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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions


Shower & Fish and chips in Timaru!
Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wow, what an adventure so far! We have a bit of time on a computer thanks to Nigel, Paula, Shelly & Carey who picked up 2 waifs and strays at the yacht club and brought us back to their home so we can write a blog update. Thanks to Dave Weith from the yacht club who allowed us to camp outside the yacht club and luxury-of-luxuries, have our first shower since starting out.

We started well from Sumner Bay in Christchurch with Barry capsizing 17 minutes after staring our 3 month trip! The surf over the bar wasn't particularly big but he took his camera out to take a photo of me, lost momentum, got turned sideways and was suddenly upside down!!

We've had a bit of mixed weather so far, mostly pretty good, almost always super hot, with a bit of a headwind 2 days, a following sea one day and a swell which varied from about 2 metres to less than a metre today. we've seen so many hectors dolphins, cute littel dolpins which seem to always come and play with us if they are in pairs, or more than 2. One day 9 dolphins surfed our bow and darted around between the kayaks for half an hour. One of them jumped right out of the water, perhaps to get a better look at these weird people paddling along relatively slowly! Then about 4 of the dolphins got in a line about 10 metres in front of the kayaks and slapped their tails noisily on the water one at a time!
Banks Peninsula was really pretty - gorgeous cliffs, indented bays and heaps of wildlife - dozens of dolphins every day, sealions, shags everywhere, plus terns, ganets, gulls, little blue penguins and we even saw an albatros one day. There are loads of little bays so you can always find somewhere sheltered to land, although we didn't chose very well on the first day! we should have seen alarm bells when we saw the name, 'Stony beach' but it looked like one side of the bay would be sheltered. It turned out to be more like 'jagged boulder bay' and there was enough of a swell wrapping round to make it not our best decision! A few scratches on the brand new boats later and we made it safely in, and out the next morning.

The swell increased on the day we didn't paddle with 2 metre high waves dumping on the beach. We thought about trying it as there were very short gaps between the waves but we were tired and hadn't got up early so we decided to take a day to chill out, watch the sea, eat, sleep and go for a little walk. loads of thanks to Richie for entertaining us with his stories, letting us watch him sort his fresh catch of eels out and later bringing us some delicious smoked eel to eat. He met Freya on her way round so that was fun to change stories!! Freya - he saw you on your famous 'launch' where JKA etc pushed you out through the monster waves and he was routing for you, so we told him you made it round.

Right, time for our bed, we'll write more and post more photos when we get the chance. Thanks loads to everyone who has sent us messages on the blog and on our phones - we've recieved texts on the sat phone fine even though we haven't replied. thank you so much to Karel for sending us a weather forecast every day and putting a google map up on the blog, and thanks lots to Alex for updating the blog ( Alex, please can you send me an email cos I foolishly haven't brought your email address with me!)

Day 6 - Fish and Chips at the Yacht Club

S43°23.10' E171°75.39'

After 51km of calm seas, spurred on by copious amounts of singing, Justine and Barry have arrived in Timaru. Following a feast of fish and chips, they are camping at the yacht club.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Day 5 - A boring beach?
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

S44°05.45' E171°42.67'

A tiring 8.5 hour slog saw progress of 55km. Precise timing required on both launch and landing through the tricky surf. The day ended on a long and boring beach! Aiming for Timaru tomorrow.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Day 4 part two - almost a washout
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Had a nice rest day, slept and ate lots. Richie the fisherman generously donated some smoke eel. Last night a wave hit the tent! Luckily the inside stayed dry and the tent was hurriedly moved. Then heads down for an early night in anticipation of pressing on in the morning.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Day 4 - Day Off
Monday, January 28, 2008

Big dumping surf with an onshore wind against means a forced day of rest. Plan is for a 4am start tomorrow aiming for Timaru Harbour. If the wind is good aiming to cover 100km. At this very moment, Justine and Barry are eating their morning pancakes!

[alex on behalf of jc]

Day 3 - Airborne dolphin and rough landing

S43°52.37' E172°17.51'

Day 3 saw a force 5 wind on the beam, though some surfing was still possible. The highlight of a sunny day was an airborne dolphin! 50km of paddling finished with a nasty landing through dumping surf.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Tired muscles at end of busy day 2
Sunday, January 27, 2008

S43°53.68' E172°52.86'

Day 2 brings a lovely hot day, with sightings of lots of dolphins, seals and birds. 45km of paddling alongside big cliffs brings tired muscles!

[alex on behalf of jc]

It Begins...
Saturday, January 26, 2008

Justine and Barry have set off!

S43°40.4' E173°03.4'

On day one, they had hot sun and saw dolphins. Barry rolled in the surf. They managed 30km in 5 hours and are feeling good!

