Yesterday afternoon it was hard to drag myself away from Whites Bay Beach, that little spot of paradise has made me want to stay and I have a new brainstorm, once I am finished this journey I have an idea! My new life in 2016 you may find me being a DOC campsite minder for a summer season. The seed of thought has been planted, blame Lili from Whites Beach Campsite.
Today I was awake and ready to paddle by just after 6 am. I was on the water and making my way out of the river mouth onto a flat, glass like ocean. I had a small tailwind, the tide and the baby swell was running with me too. T2 was enjoying this paddle and so was I. We got some long smooth wave runs, it was blissful and fun. All the time I was scanning the horizon for fins, fish or something of interest. I have not been in such calm waters for a very long time, there where large, open expansive bays to get my head around paddling across and some entertainment from a pod of dolphins would have helped.
Today was not planned to be a big paddle, we were only trying to get closer to the Cape Campbell point and wanted to still have road access, so just on 40 kms was my target. At the first checkpoint Jase was on the black stones waiting for me to arrive. Black hoodie on and entertaining himself with breakfast, coffee and selfies on the beach. There was nothing to report as he would have well known by looking at the ocean, no reason for me to want to come off the water early today as the weather and the day was getting warm really quickly. I started to peel the extra early morning layers off to try and cool down. Fairly soon I paddled with no spray skirt and no leg brace straps. It was nice to feel a cool breeze on my legs and there was no chance of any wave action today, it was sunny, hot and the wind had gone completely. I tried not to mind this calm water but I do like a "little" slight wind, it helps cool you and if lucky it helps your speed. Anyway, I am happy enjoying this very stark and very dry coastline.
At the next checkpoint I sight the pink Sharkskin top on the beach and Jase (aka Mr Have-a-chat) has found a local fisherman to talk to while he waited on me. He was getting tips on surfcasting. Ha ha, I do not think he is going to get time to fish but lets wait and see, I may be proved wrong. There was now only a small bay to cross, 8 km to Grassmere Beach ..in Clifford's Bay and then my day of paddling would be complete. Very soon I was heading for the beach, I did get a little fright as I was told to head to the far end of the beach but sometimes the team get their locations opposite to me, as they say go right when in my world looking in from the ocean it means left! So when I see a white camper van speeding to the right end of the beach I think to myself, oh no, what is he doing now? Oops, it was not Jase in Cuzzie but one of the numerous other white camper vans on the road. I turn back, cursing and am informed he is on the beach where we discussed. Oops. I land, the beach is calm and there is about six people on the beach, the others going out to the point on quad bikes to get paua and crayfish.
We packed my gear, loaded T2 on the roof and headed to park up in the DOC campsite with a view of the ocean. We have the back doors flug open wide and the sun is streaming in. I got all of my paddling gear out and got about getting them washed and hung out in the brisk breeze that was starting. With everything cleaned and drying we had lunch and chatted to our neighbours on either side, others were interested in our journey. Then off we went to enjoy the wind with the new kite. Jase has mastered this but I on the other hand left him to it and slept in the sun. I got my head around the next day and just looked and absorbed this stunning day, this stunning NZ coastline, and yep reminded myself this is now NOT A DREAM! I am just so extremely lucky and fortunate to be seeing these places, I am excited to see what is around each cape and point I get to.
The land around us is dry, so very dry all ready, it astounds me. I come from the Waikato and it is always very green. Down here there are numerous vineyards and many of the names of places and the vineyards are known to me from my restaurant and catering days. I like putting the names of the wines to the actual places, Cloudy Bay, Awatere, Yellands, Vavasour, Brancotts Estate and the list goes on.
We spent all afternoon at the beach and then after saying our goodbyes with everyone we had meet we headed off to Seddon to hook up to some power. Before we left we where lucky to be given some Paua, black and yellowfoot, what an amazing treat. Jase is grinning from ear to ear, infact he has just cooked one and is eating it as I type. We stopped at the Grassmere salt works and I stood next to massive piles of salt mounds, huge, and I look so small.
So today, my smiling moments:
Watching a father and son play on the beach for many hours. I voted him the 'father of the year'. They were having such a fantastic time, it was a pleasure to watch. Congrats to that father and son moment.
Being told I am inspirational! Thank you ladies. I really find this hard to accept and I blush. I am only doing something that anyone, if they truly wanted can do, just if you really want to live your dream, sacrifice, commitment and dedication. TOTALLY immerse yourself, it works (I think).
Another glorious, sunny day, that always makes me smile.
Smiling because I am nowhere near a Boxing day sale, or mall and that is really special.
Another crew member, Tricia arrives tomorrow! Now that is a smiling moment too. She is with the support team for the next eight weeks. Camera, crocs and leggings are packed, she is doing the Redz NZ Journey, how fantastic.
Food is cooked, a mexican one pot wonder, care of Jase, yumbo.
PS, the South Island is turning on some stunning weather! Thank you.