This morning I woke with small butterflies in my stomach, I felt a little unsure. There was no real reason, I just had nerves. This is a unusual for me. Anyway, it was to be an early start so got about getting ready and into Cuzzie to head to the stream end of Pipi Beach to launch. On arrival there were some waves but from the dunes it looked okay and there was a promise of a strong tail wind once I got past them.
This is when the fun started. I am not sure whether it was my uneasy feeling that I should have listened to or something else. I got dumped backwards on my first and second attempts, damn this was a little confidence knee capping so on the third attempt Nat pushed me out into an easier set. I got over the first 3 or 4 waves then the monster behind got me. Shit. Tipped out of the kayak and back to the beach I went. By this time I was cold, wet, extremely grumpy and asking myself, "What are you doing? Get a grip and get out there." Nat was having none of this as by this stage I was shivering, so I was wisely dragged back to the camper van to strip off my wet cold clothes, get out of the wind and sit with a hot water bottle in the warmth for the next two hours staring at the ocean. If you have seen the Instagram image from this morning that was me with Nat's woolen hat on, feeling a little, perplexed.
We studied the waves, noted the wind had dropped a little and the waves were lesser. The next attempt was a success, I paddled out and for the next hour I still felt this uneasy, nervous feeling. Nothing was gelling, nothing was easy and for the next 16 km to the first check point I had a tail wind, big seas behind and to the ocean side of me. 8+ kmph was what I was averaging and it was not easy. Louise my white kayak was all over the place and my nerves were not good. There was a little to much bracing for my liking and when I got to Akitio to do the check in I still wasn't feeling good, it had been a record fast speed down the coastline with no time to zone out, just hang on, brace and look over my shoulder.
I looked at the landing where Nat was and in hind sight I should have gone in. Alas I did not so what can I say about the next leg. I felt every single kilometer of the next 26 km push. I hung on. I braced. I looked over my shoulder for the big set of waves. I crossed yucky river mouths with waves of dirty water and mayhem. All the time talking to myself, next time make sure you listen to those inner nerves matey, don't doubt yourself. Nowhere to land and no chance to stop for food, just gulped back my sweet home made lemon drink to wash the salt water away. At each large set I felt as if my little white kayak waited me to go for a swim, so by the time I hit the next checkpoint I found a large reef to hide from the wind and make a quick call to Nat. I told her that I was coming off the water at the next sandy landing which was two bays before Castlepoint, the southern end of Mataikona Beach Road. I was glad to do a great landing, stayed dry and steped onto sand. I dragged my kayak to the sand dunes, grabbed my warm leggings and Sharkskin jacket, threw them on and lay in the warmth of the sand dunes waiting for Nat. She was about one hour away as she had raced into Masterton to get food etc topped up so I sat there with my thermos of sweet tea and ate some food thinking while I lay there resting that it was nice to be off the water at last.
Bugger was in the back of my mind, there was only 9 km left to Castlepoint, but that would have not been pretty and there was a big chance that the waves would have won the bracing battle with me very soon. The pig headed side of me lost the mind battle today and the safe and practical side won. I am thankful of that now and it is great to be dry and warm in my camper van tonight, I am so mentally tired from the intense day I have just had.
Dinner was another successful "one pot wonder" mince, fried onions, bacon, red peppers, a tin of tomatoes, fried potatoes and wilted spinach. Bacon makes everything taste amazing.
That is it from me, short and sweet, not like my day which was long and a relentless challenge. Tomorrow will be by the looks of the weather a big windy and wave filled day. I will respect this ocean and I will be staying on dry land.
PS: Also huge respect to my support team members, who have to deal with me talking through clenched teeth at times when I am on the water, for their calmness and caring concerned faces. It is, as I have said a number of times, amazing to hear their voices crackle through on the VHF and the mobiles, even more amazing when they suggest where I can land. They are my eyes and ears ahead of me and that means the world to me. As we get deeper into this journey the respect for them all grows daily, thank you is truly not enough for these guys. I honestly could not have got this far without them, and also Cuzzie van she rocks our world.
Today was a huge learning curve for me because instead of a headstrong determined Red I had a woman who was not so sure of herself. I had to adapt the ways I dealt with her and perhaps I was not quick enough in doing this. But now I know the difference in her voice and the signs to look for. Watching her go out again and again this morning, battling the waves, it was like I was there with her, trying to push past every wave. My heart was beating in my chest and I watched her paddle away into the distance for a lot longer than I usually would. There is a fine line between determinedness and stupidity and I wasn't sure which side we were on. Lady luck danced on our side today and now I know where our limits are.
Thank you all for your messages of support, Red really thrives off them. If you have any ideas of how to entertain the tiger for the next few days, send them through, the weather looks like cage pacing.