DAY 88...Raikaia to past the Ashburton River.

The other day I was saying it was way too cold, well we all knew that this was going to change.  Last night I slept in only my sleeping bag liner as it was so warm, the summer is (finally) arriving.  This morning we were waiting on things to update and see if the gusting winds would be okay for me to paddle and it was looking great till about 1pm.  We got ready and headed the 20 mins back to the river mouth to launch and get on the water.  It was a beautiful morning and the dumping beaches were calm and flat.  I looked to the sky and did say thank you and launched onto this flat ocean, (I was only a little superstitious when I left Auckland, I am fully superstitious now) when I am given a nice day like this to paddle, there are a couple of people I always say thank you to as I get into my rhythm of the day and my paddle. 

As I slipped along this coast line it is a time to Zen on the long and straight coast, no one on the beaches and huge cliffs down to the beach, with very little access for people I guess, so it is a little special to see this part of the coastline by water.  On a windy, bad weather day this would not be the nicest section to be on as the trees on the hills are nearly bent in half and one side of them is completely bare of anything green, they have been tortured by numerous winds and storms.  Today they and the coastline are being baked dry by the hot sun shine.  The Dolphins came and went numerous times, but they never stayed for too long, just popped up to say hi and then, you are boring, and would leave, I was not their entertainment today.

As I get closer to my first checkpoint I see a lone soul sitting on the beach.  Nat was sunning herself and waiting, also there were dolphins just in front of her.  It turns out she had got into the wetsuit and waded in to see if they would come and play near her, but alas not today.  We checked on the next location and decided to keep pushing along past the next river mouth and try to get as far as we could before the winds arrived and I would call it a day.  I put my head down, concentrated on the paddling and aimed for the final destination.  It was getting hot on the water and I reapplied my sunblock a couple of times.  There was not much wind for the most part, I was paddling well and clocking up the kms, so the 1pm finish and off the water was looking good.  I was also drinking a lot more of my fluids today, (the team will be happy!) by the time I got off the water it was 31 degrees!  I always paddle with a few nerves when I know that the weather may be turning, but at least there was no swell which always helps.

As I looked along the coastline I started to think, where the heck is there any access for Nat and Cuzzie?  There was no cell phone coverage at all on this leg so I turned on my VHF early, half expecting to hear from Nat saying that I had to paddle another 20km or something yuk like that.  As I got to the other side of the river and was scanning the hills and beach, guess who turns up at the end of a road?  Brilliant, I sight Cuzzie and then Nat.  I've got to say, I like it when I see them, I am not sure about other paddlers but sometimes, just sometimes you can doubt your equipment and think maybe it is wrong, or more to the point have I got it wrong?!  Off the water I come, Nat has camera in hand, she can see a photo opportunity.  Today I am obliging and even keep my sunglasses off my face, normally that is a sure sign I am not impressed when I pull them on as the camera comes out, but today I just smiled.

It was hot once on the beach and we gradually unpacked T2 and got her on the roof racks.  We got the gear stowed away and went on our way back to the Ashburton campsite to find some shade and get some of the sea salt off us.  It has been an afternoon of of normal chores, washing, food, sun and also got a hilarious call from Jono & Ben from The Rock FM about my Cook Strait crossing.  They are looking at attempting it on a banana boat!  I am not even that brave, good luck to them both.

Tomorrow, well I am not sure, lets just see what happens.  Maybe the ocean and maybe not. Mother Nature is in control and never will I forget that.

My smiles today:
Dolphins again and how amazing they are.
To be able to get on the water the past few days, Canterbury Bight, you have shown me a beautiful side to your coastline, thank you.
The fab feedback from people on our Facebook & Instagram pages, and your lovely supportive comments on my Blogs.
To the company I work for, Veni Vidi Vici & the crew.  Thank you for allowing me to have an extended break from my office, V3 is helping me mentally for sure, and I smile.
It is windy now and I smile at this, as I am off the water and further down the coast.
The cyclist at the campsite biking the NZ roads, and you know what?  He said the NZ hills have been horrible! (I knew there was a reason for me to be paddling!)
I did look back today at Banls Peninsula in the hazzy distance, I will go back, she is beautiful and untamed.

My thoughts:
A little crazy in the heat, but mostly about being focused and looking at the horizon ahead, as around the next corner or bluff I am excited about what may be there for me to discover, a little like life I suppose.


Red before...

Red before...

Red after :)

Red after :)