I just started this page, as I felt all friends, interested people and journalist seem naturally to ask similar questions…no problem, but it might be helpful for all to have a sunnary list about facts and figures here.
1. Why are you doing it?
- Because I love to paddle, adventures and Australia is “there”…
2. How important is being the “first woman” – and doing it “fast”?
- It happens - and I am doing anything “fast”.
3. When are you leaving Germany?
- Saturday January 10th, 2009, 7.15 am from Hamburg.
4. When will you arrive in Australia?
- Sunday January 11th, 20.05 in Sydney, QF 32. Flight duration 26 hrs 50 min, via London/ Singapore.
5. Where will you launch from?
- I’ll launch from Queenscliff/ Melbourne, probably 18th of January.
I chose that place as Paul Caffyn 27 years ago picked the same, and the people from the Victorian Sea Kayak Club (VSKC) are very helpful!
6. How long will the trip be?
- The entire distance around the Australian coast line is about 15.166 km (9420 miles). If I’ll cut across the Gulf of Carpenteria, I might save about 1100 km. I plan to do it in less than a year. Paul Caffyn 27 years ago took 361 days.
7. Any hazards?
- Plenty: Pure distance, 3 clifflines with no landing for two days, big surf, crossing the Gulf of Carpenteria, tropical heat and burning sun, tropical cyclones, logistics of food and water, hungry crocs and sharks, venemous sea snakes and jellyfish…and who and what else likes to please me on the way…
8. Will you have rest days?
- Basically the weather dictates the rest days, there might be 2/5 to 1/3 of all days where I can’t paddle. Resupplying might ask for some more rest days.
9. How long will you paddle every day?
- I plan to average 60 km per day. But this will include days with more than 100km, and shorter days when the weather dictates headwinds and rough seas. I’ll average staying on the water between 9-12 hours per day, but it can be longer…
10. Will you have to land for eating, drinking, peeing, sleeping?
- No, all can be done on the water with no problem. The latter won’t be too comfortable, but possible for those days of the expected x-ing of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Each extra landing is usually another (time)hazard and an extra risk when there is surf.
11. How far away will you paddle from shore?
- This depends on the shape of the coastline. Usually that far away that I’m free of the surf, and I’m cutting through bays to save distance. This brings me away from shore sometimes with no sight at all. But this won’t matter much, I do have a GPS…
12.. Will you interrupt your trip at some point?
- I won’t interrupt my trip due to other reasons, only a mayor injury or mayor problems at home may stop me (which won’t occur…)
13. Will there be a support team?
- There won’t be a team driving along the shore carrying my gear. I’ll carry all supplies with me and will be maximum independent.
But for sure there is a whole team sitting and working anywhere on the world to support my trip! Weather, logistics, website updates, gear, hostings along the way, keeping things up at home, mental support…all is supplied by 100dreds of nice and lovely people helping me along! I’m not able to do such a thing without them. Thanks to all of them!
14. How much does your boat weight?
- My boat is about 25 kg, plus about 38 kg of gear, food for 14 days is 25 kg, water for 4-5 days is 12 kg = solid 100 kg!!!
15. Will somebody paddle with you?
- I plan this trip as a solo trip.
16. Where will you stay at night?
- I usually go to shore at night, but may stay on the water when there is no good landing. I’ll seek “civilisation” when I need to resupply, but will stay out in the wilderness where I won’t bother anyone with me camping otherwise. I usually sleep in my tent, but won’t say “no” to a nice offer to stay with friendly people along the way – a hot shower, a “real” bed and some company every now and then is not too bad…
17. Which safety backups will you carry?
- Anything modern electronics provides: Satellite phone, EPIRB, SPOT satellite messenger, GPS, VHF radio, cell phones…
18. What will you be eating on your trip?
- Around the food I’m getting provided by my sponsors JAMA and Cytomax, I’ll just go shopping for flavoured noodles, rice or couscous for dinner, upgraded with some tuna or salami, dried fruits (fresh fruit when there is space and they are available), bread, crackers and dips for lunch, muesli with powdered milk for breakfast.
19. Did you do a special training before starting?
- I think I have a good physical shape all year round, and lifting boxes in my x-mas shop provides plenty of training – I didn’t have much time for paddling prior to the trip! But as long as I feel able to pull out a 60-80 km day without any training and know a reasonable (safety) technique, this will be allright. I’ll be getting stronger day by day on the way…
20. Where will your son Helge be while you’re away?
- My 13-year-old son lives (mostly) with his (retired) father anyway. He does a geat job on educating, as he has full-time available for him. Helge doesn’t really like me being away that long, but I hope he’s a bit proud, too…I’ll be back safe and sound soon!
21. Who is running your shops while you’re away?
- I’m lucky to have two great managers and motivated employees who will do a challenging job on running my two ice cream cafes and x-mas shop without me that long! But I’m not out of the world, and we will be able to communicate via skype, e-mail, satellite phone…
Thanks to all of them! I’m proud of you!
22. How much does the trip cost?
- no idea…my gear is mostly sponsored, some financials as well for flights and extras. I won’t spend much staying on the water all day and camping out, and I do have to eat at home as well…
23. What are you thinking all day out on the water paddling by yourself?
- Everything…pretty much ahead in the trip, planning the next stages, next campsite, resupply stops, weather patterns, hazards to avoid…then what I’m seeing right now, water conditions, wildlife…and sometimes what has happened in the past with family, friends, recent lovers… ) – what are you thinking when you do a long distance drive? Probably the same.
To be continued…