big hollyday history
Episode 1: Dec 16-17, 2017. Participants: 22 Fatalities: 0 Injuries: 0 Finishers: 22
Good Fiordland weather. Some rain. Some wind. Some sun. Proper Fiordland rain set in on Sunday and hit some of the teams still on the course. The previous record of 22.5 hours (2016) was shattered by three teams, finishing in 18 hrs 10 minutes, 18 hours 33 minutes, and 18 hours 50 minutes respectively. One other team snuck in under the coveted sub 24 hour mark. Several teams used single packrafts and spent hours in the mud on the pyke track. Several teams fought the tide and lost. Several teams fought the sea lions at Martins bay and lost. And it was unanimously agreed that paddling for hours in the front of the Gnu's was good fun.
Episode 2: Dec 15-16, 2018. Participants: 14 Fatalities: 0 Injuries: 0 Finishers: 14 Broken Paddles: 2
As good as it gets in Fiordland. Hot, sunny, and with tail winds on most of the lakes, unless you weren't fast enough and then it was an in-your-face day breeze. Low flows on both the Hollyford and the Pyke made the paddling legs a bit slower even in the good weather. Two teams went under 24 hours (both in doubles) but the FKT, set last year, still stands. There were several repeat vacationers and a handful of first-timers. Some of the veterans took lessons from last year and set a new record for the single boat category. One group enjoyed a friendly visit with resident bushman Sammy Vermin (formerly known as Sammy Stoat) and another broke into the luxurious Pyke lodge and enjoyed a hot shower, hot porridge, and hot coffee. A few intrepid souls also proved it was possible (though perhaps not recommended) to paddle both the Hollyford and the Pyke river by starlight.
Episode 3: Dec 7-8, 2020. Participants: 19 Fatalities: 0 Injuries: 0 Finishers: 19 Lost Trackers: 1
A longer course this year due to last year's floods meant a bike ride at the start and finish. What fun. The rolling start got bigger due to weather too with some teams battling heavy rains and others opting to make the bigbay-upper pyke crossing in the dark. Good times. The event had its first official (second for the route itself) female sub-24 hour tick, as well as its first sub 24 hour single boat tick. And, for that matter, it's first under 16 sub-24 hour tick. It was a good year.
Episode 4: Sept 17-18, 2022. Participants: 25 Fatalities: 0 Injuries Finishers: 25 Swims: At least 1 Night Paddles: 3
The 'Spring' Edition. The rolling start got longer, giving more choice and allowing a bit of strategizing. Roughly balanced hours of day and dark made the whole enterprise more challenging and necessitated paddling the Pyke in the dark for some ambitious teams. The weather played ball though (thanks, weather!) as did the hospitable builders at the Pyke Lodge, who slowed up a couple of teams just enough to let the record remain intact for another year...just. Over half the groups went sub-24.