New Sponsors: Lupii Cafe, Vancouver & Aquapac
Some of you may have already read on our social media that we have recently gained the support of a fantastic social enterprise, Lupii Cafe! One thing we have learned throughout this experience so far is that there is a whole world of people who are ready to collaborate for a better future. We reached out to the team at Lupii Cafe after seeing their video on Facebook. It tells you all about them:
Their work is so clearly aligned with what we are doing, so we asked if they would be able to help us prepare our 3 months of food. What we received was much more. Lupii Cafe have offered to sponsor our food for the expedition and help us prepare it! We are so thankful for their support and for the work that they do on a day to day basis. We are all a part of a growing change! Check them out here: http://lupiicafe.com/
We are also excited to announce that Aquapac – 100% waterproof protection are sponsoring us! This means we can keep all of our food and gear nicely safe and dry with awesome, high quality cases and dry bags. They are also super on-board with our ec goals of protecting our beautiful oceans! The team have even offered us the opportunity to become an affiliate. That means we get 10% of profits if you purchase from Aquapac within 14 days of checking them out from this LINK. We will donate this money to the marine debris organisations we are fundraising for, so treat yourself!!
7 Day Training Paddle: 215.5km!
This week we happily completed 7 days of training! It was the longest time that Mathilde and I have spent on the water together and we are happy to say it was a great success! Success, however, doesn’t come without challenges, which their were. We had good weather, dodgy weather, favorable tides, and less so. We saw wonderful wildlife and encountered the worst of the insects. We thrived in the rain and battled against the heat. Searched for fresh water and overcame kayak troubles. All in all we learned more, we had many laughs, but most of all we came away feeling confident in ourselves, our ability to work together and our physical strength to pull through! Here is a small day by day account. Enjoy 🙂
For reference you can see the campsites mentioned on the map here
Day 1: Urangan to Moon Point 17km
We left home at 730am. We are lucky enough to have a lot of support for our training, especially from Dan G. who has helped in a lot of ways, but this time it was in the form of dropping us off at our start point. With that being Urangan, about a 4 hour drive away, it wasn’t a small ask. We had to stop on the way for some supplies, lunch and a quick surf. Which in the end meant we didn’t kick off from the shores of Urangan until about 3.45pm. With a short paddle we weren’t too worried and conditions were good. The tide helped us past Woody Island and on towards K’Gari (Fraser Island). However our delayed start meant that as we reached the island we were losing light. We thoroughly enjoyed the sunset hour, which really put on a show for us! It was stunning. However, decided to hop off the water early, to avoid a paddle in the dark. We ended up camping about 3km away from our planned camp. Boy were we punished. Never before in our lives had we experienced an onslaught of insect life like we did that night. Mosquitoes, sandflies and march flies all attacked us at once. Then we did something we wouldn’t usually do and cooked in the tent. There was no choice. Going outside was a planned mission. That night we slept in our hammocks. Lucy, not realising that her mosquito net holes were big enough for sandflies to get through, spent the night barely sleeping. She thought she was slowly losing her mind as she continued to be bitten in what was supposed to be a bug free zone. It was a great day until after the sun set, and we learned that dingoes were not the only animals we had to be weary of on K’Gari!
Day 2: Moon Point to Bowal Creek 31.3km
We didn’t get out of our beds until the sun was high at 7am. Not out of laziness, or tiredness, but out of fear of being eaten alive by sandflies. We are not ashamed,ut we will learn more about how to abate these fearsome creatures. When we did rise, there were still some hangers-on. So it was a mostly silent and efficient breakfast, packing of kayaks and getting the flip out of there. Today the land stretched out on the horizon in front of us. we looked into the distance and saw the island stretch beyond our eyes reach. As we paddled into the day, we noticed separated bumps on the horizon. Were they boats? No, as the Kms passed by, we realised they were the mountains, that were on the northern reaches of the Island where we were headed. It seemed impossible that they had been out of sight so far. However, it was a beautiful day, although very hot, we couldn’t complain as the seas were kind and the beaches were white. When we did stop for lunch, we were treated to a surprise freshwater creek! Although it was still affected by the rise and fall of the tide, the water was clean fresh and drinkable and allowed us to stock up for the trip north. There was only one downer on the day, mostly for Lucy, and yes we are going to say it… PERIOD PAIN. I am sure the ladies can understand, but for those who can’t, imagine paddling 31 km whilst being continuously punched in the gut. Not fun. Mathilde listened to the grumbles and curses with patience and we still managed to enjoy the day together. When we reached Bowal creek we were very relieved to find a serious reduction in bug life, although the march flies were still around, it was very manageable compared to the previous night. We enjoyed our first of many dehydrated meals, carefully prepared (plastic free) before the trip. It was delicious! Enjoyed with another sunset over the water, we made the most of bug free life with some yoga and a sip of port!
