Day 371...Lucky Charm

Monday 31 October 2016

Well it has to be said, I reckon Nat is my lucky charm. No water in my face today, an easterly wind to flatten out the very low swell and off I went onto the water, paddling towards Albatross Point. How I wanted to get around and past this Point, past the iron sand works and past the huge ship that was waiting offshore to collect the remains from inland mining. Gradually, I inched closer and closer and, as I had been told, remembered to try and take a wide berth in an effort to miss the bigger swells that seem to appear at this location. Well, I did try to go out a little further but still I ended up encountering a biggish washing machine effect and the wind had still not dropped. I just had to take my time and slowly pick my way through the back and forth waves until I got past and around, then I tucked myself into a little bay closer to the beaches and paddled further until it eventually calmed again! Jeez, any more of that and I would have been staying out on Albatross Point! But today, the wind was at last dropping as predicted and even Kawhia Harbour mouth was so calm I could see the boating channel as clear as day. Typical really, as I needed not to cross this harbour bar!

Onwards I push to my first checkpoint on the ocean beach at Kawhia, have a VHF chat with Nat and that last section had indeed slowed me down a bit. But I was sure I was going to be able to pick up speed again on the next section. I was feeling good and strong in my paddling, so off I set and with the help of a small swell, made great headway. In the meantime, Nat was having to drive a heck of a long way today on very dusty and winding roads! I go further than I should and sort of miss the next checkpoint by a couple of kilometres. I really got that wrong. Probably so excited at seeing a dolphin jumping high in the air and not just once, but three times! Then it disappeared but it was a wonderful welcome to the Raglan coastline. Just after that I spot, not only once but twice, a couple of small Maui dolphins and that was even more exciting. At last, after such a long time, dolphins in the water! Although they didn’t come and play today, they appeared and that was enough to make me know my day was going to end well.

I aimed for Manu boat ramp. Every other time I have scouted out this bay, it has been rough with rolling surf but today, the bay and the boat ramp were an absolute dream. Thanks Raglan. I’m smiling! Meeting me, with her camera working overtime, was Nat. It was also lovely to have Mike and Jan Scanlan on the boat ramp. Gosh, it’s a whole year since I last saw them. Wow, what stories we both have and I was reminded that I best start re-visiting my rolls now the water has warmed! While I stay in Raglan for a little while, awaiting the next weather window, the harbour will be my preferred place of practice.

Nat cooked dinner, some yummie pork and gluten-free wraps with avocado, salad stuff and tomatoes (thanks to Jan). Tired and happy, pleased to have moved a little further north and very pleased to have paddled on an incredibly lovely West Coast sunny Monday. This coastline is relatively unknown to most and it’s rather beautiful.

My smiles today:
Dry face and a dry departure.
Dolphins! More than once.
Raglan on a lovely sunny day.
Mike and Jan on the boat ramp.
Wow, this coastline sensational!
No surf to dodge on my landing.
Nat’s guest appearance for the next few days.

Goodnight from Red and Nat. 

Ma Te Wa.