Day 320, Thursday, 03.12.2009

 (Picture by Rose Fletcher) 

Rose was so nice to arrange a hairdresser’s appointment for me today. I felt like urgently getting rid of my sun and salt faded and grown grey hair! I filled Rose’s washing machine first, and tried to stow away my camping gear in the van. Time was a bit short, as I woke at 8.30, and I had to leave for the hairdresser’s at 9.15 am. It felt good to drive a bit with a normal car on normal roads, feeling like a normal citizen!

Unfortunately the salon had moved, and I had to find the new location on the little map Rose gave me. I eventually got there 10 min late, sorry! I enjoyed very much the pampering, and later continued in the van working on my toenails…I love to look nice again after a long time in the bush!

Rose and Greg came back from the Adelaide airport around 12.30, and it was Greg’s hairdresser’s appointment then…but a man’s haircut takes only 20 min or so…and I kept on organizing the van in that time. Then it was more gear washing, checking and organizing time. Rose made us a nice late lunch, homegrown salad, lovely arranged on a plate. Thanks for everything, Rose!

We drove to Victor Harbor around 4.30, food shopping for the next 14 days, all a bit in a hurry, as we needed to be at the Yacht Club for my evening talk at 6.30.

(Picture by Rose Fletcher) 

 We found a building with “Yacht Club” on the wall, but I couldn’t believe it was the clubhouse…this must be the boat shed or such! And I was right…the clubhouse was 500 m to the east.

(Picture by Rose Fletcher) 

We arranged my boat to be displayed. I jumped into my black dress, and people started to come soon. Overall it were 70 paddlers from the area, some coming as far as from Tasmania and Adelaide to listen to my talk! Thanks to all for coming! I really enjoyed telling you my story, and it seemed like everybody enjoyed listening. I signed a bunch of cards at the end for almost everybody, and made the date for tomorrow’s launching with some local paddlers and the TV guy again.

A special thanks to Brad Butler, Christina and the Encounter Paddling Club in Victor Harbor to organize this night!

Whoever has pictures of this night and would love to see them here, is welcome to send them to me, please!

The Butler family

(Picture by Rose Fletcher) 

Greg and I drove to a hidden parking spot, and fell asleep very soon after that day packed with chores.


Text message from Freya:

Hairdressers in the morning, food shopping in the afternoon, talk at night in the yachtclub, not any time to relax or to update my blog, sorry…but Greg is back!

11 comments on “Day 320, Thursday, 03.12.2009

mike r

Hi Freya
I am so glad I went gown to Pt Elliot to see you. Apart from your temendous achievement, you must be one of the most gracious people I have ever met. You went up to peole and offered your hand and you we’re just as happy talking to a kayaking bumbly like myself as you are to the Laurie Fords of sea kayaking. A great evening!
I camped overnight to see you off, but hung back till you we’re off the beach as I started to feel a bit lie a groupie!
I will love to one day read your impressions of your last day of the trip. Will you paddle quickly to finish or take it easy to enjoy the final paddling. The best past of a year will have passed and you’ll be glad it’s all over but in another way, I suspect that you might also feel a tinge of sadness that it’s all come to an end.
You’ve inspired me to train for the local Four Islands Ocean Race!
Many thanks and all the best


Hi Pam,

It is not so much drought that has stopped fresh water flow into the Coorong as decades of misuse by humans upstream. Successive governments (voted in by the Australian public) in Queensland, NSW and Victoria have over allocated water from the Murray River to irrigators and interrupted flow with barrages. The icing on the cake is that cotton and rice irrigation has been allowed in the Murray Darling Basin. These are massive properties, some with fresh water storage capacity equal to Sydney Harbour. The result? A highly saline Coorong (salt levels four times that of the ocean), a RAMSAR site lost, and the death of countless local and migratory birds, fish and turtles.

But for paddling, I assume Freya is on the Southern side of the dune system not in the Coorong proper. The problem is landing on that exposed beach as it has such a sharp drop off hence the dumping waves and there are many rips. As it is now Sunday here, I am thinking she’ll be safely through it by now anyway.

Pam M.

Thanks for the information Rose and Edda , very helpful in understanding what Freya will be dealing with on the last portion of her trip. So sorry, Rose to hear of the drought that is drying up the Coorong and turning parts of Australia into scorched earth. I can only imagine the heartbreak of seeing that happen, and all the lives, human and animal, that have been so badly affected by it.


From what I can peek from Google Earth, the biggest issue with the Coorong is getting on and off the beaches. It’s a long stretch of beach with 5-10 lines of swell, waves, or breakers, depending on weather, running parallel to it. So let hope Freya can avoid another “washing machine” experience and safely get on and off the beach.
Well done for crossing the last gulfs of open sea and good luck for the home run now. just don’t get complacent. Oh, and welcome back Greg!
Hope you all have fun


All of us wish that we could go the places you’ve been, see the things you’ve seen. I look forward to the day I get the opportunity to shake your hand and congratulate you in person for your accomplishments. Until then I’ll watch from a far and be amazed. May the the winds be at your back and the weather fair for the rest of your amazing journey!


Pam, behind the long beach of the Coorong is a long wetland, which unfortunately is at present suffering badly from seriously reduced water flow. In places it has dried up completely. At its best the Coorong is a superb tidal wetland, home to millions of birds…a very beautiful and unusual ecosystem, and when filled with water, a splendid place to paddle, on flat water, parallel to the beaches. The beaches can be reached by simply walking over the dunes.

As for paddling hazards, the beaches along there are very exposed, no cliffs or other sheltering features, and wind and waves can be a difficulty. So can the mosquitoes, but apart from their overly friendly presence, the beaches and dunes are splendid for camping.

That’s the short description, to try to describe the area better would require far too many words, but perhaps this will give you a picture…

Pam M.

Can anyone enlighten those of us not from Australia, as to what exactly is the Coorong? I looked on Google Earth and it just seems to be a long, long beach. Does it involve any unusual paddling hazards????

Enjoy some time off with Greg, Freya! Wish I could have been at your talk – it sounds as if it was very inspirational.

Mark Deuter

I will add our thanks to Christina’s, Freya. Everyone who attended Thursday night’s talk would have been conscious of the effort that it took after such an arduous last 3 days, with so little sleep. Despite that your talk was informative, honest and funny – and there are 70 South Australian sea kayakers who will always remember that we saw Freya on her epic voyage around Australia. Knowing our coastline as we do, your daily objectives and distances covered since leaving Marion Bay are just astounding. We all hope you gather strength with every kilometre closer to Queenscliff.

Mark & Lyn Deuter


Well said Christina! My feelings exactly.

A stellar effort all round Freya, especially finding the time and energy to inspire and encourage the rest of us through your story, and your patience with our questions. We’ll be watching through these last days of your mighty effort, and although I’m not able to see you arrive at Queenscliff, my heart will be with you.

I’m looking forward to the day (soon now) when you and Greg can just relax and have an extended rest. May the weather be all good until then.


Dear Freya,

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to South Australian sea paddlers in Victor Harbor last night. To say you have inspired me is somewhat of an understatement. I hope you realise just how much hope and energy you give to others by telling your story, especially to women sea paddlers. I am less scared, about many things, since meeting you. And I will remember the ‘survival mode’ mantra! Safe paddling along our beloved Coorong. It will look after you. We know you are tired, but you are almost there! Enjoy the last days of this extraordinary achievement. Very many thanks again,
Christina Jarvis


Sounds like a really good and sensible plan after the last few days of all out effort :~)

Good on ya!


Comments are closed