The aim today was to get around Cape Runaway to Hicks Bay then along the coast for 5 to 10 kilometres more. I got as far as the end of Te Araroa Beach, survived the turning tide and the waves to get in safely on a rocky shore at the far end of the beach.
We set off this morning to a stunning sunrise, Nat has posted you images of this already (http://www.redznzjourney.com/photos/) . My first 30 plus minutes was a little like a washing machine as the wind and the rock back wash rolled back and forth. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes for me to get into my paddle groove and I am always a little careful (mostly) when first setting out.. as
1. I do not know the water or the coastline,
2. It is early on in the morning and I am still waking all my muscles and body parts up and getting the feel for the kayak for another day.
It is nice to be on this stretch of the coastline as I have heard so many really nice stories from many, and I have had a target in my head to get to Hicks Bay. This coastline was never going to disappoint, and the weather was shaping up to be another stunning day. The high cliffs, trees and cliffs right into the ocean, it is what I would say takes your breath away. The further around i got the better the scenery and coastline became. I have taken pics and videos of this as my words can not describe this well enough, this is the New Zealand coastline as we all dream it, and no one sees unless out on a boat or kayak. In many parts there is no road access and my crew touch base with me by VHF. First one today was at Lottin Point, I got there under the 3 hours for this check in and it felt good to hit the 21km mark. It took a little while for the team to respond to my VHF call (morning nap it turns out) but they did and it felt good to have been connected. Thank goodness for VHF, as I have had no coverage with Spark mobile for the past three days, Vodafone is the star performer for communications and internet so far on this trip!!
Next checkpoint is at Hicks Bay, so after food, a 10/15min rest to remove the extra warm clothing and sit and have a coffee that Nat had made and put in a Thermos, (No she is not free to crew anyone else for another 170 days!! lol) I headed off again. I must thank Sue Levett for this tip, coffee in a thermos flask rocks! Especially when you started just before 6am paddling.
The swell at this stage and the wind were in my favour and anyone who paddles knows this makes you feel like you can paddle forever, it is nearly effortless except for making sure I watched for the cray pots and the large rocks with breaking waves. I have discovered that if I keep ocean side of the cray pots then I seem to be fairly safe from a breaking swell. I have been watching the cray boat guys over the past few days and they have the placement and position of the pots just right and this helps me navigate the dangerous rocky sections.
The swell was not that bad and I did thank everyone for giving me such an amazing day to come around Cape Runaway. It could by the looks of things be damn ugly if you had the wrong winds, and once you start this section there is no pulling out of the trip until you get to Hicks Bay.
This section I have not really been able to just zone out, paddle and not think as the conditions keep me and my brain busy. So it has been a mentally tiring leg and it was nice to pull into Hicks bay, hang my feet over the side and cool down for a while. Then off for the last section to land, just as the tide was turning so the surf beach had a good swell on as I crossed the bay. I had to stay out the back and come in at the south end of the beach where it was a little calmer, the last five kilometres always seem the hardest of each day. I easily made it into another rocky beach landing.
Thank you to Mike Scanlan, you seemed to talk to me all the way round this section, and I am sure you will appreciate my pictures and videos.
FOOD...Everyone is asking about my food and what I eat. The night before we make an extra large dinner so in the morning I have a reheated cooked dinner for my breakfast, with a mug of strong coffee. Then I pack a couple of Red style scroggin mix, my high energy snacks in 'Kai Carrier' reusable ziplock bags. I have them all stashed in my deck bag. (sunflower/pumpkin seeds, cacao nib, coconut flakes, honey, tahini, coconut oil and sea salt. No nuts or dried fruit as they do not agree with me. Later on I have brownie that we make in the camp kitchens once a week. This has Whittakers dark choc chunks in it and it is even better when the sun warms it up and makes the chocolate soft! Lets see if i am over eating this by the end of the trip.
My fluid on the kayak for a day trip is 2 litres of freshwater, 500mls of coconut water and 1 litre of lemon drink in the deck storage. This seems to do me well for a long hot 6 plus hr paddle. Most days I get off the water by or before 1.30/2pm so time for a lunch with the support team. Tuna, leftovers, hot carbs and greens, it all depends on what we have.
Tonight we have backtracked a bit to stay in the campsite at Hicks Bay. It is lovely and tranquil here, the sounds of birds are occasionally over powered by the locals having a yarn about their day. We love the lingo, bro!