When I woke this morning it was early. I dragged myself out of my sleeping bag and climbed halfway up a hill to get internet coverage to check the weather and the updated forecast at 6.00am. The support crew stayed sleeping and we 90% already knew that nothing was going to be happening very early this morning until the winds had dropped and moved from a southerly back to a far more pleasant gentle northeasterly, which had been predicted to happen at about 1.00pm. It was worth checking incase the weather had moved through and I could get out and on the water earlier. Like a slight nutter I am standing in an empty carpark at 6.00am in the rain and morning mist. I stand in one certain spot and do not dare to move, as I had 3G coverage to download the updated weather. I then stare at the ocean trying to imagine how at this moment I was going to get out past the surf waves, five sets of them! The wind was due to change and drop so it was looking slightly hopeful. I wandered the beach for a while, leaving the crew to sleep. That lasted till just on 7.30am, when I was back in there telling them what our plans for the day where to be. It was late and so time to chat and get moving. I think they will be heading away to have some sleep ins, early mornings are only for some and there have been no sleep-ins since they have arrived. There have been some very early morning starts, they can surely tell you.
We cooked up a grand breakfast, dashing in and out of rain showers. Bacon, home made hash browns, scrambled eggs and tomatoes, Tricia was on the coffee machine. After all was devoured we headed off to check out this possible scenario for my departure. Later in the morning, before lunch we then went for a drive and scoped out the beach, watched the surfers and paddle boarders as the hector dolphins arrived and joined in and played and surfed the waves as well. So graceful and such a precious time. At last we dragged ourselves back to the campsite to load up and get me on the water.
As we returned to the beach I quietly got ready, actually not looking forward to this take off. It would go either really well or really badly. I tried to focus on the feeling of when I was out the back of the waves and safe on the calm waters and paddling, but this did not seem to be working. Both Trish and Jase reckoned they would time it well and shove me out at the right time and then it was up to me. As we got to the beach I stopped to chat with a man called Trevor. He was asking about my creature encounters along the way as he has a company that specialises in GPS tagging and tracking of the sea life along the coast. It was great to chat and also great to delay this launch. Eventually I had delayed this for long enough and there were breaks where I could get out, so I kitted up, got strapped in and skirted up. Jase and Trish aimed me at the ocean and we waited, watched then we all agreed I must go. With a big push and shove from them both I was out and over and paddling. What is that saying, "99% of everything you worry about never happens." This was a near on perfect departure thanks to Jase and Tricia. No reason to even stress today, up and over and out the back I paddle for a moment to see if the dolphins wanted to come play for awhile but no way, the surf was far more fun than me today. I had delayed this for long enough and off I headed to get this 33 km paddle nailed and over. It was raining and I settled into my rhythm. It was nice not be in blazing sunshine today, it was cool with the rain on my face. I passed along numerous seal colonies along this section of the coastline and stopped to check them out. Most today were on the shore sleeping, there was not a lot happening on or in the water today.
Soon I saw the team for my check point. It turns out that they where just brewing up coffees to sit on the beach and wait for me, I arrived a little earlier than predicted. A quick VHF with nothing to report and our next check point was to be after a 20 km section once back in cell phone or VHF coverage, just before arrival. I paddled on trying to just concentrate on the water, the coast and zone out. It took awhile to get this second 10 km done and then the final push. The next point actually seemed a long way off and I had to check my GPS to make sure I did have the correct location and the correct remaining distances right, then head down and paddle. There was no breeze, no real swell and it seemed slow going but eventually I arrived at Motunau Point and headed around to see Cuzzie parked and smiling, a big welcome 'Hi' and the crew were easy enough to spot. I glided into the small river mouth and they grabbed my kayak, there was no bad landing, no wet clothes and no dramas. Like a well oiled machine we loaded up and chatted to some locals and then got on the road. The weather was to deteriorate tonight and it was certain there was to be no paddling tomorrow, so we headed in land to hook up to power to find a couple of wineries to maybe visit and get me away from staring at the ocean.
Duties all done, dinner cooked and eaten and now we sit around in Cuzzie clean and warm from hot showers with full stomachs drinking hot cups of tea. Just down the road at Waipara Hills Winery you can hear "Fat Freddies" concert in full swing. The weather here is not the best for an outdoor concert but I am sure everyone will be enjoying themselves.
As the rain falls on Cuzzies Roof we reflect about today...
Smiles and cool stuff:
Dolphins in the bay, they always make everyone smile.
The amazing beach launch today, thanks team.
The Cool Fence art we found on the Gore Bay Fence.
The cool little campsite we have located in Waipara where there are railway carriages all about us as cabins, way cool and fresh herbs in barrels outside the Kitchen doors for your cooking.
The great dinner that Jase created tonight. BBQ pork balls with mint & coriander, sautéed bok choy and courgettes with toasted sunflower seeds and a parsnip and kumera mash with coconut oil.
Big smiles to Nat, we have been totally entertained by her crazy snap chat pics while she has been away. There is only one Nat Frew that is for sure.
My only thoughts for today, I can not believe I am only a couple of days away from arriving in Christchurch!
Big hugs to you all. I hope 2016 is going to allow you some 'me' time, you deserve it!