DAY 89...The 2 T's...Ashburton River to Timaru

Calm seas and hardly any wind makes for an enjoyable paddle, the presence and many dolphin sightings along the way and also a blue shark made for some entertainment.  The coastline did not vary much but as I was making good time and the seas were calm, it was enjoyable.  There where no whistling winds and no big swells so it was a day to enjoy as I paddled along, mostly only 20 metres off the shoreline as it was so calm, the dolphins were even in close as well.

As I ticked over the strokes and paddled towards checkpoint one and two, there was time to reflect and say a couple of thank you to the strangers that Nat had meet on the beach at Birdlings Flat.  They kindly made a cash donation for MHFNZ and we tucked this into the bucket we carry around with us for these donations.  It is always humbling when we are approached by people who have heard of this journey and the charity we are raising funds for.

Today there was a light rain falling for some of this trip and to be honest it was so nice to cool me down as even without the sun and under full cloud cover it was hot on the water.  It was pleasing to open my mouth and feel the rain on my tongue.  Further along the coastline Nat and I touched base, there was nothing to report and no concerns so she speed off to grab some items for the fridge and checkout the next VHF checkpoint.  At this stage I was clocking an average of 8.5km per hour which was damn pleasing,  always good in my world to get the first 20 km locked away quickly and not struggle from the start as this can make tough going.

Just before the next checkpoint Nat calls me to congratulate us on hitting the next milestone 2000 km!  YIPPEE!  This is cool, I have to say it has been tough on me, this last stage and the 2000 mark I have not dared think about too much.  It had (finally) arrived and it was calm and tranquil out on the water so I continued with my tradition & upheld my promise to the support crew.  2000 km is special and a well deserved hug to myself and the team, phew, just a couple more celebrations to get to now.

Then as though pre-ordered a cool blue tip shark came near to me.  Not as close as the North Island Bluey was, this guy cruised near me and then disappeared.  Shame, not fast enough with the Action Cam, damn, next time.

On I paddled, checking out the massive Timaru harbour and trying to locate the bay I needed to find Nat in.  There were a couple of large container ships coming and going into the docks so I did a wide berth from these.  I spent a couple of minutes just sitting looking at the landscape and getting my bearings right, the water had calmed and was like an oil slick.  I was wanting a little wind at least to assist with my final push to meet Nat, but it was no going to be.  Today I had not consumed enough food or water and was feeling a tad grumpy out in the harbour, so I washed back a chocolate bar and tried to consume all the water bladder before I got to shore, mostly so I did not get into trouble and told off.  I always confess my slackness once I get the five questions back on land, they go like this...

I was greeted with Nat in the water up to her knees trying to take more pics today, I had to laugh as a small wave got an unsuspecting Nat with a beauty, shorts totally saturated, she was concentrating on getting another 'after a long day of paddling' image of me.  

1: Have you drunk all your fluids?..... Ahhh no.
2: How much food have you eaten?..... Ahhh no, no quite.
3: Are you hungry?.... Ahhhh no, not yet.
4: What do you want to eat?.... Ahhhh not sure.
5: Do you want any water? ??? Then that is normally followed by, just drink something!

Once on the beach we dragged T2 and the gear up the beach and along a boardwalk, what a nice change from the surf beaches.  We unloaded, I ran over to some cold showers and washed away the days exercise and salt while Nat got ready for the drive to the campsite.  As we arrived she squealed with delight, "A Swimming Pool!"  Very soon we were at the pool on the loungers and Nat was doing hand stands in the pool.  Me I had seen enough water for one day and lay in the warmth of the late afternoon sun, we ate chips with avocado dip, and I tried to drink more water!

Back at the Cuzzie we got dinner ready and cracked open a bottle of LP Champagne to celebrate the 2 T's, Two Thousand Kms and Timaru.

My smiles today:
2ooo kms, YIPPEE
Dolphins & Sharks, YIPPEE
A glass of champagne, now that is nice.
Calm seas.
Always meeting a new local, that is a smile a day for sure.

My thoughts today:
 On how far I have come on this journey, in so many ways...maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming anything, maybe it is about unbecoming everything that isn't really you, so you can be who you where meant to be in the first place.  Now that is a great thought.



Red in the early morning light

Red in the early morning light

Cheers to 2000km!

Cheers to 2000km!