Day 63, Saturday, 21.03.2009 (day 64 between day 74 and 75)

Mackay, 60 km

Safe and sound in Victor and Alyth house. Sunday will be off for organisation. I need to write more later, sorry!

(Day 64 between day 74 and 75…)

Victor with his three woman Alyth (right), Beth and me

Day 63 and 64 were very special for me, sorry it took that long to update! But I couldn’t write just “something” and then keep on going…

The paddel to Mackay took me along Hay Point, another loooong sticking out into the sea jetty for coal handling facilities.

Slade Point in Mackay had a lookout, but I was so early arriving around the point (2pm), that I really couldn’t anticipate Victor or Alyth, my pick-up dates, were already there on top and watching out for me…

So I headed quietly two hours before the proposed arrival time 4-6 pm around Slade Point, into a wide river mouth at low tide. River mouth…crocs…but the sandspit looked clean and people walking their dogs on the tidal flat.

There was a concrete launching ramp, only to reach at low tide by carrying all gear up the rocks. But oh well,  I had plenty of time…procedure as usual, unloading everything…

Two ladys with their dogs came up to me and asked me questions where from and where to…Inge and Joy.

As there was a bit time left until I could anticipate my pickupdate to show up and I didn’t have a mobile number from them, Inge took me to here beachfront house for a shower. VERY much welcome!!! Thanks! You feel like newborn after 10 days out there in the salt and sand… 

We tried to find out a phone number to give Victor and Alyth a call, and once I switched on my computer to have a look on my e-mail, Joy saw Alyth own last name and said:”Ah, Alyth, I know her, she is a nurse as I am, we are working together!” Small world…she gave the hospital a call where Alyth was on duty, and she said Victor was on the way to Slade Point lookout after work at 4pm.

Inge drove up to the lookout with us already a bit earlier to have a look, and I was checking on a guy having a close eye on the sea: “Are you Victor?” – he probably would have loved to be “Victor”. but he was not… :-))

Eventually the “right” Victor drove up the beachway and saw my boat in the grass. Inge would have loved to do the hosting job as well – it turned out she was German, even from Schleswig, just in my neighbouhood! She was arriving in OZ in her 20th and stayed and married…and made a great cake which was just what the doctor ordered after the days on noodles and cerals.

Inge Hartley and I enjoying her cake, Joy in the window mirror taking the picture…


You never know with whom you are dating, getting invitations to stay online…and I was almost thinking “just save me the 1-hr drive out to your house and back early in the morning, I could just stay with Inge right here…”, but for sure that wasn’t the plan.

Victor loaded the boat and gear on his Landrover, the trunk already full with gear parcels arriving for me at his contact adress. We were driving about 50 min inland, through one wide sugar cane plantation and the next one…and the next one…nothing else planted there. Our sugar in Germany comes from sugar beets…it would be interesting to see how they work on such a sugar cane farm!

But our destination wasn’t a sugar cane farm house, but a lovely house made of local stones out of the river in the back of the native rainforest! I was wondering already why Victor’s Landrover had the exhaust high up – driving through three then about knee deep rivers was necessary! They could be much more deep after heavy rain and trap them in for some days…

I was overhelmed about the location! It was a fully open built house, few doors to shut or even to lock. So it’s just nature anything or anyone can just walk in and out…

And they had some pets…but no dogs!

this one I took in my bed at night to give him a BIG kiss – but no prince mutated out of that nice green fellow…


this one was making quite some noise on the tin roof some times!


these ones were not really welcome by the inhabitants either…

…and plenty of small lizards flashing around everywhere. I saw no spiders…they are all kept by the lizards at bay…and amazingly the bugs were not much present either! Paradise…


ok, enough banana pictures…this is how they are getting into the house to ripe fully and to be eaten! 

avocados, just like apples on a tree in our area…

jackfruit, big hairy things, one was lying on the ground rotten already and I thought it was a dead furry animal…

and one of the happy plantation owners -lovely Alyth! …with a fruit a forgot the name…

Victor and later Alyth as well took me on a tour through the “backyard” which was a several footballfield-size fruit-plantation area with plenty of native fruit-trees – lychees, mangos, limes, jackfruits, bananas, oranges, avocados and I don’t know what else, too many exotic stuff…

The mangos and lychees were unluckily out of season, but Alyth had frozen mangos – just as good as fresh ones!

Victor with his two woman team at night

As Alyth was home only at 8pm from delivering babys in the hospital (she is a midwife and nurse) and Victor isn’t really the kitchen king, they asked Beth, a good friend of theirs, to come in and to cook “tea” (very british for a lovely staek and salad dinner…) -so dinner was served perfectly in time at 8pm when Alyth was back home! That’s teamwork…thanks alot for the lovely hospitality that night and to Beth to cook “tea”!

