DAY 71...Christchurch

After five hours sleep we were up and heading towards the beach to launch.  Thank goodness the wind had moved to a westerly and the sea had calmed, I was looking forward to getting on the water and on my way to Sumner.  The sky was clear blue and a gentle cool breeze was blowing, this should be a nice paddle.  We had our checkpoints sorted and Tricia was in charge of driving Cuzzie today, also her voice was chiming down the VHF waves as today is Jase's last day with us, he is on a flight back to Auckland sometime tomorrow. 

Back to the paddle, today it was fairly easy going, the only thing I had to do was keep an eye on the larger waves when I got near to where the surfers were and the breaks were closer to me.  The beaches are long, straight and the mode of traffic on the beaches along this coastline seems to be quad bikes or 4x4s, many parked on the beaches with groups of surf casters at the river mouths.  The crazy sight today that stopped me paddling was seeing harness racing horses in full trotting mode pulling their carts.  I needed a video camera or a pair of binoculars, how crazy.  It also made me want to jump on the beach and go horse riding!  It will happen, I just need to find another beach and some horses to ride, now that will be hilarious as I have not ridden a horse for many years!

The Dolphins came to visit but did not stay to play, that was a shame as it would have taken my mind off the paddle for awhile.  Soon I was near Brighton Pier and the crew were out to wave. Telling me to mind the waves and surf, thanks to the team for caring, but today the swell was not even bad and it was not a problem.  As I set off for my last leg to Sumner with just on 7 km to go in my mind was the advice I had been given, I had been told to head to the furthest cliffs at the Sumner beach by a couple of people.  I thank you for your advice as the landing was such a breeze with me pulling into the boat ramp, not a wave insight.  Along the way to the ramp I was at times dodging between the guys on jet skis jumping waves,  they where reaching great heights into the air and crashing back behind each wave.  That looks like it would hurt really badly if you got the landing wrong!  They where having massive fun and it was nice to see, they just looked up at me briefly as I passed by and I think there inner thoughts would have been why would anyone use a vessel on the water that goes so so slowly, how boring they would have been thinking.

Soon I saw the team and the camper van by the boat ramp and aimed towards them, I was hot and a little hungry so I was pleased to see them.  It has been great to have the luxury of them both with me, as soon as I arrive they take over the pack down and it makes it way faster.  We chatted to Shane, he had come to welcome me in and then met some others who stopped to chat as we loaded up.  In fact this country is so small one of the couples who stopped to say hi actually knew Jason from working with him in Auckland, it is a small small little world that we live in.  Then it was time to sit in the sun with the back doors wide open, resting and celebrating being in Christchurch!  I then headed to the park and lay in the sun for a couple of hours to just rest as I was tired and needed a sleep.

Once rested we headed to Gerard's (we had met many years ago) to stay the night.  I do now remember where and when we would have meet each other and we chat about the common people we still both know.  What is that saying, 7 degrees of separation?  There is always someone that you know that they now, and I think if you are a Facebook fanatic then you realise that even more.  At Gerard's, my goodness, big beds, a massive kitchen, we are in luxury!  We met a young man, Mathew, who is heading off to the 21 day course at Outward Bound.  This makes me stop for a moment and think of when my son headed there a few years ago, a wonderful place doing amazing things for our minds and inner spirits, pushing us past our normal comfort zones.  I said to him make sure you really enjoy your time there and for the first time in ages, I was asked, "Why are you paddling around NZ?"  You know what my answer to this is, it is still, "Why not."  I still can not truly understand why this journey enticed me for so long in my life.  I now am wondering why I waited so long, it is truly a great, amazing experience and if we step out side and look, maybe just try it, just step past your comfort zone just for a moment, it is great to do something a little different.

Dinner tonight we are at a 2016 family gathering, (we are gate crashing) they promised us there was going to be plenty of yummy food, ham, roast lamb and all the trimmings, Christmas cake and coffee.  

Christchurch we are staying for a few days, the weather is turning as of 8am tomorrow, so off the water activities to be planned.  I may try some more kite boarding in Christchurch.  As we headed into town today the wind had picked up and the kite surfers were out there, maybe I will dust off the cobwebs and go kite boarding!  I will try and remember my training from Point Chev days in the wind also try and go horse riding along a long beach, now that would be fun.

Cuzzie wants a repair on her water heater!  She is feeling left out or so it seems, and wants some money spent on her.  That is the first mission today, also finding a "Got-a-Go" Air NZ flight for Jason to return to Auckland.

My smiles today:
The flat calm ocean for my launch and my landing.
The daily hello from the Dolphins.
My greetings from the Sumner locals walking past our camper van, especially Ralph, we had a very long chat.
Gerard thank you for your hospitality, the house and the real bed, it is amazing.  Donna the food is totally divine.
A big comfy bed.

My thoughts today:
Omg I am in Christchurch, and I am still smiling!


Scanning the waves for a break in the sets

Scanning the waves for a break in the sets