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big hollyday details

This page is going to be big and messy.  It will get more organized as we get closer to the event.  I am hoping it will also be thorough.

  • pre-race meeting on the Friday before the event, location and time TBD
  • Rolling race start from early Saturday
  • All finishers expected out on the Sunday
Cost: $50-100+ (approx) per team.  This will include tracking devices and a post race meal, but not camping fees.

Categories:  We'll separate categories based on whether teams use a double packraft or two single packrafts.  Depending on the number of teams, we may also differentiate based on gender makeup of teams.

Recommended gear:  Beyond the obvious of packraft kit (including suitable pfd), each team will be expected to carry 
  • a GPS with spare batteries (per person)
  • a head torch with spare batteries (per person)
  • space blanket or equivalent bivvy sack (per person)
  • Personal locator beacon (per team)
  • suitable clothes (including spare insulating layer)
  • enough food for the duration plus a bit extra
  • packraft repair kit
  • basic first aid kit (including any necessary medications)
  • firestarting gear suitable for starting damp wood (piece of bike tube, etc)
  • Tracking device (organized by fearsociety).
Risks management:  Teams are expected to look after themselves and each other on the course.  Mandatory checkpoints will NOT have food for racers and will only be virtual checkpoints where  teams will check in via InReach.

Other than the required checkpoints there is no prescribed route. Racers can choose to run or packraft along the length as they see fit, depending on weather and the lake and river conditions.  These decisions are up to teams and teams must use their own judgement at all times when making decisions about route choice, river crossings, and whether to paddle or not.  All foot travel should be on marked track, although getting lost is still a possibility, and teams should know how to use their GPS in order to minimize this possibility.  Teams may encounter seals along the Martin's Bay--Big Bay leg of the course, and these should be given wide berth. 

Ultimately teams must manage their own safety along the course as if they were undertaking the effort independently.   For those new to the area, we recommend doing some research regarding the optimal route, route options, etc.  Please get in touch if you need information about the area, as fearsociety can provide plenty of advice for those choosing to participate in the event.

Post race: Post race details are tentative at this time as the 2020 flood damage is still being assessed and repaired. Suffice to say it will be a low key finish typical of other fearsociety events.

Camping/Accomodation: There is plenty of accommodation in Te Anau, including camping options. In the event pre-race logistics move closer to the start, this will be communicated leading up to the event. 

Didymo: Didymo is present in both the lower Hollyford and the Pyke river watersheds.  This means that after the race your boat must be thoroughly 'checked, cleaned, and dried' to prevent taking the aquatic weed to other rivers when you use it next.   

  • What is the best route? Do some research first as there are plenty of trip reports out there.  Then look at some maps.  Then reach out and ask--if you're familiar with the area our tips will make a lot more sense.  Two of fearsociety's board members professionally guide the race route by packraft (over six days) and so probably have more combined experience than the rest of NZ combined in terms of your best options. 
  • Can I paddle in the ocean? No.  So that the effort of teams is more standardized we have decided that an overland route should be taken between Martin's Bay and Big Bay.  This is also because the ocean paddle by packraft represents perhaps the most significant risk, simply because the potential speed of ocean currents vs. the hull speed of a packraft could lead to a situation where there is no chance for a team that has made an error in judgement to get back to land or on course.  There is PLENTY of paddling on this event, and plenty of it that already represents significant risk.  Paddling from Martin's Bay to Big Bay will not be part of the event.  
  • Can I paddle the Pyke at night?  This one is up to you. It should be obvious that the risks associated with paddling on the Pyke river increase exponentially in the darkness. In our experience it can be difficult even in fine weather and good (non-windy) conditions to see trees and obstacles in the river until you are almost upon them.  Night boating requires good lights and a high degree of skill and alertness, something which your team may or may not have after XX number of hours of hard out effort.
  • What safety is provided as part of the event? There will be no organized safety for the event, other than the use of two-way communication and tracking devices (InReach) for all teams.  Other than that, your PLB will serve as your safety net.  Basically, as we've said before, you should only participate in this event if you'd be confident enough to undertake the outing on your own, and should NOT rely on any of the limited services being organized by fearsociety when deciding to sign up.