I did not set my alarm this morning as I knew I would wake up. I was in fear and dreading that the wind would be blowing and I would have to wait for another day to get going. I was not going to frustrate myself anymore, just go with the flow. The wind had dropped before we went to bed last night but that is never anything new and I expected to hear the whistling wind as I awoke.
I slept a little lightly last night as I was probably on edge to get this day underway. At or just before 5 am I awoke, the sky was a hue of pink and it was rather calm, calmer than what had been predicted. I got myself ready, made my tea and got my paddling gear on. I could not eat as I was too keen to get down to the water. I packed the remaining homemade brownie (it needed eating) and promised to eat this once I had done my first VHF check in about 16km.
We got to the beach and it was just as the cray boats where heading out. It looked okay on the water but I knew the first paddle was going to have a stiffer head wind than the rest of the day, according to the forecast. After a big hug to Nat I launched into calm waters and paddled out around the bay for five minutes, making sure T2 felt okay. Her rudder was working and it all felt okay but I still had a little bit of a dry mouth from some anxiety. Was the wind going to stay as it was meant to or was it just going to be its nasty typical self? Off I set, I waved good bye to Nat and headed to Glenmore Station.
Initially I started to head directly across the bay just like the crow flies but the wind was whistling on and off so I moved in close to the beach and the coastline. This added some extra kms but it got me away from the gusts as much as possible. I saw a few seals and craypots along this section and I dared to think that it would be okay. T2 was starting settle in and I hunkered down until I got to VHF contact with Nat. “Good morning, how are you doing out there?” was Nats response. “Yep okay, I wish the wind would die down,” I replied. Nat relayed the weather report and the wind was to drop so we planned that she would head to coverage and then wait in Martinborough until 12 pm just incase the weather was shit around the corner and I decided to pullout at Pahou, (and get a local to call her for a rescue pickup) this was only 10 km down the the coast and I was going okay apart from a few really strong gusts in the valleys.
Next, Pahou to Te Awaiti where I was to meet and VHF Nat next. Along the way the coastline was littered with craypots, this coastline is really pretty, the sun was shining and there was not a cloud in the sky, it was amazing. Up ahead there was a group of guys snorkelling for Crayfish and Paua, as I passed we chatted, they asked if I would like some Paua and where was I going. They proceeded to put Paua and then a crayfish into my front kayak hold! Nat will be so so happy and now I can not wait to talk to her.
After this the wind dropped, it felt unusual, the weather being this calm and windless (yes, I said windless). The wind had dropped to near on nil so I paddled in and out of rock areas, skimmed over rocks and kelp and just imagined how many crayfish I must be going over the top of (Greggie, my dear ozzie friend, you would be in heaven).
Around the point I go and see Cuzzie sitting at the back of the beach in a carpark. It seemed she was smiling today and in full form and happy. I talked with Nat, told her about my food for dinner, we were both excited. This was probably to be my pull out location but when talking with the divers they had mentioned it was not much further to the next bay so I talked with Nat and said lets push for a few more km. I had a tailwind and a swell so off I went, it was such a nice day and there was still time to get close as possible to Cape Palliser.
I am very mindful of the time and there are people wanting to meet me in Wellington but weather has not been playing ball. We had hoped to be there last week but not a chance! There is no point dwelling on this.
I land and the campsite on the beach is perfect, picture this...
We have crayfish for dinner, we have been able to light fire so we have toasted marshmallows and we have burnt lots and lots of driftwood. I lay on the ground, looked up to the sky and went this is what a NZ summer holiday and evening should be like, ABSOLUTELY amazing evening, I am happy.
Nat went swimming and said the water was warm but I was not keen to get wet again after washing in the red bucket, ten hours of salt water and grime gone so it felt good to be clean. We are sitting around the fire, Nat is reading and I am writing this blog. The sky is pale blue, mauve and pink. This is a special day and I thank all for sending me a day like this. My brain needed it and I was not wanting a whistling wind all day today.
Tomorrow, lets see what it brings, lets see if we get as far as we hope, but I am not looking up just yet, I am staring straight ahead. I am looking forward to getting to Lake Ferry, I am not heading directly across as the wind may pickup and both Nat and I have for some reason been looking forward to Lake Ferry, lets see if it is what we imagine. More driftwood needed for the fire, so off I go, I love fires. In fact I have to say that today has to be one of the best, rather perfect, something you would have dreamed for...
Thank you to all the people who made this possible and are allowing me to live out my dream...
PS: Thank you Mary and John for the Flat Point wine! We will post a picture when we open this bottle.
PPS: Thank you to the divers for the Paua and Crayfish today, none of you will be forgotten.