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21 February 2007

Day 14 - 21/2/07

We were up at 6am and while I made some sandwiches for Matt's breakfast and prepared some bread rolls with Vegemite, peanut butter or apricot jam for his day's supplies he packed his kayak and took it down to the water's edge ready for action.

There was a breeze of maybe 10 knots from the NE and, as he had to head out to Table Cape from Boat Harbour, this was to be a headwind for him.

At 7.30am he set off and immediately headed for the lee shore so he might avoid the worst of the wind. I started back for Hobart.

Matt rang me at 2pm from near the Burnie Surf Life Saving Club where he was having a break before heading off to Penguin, where he expected to camp tonight. After the headwinds out from Boat Harbour he found the wind had dropped a bit so the remainder of his paddle today was not too unpleasant.

Matt's hands are certainly showing signs of wear and tear from all the paddling. He has large blisters, some broken, some unbroken right across his hands and has been forced to wear gloves for part of the time. However, the seams in the gloves have contributed to the blisters. He had expected that by now (2 weeks into his trip) his blisters would have turned into calouses. I think the fact that his hands are permanently wet has made the situation worse.

Call at 8pm - Matt has made it to Ulverstone - a distance of about 50kms for the day, initially in pretty tough conditions.

Update 2 at 9.15pm - Matt rang to say he couldn't believe what had just happened.

Just on dusk he had set up his tent at the mouth of the Leven River and got into his dry clothes when he saw two men swimming in the river. He noticed that they were being swept out by the current and could see there was a disaster just waiting to happen.

He quickly got his kayak organised, gathered the paddle float and buoyancy vest and paddled out to them. They were totally oblivious to the fact that they were being swept out to sea and they would soon be swimming in the dark. He managed to persuade them to swim diagonally back to the beach and possibly avoided what could have been a tragedy.

He is now drying his clothes and hoping for a quiet night!!