This morning I seriously did not want to get on the water (gosh that is being honest). I did not fancy hitting into a big wall of cold water at the surf beach that I landed on 2 days earlier, and getting cold and wet.
Today reminded me of most Tuesdays when I was training, it has always been a hump day of sorts, but if I get it under my belt and done then the week always would go well, but falter on a Tuesday and the week used to fall apart. I kept reminding myself of this as we got on the road ready to throw me into the water, I just wanted a warm day with no wind and no big swells. It would be nice to be warm and not be wrapped in my lucky leggings till the last minute.
We drove to the end of the beach and I looked up and out to the ocean to be pleasantly surprised the waves where way smaller and there was actually gaps between the small surf. We slowly got ready and Reg was full of funny topics trying to lighten my mood. Today I was even mentally thinking that if I get to 35km and have had enough I would pull out into the nearest beach and stay put for the rest of the day and night. I quietly packed my chargers and electronic extras, my sleeping bag, my bivvie bag, my tarp, etc, thinking in advance I could bail on this big paddle if I wanted at anytime.
I got to the waters edge by 7.30am, then in and onto the water, happily a dry and easy launch! Waved from the smooth water back to the support team and headed off, with the voice of the friendly local in my head saying "THAT IS A HUGE PADDLE" to do in one day. Oh really? Bloody hell thanks for that! I needed to just put my head down and not think for awhile.
At 8.30am my mobile rang loudly, it was Nat to say that YachtBot was about to go flat, (oops we had not done the charging correctly, sorry YachtBot team) user error. I said there was nothing I could do and thought, hmmmmm, what else will go wrong today...
Two hours into the paddle and I was starting to get past the darker mood I had started with. To me surprise and delight what should appear but FINS! Lots of fins, dolphins everywhere, the biggest pod I have ever come across. I splashed the paddle on the water to get their attention and over they headed. They swam with the kayak on the swell for a good 30mins, yes the video worked and we have pics and video coming your way. I started to smile and thought this is magic, the sun came out and I started to warm up.
Reg called in for our 2hr checkpoint and we agreed I would txt from then on at 2 hr intervals if I had reception, but if no txt not to worry, I would contact him once I got around and past Ahuriri Point, as reception would probably come back after then. This coast line and peninsula did not disappoint, STUNNING, remote in places but great water to paddle. I was doing ok and enjoying it again.
It took a little longer to get to the point than I had first anticipated and once there txt Reg to say not to panic but I was still about 4 hrs away from completing. Unfortunately second battery issue of the day, my mobile was on red, there had been a program running in the background draining the battery! I had my backup charging unit so once around the point I pulled into a beach and put my phone on charge and paddled in the cold water for a little while, hoping I may see Paua as it was low tide. Alas, nothing. Since I had a promise with my support team to get back and not to be doing any foraging on my own under the water, I moved on.
I must say that my Goal Zero solar panel unit works really well. I had it stashed in a clear dry bag on my deck and with the direct sunlight and it charged my phone safely and really well, I highly recommend.
From Ahuriri point to Long Point was a dream come true. Calm seas, sunshine and a swell going with me, I was in paddling bliss. After the dolphins I was hoping to see Orca on this side of the Peninsula, but no, not today, it seems that would be far to much to ask. Passing long Point I had the swell still but the off shore wind had arrived, I think this seems to be my typical end to every day, a little bit of hard paddling for the last 1 km or so, but it still felt really good to be out there and doing it.
The 3rd and final battery issue today, my Garmin watch decided that I had been on the water for too long and it also got a flat battery at the 56km mark! Never mind. I know where and how long I paddled today so by the end of the day, I was still smiling. I did not even have a swell to deal with on arrival at the beach, just a head wind. I did not even mind that support crew had forgotten the to wear the pink sharkskin that makes them easy to spot on the beach. I was all smiles at the finish today, I sculled a litre of coconut water on landing as I had been scolded by Reg (support person) for lack of food and water consumed on this trip, in fact it is 10.30pm at night and I am still being told off. I will try harder tomorrow.
On arrival at the campsite at Mahia we went to the cafe at the campsite where I was rewarded with a punnet of chips and lashings of salt. OMG they where so good! Anyone holidaying in this area over summer, please visit the cafe or stay at the Mahia Beach Holiday Park. Great coffee, great chips and they have a pizza oven coming.
The campsite have been amazing, no charge for us tonight to help the charity paddle and they also where in the sand dunes cheering when I arrived. I have been so blessed today. I would seriously recommend this section of the coast as a paddle to others. There are beaches you can land at at the top of the Peninsula and it would make a multi day paddle really pleasant. You could stop and snorkel for some Paua, and send me a picture. I am coming back to this location for sure!
Night night, as to beat the wind I have to be back on the water before sunrise to paddle to Wairoa. Wairoa is apparently famous for its pies, or so Reg keeps telling me. I will be off the water early tomorrow, and that is a promise because then then the winds are due back. So maybe a couple of days of pie eating is ahead of us.