20 comments on “Day 63, Saturday, 21.03.2009 (day 64 between day 74 and 75)

Phil L

Thank you Richard R for the information on the site for photos. I now have a new screensaver of Freya everyday. thanks again. I have added L to my name as there is another Phil dropping messages as well not sure where he is from I will be the Canada Phil. Thanks again Richard. Do you know the storey if there is one behind Freya wearing black. I am guessing she doesn’t listen to Johnny Cash!

Alan Melville

Freya, I was thinking about information overload so I’ve jotted down some info re crocs. Understandably you’re a bit apprehensive about them, personally I think the tides, eddies and whirlpools are likely to present more of a threat.

Just to qualify 2 things,

1. J is correct, crocs will and do swim miles offshore, and as I said they inhabit the islands offshore as well. If there is something lower in the food chain there may well be a croc! and there’s not a lot higher in the chain than them…..

2. As for being attacked at night, this can happen but generally someone was doing something stupid, for croc country that is, like leaving scraps out, being too close to the water, repetitious behavior in one place too long.

Crocs are careful hunters, they like the odds stacked in their favour, as do most solitary hunters! They’ll watch their prey carefully until they know where and when in the pattern, it’s best to attack. This can be extended to areas where people or livestock use the river, it may not be a particular individual they watch but the behaviour of a species, and that’s what humans are….particularly to a croc. Be careful around some of the popular freshwater waterfalls that cascade into the sea.

Crocs can run, bloody quickly as well, people say they don’t but I’ve seen it.

In the water, and on land as well they have a tendency to lunge, this is very fast and very powerful, when they lunge they also snap, if their prey happens to be within approx. 1.5 M from them they’ll likely make connect and it’ll make a nasty mess. The closing power of their jaws is tremendous, in actual fact on a human and I’m sure any other species, it’s not the puncture wound that is the major issue, it’s the fact that the tissue around the impact point is killed off and therefore takes months to heal.

People often escape from crocs once bitten and I guess it’s through struggling which means the croc has to re-bite and the victim has a chance to break free.

Urban myths state that if the victim pokes the croc in the eyes it’ll let go, and rest assured I reckon it would, but one would have to be a cool customer to be able to do so whilst ones Torso, arm / shoulder, or leg /s are trapped in the mouth of something weighting up to 1000 Kg and 5M long ( for the record, pretty rare) whose only intention is to eat you come hell or high water… Don’t get me wrong, people have poked crocs in the eye’s but more often than not they’re not the victim. Bashing it on the eye’s is just as effective and easier.

During the period when you’ll will be traveling the top end the crocs will be a bit slower as it’ll be cooler ( relative to the wet season ) The males wont be so wound up because mating is over and the females wont be as protective as they’ll have no young. The males are still territorial though.

It’s a myth they never slide out of the water onto a clean beach, they do. Whilst they like the muddy water they’re also quite at home in clear water. They’re also happy in fresh water and will travel great distances overland. Their slide mark is quite recognizable, they’re really just oversized lizards and leave similar tracks.

Camp well back from the waters edge and as discussed use rock ledges when possible. Have one entrance facing the water, use it for inspection in the morning and exit via the rear if need be.

Unless camped in a high location try not to camp in one place more than a couple of nights in a row.

NEVER camp close to the waters edge, always try and get well clear of the water, either horizontally or vertically.

If one rushes you, head off at 90 degrees to your cleanest escape route. Always be aware of your situation, I’m confident you’ll know what I mean about situational awareness.

Whilst on the water always look for the shape that doesn’t fit, you’ll become quite proficient at recognizing snouts & eyes. 90 degree evasion doesn’t work in the water, extreme speed does but be aware crocs can move very quickly under water but hell, you’ll be running on pure adrenalin and I’m sure you’ll be powering the first human powered fully planning watercraft.

You voiced concern that should one bite the boat it’ll go straight through it because of your light layup, I’ve thought about this and I reckon should you be attacked it’ll likely be a younger male who’ll have a bad temper, this means his jaws may not have the strength of an older male and therefore you’ll likely get the scare of your life and some superficial damage but little else. If your attacked by a fully grown male with an attitude practically no layup is going to survive. Older males tend to mellow although there are exceptions to the rule.

As I said, be aware but don’t dwell on them, it’ll only stress you and you’ll not notice the wonderful scenery.

When you get to Cooktown, find a local bushy / fisherman and have a good talk to them. They may take you out on a boat to a known area so you can see a slide etc.

