Day 122, Tuesday, 19.05.2009

A water buffalo, grazing peacefully in the forest close to the beach


I was waking at 4am that morning, thinking about daring to leave this wild animal’s campsite already at a higher tide than it would be later, going more with the ebb. I would have to drag my boat quite a bit to the water 3 hrs later, but I rather grabbed my laptop and pre-wrote my blog entries, until the memory is tsill fresh.

No internet there, but it was quite a valuable typing job already. Rather do that in the morning, sometimes very early, but well rested after I fell asleep last night alreday at 6am after having few sleep the previous night. It’s still quite a chore, doing the typing job…but I am happy to be in the lucky situation to be able to do such a trip and then to share with the world, delighted to see how much you guys out there at home and in the offices (ts ts ts…) are enjoying to follow my trip! It’s quite rewarding…thanks to everyone, and thanks for your encouraging comments!!!

Paddling around Camp Point, I was a bit disappointed to notice behind that point was hiding another, smaller “Camp Point Bay”, probably the better one to stay! But maybe less exciting?

There was a nice hut to be seen from the distance, probably waterbuffalo-proof, and no river outlet, and the beach didn’t seem to be going that far out on low tide…too late. No reason to turn around more than once. The other bay was beautiful and wild. But anyone else planning on camping there I’d avise to check better on that bay…

It was no wind all morning, but the sky was as dark as it could be to the left. It may have been heavily raining on the Darwin side? I expected the clouds pulling over my spot as well, but it stayed calm and dry where I was going alongside melville Island. Flat, glassy water, few tidal action, quite boring cutting across to Conder Point.

Next Point were the Ant Cliffs, and I was again paddling quite close to the point through the shallow muddy reef area, in only knee to waist deep high water.

There it happened, my head being abused as a fish’s (or small croc’s?) punching ball. Some beast, I didn’t see any glimpse of it as everything happened so fast, leaped fully unexpectedly out of the shallow, muddy water and hit me that hard on the left side jar and neck that I capsized. I was just about able to brace with my paddle on the ground. This was not the first leaping fish which hit me, but this one hurt quite painful and left a (luckily unvisible) bruise on my jar. I can still feel it today, Thursday…


I paddled on, and was able to spot a waterbuffalo close to the beach in the forest! He was grazing quietly along. It had long horns, but I reckon it was a “she”, as it was not really impressive big, rather a tad more than our European cows only.

I was tempted to land, and to walk up the beach to the forets corner and to see who would be running away first (or attacking?), but I left the nature’s peace…

I was planning to paddle for 50 km that day, camping on the last possible spot on the souther tip of Melville Island, Bonkalji Beach. I landed on a shallow, sandy nature beach, just to see *hundreds* of deep, big waterbuffalo marks allover…no, I didn’t feel like staying here at all.

I simply didn’t need my tent fly sliced by a curious bull’s horn, and some fat hoofs trampling over me and my gear, trying to put me on the spit with his horns…


Deep on my mind, still hidden all day, was the idea of cutting already earlier across the Strait to Darwin, thinking of my last long paddling stint on the last day of my New Zealand SI circumnavigation. 165 km that day and following night and day…


(continued on the following entry…)



Text message from Freya via satellite phone:

11.51 131.03 Bonkalji Beach.  50km already, but I will paddke through the night to Darwin. The left 60km beach is not inviting tonight.

2 comments on “Day 122, Tuesday, 19.05.2009

Doris Julien

You are such an inspiration! Bravo !! You are the female version of my heroe, Mike Horn. I just love what you are doing and we are following you from Quebec, Canada.
Good luck and have a safe and wonderful trip!
Keep smiling, we are watching you 🙂

Al Maki

Hi Freya, following your trip with fascination. I’ve come to agree that you are “doing it” not “attempting it”. Good on you as they say in Oz. Although I’m a Canadian, I think Oz is one of the most amazing places in the world and you’re getting a view of it that few others can match.
I’ve just got one question. What type of laptop are you using? (I’m a computer guy as well as a kayaker and I’m impressed by any machine that’s continuing to work in your situation.)

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