Day 90, Friday, 17.04.2009

11.42 143.10 Saunders Island.  60km. I landed at very last light saw a quite big shark and have a glooming neighbour… :-))

That’s what my neighbour left in the morning…

I arrived at Saunders after changing my floatplan due to the advise on the big chart screen of Steven from the “Diamond Lil” in very last light – my fault if I decide to start a 65 km day at 9am…I was paddling as hard as i could, constantly watching the “estimated arrival time”, mentally prepared for a night landing. I pulled already out all my torches and lights, but at least I could amke out onthe approach the inviting sandspit.

I shone around my strong flashlight quite a bit on the last meters to (hopefully not…) see glooming croc’s eyes, but there weren’t luckily any.

I landed allright and easy, pulled up my boat and went for a campsite search. The beach wasn’t really flat where I landed and had a tidal pool to cross, so I had to walk about 50 m to the left to find a flat spot on top of the high tide mark. I dropped my gearbags, and kept on walking a bit to the left in already pitch darkness. My strong torch did a good job, and I discovered the island name’s sign around a small corner after another 100 m or so.

There was something reflecting at the water’s edge off the sign, and I thought this must be a vertical pole some people put up to mark the best landing spot and campsite (as they did on other islands), decorated withh a reflecting beer can or so…

I curiously approached, thought only the reflection must be man-made…but eventually I saw a longish shadow on the water’s edge behind the reflecting spot – horizontally and not vertically! Bugger! This must be my first croc, lying right at the water’s edge! Sure I saw only one eye reflecting as it was lying sideways to me…therefore I didn’t instantly realize that this wasn’t a beer can…

The reflection is pretty strongly glooming!!! At least now I knew how they looked at night…I simply turned around and sneaked off, only thinking he came up for a rest, leave him his peace and space. Then I would probably get my space on the beach to his right as well! No scary feelings. he won’t chase me to my campsite…probably not even realizing that behind the light there may be some food…

I was crossing two slidemarks close to the croc on my way back, but not too close to my planned campsite. I couldn’t move more to the right, there was no dry flat space…the distance of about 100m felt allright.

I went back, checked to the right a bit, but there was just no croc in a reasonable distance. I decided to drag my unloaded boat to my planned campsite, to put it across towards the water’s edge…you never know about more visitors…

On working hard  dragging the still heavy boat over the sand, suddenly I noticed I had some more visitors…I felt a bit guilty I must have attracted a bunch of about 100 tiny little baby turtles with my strong torch light coming out of their nest! But there was no chance to leave *them* their peace and to move to another campsite…so I put my strongest torch on my boat still in a distance from my campsite and started to put up my tent in the light of a less strong torch…this trick was working! The turtles were staying around my boat, and I could erect my tent without stepping on them.

Eventually I got all my gear inside, swapped lights again to keep the turtles off my boat, and continued dragging it across my tentsite. Finally we all probably went to a peaceful sleep!

I didn’t take my time next morning to check on the croc if it was still there, just took a quick pic from the next slidemark. I reckon it was gone fishin’ already anyway, as I ddn’t see anything from the distance safely afloat then…no encounters on the water!

8 comments on “Day 90, Friday, 17.04.2009



You are amazing, keep up the great work. I don’t know why people feel like they should tell you what to ware. I don’t think there is a more experienced long distance kayaker on the planet than you, so I think you might know best what works

Take care



hey stop fighting on life jacket,freya is free born lady,seems she prefers nudity thats why plssss dont put extra items on her 🙂



hi freya,
i dream to be your kayak in that funny and dangerous waters 🙂
restless woman, dont be afraid of crocs and sharks as they will be afraid of you…..

go freya go freya…
istanbul – turkey


Hi Freya! You are an amazing and very brave lady ! I figure you have already seen more of Australia then most Australians do in a lifetime. All the best and I will be sure to travel to Melbourne to be one of the many to cheer you when you arrive! PS What’s a glooming neighbour? The islands look fantastic and it must be very magical. Enjoy the serenity 🙂 Cheers Gordon


chafing, heat, comfort, even vanity — all i suspect play into the equation…but just because she’s not wearing it in ONE picture doesn’t mean she’s not wearing it much of the rest of the time….

I agree with Taniwha. I always wear a lifejacket as it doesn’t bother me, but some personal preference must come into it. In Freya’s case she is doing an incredibly big kayak and whatever helps to maintain health and sanity has got to be a good thing. I had a friend who would only wear a jacket sailing when it got rough going, even when I told him that he is risking my life as I may have to risk my life to save his because of the extra difficulty he may have experienced if he went overboard. Unfortunately for him cancer got him before drowning did – however, he left a great scientific and boating legacy. Just so long as Freya understands how it could limit her survivability and doesn’t expect any extra special help in case of an emergency (compared to someone who might take all precautions) then that is alright by me. In cold waters people often drown who don’t wear a lifejacket because of the intense and immediate shock to their system, however, I don’t think there are many cold water currents at the end of Cape York. Everybody’s considered opinion is important and to some degree correct.


Hey Freya good luck around the top end. Be careful of those floating logs!

@Jaakko Makikyla not wearing a life jacket in Saltwater croc country is smart. It has nothing to do with style or freedom. If you fall in the water the best thing you can do is get back in your kayak or onto land. Floating around in the water while crocs decide weather your bite sized is just stupid. It may help in the arctic or in Brazil where not everything will try and eat you, but in Northern Queensland and the Northern Territory floating in the water in a life jacket will kill you.


Please don’t get into personal fights here. I can see both points of view.

Perfect rolling isn’t everything, neither is wearing a life jacket all the time. All expeditions have some sort of risk involved and it is in the judgement of the expeditionist alone, to decide which risks to take. If you want to take no risks at all, stay at home. But you probably are not 100% safe there too.

And I think Freya is experienced enough to decide when to wear life jacket, tether, nose plugs, helmet, clothes…

All the best to Freya, speed on. And beware of hungry beasts. Two legged, four legged or swimming…

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