Well it was going to have to be done today.. the weather window looked okay, but who can ever tell. I had to wait for the wind to drop a little so only hit the water just before 8.00am. It could have been a little earlier but Reg and I met a local, Jamie, who was out for an early bike ride and we all got talking at the beach. After the huge seas and the expected nightmare launch the weather gods where so so kind to me! The sea and the beach were flat and calm, I just stepped into my kayak and gently pushed off. Reg I think could not wipe the smile from his face this morning, we waved and said we would touch base at the Mohaka river mouth area.
Today was going to be a big push because if not completed then the wind was due to get stronger for Sunday. The first 3 hours to the 21 km mark just got better and better, the only negative was that the swell was not going my way, but a strong current and hardly any wind helped a lot. I tried to drink my water as I was being nagged all the time from the ground crew about this. I thought about lots, played, and watched the gannets bombing a large boil up a little way off from me when I was resting.
I pushed on mindful that I still had a massive amount of kms left to cover and that I needed to get back into cell phone coverage really fast to talk with the support team before they left and headed for the airport. The crew are changing over, Nat will be back with a friend, Tom, arriving Monday afternoon.
The next leg was hot, still and smooth for the first half and as I got closer to the Cliffs and pointed towards Tangoio the swell and head wind turned against me a little more until it was hard to push forward. I headed to shelter from the wind gusts under the cliffs which did help a little but it was slowing me down. The next 3 hours where tough, I kept reminding myself that it was not as tough as a couple of days ago but still this cliff line felt like it took forever to get to the end of.
When at last I was nearly there I spoke with Reg, he had not had a fun day. A tyre blowout on Cussie and also flattened a couple of birds. He was understandably rather unhappy with his day. Thankfully an amazing local, Hamarly, stopped to help him change the tyre, and got him to Napier in time to drop off Cussie to the marina for me to collect. Then another lovely Napier lady, Ann, gave Reg a lift to the airport. THANK YOU to these amazing, generous souls, it makes our day and keeps us smiling.
REG got his flight and meanwhile I am looking at white caps for the next 18km. Crossing to Napier Port I was thinking, "Why now mother nature? Why can you just not please give me a tail wind, just once, please, please, please..." Alas, this was not going to happen, yet again the last 18km were brutal. They could have been way worse but it was enough at times to make me sigh and take stock of this big paddle.
I knew people were wanting to meet me at the Marina and I was really mindful they would start to think the worst if I did not hurry. When I got to the 60km mark my Garmin watch battery ran out of juice, so I quickly looked at the time, looked at the port, and thought okay, I can do this. I play a small mind game with myself while out on the water, paddle for 1 more hour then you are allowed to look at how many more kms you have to go. When I get a little tired I find that when I actually look at the kms left it is a fantastic surprise when I have gone further than I expected. I saw another fin, a large shark when crossing this section of water, probably a bronzie, but he disappeared as I arrived.
I text my friend Vanessa to say I thought I had about 5kms to go and to tell anyone waiting I was fine. As I got closer to the port the winds started to drop and the hill protected me from the wind, phew.
I had made it to Napier! It took longer than I had hoped, but then if I told myself I was going to have a 10+ hr paddle when I set off, I would probably still be sitting in Wairoa! It is the mind games I have daily when I set off of the big long distance sections, and at present it is still working to get me through
Most of today was amazing, it was only mixed with a 20% painful section, so all good. Lovely to see smiling faces at the port, thank you for waiting.
Once I had landed, I convinced my legs to work. As I had been in my kayak since 7.30am it was a long time for my legs to forget to how to work. We carried my kayak to the campervan, chatted and while I got warm in the back of the van we gossiped and ate ginger coated in dark chocolate to get some energy back. I sure am looking forward to a sleep in a big real bed!
Tomorrow the winds are back up, so I am off to play with some horses for the morning with Vanessa and generally eat everything in sight as I am starving and need to fuel up again for the next section. I am glad to be in Napier, it is actually a milestone for me and it seems to me to have taken awhile to complete this last section.
Tomorrow is about seeing things and places I have not before in the Napier/Hastings/Bridge Pa area. There will be some crazy images of the offf the water antics for you all over the next few days, until the wind drops again on Tuesday morning. As I have said earlier this is a coastline to respect and place to listen to mother nature. I am also looking forward to getting to Wellington in one piece.
I have decided to share with you some of my thoughts today on the water...
1: It is amazing already the wonderful and generous people that we have meet so far.
2: It is so cool to hear the stories and have knowledge shared from our new found friends.
3: I think maybe my Christmas spirit has been rekindled after spending time in the Wairoa Riverside Campsite with their amazing house that was totally decked out in Christmas lights, her cakes that were cooked and iced. Everyone was so happy and excited about Christmas coming, to me this was a very special moment. (I am think I will be going back to this campsite to experience the turning on of the lights for their Christmas 2016)
4: I have learnt two new knots to tie my cords and ropes with. Thanks Reg for your patient lessons.
5: As I get further from Auckland my heart is made to smile each day by meeting real and genuine people who have a life and who are so happy with it. They are relaxed, they actually care and they have time for us and each other, this is the greatest moment.
6: I am going to ditch the coffee! (I am blaming you Reg) I am about to prove a point, thinking that I can complete the rest of this journey with flasks of peppermint/lemon drink sweetened with honey, so watch this space.
7: Being supported by such a cool bunch of young people. My support team are AMAZING. They are with me on this journey because they "Get It". Each one of them has given me a wonderful new way to look at life through their eyes, their openness and thought patterns. This is something very special and I learn a new angle and way to look at life every moment I share with them.
8: Meths Threading really really works and I recommend it for hand blisters.
9: Cooked hot food for breakfast rocks my world! Steak and potatoes for breakfast yummy! This gives me far more energy for a big paddle than cereal and I can last 3 hours before feeling hungry.
10: If we just made an effort and said something nice to someone each day, then we can make someones day, AND it feels good when you see them smile.
11: Newest saying on board Cussie "JUST GAP IT!" ( I will explain another day)
THANK YOU ALL for the ones who "Get It". For my brutally honest training buddy back in Auckland, for my real and honest friends who have listened to my dream and to everyone else for finding my blogs interesting. I am enjoying sharing them with you.
FYI: It takes me 515 paddle strokes to cover 1 kilometre in distance (I am far to scared to do the maths on the entire journey, I will leave that for you!)
Good night.. Red