Tue 29/01-2013 Day 378

BINGO!!! Crossing the Equator!!!

Pos: here
Loc: Pedernales
Acc: Reten Naval Pedernales
Dist: 42,5 km
Start: 7:30 End: 16:30

Tomorrow’s estimated landing: North of Cojimies

I slept short, but deeply  inside the office in the Reten Naval Matal, despite the extra hour in the morning. I could feel safe and keep my earplugs in. Sometimes it’s better than a long, but disturbed night. No rain, no wind, no noise inside here…I’m getting spoiled! I had to plug out also a certain bird’s call, which actually was quite persistent. Tropical night’s noise!

The launching went much easier than expected, on steep beaches there are usually clear lulls. Shuffle down in time, but not too close, then with speed out on the lull. A good push from the boys was helpful! Thanks for hosting and helping me!

The sun was already high and hot out, but fortunately it liked to hide again and again behind clouds. Yes, I’m nearing the Equator today!

I noticed yesterday the current north caught a bit in again, with cooler water and a helpful push. But it also created those huge long swell waves which made my landing so scary. Those huge swell waves disappeared during the day, and the landing on the beaches looked all good. Maybe it’s also because of the low tide during the day.

My rescued "vampire" holding on to my paddle leash
The last chance to get out of the water...
I really had some strange animals on my baot so far!

I had a visitor on board shortly before the Equator – a huge moth, about 20 cm in diameter, was upside down afloat on the water, and when I came for a picture, it was climbing on to my paddle leash, hung there like a small vampire…what to do? it seemed it wanted to live! I carefully turned it that it could grasp my front deck lines, and thee it was sitting for a while, alive, but probably quite exhausted. When I started paddling again, my slow wind speed blew up it’s wings, couldn’t it fold them down? At some point it needed to let go, and was upside down afloat again in the water…sorry, I couldn’t do more for you, moth!

Relax, guy!
"Batman" is ready to start again...?
...before he slid of the boat and was gone again...

The Equator came, and besides my change on the GPS numbers, no mark was to be seen on land. And no red line in the water or such 🙂 There is supposed to be an Equator monument close by, but it must be hidden on the road. I took at least a picture of my “all zero’s”, and called my family to “celebrate” the historical moment.
When my father was crossing the Equator as a young man ages ago on a whaling ship, they celebrated some kind of Equator initiation with stupid games and gave themselves silly new names – my father was the “walrus”, the written certification hung on his wall for years. Now it’s his daughter, but quite unspectacular…

Back on the northern hemisphere! A beautiful calm beach was lurking before a big river mouth, but I wanted to reach the Reten Naval in Pedernales. To stay in those Navy stations, has many advantages, like a proper shower, which is here in the tropics very good for my skin, safe camping mostly dry inside with deep sleep, sometimes internet, electricity, but rarely air condition. The disadvantage is clear – I have to land where it is located! So no easy looking beach tonight – but the surf looked easier due to the lack of the huge swell waves.

But as experience shows, the surf looks from the kayak offshore always smaller and easier as it is…I was so lucky on mostly all the other difficult landings, this time my mental preparation didn’t work. It trashed me, as bad as it could be… Timing was bad, the first fat breaker threw me over, sucked me literally out of the boat, I had no chance to stay nicely upside down to wait until it was over and to roll up again. My one sandal was half off my left foot, my headgear got afloat, as it was not held by my sweat shirt hood, but I could hold on to my paddle…
I must have swallowed quite some water, being under the fat breaker, and once up, the next one came…and the next one…and the next one…I learned to dive down like the surfers do, was happy my left sandal was at least still with me, and I saw my kayak getting washed to the beach without getting trashed too much.

I found my floating visor again, but one scarf was missing, and one water bag I stored behind the seat and forgot to clip on. It could have been worse…the kayak was all right, a could swim and walk to the shore, where already two youngsters held my kayak. Fortunately not many more spectators here…

Soon the navy guys spotted me, and I was standing there like a wet dripping sad figure, cussing at myself a bit…they greeted me with a big grin, thinking what a stupid woman I must be…just next me, a motorboat came in so easy… 🙂

This Navy building is a very nice one, with three nice guys – and air condition! The reward for the trashy landing…I put up my tent again inside the room, this time in the main huge dormitory. I have a bit of bug-free privacy in this way, hope the guys are not snoring too much!
Thanks a lot for hosting me!

I just had a look outside – the surf look much easier when the tide goes down…sure! But I can’t always pick my landing time with the tide…or I need *not* to go landing at the Navy’s!

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Don Courtney

Enjoy the day of no paddling Freya you sure earned it. We can just sit at home with envy at your great adventure and courage.

Udo Beier

Congratulation, Freya,

for crossing the equator. It will be an unimportant step for human-kind, but a remarkable step for you. 😉 Consider your “up-side-down” on the beach of Pedernales as your late crossing-the-line-ceremony. I think when your father crossed the equator many, many years ago he suffered much more than his daughter now!?

Since your start in Buenos Aires on 30th August 2011 you experienced many highlights, for example:

* passing the border to Chile at 21st December 2011 on your 114th expedition-day after 3.665 kilometer of paddling,

* Kap Hoorn, you reached this most southern point of your expedition at 1st January 2012 on your 125th expedition-day after 3.854 kilometer of paddling,

* passing the border to Peru at 20th October 2012 on your 304th expedition-day after 9.554 kilometer of paddling,

* Punta Balcones, you reached this most western point of your expedition at 9th January 2013 on your 358th expedition-day after 11.826 kilomter of paddling,

* passing the border to Ecuador at 14th January 2012 on your 363th expediton-day after 11.985 kilometer of paddling,

* “celebrating” your first anniversary at the 16th January 2012, because this day is your 365th expedition-day, you reached it after 12.069 kilometer of paddling,

* and now: passing the equator at 29th January 2012 on your 378th expedition-day after 12.560 kilometer of paddling!

Your next greate highlight after passing the border to Columbia will be the Panama-Channel still about 1.400 kilomter away. Richard Halliburton was the first man who swam all the 82 kilometer of this channel in 8 days in … 1928. I hope you will be the first kayaker to be allowed to paddle all this waterway from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

I will keep my fingers crossed for you and your expedition round South America.

By the way: For your only German-speaking friends I have published a small summary of the first 378 days of your expedition on the homepage of the German Canoe Federation (DKV):


Sorry for your other posters who cannot understand German.

Best wishes from Hamburg: Udo

Frances Price

Perhaps in celebration of your accomplishment of crossing the equator, you could give yourself a funny name; I suggest naming yourself “dolphin,” after the animal that brings you luck! Glad you got to be in air-conditioned comfort for the night! Happy and safe paddling!

Randall Lackey

Natures testing you.Left a moth floating to see if you’d try to help. Then throwing the worst of the breakers at you hard to be sure you’ll get ashore safe.Rewarded with safety and air conditioning.Rest well.Safe paddling.Whats German for mermaid? I think that suits you for your nickname as your father was given.


You are quite amazing Freya! Thanks for sharing your stories. Glad you made it out of those breakers safely. Thanks for trying to save that moth! Good Karma 🙂 Stay safe buddy!

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