I’m sure you’ll get lots of help from boats in the area once the skippers know you’re passing through. Keep your VHF close!

Take care.



So that’s 2 slices of salami, spread with mayo, insert a piece of biltong and wash it down with a pint of olive oil.
Hmm, now I’m not quite so wishing I was there. Bon Appetite 🙁



I have to agree with Phil,
Salami has several advantages, high fat, protein (some) flavor, it is thin and can be stuffed into a variety of places on the boat, it won’t rot in the heat, and finally – in a pinch, can be used as a weapon!! 🙂


The wildlife will only really be a problem if she were to actually sleep IN the water…they’re not much more of a danger to a boat thats adrift than a boat in motion. If theyre going to eat you in your boat its not going to matter if you’re asleep or not.

The inflatable raft is a great idea…not sure how compact they get or how heavy they would be. Would having one packed on your deck decrease stability too much? That seems like a lot of weight to have that high on your boat.
Inflation could be handled by using one that inflates automatically…maybe one that is reloadable (ie you can purchase a replacement co2 canister??) not sure if those are available… She may could even tow one of the more aerodynamic versions of behind a ski boat inflatables…think a short version of a banana boat. At night she could raft up with it…it would slow her progress during the day (especially if its windy) but it would save time during the transition between sleep/paddling.

Sea wings/sponsons take up no space/weight there is no reason not to bring/inflate them for sleep. A cockpit cover would be nice if sleeping in a raft.

All I know is unless ABSOLUTELY sure that the current is taking her directly to her destination a sea anchor is an absolute necessity for sleeping in the boat.

Tom B


Saltwater crocs go way of shore and have been sighted swimming between island of the Torres straits, and it has been known for them to swim from Australia to Papua Nugini.
In this area of the world the mackerel, giant trevally and numerous fish are running the bait fish are on the move now for the next couple of months and this attract predator such as bull sharks reef sharks white tip sharks etc not are good place to fall out of a kayak.


Please do not underestimate how far saltwater crocs will travel offshore. They can and will travel for many km’s out in the open ocean.

I suspect volunteers to help may be few and far between – this is a very remote part of Australia – once Freya passes Cairns there will be very little in the way of supporters until she reaches Darwin IMO.

Also care will be needed when sleeping onshore – crocodiles have been known to attack campers during the night.


I’m no expert on this but I dont think crocs go that far off shore, if Freya is close enough to shore to be worried about crocs then I imagine she will come ashore and sleep. I like the inflatable boat idea, it could be attached by the paddles and become the outrigger, although the blowing up and deflating could be a pain in the butt. Another option is that someone volunteers to paddle with her for that leg and they raft up to sleep.


re Kev and your suggestions for the gulf and sleeping at sea

interesting thoughts and options – what about saltwater crocs and sharks ?


Well done on reaching Mackay so quickly. As for the food debate, salami (has to be Don for best flavour) keeps so well and is great for protein and fat. Olive oil is really good for you as well as being a great source of energy and can be either drunk or combined with your other foods.

Alan Melville

In response to the thoughts on products for fat, Billtong, which is a dried meat product of South Africa is very often dried with the fat in place. It’s then consumed as is, fat and all ! and it’s yummy ! Probably not good for the cholesterol levels but what the hell ! If the fat on the meat can be dried one could presume pure fat could be dried, if so it could then be carried quite easily. Don’t know if it’d be yummy ! Maybe there are some meat drying experts out there who could chip in.


Ken V

Suggestions for crossing the Gulf of Carpentaria and sleeping at sea:

This is a result of brainstorming on westcoastpaddler.

-side airbags – large sponson type.
-paddlefloats on each paddle blade and rigidly held in place.
– tiny inflatable boat big enough to sleep in.
-a simple set of outriggers – good stability on long lever arms.
– If boat is flatbottomed, turn upside down and sleep on the hull with the outriggers out for stability.
-use person leash so if turned over when sleeping you won’t wash away.
-wear a dry suit inflated sufficiently for positive bouyancy and use a small inflatable pillow for the head. Float while tethered to the kayak.
-Have a mothership to pick up at night and drop off in the same spot in the morning.
-choose a double Klepper with sail rig, nice and stable. A bit more room for sleeping in different positions and in calm weather you can stand up in it .

Whatever you decide it would be best test out thoroughly (overnight in sight of the shore) before you cross.

-Use a sail (tent fly will do) or kite if winds allow.
-Reverse osmosis pump to make fresh water.
-If you don’t have a means to desalinate water I would suggest bring at least a two week supply just in case wind, current, and waves conspire to have a stronger effect on progress than estimated.

Best wishes.

