A 45-year old German woman named Freya Hoffmeister completed an eleven month odyssey on Tuesday as she paddled into the harbor at Queenscliff, Australia, finishing a successful circumnavigation of that continent by kayak. In the process, she became just the second person to complete that journey, and the first woman, while setting a new speed record as well.
Freya set out from Queenscliff, paddling counter-clockwise around the continent, last January, and returned to that point 332 days later. Of those 332 days, 245 were spent in the cockpit of her kayak, covering more than 9400 miles. Perhaps the most difficult and treacherous part of the expedition was when she paddled across the Gulf of Carpentaria, along the northern coast of Australia. That bold move shaved 680 miles off of the journey, but to achieve the crossing, Freya has to spend nearly eight days in her kayak, going so far as to even sleep there. She is just the second person to make that crossing by kayak as well.
This isn’t Freya’s first major kayak expedition, although it is by far her longest to date. Back in 2007 she spent 33 days circumnavigating Iceland, and then later kayaked around New Zealand’s South Island in 70 days, achieving a new speed record on that adventure too.
The only other person to successfully circumnavigate Australia by kayak was Paul Caffyn, a New Zealander who made the journey 27 years ago. Caffyn took 360 days on his journey, and Freya bested him by nearly a month. Upon reaching the finish line, the German kayaker said, “I promise, if anyone will paddle around Australia within the next 27 years, I’ll be at the finish line.”%Gallery-7921%