The toughest decision of the trip

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Back to sandy camps

 

I won’t go now. At least I won’t continue from here.

I already was describing the outlook for the next 1000 km until Recife: Continuous headwind with no daily or even hourly change of around 20 knots, never under 15 knots, quite often over 20 knots, with an according sea state. Plus an endless wide surf belt which I may be able to break through only on the outgoing tide, with very few safe landings like river mouths in between. Conditions you’d always want to sit out on such a trip. But there is no sitting out here. It is all year round almost the same.

The wind map link Karel sent to me and I was posting in one of the last blog entry was proving it again. Not that I didn’t knew it already. Not that I didn’t want to go at all. I made it back to the beach with the great help and effort of my Sao Luis friends.
But on arrival, my gut feeling said it already: I don’t want this. I don’t want the prospect of paddling only maybe 3-4 hours per day, breaking through some really ugly nasty surf every day twice, paddling maybe 2-3 km/ hour against this wind, not able to havea break without being blown backwards with high speed, overall maybe making 10-15 km per day, sitting the rest of the day on the hot beach sweating my ass off in my tent. This would make about 100-200 of ugliest surf landings- and launchings, risking my ass, neck and equipment every time.

What for? To be the first and only person who has paddled this long beach section, and on top of that against the wind? To be the first and only person who made it completely around South America? Yes, this was my big goal. And still is. But this goal will have a small gap now. To decide to leave this gap now is probably the hardest part of this trip. But probably also the most sensible decision. I don’t want to hate paddling. I would  if I’d even try to go for a few days in this mode. I think I have already proved I can paddle in any conditions. But with 50 years on my back now, I may have also grown more mature to make such a tough decision.

I will now have to ask my Sao Luis friends to organize again a pick up with the locals, and to organize the long drive to Recife.It will cost me some money to get there, but I will also be happy again, with a prospect of continuing my trip from a reasonable position, and with reasonable wind conditions. And with the knowledge on my mind, I was able to make the toughest decision of my trip – to skip those 1000 km.

 

28 comments on “The toughest decision of the trip

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Newfey

That is a very wise decision. You have already shown the world that you are one of the world’s greatest kayakers. Most people would of thrown in the towel a long time ago. We are all rooting for you and praying for your success

Frances Price

Freya, it is YOU out there, and not us armchair paddlers. We respect you, admire you, and follow your career, whatever choices you make. You have nothing to prove to us; all has been proven. We applaud your wisdom and experience, and the decisions which come from them. Happy paddling!

Marcelo Sobral

Hi, Freya. Welcome back to Brazil. I was thinking about your journey along the northeast shore this season, when the winds are stronger and blow all day long (it’s the kite and windsurf paradise ;-). So it’s understandable your decision to jump this section of shore, and go right to Recife. But I believe that in Natal things get better …

When you get closer to Santa Catarina you have one more person to contact for any help. I live in Florianópolis.

Have a nice trip down there !

Edda Post author

Nice to hear that your life expectancy has grown longer than mothers’!!
You’ve had too many close shaves not be be sensible and to have learned from them. There is courage in being sensible. And if you broke your neck there you’d also not have made the round trip in it’s totality…

And I’ll listen to anyone trolling you after they did the section you are now not doing.

Do better before you dare to bitch!!

Hillary

Freya, what shows is your great body of experience. You are making the choice that is best for you. And you are showing to the world the heart of a lion and that of a true champion. 1000 km is a drop in the big bucket. Look forward to the post from Recife.

Beth Stuart

Your abilities are never in question and your decision is the right one as hard as it is to make. Good for you!

Udo Beier

Hello Freya,

don’t worry be happy.

The reasons that the “German Paddle Machine” is still alive we will find by her competence and not but by her luck. Okay, that Freya was not catched by a crocodile or a shark, not struck by a lightning, not crushed by a tsunami or the Pororoca that was luck, but in all the other hundreds of critical situations along all the coasts Freya had paddled it was her competence and not her luck which guided her back to the land.

When we now can read in Freya’s blog, that she will give up to paddle the first 1000-1300 kilometers of her forth and last leg around South America (more or less 5600 km long) because of the dangerous surf conditions till the eastern corner of Brasil, then we should recognise this as a mark of competence. There are not so many sea kayakers on the world who are able to paddle alongside the coasts of so many countrys … continents without risking their life.

“Think Big but Safety First” is Freya’s “Paddling Principle”. This is okay. Last not least it is a guarantee for us kayakers to read more about Freya’s paddling acitivities which not only happens in 2014 but also in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 ….

By the way Freya, don’t be to pessimistic, don’t escape till Racife. Check on your way to Racife the sea conditions in Camocim, Fortaleza, Macau, Touros …. before you will paddle again from Racife the remaining 4300 kilometers till Buenos Aires. Sometime the weather can change …. also in Brazil.

Best wishes from Hamburg: Udo Beier

Jadiel

Hi, look at a surf zone that never ends. A headwind. It defícil. Harder and make that decision. Not need to prove anything. I’m with you. Force …

moti

Tough women take tough decision.
Looks like the only logical decision.
Sometime we need to take decisions from our brain and not from our heart…

Karen

Trust your body/mind/brain!
Rest in the middle way. Rest in your decision.
Go with the flow of the universe.
The solution will arise.
Your life is more important to us all, all life.

Meike

Das ist eine gute Entscheidung. Du brauchst keinen etwas zu beweisen. Du bist und bleibst die Beste.
Aber jeden Tag so ein grosses Risiko einzugehen, wäre verrückt. Man will das Leben ja auch noch nach dem Paddeln geniessen. Finde ich toll, dass Du so entscheidest. Hut ab 🙂
Nun hoffe ich, dass die Strecke von Recife leichter wird.
Komme gut dort an. Wünsche Dir einen super Start dort.
LG

TJ

Knowing what you have already accomplished and we all know that it’s outstanding, you have nothing to prove to anybody, nothing to prove to yourself.
Real champions are those who are able to take such hard decision, like a half turn 200 meters below the top of everest.

Very good and intelligent decision.

Randall Lackey

We’ve got a great Beer drinking related saying used here in the U.S. of Know when to say When.It applies here and you chose that wisely.

Randall Lackey

Very good but wise and I’m sure hard decision to make.I know from experience the feeling of not wanting to continue because of the fear of growing to hate paddling.You and Would never want that to happen for ourselves.Do you think you’ll possibly try to go back to attempt this section at a more opportune time or just leave it skipped,or maybe it could be done south to north,with the wind hopefully to your back.We look forward to your start from Recife.Hope your plans come together to get there smoothly.Safe travels.

Rose

Making a tough decision like this takes more courage than going ahead because we don’t want to admit it’s a bad idea.

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