Freya Hoffmeister South America Circumnavigation Update (“It was the worst decision-making mistake of my life…”)


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In 2009 Freya Hoffmeister—a 46-year-old former sky diver, gymnast, marksman, and Miss Germany contestant—paddled alone and unsupported 9,420 miles around Australia, breaking Paul Caffyn’s record set 27 years earlier. Now she’s at it again, this time nearly 150 days into her expedition to circumnavigate South America alone and unsupported. Click on for clips from her blog, which include surviving three brutal days on a deserted pile of rock called Isla Deceit while scratching her way to Cape Horn…

From her blog Blog, December 29, 2011:

“I’ve never experienced such storm and water in my life. The wind is up to 50 knots. . . . Yes, it was the worst decision-making mistake on my kayaking life. I stepped into the “Cape Horn” trap out of the picture album. I must have been lulled by the dead calm weather all day, and the continuous shelter of the islands. . . . Yes, I can keep my nerves in such situations for a long while. Yes, I know I can paddle hard and long and in huge seas. But the wind is something which shows you your limits at some point. I should have turned around much earlier. I knew how fast the wind comes up here, and how strong it would be soon. But this is Freya, going head first and fighting it hard. But I almost lost the fight. I learned my lesson.

I assume I was eventually paddling yesterday in 30-40 knots, with the accordingly constantly rising sea state. No more calm shelter of the islands. *This* eventually became BIG, and did grow today to a sea I have never seen in my life. . . . My landing spot yesterday, really a marginal way to land through a thick slippery kelp bed with big boulders behind it, is trashed now every 5 sec with a breaker high as a house. . . . I do not want to imagine what I’d have done, if I’d not dared to land and spurned this marginal landing spot…If I really would have made it through the breakers of the line of huge rocks at the end of this island, if I then wouldn’t have been able to get or to stay in the lee of the island and would simply have gotten blown out to the open sea…see you, Antarctica!


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