Day 101, Tuesday, 28.04.2009

Got you! This turtle in the middle of the gulf has probably never seen any boat or people.

Report from Chris Cunningham:

At 5:30 am Freya sent an OK signal from her SPOT messenger. As she starts the fifth day of her 575 km (360 statute miles)  crossing the Gulf of Carpentaria she is more than halfway. By my Google Earth measurements she has 305 km behind her and 270 km to go. She had a bit of rough water Monday, but the weather forecast, according to our weather guru, Karel Vissel, is for “winds mostly east starting Thursday and continuing Friday should bring her home with ease.”

I haven’t seen any boat or plane on the whole crossing either! Simply nothing and nobody, not even hearing an engine! Bet it was quite boring sometimes! What I was thinking all day? See entry 23 under FAQ

I was glad to have my social network via satellite phone accessible – I was calling Chris Cunningham every morning for blog reports, and my son, my mom and several close friends during the day just to talk to someone else than to myself! Really, you start talking to yourself! I even continued that strange habit the first day in my room in Nhulunbuy…am I getting a slight bit odd? :-)) I am just most happy to be out there in nature… 

But if you are not happy with and by yourself, you better should not go on such a trip. I think the remoteness of the whole Australia may be the worst for most social paddlers…Paul Caffyn 27 years ago did well on having a support crew driving with him most of the time and having some friend to paddle some of the legs with him, like the remote stretch from Karumba in the bottom of the Gulf to Darwin!


Caring about your personal needs on such an open crossing requires some good balance, as you should be able to eat, drink, pee and change or put on a shirt or shoes or pants without putting up the stabilisation floats first. I was used to long days out there anyway, so all skills concerning this were well practised.

My day food is always handy in my North Water under deck bag. I am refilling this bag and my hydration bag every morning on the crossing from the dayhatch with the floats still out.

Peeing into the cockpit all day is not really attractive with the smell, but a simple and convenient thing to do in these climates. There is some water in the cockpit anyway all day from paddling with open spraydeck or loose ventilating waist fit of the spraydeck (my spraydeck has adjustable velcros on both sides, so I either can make it tight around my waist or keep it quite lose for good ventilation). After a pee, you simply squeeze some fresh water over your crotch and sponge or pump everything out of the cockpit then. If it’s too rough, the job simply has to wait a bit…

New on the crossing was how to deal with No.2 – I was even able to do that without floats the first day! But it was calm, and admittedly it’s more relaxing with stabilisation floats :-)). Some blog commentor asked if I am taking a swin for that every time? Do you want to swim where your poop may float around??? No way, I simply got my legs out of the cockpit, lifted my butt off the seat, stripped my pants down and took care I was aiming well on my removable seat pad which was easy to empty over board and to wash clean then…

For brushing teeth you should sometimes better put the floats up as well, as a fat breaker almost capsized me with my hands not on my paddle on that job! 🙂 Bad luck…

I should have better taken care about my facial skin, covering the pores with sunscreen all days made some ugly greasy puberty pimples…next time (?) I’ll have some scrubby stuff handy!
I was lucky I didn’t develop any chafing on my backside or bottom – my in Mackay from Chris recieved Skwoosh seat pads and back rest did a great job since then! I’m sitting on the yellow “X-treme Cushion” and have half of the black thick “Kayak Cushion” as a backrest. I got a slight bit of chafing in the butt fold where the permanently wet skin rubs against each other, but this was not bothering me on sitting or paddling at all.

13 comments on “Day 101, Tuesday, 28.04.2009

David Fletcher

Thank you Freya for all the details of your crossing, especially the things nobody ever talks about, but everyone wonders how it gets done. Keep going.

Hi Chris,
great to hear Freya is going well. Normal conventions for wind (so as to avoid confusion) direction is to say where the wind is coming from, rather than going to. If the winds are helping to move her west, then they are easterlies. This is the normal winds expected in the Trades or thereabouts. However, the Trades areas are known for sudden changes in wind direction, so called westerly wind bursts, but typically occur more in the Jan-Mar. months. I also noticed that there is a tropical cyclone several hundred kilometres to the north and west of her region called “Kirrily” however appears to be moving towards the West. I’m sure she’ll be glad to be back closer to the shore in any case. But it is one hell of a courageous feat! Out of interest I would like to know what her contingencies were if conditions were unfavourable to continue? May her focus remain strong until the crossing is complete…


I am very glad to see that everything is fine.

I keep my fingers crossed

Janita K

Hey Greg….that’s the spirit!!! For all of us who have hosted Freya on her trip around Oz (she stayed with us in Hervey Bay Qld for 5 days in March during Cyclone Hamish), we know that there will be lots like yourself offering hospitality and a welcome hug on the beach, a hot shower, soft bed and a hand with carrying the gear when its unloaded from the Freya Shakti.
Can I give you a hint??? Freya LOVES pavlova and WHITE chocolate and grapes and not surprisingly, uses the salt shaker twice as much as the average person. Freyas normal persona is a serious-minded woman on a mission not to be messed with, but put a pavlova in front of her, and its like having a kid in the kitchen!!!
Do your best and I am so happy to know there will be friendly faces on the beach to welcome her. Thank you thank you thank you in advance to the Gove SLSC.

Greg Whelan

Greg said
we at the Gove peninsula surf lifesaving club eagerly await your safe arrival as part of your epic journey. Some of our members, along with a number of Australia’s elite ironmen and women, paddled across to Darwin a number of years ago for a major fundraiser. The surf club has a number of functions on this weekend and you are most welcome to attend. Sunday is our opening day for the surf club nipper season and you are most welcome at the club. I’m sure the kids would be inspired by your story. Safe paddling


on his around oz trip, caffyn hugged the inside of the gulf; perhaps he did it solo on another trip. i’d not known about andrew macauley. thanks.


i know eric stiller and his partner made the crossing in a double klepper (with a sail)…but what other solo kayaker has crossed the Gulf of C.?

Freya is the first woman to make this crossing however, And you are rite Beth she is one tough gal and she’s really cute too. lol lol Warren


Thanks to Chris for being up so early each day to relay this info to those of us who eagerly await progress reports. Freya would probably be the first solo woman to make the crossing, a great effort for the fairer sex. Wish I had the guts to do what she is doing, but I think she somehow got my share of fortitude along with her own. She’s living my dreams for me. Best of luck for remainder of journey.

She is not the first to make this particular crossing.

Holding fingers crossed for her re. the weather – amazing feat.



underline that and put an exclamation mark at the end. if she succeeds — and i think she will — she’d be the first solo kayaker to ever make such a crossing.

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