[alex on behalf of jc]

Friday, January 25, 2008

We're nearly ready and we plan to start our trip tomorrow morning ( Saturday), probably from Littleton Harbour in Christchurch but that's still to be confirmed!

We were delayed getting to Christchurch yesterday and arrived around midday so we'd have really struggled to start the trip today, even if we'd wanted to. The last day and a half have been spent shopping and getting sorted. We collected our kayaks from "Canoe & Outdoor World" ( thanks again Kev for paying to ship the kayaks down from Auckland, and for lending us some flares), we spent over 2 hours food shopping and even more time unpacking and repacking it, we've bought other bits and pieces, filled fuel bottles, etc etc. The floor at Ian and Gails is still covered with all my stuff so we're not finished yet! but we're getting there.

it's warm here, sleeveless t-shirt warm and the weather is reasonably settled so it's a good time to get going. The plan is to warm up over the next few days and not go mad. Right, back to it!!

In Transit
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It's a glamorous life going on trips! Here we are in San Francisco airport, waiting for 5 hours for our onward flight to New Zealand. We had all of 2 hours sleep on our last night in the UK before the alarm went off at 3.15am for our 6.45am flight from Manchester. Thanks a lot to Jeff Cochrane for getting up even earlier to come and pick us up from Barry's house and drive us to the airport. I feel pretty good now as I slept almost all the way to San Fran, although Barry is a bit more tired.

Just before we left the UK, our thoughts turned to food for the trip and we approached 'Annies' in Marlborough for sponsorship. They make healthy and delicious looking fruit bars and they've agreed to supply us with some of them for our journey. We're very excited about that as it's really important to try to eat as well as we can for such a long trip. We won't always be able to buy fresh fruit and veg so the fruit bars will be fantastic.

Right, time to check our bags in for the last leg ( for some reason, we've had to collect them at every airport). Nearly there now!

New Zealand final preparations and thanks
Friday, January 18, 2008


It's my penultimate evening in Whistler, my legs feel heavy after 15 days of exercise in a row -14 of skiing and a 'day off' where we climbed up a mountain in Squamish! I have one more days skiing to go before I fly back to the UK for a 36 hour visit, then another plane ride to Christchurch.

With that schedule, you'd hope Barry and I are pretty organised for our big New Zealand adventure. We're getting there and most things are coming together. I mostly packed before I came skiing and I'm trying to minimise the loose ends I'll have to deal with when I get home. I'd like to say thanks to a few people who have helped a lot with our expedition, but who I haven't yet mentioned. So many people have helped us to make this trip possible and saved us time, money and stress and we're only ready to go because of them.

Thank you very much to Susanna Gaynor, a friendly doctor in Dublin and a fellow seakayaker who has supplied us with a first aid kit for the expedition. After I attended a Wilderness First Responder course, I came up with a long list of medical equipment - Susanna politely pointed out where I was being over-zealous and supplied the rest of the kit free-of-charge. She's about to go on an adventure of her own to Antarcitca, which you can follow here.
Another seakaayking doctor, Bob Mark has offered to be our emergency contact if we need medical advice. Thanks to him.
Thanks a lot to Sid Stone, a sea kayaker from New York who has paddled with Barry at several symposiums and who is a fan of my DVDs. He has very generously donated US $500 to the expedition, which we have used to buy our insurance cover.

Thanks to Nando Zucci at Johnson Outdoors who came up to Whistler for a day skiing and brought me a Predator helmet from their store to replace my old helmet as the lining and foam has fallen apart in it.

Thanks to Karel Vissel from Israel who will be sending us a daily weather forecast and outlook on our satellite phone. He has done a similar thing for other expeditions including Freya's recent circumnavigation of the South island so he knows the most reliable sources of forecasts. This information will be incredibly useful to us in planning when to paddle and when to stay put. Check out Karel's blog here.

Thanks to Alex Tearse, a paddler from Lewis in the Outer Hebrides who we met at their 'Storm Gathering' last October and who has agreed to update our blog every day on our expedition. He works for a web company in Stornoway and has a distinctive boat with an inscription underneath which reads "P.T.O". Look out for it featured in "This is the Sea 4". Check out his website at

Our kayaks are still in Auckland at the moment but Kev from "Canoe & Outdoor World" in Christchurch has offered to sponsor their transport down to Christchurch. In his last email he told me exactly what I wanted to hear, "Don't worry, your kayaks will be here before you are!" A huge thanks to him for sorting out the biggest outstanding problem! His shop ( known as COW to its friends) has also offered to lend us flares and pumps for the expedition. We hope to return the flares un-opened!! Check out his website at,

I'm using a new waterproof minicam for this trip which is a little scary, but my friend Chris Fenton at "Dream Team TV" has worked some magic and made me a new system based on a set-up that he's designed for filming powerboating for Channel 4. I've seen some of his footage of high speed crashes so hopefully if he can make a camera continue filming in those conditions then it should cope with the NZ surf! Chris worked hard over the festive season to solve several technical problems so I'm very grateful to him and I promise to work extra hard if he employs me filming more adventure races next year!

