Monday, April 13, 2015

Freya Hoffmeister Approaches End of Kayak Journey Around South America

German paddler Freya Hoffmeister is approaching the end of her epic journey around South America in a kayak. According to her most recent updates, she is now less than 350 km (217 miles) from reaching the finish line in Buenos Aires, the city she set out from nearly four years ago.

According to her own estimates, it should take Freya about 18 more days to complete her expedition. That seems like a conservative estimate however, as she has been making good time recently, and is likely to finish ahead of that schedule. I'd expect her to press on to the end in a little more than two weeks, as she wraps up what has been one incredibly long and difficult journey. By the time she is done, she'll have circumnavigated the entire continent – including passing around the treacherous Cape Horn – by kayak, covering some 24,000 km (14,912 miles) in the process.

Freya is no stranger to long distance journeys by kayak. Previously she has paddled around Iceland and New Zealand, and even became the first woman to circumnavigate Australia as well. After completing that massive challenge back in 2009, she started looking for other places she could paddle as well. Somewhere along the way she came up with the idea of traveling completely around South America, and in August of 2011 she set off to do just that.

In her original estimate she expected it would take about 24 months to complete her expedition, beginning and ending in Buenos Aires. It has taken considerably longer than that however due to logistical challenges, taking some time off to go back home, and overcoming personal obstacles along the way. But now, the end is in sight, and Freya is poised to make history once again.

Normally I would have waited until she was a bit closer to the finish line to post an update on her progress, but at the end of the week I'll be leaving the country once again, and it is likely that Freya will finish her impressive journey while I am away. So, with that in mind, I'd encourage everyone to follow her progress at FreyaHoffmeister.com. Her final journal entries should prove memorable, as will the dash to the end.

It is always interesting to see these long expeditions wrap up at long last. I've been following this one since Freya set out all those many months ago. I'm glad that she is closing in on the end at long last. I'm sure the sense of relief and accomplishment that she'll feel will be overwhelming.

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