Day 3: Bowal Creek to Teebin Pt, via northern section 27 km
With the sun beating down, we had been drinking a lot of water, and so finding more fresh water was a priority for the day. Teebin point had amenities marked on the map, which usually includes a water tank with treatable water. We had a 8km paddle to Teebin, where we discovered there was not only a lack of water tank, but of amenities at all. With dwindling water, this was an issue. We thought the upper reaches of Wathumba creek may hold some hope, but low tides prevented us from getting upstream. It wasn’t looking good, but we also knew that there were a number of 4wds and boaties around, who may take pity on us. We were also quite distracted by the incredible number of stingrays cruising along below us, some of the spotted rays were over a metre wide! We had a moment to enjoy an unusual site of a dingo fishing in the low tide, and decided to paddle north of the camp in case of a lucky creek, and to get our kms up for the day. We paddled until the heat was unbearable and stopped for lunch under the shade of our tarp. Lunch today was accompanied by a show of fishing dolphins! They were chasing schools of fish into shallow water and jumping for those escaping in the air, it was quite a show! On our paddle back to camp, we met some locals who gave us icy water, a beautiful treat, even if 1L was all they could spare. They told us that if we dug in the sand of the beaches we would almost definitely find fresh water, so now we had a plan C. Luckily it was not needed. As we arrived at camp we were cherrily met by sailors Catherine and David and their two friends. They shared the joys of K’Gari with us, and not only filled our water, but offered us a coffee as well. We had a great time sharing stories of adventure. As the afternoon fell, we were joined by other campers Tom and Brit. They had a great set up and shared our camp. We listened to country music, shared stories and we even let them take our kayaks over to the sand bars to fish. In return, they filled the last of our bottles with fresh water, meaning we could leave camp the next day with a full 15L. That night we enjoyed a beach sunset with swarms of soldier crabs covering the beaches like waves of tiny life. It was amazing.
Day 4: Teebin Point to Coongul Creek 34.6km
Our first of longer days, we rose early and got on the water. Huge apologies to Catherine and David, who we made early morning coffee plans with. The tide was so low that we couldn’t paddle upstream to reach your boat and promise of golden liquid. We did however have a great day! Paddling back the way we came, we knew what to expect and where to get water.. We picked points on the horizon to aim for and enjoyed seeing dolphins, rays and many turtles. We lost count of the number we saw. Dolphins jumping all the way out of the water, turtles investigating us until hurriedly swimming away. We once again found the freshwater creek for a resupply, swim and lovely lunch. Today we treated ourselves to pesto pasta. It was magnificent. We have since decided that this dish is to be a vital part of our trip into Alaska/Canada. We paddled on with good humor and determination, which saw us getting into camp with hours to spare. We enjoyed a good nap, exploring the beach, watching sea eagles feed and lying in our hammocks to read. It is not all hard work and we don’t plan it to be so for the real trip either!
Day 5: Coongul Creek to Ungowa 45.2km
Today was the longest of the days we paddled. It was also windy, and included one of our bigger open water crossings. Once we had padded around moon point, we had a 9km paddle across a bay to Bogimbah creek. The wind was not nice, although the tide was working with us. It was a head down, paddles up scenario, and the first time we saw Mathilde’s game face. The wind was the enemy and we were going to win! Today however, we had a treat in mind. We knew that kingfisher bay had a resort, and thought that surely there was a good feed and real bathrooms waiting for us. It was a great motivation! With the aim to paddle 36 km before lunch we needed it! Now you may be thinking that we are cheating here, but it is important to know one thing. Mathilde and I are doing this with a purpose, to help with that war on plastic, with a goal, to raise the profile of women in adventure, and FOR FUN. Which means that, if there is a chance to stop in a small town and treat ourselves, we will! We are human after all! Lucky for us, when we did arrive we found exactly what we were looking for. Mathilde enjoyed a cauliflower parmi and Lucy a Veggie Burger, with iced chocolate (no straw) and coffee in hands, we were in heaven. Not to mention our first real loo in a 5 days! The meals were more than double the size of what we had been eating, which meant the next challenge was fighting off siesta feels, filling up our water and getting back in the kayaks. We paddled passed the ferry as it took people back and forth, through beautiful mangrove forests and old wrecks until finally as we entered twilight hour we finished our long day at Ungowa. A beautiful camp that sported a toilet, picnic tables, water tank, food lock up cages and a washing up sink! Unfortunately it also had bugs worse than ever before. We quickly set up the tent, and got in…our belongings still strewn across the campsite. Then we had to strategically plan how to spend the least time outside the tent, but also get everything out there sorted. Luckily, with bellies still full from lunch, a carrot was all we needed for dinner. Even though it was a short time out of the tent, we got smashed by sand flies and mozzies. Every bite seemed to re-ignite the anger of previous ones, and we were itching like mad. When we finally got back in the tent, Lucy finally lost it. The itching, biting and inability to enjoy the beautiful camp meant there may have been a mini meltdown cry. Sleep came slowly, even after a long day of paddling. When it did come, we were shortly woken by the interruption of a curious dingo, who proceeded to howl to friends around the camp. Not fun, especially because we soon had to pee. Facing mosquitoes, sandflies, march flies and dingoes, we made to the toilet and back. While it was a great day, and we paddled well and enjoyed the sights, the night was a dull finish to a good day..