Ken V


Hello again from Toronto Canada. The temperatures are rising here we have had a couple of days that have reached 10 C or so the nights are still dropping down to – 8. Still another week or so of snowboarding here.

Following your progress daily through your website I must say I was a little disappointed with the article in Sea Kayakers April issue. Too small and more photo’s required!

I found your post regarding the butterflies off shore rather funny. Share Last year I was paddling about a mile off the north shores on Lake Ontario when I made a dramatic rescue of a monarch butterfly fluttering in the water. (not really dramatic) I picked the little guy up with the tip of my paddle and placed him on the bow to let him dry. He was washed off a few times but finally he dried and flew away. While this was going on I noticed all around me more and more butterflies. Very surreal experience I had never encountered before.

The butterflies are Monarchs, the little guys migrate thousands of kilometres, travelling from Canada to Mexico. They ride columns of rising warm air and frequently reach high altitudes where strong prevailing winds speed their flight.

Monarchs have been introduced into Australia, South America, Hawaii, and several other Pacific islands. Migrating monarchs occasionally reach
Europe and South America, probably aided by ships.

They have bright orange wings, which span 93 to 105 mm, have a thick black border containing two rows of white spots. Male monarchs also have two highly visible black spots on their hind wings. Are we talking about the same butterflies?

Alan Melville

Have to stand corrected re the fat on ones rump, it too is subcutaneous fat, whereas the fat around ones organs is visceral fat. A friend of mine pulled me up on that…..happened to be the ex wife actually……too intelligent for her own good!….and a bloody German to boot….lol 🙂


Alan Melville


Re the snakebite, I thought I’d jot it down so you have a reference.

1. Mark the site of the bite, use anything that’s permanent and draw a circle around the bite. Also mark the outside of the bandage. This is so the medical staff know where to cut the bandage and take a swab from in case your unconscious. If they have to take off the whole bandage the venom rushes through ones system very quickly.

2. Wrap the whole limb with a bandage, starting at a point closest to the heart, work right down so just either the toes or fingers are sticking out and then work your way back up, this needs to be very firm, elastic bandage is best,as if you’re wrapping for a sprained ankle. This is because snake venom uses the lymphatic system and compression suppresses travel. You work away from the heart so as to push the venom away.

3. Immobilise the limb, if it’s your leg and you can’t find a stick or whatever, tie it to your other leg! If it’s your arm strap it to your body, it makes no difference if the limb is vertical or horizontal.

4. Gather Sat phone, GPS and EPIRB, make yourself comfortable in the shade if possible, press EPIRB button, make a call to Police giving relevant info including sat phone number, tell them you’ve pressed EPIRB, don’t start calling people unless you know for certain they are experienced enough to stay calm and help keep you calm, you don’t need an adrenalin boost and you need to keep comms open and clear for emergency services.
As a point of interest are you carrying a VHF radio.


1. Don’t wash the bite. Venom is needed to positively identify the snake and administer the correct antivenin.
2. Don’t cut bitten area.
3. Don’t use a constrictive bandage/tourniquet.
4. Don’t suck venom out of wound.

OK, hope that helps, as I said in all the years I’ve been knocking around the bush I’ve only had two close encounters with snakes, one was controlled….I ate it ’cause I was starving hungry…….and the second was scary, both were in the Kimberly, the scary one was a Northern Death Adder, didn’t eat it!

For your info, the Northern Death Adder and the King Brown are the two venomous snakes you’re most likely to see in the Kimberly, be aware the Northern Death Adder inhabits the islands as well, I’m not sure of about the King Brown but it wouldn’t surprise me if it does as well. You may also see Pythons.Big ad fat and really long…

Take care,


Loads of congratulations from your ocean paddler friends at the arctic islands of Vesteraalen and Lofoten! Completing stage 3, strong, safe and swift – you demonstrate for the world that women not are “the nigger of the world” but absolutely capable accomplishing exactly what you want. From the other side of the earth we are following your voyage, and wish you all the best of luck – in addition to your skills – during the coming stages.


Congratulations on completing another stage, only a few more to go…

As I was sitting in the greenhouse potting up seedlings, I’ve been pondering about the weightloss advice yesterday. What kind of fat can you transport easily without it making a mess when it melts, last time I looked, you weren’t pulling a fridge in tow?

How about catering sachets of mayonnaise? A friendly chat with any of the fast food outlets might get you quantities required, unless anyone in Mackay has a wholesalers’ entry pass?

That way you can use a few without the rest going off, and you can stash them in any little nook or cranny, if one should go pop it’s won’t create a total mess. Might be good when going into the wilderness, where you can’t easily stock up on stuff.
Any of you guys got a different idea?

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