To make the most of a windless day and get into the swing of a big paddle before it got to hot, I was up in the dark and on the water by 4.30am, so I could get out to Cape Kidnappers pre sunrise. As always there are moments at that hour of the morning while getting ready you ask yourself, "why?" but the weather was warm and there was no wind, just a gentle breeze and lots of moonlight. The poor support team were up with me and Nat is fab, she thrusts the left overs from dinner at me as I stagger to the bathroom so I can heat them in the microwave, and has a hot cup of herbal ready on my return. This has now become my breakfast, but I have to say this morning at 4am, it took me a long time to swallow. The only reason I managed to eat it all is that I know it will last me a good few hours in the morning when paddling, and it sets me up well for the bigger days. All ready to leave then my iphone decides to freeze, again thank you for being patient Nat, as I find this kind of thing so frustrating when you just want to get going. I am still needing to learn patience with IT/electronic stuff, this is not a strong point of mine..
Phone reset, food eaten and kayak all packed for a 65km day of paddling. Alice gets up as well to say goodbye, looking at me as if to say, yep you are mad, but for me there is something really magical about being on the water in the dark. I find it very soothing and when it is a calm, flat sea you just get into the zone really quickly in the cool of the morning.
Soon enough I start to see whispers of pink in the sky from the sun starting its new day. I can see the gannets and the seagulls on the move across the ocean and the gentle swell lifts and drops as I slip quietly along the peninsula towards the gannet colonies. As the sun continues to rise the sky becomes an intense orange and red, this sunrise is going to be amazing. Timing was everything today as I got to the tip of the Cape at the best moment, and the sunrise just intensified as I rounded the head point.
Amazing, spectacular, one of the best so far, this sunrise sure did not disappoint! Again I smiled, this is the reason everyone should get up early, pre sunrise, too sit and see the sun come up is something special. To see the colours and feel the warmth of a new day seems to give me a special lift, it is as if someone has turned on a new and amazing day and this will always stay with me and I will always get up early before the sun, it is my happy time..
Well the plan today was mapped out. When I do these big long paddles Nat and I break down the paddle legs and it makes it achievable. Far better on my brain this way to have small achievable legs, so it was as follows:
Leg 1: 22km.. checkpoint...VHF../ Mbl – Ocean Beach..
Leg 2: 8.5km.. checkpoint.. VHF/ Mbl- Waimoiara
Leg 3: 15km... checkpoint.. VHF/ Mbl - Kairakau
Leg 4: 20km... campsite...Pourerere
Total.. 65km approx...
As the wind dropped I had a totally flat, oil like sea to paddle along. A small tail wind, but nothing to get excited about. There where numerous fish on the surface and also the early morning boil ups that have become common place. Sorry Jase, I did not have my pre made lure and line on board to catch any, maybe tomorrow.
Every checkpoint I was on time for and where there was no coverage of mobile the VHF seemed to work. Well mine was great, but the support crew's unit needs to be upgraded, seems that the cheap unit just broke down too quickly, so a new one has been purchased. Cobra is a winner, the Uniden is not so great, sorry to say.
Today I have to say thank you to Mother Nature, she was being wonderful to me. Stunning sunrise, amazing weather, little to no wind, a little bit of cloud cover and I was off and racing. I drank my fluids as instructed (3+ litres today a vast improvement on earlier long trips). I also made sure I ate at each stop, rested and hydrated. As the weather was being kind I too had time to relax and be kind to my body as well.
Today was a goodie, the last 20kms I had a tail wind and a small swell, yippee! I didn't dare say this out loud, as I thought any minute it would change. Fortune was on my side and the weather stayed great. We paddlers love days like this, I even managed to be 30 mins ahead of schedule arriving at the designation campsite. I spotted the camper van and was surprised to see it parked at the middle of the bay as normally Nat goes to the southern most point. I landed on the beach, yelled out to them and Nat was "SHIT, the campsite is at the end of the bay, you are way to early we were not even expecting you yet, do you mind jumping back in the kayak and heading down to the end of the beach to the campsite?" Today I did not mind at all, the ocean was being nice and it was joyous to paddle another couple of kms.
On the beach and relaxing, I had a coffee on arrival, with my hew found sweet treat, dark chocolate covered ginger. We are all really excited, there are Paua on the rocks at low tide! We have a cunning plan, tomorrow afternoon we are back to join some locals to go Paua hunting, we have now just found a crayfish man as well, so tomorrow is going to be a celebration! We are hoping to hit 1000km target and we are going to try to have Paua and crayfish for dinner. The news is that a storm and gale force winds are coming on Friday so this cool campsite may become our home for a bit. Colin is a great caretaker and has made us feel so welcome. I will paddle in the morning to Porangahau then we will back track to this campsite to stay, join the locals for seafood foraging and drink a little LP Rose champagne to say congrats on the first 1000 Km.
Ciao to all