Day 6: Ungowa to Coolooloi 45 km
Back to Back. We won’t have long days like this in Canada. Not planned at least, but good to practice we thought. We were excited because we knew we would be meeting our friend Denis at Coolooloi, who had kayaked in from Tin Can Bay and would return with us on the final day of our trip. We wanted to get there in good time, if we could. However, we had one major challenge. We were going to paddle through the slack point of the tide and we didn’t know where it would be. The tides come in and out, from the top end and the bottom end of the island. The slack point is where these two meet. We didn’t know where this would be, but did our best to plan for a good guess. We didn’t quite get there and it had a impact on the day. 9 hours of paddling against the tide. Sometimes the wind too. Normally we wouldn’t, but today presented no choice. We stopped in the the strongest hour for lunch, which was a small reprieve. Needless to say, today was a paddle to get to a destination. It was a challenge, and we faced it head on. There were moments of calm in eddies (recirculating currents) behind points. Soon we realised we had two options. Get off the water early and miss our camping fun with Denis, or paddle into the night. We calculated we would only need to paddle for maximum an hour after dark. We got in contact with Denis, and he agreed to wait with a light on the beach, With our own lights on our boats, we had a plan. As the day began to fade, our bodies were starting to protest, but we distracted our minds with nonsense talk and song. Thankfully we spotted Denis’s light in the distance before the sun properly set and knew where we were headed. Denis has been another significant part of our training support. Joining us on many of our paddles, being a sounding board and guiding us into camp that night, we were thankful for a friendly face, a cup of tea and a glass of gin. It was a tough day. There are sure to be more in Canada, but we did it. We did it well, we kept spirits up and got it done. Knowing the tidal points is a key part to the success of our trip in Canada, and we are learning more all the time. Now we are chasing down tidal atlases for the inside passage. Thankfully Coolooloi was a minimum bug camp (although Denis ay not have agreed), and we enjoyed a dinner, sharing some drinks and a laugh, before lying down for a well deserved sleep.
Day 7: Coolooloi to Tin Can Bay 15.4 km
The final countdown! This morning we were kind to our bodies and mind and had a relaxed start. With reading in the morning and breakfast by the beach, we waited for the tide to be in our favour. As we heard the wind rustling through the trees, we were glad that it was fending off the insects, but we prepared ourselves for a windy exit. Leaving camp with mixed emotions (“yay, time to eat some non-dehydrated food and sleep in a bed!”/”Oh damn, back to reality…”), we set off on the 16km crossing at a determined pace, with Denis in the lead (Mathilde’s excuse was he was still fresh from only one day on the water :P) The wind hit us head on for the first part. As Lucy and Denis seemed to cruise through the water, there were power sounds coming out of Mathilde’s boat as she tried to manage her tricky, and less-than-ideal rudder system. Questions of “are you feeling sore?” were answered with “I mean… I definitely can feel that my arms exist.” As we paddled into Tin Can Bay, the wind was a bit much for Mathilde, who will admit to having a very mild tantrum at the wind and her boat, and trialled swapping kayaks with Lucy for the last stretch. After 10 minutes Lucy considered walking Mathilde’s kayak through the shallow water, she couldn’t fully fit her longer legs in, and the rudder was playing up. We swapped back again (Denis must have been wondering what the heck we were doing as he waited in the distance!), and Lucy exclaimed “how the hell did you paddle over 200 km in that thing!” which definitely made Mathilde feel better about the tantrum. We turned the corner and the finish line was in sight. With the tide gently pushing us into shore, we touched down at the jetty, cleaned up and fit all three kayaks on Denis’ car (success!), before once again stuffing our faces with the delightful food from the cafe. It wasn’t long after turning our phone notifications back on that we considered repacking the kayaks and starting again, but alas, the real world was calling us, and we will have to wait a few more days before we can head back on the water again. All in all, it was a great trip that encompassed many of the things we will be experiencing on the expedition (aside from the cold…) We feel strong, capable and ready for more action! Bring it on!
AND here is a photo of the cumulative waste for 7 days: