Ocean Paddler quotes RJimlad!

21 Jan

Yes it’s true folks, they are looking to the ol’ RJimlad for his advice in such weighty tomes as Ocean Paddler magazine. Mark Sundin posts a comment on this post, Freya Hoffmeister, Clubs and Getting Graded, informing me of Ocean Paddler’s sensible decision to include some thoughts from your trusty narrator. What a thrilling turn up. Mark kindly scanned and posted the page from Ocean Kayaker which is attached for your perusal and my bragging rights. It’s here. Thanks for Mark for doing this for me and to reward him please follow his link to Expedition Kayaks where you can check out great boats and read his blog.

I was a bit disappointed to read, however, that OK has aligned me with the Freya ‘detractors’. If you read my original post IN FULL you will see nothing that suggests I am a Freya detractor. All I said was that I don’t know if she is taking the circumnavigation of Australia seriously. I know she’s had loads of advice from Paul Caffyn and has no doubt done extensive research but Australia is not New Zealand or Iceland and though these places have their share of shit-your-pants scariness, nowhere has the massive isolated extent of Australia or the sheer hostility of the terrain, weather and fauna.

Sure the coast of NSW and Victoria will be relatively safe with sporadic bad weather and the occasional Great White and rescue will be relative straight-forward if needed but north of say Mackay things get a bit more isolated and cyclonic with crocs sharing the water with sharks (ask Sandy Robson about them). Then there’s the top end coast where there’s nothing and from Darwin to Broome-nothing. Then Broome to Perth, not much and finally the south coast and Bight where there’s the Roaring 40’s, sheer cliffs for hundreds of miles, massive seas and massive sharks and absolutely nobody for two thousand miles. Desert to the north and the Southern Ocean to the south. This isn’t Europe or America, this is like going into space.

The fact that Europeans and Asians have a distorted view of our country is amply testified by the numbers of them being rescued at our beaches each year or drowning or getting stranded in the outback. I’m not saying Australians are more capable than them just that we have an established respect for the enormity of the place and the ease a person can get into trouble here. Each year we hear in the news about some Belgian guy getting rescued trying to run across the Simpson desert or backpackers trying to walk to Uluru from their resort and getting hopelessly lost without water. The Japanese come here in droves, drawn by picture perfect advertisements of our beaches in Queensland but end up being dragged out of the water by our surf patrols in very large numbers. Many also die. Our history is replete with stories of European explorers dying of thirst and starvation, lost in the unbelievable endlessness of the continent. I hope these things are foremost in Freya’s mind as she sets out because they damn well will be soon enough.

It’s a remarkable mission to embark on and Freya seems pretty determined. She also has a solid paddling record. This one isn’t about paddling though, it’s about mental endurance. Like I said in my previous post, I hope she does it and I’ll be watching her progress and cheering her on. I’m no detractor just an observer who hopes she has paid enough respect to this continent to see her through.


Posted by on January 21, 2009 in Kayaking Life


Tags: , , , , ,

4 responses to “Ocean Paddler quotes RJimlad!

  1. Simon McGuire

    January 21, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Now that’s impressive. Well done. It sure will be interesting to see how Freya goes. It’s a hell of a journey that has been done before and will one day be done again I am sure. Whether that is Freya or someone else time will tell.

  2. Seth Dent

    January 21, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    You have summed up all of my concerns with her trip. Though I agree she isn’t taking it as seriously as I would have thought, I wish her well and have been following her.

  3. Mark Sundin

    January 22, 2009 at 5:49 am

    And, it’s got you back writing good blogs mate. I’ll drop by for a look a bit more often…

  4. John Anderson

    January 30, 2009 at 2:44 am

    I like it Brad, well written and the bragging rights are well deserved. I wish Freya well. I take my hat off to her. It’s a hell of an undertaking.

    When it comes to crocs, I’m a bit of a chicken. Sharks don’t worry me that much, as I don’t believe that they actively target humans. So you’re very unlucky if you do get chomped by one. Crocs on the other hand, do very definitely have us on their menu.


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