ABOUT THE CHALLENGE
Hi, I’m David Puklowski and my challenge is to solo circumnavigate the South Island of New Zealand in a 3.9 meter rigid hull inflatable boat, becoming the smallest powered craft to solo navigate the South Island of New Zealand. The trip is planned over 19 days, with each leg planned for between two and three hundred kilometers, stopping each night in a planned area to camp and refuel. I look forward to the long days of boating, not knowing what the next day will bring and exploring the amazing places along the way. I hope this journey will be a great adventure, a test of endurance, a chance to explore the amazing coast of the South Island and an opportunity to help raise some funds for a friend in need.
I have some great sponsors that have made this adventure a lot more possible. During the trip, my aim is to represent them well, and to showcase their products as much as possible.
This trip represents lots of challenges. The boat size, being so small, means being out in extreme conditions has its risks, and there is also limited room to take much in the way of supplies.
The motor. Being a powered craft there is always the concern of making sure the motor is performing well, and also that the fuel is kept pure, with no chance of water getting in it, or the motor will fail. Getting fuel on board at all the expected refueling stops is a challenge in itself, with around 25 refueling stops, I have to make sure that I time it well with my shore crew to meet at the planned points. This is also a challenge for my shore crew, as they will have to sort out where they are getting fuel, and transport it to the meeting points, some of which are fairly remote locations.
Overnight stays. Because each night I am staying ashore, there are many challenges with this part of the trip. Bar-crossing is one thing that will need to be planned very well, as it is one of the most hazardous parts of my trip.These bars have to be crossed at high tide, so timing needs to be right to be able to negotiate them. I will spend most of my nights camping, so I need to find places to set up camp with what I hope will be dry equipment after the day at sea. The boat itself has fold down wheels on the transom to help with manouvering it to a safe place each night.The next day will be starting off again with breakfast, planning the day ahead, and getting the boat back in the water before heading off across the bar or out of the harbor or anchorage I am in.
Fatigue. Some of the days that I have planned are 10 to 12 hour days steering the boat, so I have been working hard on my fitness with running and a personal trainer at the gym.
Nutrition and Diabetes. The food side of my trip has to be planned well, making sure I have enough with me for the nights, and enough to snack on during the day. This is made a little more interesting, being a diabetic. I will have to check my blood glucose levels on a regular basis on the boat during the day, and be conscious of testing at night when in isolated places, making sure that tests kits and Insulin stay dry and safe during the trip.
Safety. On board the boat I have some great navigation equipment, as well as satellite communications. My location is going to be tracked at all times, and people will be able to see my location at any time on the live map on the homepage of this website. Full wet weather gear will keep be dry, a helmet will protect my head, and an auto-inflate life jacket to protect me if I am thrown out of the boat.