Sat 18/02-2012 Day 173

My rocky camp area in the morning's sun, nice!

Pos: here
Loc: Isla Rennel
Acc: tent
Dist: 61,3 km
Start: 7:20 End: 18:35

The water reached up to my outer tent pole of my vestibule, but me and my gear inside the tent stayed dry. I fell asleep only at 0.30 am, as I landed late, wrote the long update and couldn’t really fall asleep after that eventful day! Plus I was looking outside at the water level rising eerily totally silently…but 0.30 am was high tide, then I was sure I was safe!

I woke after a dead calm night to a dead calm morning with – believe it or not – fully blue sky! The first time I saw that in Fjordland…not that there was no sun the last weeks, but it had always minimum 50% clouds…but this morning, there was only a narrow cloud band far on the horizon! The wind was forecast all under 10 knots, and turning even in the afternoon to a following south wind! Unbelievable conditions…well, I think I earned that!

I thought I could easily paddle through the narrow, but clearly marked open on the official and my GPS chart channel between the north and southern Isla Rennel, and then to paddle between Isla Piazzia and Isla Taraba back to the main channel again, which would be the easiest and shortest way to get back on track.

But…this channel didn’t seem to exist! I paddled along the coast, found the marked long south east going fjord after turning north, and paddled then as the one and only option going north into a wide channel for about 2,5 km, which was exactly on track of my GPS chart – but it was also a fjord, means a dead end! Though the end of the channel on my GPS chart was only 6,82 km away from the dead end, it WAS a dead end! Ok, this time I didn’t search for a portage possibility, but why is that channel marked open? Well, I thought, then it must be around the next island…earlier was no possibility. I kept on searching into the next few bays, but already the next bay was so much further north west and off the GPS chart, that it was unlikely it would be still coming…

Another big “FUCK!” And the day started to beautiful and with an easy solution to fix the navigation mistakes from yesterday…now I had to back paddle again 2,5 km, another 5 km paddling for nothing…

The only option without turning fully back to my second last campsite where my navigation mistake started was to keep on paddling along the northern part of Isla Rennel until I could round the top on Cabo Dispatch where I am now. Then I will cross to the northern tip of Isla Piazzi, and be eventually back in the main channel! And there is no narrow gap to pass this time which may be not existing…and I’m back into an area where my Garmin GPS chart is precise again and doesn’t only show rough contours of the islands.

All in all I lost with this mistakes and detours a whole paddling day, as I paddled estimated 60 km extra…

Fortunately, the weather today was first no wind, and then a friendly southern – yes, southern!!! 10-12 knots breeze came up which even whipped up some surfable waves – if my kayak would be a bit less heavy…but I made good speed again! Can’t even remember when I had such nice conditions…and sun all day!

Millions of shrimp were swimming under my kayak

I found plenty of huge swarms of maybe each 200-300 shining fish – or what were they? They were swimming close under the surface, and when my kayak shadow came over them, they lost formation and swam any where. The looked funny…moving the big wide nose up and down on swimming forward, and the big long split tail was not moving at all…hmmm, some sort of octopus? Crabs? Then it came over me – the “moving nose” was the tail, and the “split tail fins” where the ends of the head – simply a sort of about 5-8 cm long shrimp or prawns! I love to eat them, but have never seen them swimming – backward With the tail as a “propeller”! A scoop net, and my dinner would be delicious…but no scoop net available 🙁

The campsite options where scarce again, the further north I came, the more unfriendly the island got in terms of beaches and even accessible rocks plateaus…steep and barren rocky mountains, with a narrow belt of green forest and fake narrow black sharp gravel beaches covered with water on high tide…I assumed it would be much easier around the cape on the sheltered eastern side – but hahaha! That side was even more rugged and steep and had not beaches at all!

BUT – there was one nice high group of big flat rocks coming up – I landed at a steep rock, climbed up easily, found ample flat space to put up my tent and a shallow sloping rock displaying plenty of sea shells where my baby can better glide on dragging it up on low tide! And it had even sun! Ok, only for an hour and a half, but enough time to spread out my gear and to dry it all, as most was soaking wet! Big house hold evening…drying and repairs here and there, and I felt good again! If just the duck shit smell would be not present…I think I’m just camping on a spot… :-).

Fortunately there is no or low wind all night, as there is no anchoring of the tent at all…no rocks, just me and my gear!

6 comments on “Sat 18/02-2012 Day 173

Ron Wagner

Well this misadventure shows you to be an explorer as well as a kayaker. Congratulations. Patience is your best friend.


That very channel may have been closed by one of the many earthquakes in the region. As all said, it looks like it ought to be there on some maps, (older ones?) and not others. And I think we can trust Freya to see where her way is blocked or not. So may be her trip data could be used to update the maps?

Jörg Hofferbert

Oh shit, there you have done a great detour, the last two days. But in a few days you have 1/4 from your total distance !!! Amazing


Der Kanal zwischen den beiden Islas Rennell ist bei -51.961346 -74.096928 durch eine winzige, nur 30 m breite Landbrücke versperrt. Ist bei GoogleEarth gut zu erkennen. Ansonsten ist der Kanal durchgängig. In meinen Karten ist er aber auch durchgängig eingezeichnet. Die Landbrücke sieht fast so aus, als wäre sie künstlich aufgeschüttet und mit ein paar Bäumen bepflanzt worden.

Chuck H.

Scott’s idea is excellent! And, I’m sure glad you finally got a decent day. As you said, you’ve earned it.

I had a great idea for you when you’re all finished. You need to market “Vasdeproblem” to companies like UnderArmor and Nike for women’s athletic clothing!!
Good luck and keep safe!

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