by New Zealander Paul Caffyn 27 years ago, by more than a month. Caffyn took 360 days to complete his journey. On her website, Freya promised "I promise, if anyone will paddle around Australia within the next 27 years, I’ll be at the finish line."
The journey was definitely a challenging and difficult one. Of those 332 days she was paddling, 245 of them were spent out on the water. She sailed counter-clockwise around the continent, beginning and ending in Queenscliff, and managed to cut more than 680 miles off the expedition by braving the open sea at the Gulf of Carpentaria, which she crossed in approximately eight days, sleeping in her kayak as she went. That extremely treacherous crossing has only been accomplished by one other person, the late Andrew McAuley, who would later disappear attempting to paddle from Australia to New Zealand.
Paddling expeditions like this one are not new to Freya. Back in 2007 she also circumnavigated around Iceland in just 33 days, and solo circumnavigated New Zealand's South Island in a record 70 days.
Congrats on finishing up the big paddle down under Freya. I think you've earned a little rest and relaxation just in time for the holidays.