Clive Hartfall has given my suction pad and pole system which I use to mount the camera a new lease of life by replacing and cleaning parts and making the set up a little more simple.

Lots of sponsors have given generously for this trip - The North Face have given money, clothing and a Mountain25 tent which we are very grateful for. A huge thanks also to Nigel Dennis Kayaks, Lendal paddles, Kokatat and Reed clothing, Casio watches, MSR stoves, pans and water containers, Sealine drybags, Thermarest, Silva compasses, Garmin GPSs, Native eyewear, ICOM VHFs and Sanoodi - the mapping website who have provided us with a sat phone and logistical support so we can bring you tracking of our expedition. Much of the kit is already in the kayaks or waiting to travel to NZ with us. The sunglasses and VHF radios are due to arrive in NZ very soon!

Thanks to all the Kiwis who have offered support for the expedition. Paul Caffyn of course, who showed us all the way and who I confided in 2 years ago about my dream to paddle around the South island. Paul has always been encouraging and helpful (and usually a bit rude!). Thanks to Susan Cade who sourced a DVD of South island maps and an NZ pilot for us ( and hasn't complained that we haven't yet paid her back!). JKA has given advice and a few other people we have never met have emailed with offers of showers and shelter when we pass. Barry's friends Ian and Gail Smith are putting us up in Christchurch when we arrive and lending us their car so we can do our food shopping and pick up other bits and pieces.

Many other friends have given advice or encouragement - Chris Duff, Rowland Woollven, Jim Krawiecki, Derrick Mayoleth, Shawna & Leon at Body Boat Blade, Jeff & Anne at Kari-tek, Ian Lockyer at Johnson Outdoors in NZ and many others. Phil Clegg had the foresight to thrust a minature bottle of whiskey into our hands before he set off to paddle around Madagascar about 3 months ago. It all means a lot to us!

Finally, thanks a lot to Barry for arranging things at home while I'm off on holiday, and to add insult to injury for offering to pick me up from the airport when I get home on Sunday! I'll try to be a good expedition partner to make up for it!

The photos are of Whistler and one of Barry! Not that relevant to the trip, but it's where I am!

Pacific Horizons premiere in Squamish
Sunday, January 13, 2008


Last night was the premiere showing of Bryan Smith and his wife Lise-Anne's film 'Pacific Horizons' in their home town of Squamish. Shawna Franklin and Leon Somme have been staying with me and my dad in Whistler for a few days enjoying more fantastic skiing and we drove down to Squamish for the big show. The band who play most of the music in 'Pacific Horizons' were there and played live after the screening. The place was packed and everyone was having a good time!


Skiing in Canada
Wednesday, January 09, 2008

It's just over 2 weeks until Barry and I fly to New Zealand to start kayayaking around the South island. Not everything is sorted yet but things are coming together! Barry is busy printing out our maps for the journey and visiting Chris Reed to collect his paddling kit for the expedition (I gather Chris put Barry to work cutting material for some dry bags!! As long as Chris did the waterproofing then that's fine! ).

I'm taking a slightly different tack for my preparation - something along the lines of getting physically fit and getting a head start on adjusting time zones. I've been in Whistler in Canada for 5 days now skiing with some of my family, and I'm here for another 10 days! I'm 8 hours behind the UK here and New Zealand is 13 hours ahead, so there's actually only 3 hours time difference between here and NZ ( although NZ are in reality almost a day ahead, well 21 hous to be exact!). So I'll be raring to go when we get to Christchurch! OK so no-one believes I'm here for any training but it's a good excuse for a skiing holiday and I couldn't turn down the chance of joining my dad and sister in Whistler. I'm really enjoying some of the best skiing conditions of the year - 124cm of snow so far this week and lots of fresh powder tracks to be had. Zeph and I have been lucky enough to ski with Lise-Anne, a local and the wife of Bryan Smith - the creators of the 'Pacific Horizons' DVD. She's been showing us some of the best spots for fresh tracks, but I'm not allowed to tell you where they are!

Meanwhile I am doing my bit to prepare for NZ, organising things on my laptop in the evenings! We have a few new sponsors for the expedition, including ICOM New Zealand who are providing us with 2 VHF radios, and Native eyewear who are providing cool shades which can be strapped securely around our head while paddling. I'll write a blog update about the expedition in the next week but right now, I'm heading for the hot tub!

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