Progress Report 11/07/07 Wednesday – update by Freya 09.11.07

Weather Update from Karel Vissel:
wed mrng sw 4bft noon s 4bft aft se 4bft sea m 2.70 aft 2.10mtr frm s
thu mrng ne 2bft noon se 2 bft aft se 3bft sea 2 to2.50mtr frm se
Satellite text message received from Freya:
43.51 172.22 Taumutu 33km only 🙁 solid headwinds and choppy seas & a big southerly swell ending in huge dumpers are draining on a sunny day

Update by Freya on Friday, 09.11.07:
Launching that morning was an easy surf, dragging the kayak back to the water was the toughest part. Again I was missing my trolley…

The seas looked almost quiet, the swell was at least on this beach not creating much of a surf.

I was on my way cutting across to about the middle of Kaitorete Spit, the beginning of the most boring but treacherous long dumping surf beach, which goes all the way down to Dunedin.

My GPS told me at least something about my progress, but it also told me the continous force 4 headwind slowed me down to only 5 km/h.
Once closer to the new stretch of beach, I got a closer look to the uninviting dumpers. The first hour paddling closer to teh coast I guessed I could manage with some patience to find a good wave backside and abit of a lull to go in somehow safely.

But wind, chop and obviously the swell increased the next two hours instead of going down as I hoped, and coming up to Fishermen’s Point, the end of the long Kaitorete Spit hiding the shallow lake Ellesmere, I viewed some houses on top of the waves.

Although I planned on reaching at least the Raikaia River mouth, checking if the landig around there would make any difference to the uninviting dumpers, I felt not comfortable enough any more alone out there with no real rest in the choppy waters, and decided I had to go in NOW before conditions got even worse. And just in case something would happen on the landing, better to be where some houses are visible…

Actually, the last two hours I forced myself not to *look* too much to the beach, as some of the increasing dumpers really scared already the hell out of me…but it came the time I needed to prepare myself mentally for the landing.

Ok, lifejacket and helmet on, fastened the seatbelt, backrest upright, table folded down and turning in 90 degrees, facing the scary beach. On waiting for the right wave, I got pushed back down the beach by the wind quite some distance, so I gave me another bit of a rest paddling again up the beach way over the spot where I actually wanted to land…

Again I waited for about ten minutes for the right wave and hopefully a lull after that, at least sitting somehow safely right behind the one and only big dumper line.

Eventually I gave it a sprint on the backside of a bigger wave, hoping the next one would be even smaller. It worked, I almost came in ok, but the "smaller" one was still that big it turned me sideways and rolled me 360 degrees over up the beach. A hand roll with touching the gravel, it wouldn’t give you points in Greenland, but I was glad about my helmet and about my obvious reflex of bending forward in that shallow water.
Sitting upright again, I needed to remember to get out of the cockpit asap, throwing the paddle high up the beach, as the surge of the next waves would suck me back into the sea. Jumping out and getting the cockpit flooded with the next dumper was one timing, but at least boat and I stayed where we landed.
I held onto the boat until it calmed down again a bit, rolled it on it’s side to get most of the water out to be able to pull it up the steep beach.

My first lonely dumper landing proved not to be very elegant, but at least boat and I were ok!

It was a lovely sunny day and still 3 pm only, but I didn’t feel like launching again today…sun and wind dried me and my gear quickly.



1 comment on “Progress Report 11/07/07 Wednesday – update by Freya 09.11.07


Hi Freya

If you ever get anywhere near to Birdlings Flat (close to Lake Forsyth),be very very careful!!,i have never seen waves dump as much as these.Take great care.

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