DAY 70...Made it to Leithfield at 8.30pm

Today was all about watching and waiting on the weather, taking a chill pill and letting me out on the water later in the afternoon.  We packed up Cuzzie, our darling camper van, and got ready for our departure back to the beach.  Before we left we had an amazing brekkie, no this was really special, fresh eggs from the kitchen and warm freshly baked hot bread.  I will always remember this wonderful campsite every time I have eggs for brekkie on this trip, it is the small things that make the difference, and these small homely things have made us all smile.  A couple of cups of coffee later, with dishes done and everything packed away we chatted with another couple who were from Auckland, (they actually they live about two streets away from us all in Onehunga) Caroline and Neil.  We had such a nice time chatting, Trish and Jase are totally hoping to see you back in Auckland on their return.  We all hope you enjoy your tramping holiday and lets talk some more when we are all back in Auckland and are neighbours again, what a small, small world.

On arrival back in Motunau we parked up and began the weather watching and waiting.  We climbed the hillside, sat and looked at the sea.  I then realised that there was a massive notice on the other side of the fence saying " NO ONE TO SIT ON THE CLIFF EDGES OR PAST THE FENCE!" It turns out the cliffs where unstable, oops, I missed seeing that sign!

We walked around the streets and then headed back to Cuzzie for lunch and to sit away from the wind but we stayed in the sun to keep warm.  We watched the fishermen head out and crash through the swell and waves, it was not calm enough for myself and T2 just yet.

By 2 pm the wind was dropping so we started to get ready and setup for a 3 pm launch.  I still find waiting all day to get in the water frustrating, but I have learnt I must be patient with Mother Nature.  Finally I was on my way, aiming for Leithfield or maybe Waikuku Beach, depending on how Mother Nature planned to treat me.  It was a good paddle and at each VHF point we talked and confirmed that the paddle so far was going well.  A couple of times when rolling over a wave  small fish jumped and skipped across my kayak skirt (no I was not able to grab them).  The VHF units were working really well, at the second checkpoint the team were getting ready to run across the farm paddocks to get closer to the cliffs when my voice rang out loud and clear to them over the VHF even though there was no cell phone coverage at all.

At the 24 km mark I rounded the point to aim towards Leithfield, the wind had picked up and was pushing me along rather quickly.  Also the tide had turned so that wonderful washing machine chop was beginning to annoy me. When I talked with the team at Amberley I was about to pull in there but we decided to hang on in there until Leithfield.  Once you commit then you just need to put your head down and suffer in silence.  That last 5km, it could not end quick enough.  I talked with the team and asked them to try and get to the beach as soon as possible as I was over this paddle for the day.  As I talked I also had to keep an eye on the swell and breaking waves, a couple tried to roll me but my bracing and timing were working today.  The crew thought I was a goner a couple of times while waiting for me to turn and aim for shore but as soon as I turned I was going in no matter what the ocean was throwing at me.  I aimed, paddled and cursed at the waves and braced the team lined up to grab me and T2 as we landed.  I have to say that once on the beach and up by Cuzzie we all did burst into hysterical laughter as we re-lived the landing from each others eyes.  It was a brave and very animated affair and even funnier when each person relived the landing and their thoughts.  Me hurtling along a foaming wave, cursing as I went, Jase trying to get to the front of my kayak to grab it and get T2 up the beach, and Tricia, to scared to video the landing just incase I cursed her for taking pics and not helping.  Oh dear me it was damn funny the last few minutes, sorry to all no there are no pictures, but I am sure you can imagine the comical scene.

I was bundled into the van, T2 was up on the roof quick smart and we were only five minutes away from the campsite.  Into the shower and fed by 9.30 pm, my was gear hanging in the brisk wind, there is something really great about having this group of people looking after me, they are fab, all of them in their own crazy ways.

It was a good paddle, calm waters and then some excitement at the end for all.  More calm waters are predicated tomorrow, Sumner here we come!  We have accommodation offered to us there and a belated Christmas dinner being cooked.  We are looking forward to this, Christchurch we need to stop for a day as Cuzzie wants her water cylinder looking at and Jase wants to catch a plane back to Auckland, then Tricia and myself will head off again.

My smiles today:
Head stands at the railway station.
Fresh eggs and warm baked bread.
The sunshine returned today and warmed us all.
Meeting another new, cool and interesting couple, Neil & Carolyne, thanks for coming to see me depart.
My landing, now that will make me more than smile, it will make us cry with laughter.
More Dolphins, they briefly visited me and stayed.

My thoughts for the day:
I have learnt to be patient with Mother Nature and wait, most of the time!  Maybe not so patient when I want to be off the water and away from the oceans washing machine antics.

Till tomorrow, Sumner, I am heading your way.



Headstands paying off

Headstands paying off