One More Time…With Feeling


As if Australia wasn’t enough. Now Freya Hoffmeister, the “woman in black,” is at it again, this time setting off in September 2011 to become the first person to sea kayak the entire coast line of South America.

Tackling the audacious feat in three stages, the 47-year-old business owner from Husum, Germany, will start in Chile in the middle of the west coast. Departing from Valparaison, the main harbor just off Santiago, she will head south on the Pacific Ocean towards Cape Horn. Rounding the Cape, or taking a “shortcut” through the Magellan Strait, she’ll then head north again along Argentina on the Atlantic, ending her first stage in Buenos Aires, Argentina, having paddled roughly 7,500 km in eight months. In between legs she plans to return to Husum for some time to spend with her 15-year-old son and attend to her two ice cream shops and a Christmas shop.

Starting again in October 2012, she’ll then head north along the east coast along Uruguay and Brazil. After crossing the equator, she’ll pass French Guyana, Surinam, Guyana and end the second stage in Caracas, Venezuela after another 8,000 km and eight months of paddling.

Stage three picks up again in October 2013 and takes her past Colombia, through the Panama Canal and along the rest of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and back south to Valparaiso, Chile. Freya will finish the last 7,500 km stage just in time for her 50th birthday in May 2014.

Upon completion, Freya will have paddled the coastline of 11 countries, traveled as far south as the 50th latitude and as far north as the 10th, and crossed the equator twice.

The trip around the world’s fourth-largest continent will be Freya’s fourth big adventure. Her previous trips took her in 2007 around Iceland in a record 33 days. Three months later, she became the first woman to round the notoriously-rough South Island of New Zealand in a record 77 days, solo and unsupported. Her latest epic trip took her around Australia in 332 days solo and mostly unsupported, a feat that had been finished only once before 27 years ago.