Day 413...Up, Up, Up, Down

Monday 12 December 2016

My mood was high to start with today. I had discovered an outdoor swimming pool open for lane-swimming from 6.00am until 9.00am. Kaitaia, you rockstars! We arrived just after 8.00am only to find that that they actually shut the gates at 9.00am and don’t re-open them until late in the afternoon, so very quickly, we jumped in and swam continuously for the next hour or so. The pool was refreshingly cool and it was a great feeling to be back in the water. By the time I actually clambered out of the water I was rather cold. Even trying to swim each lane faster than the one before hadn’t helped me keep warm. Quickly, we both jumped into the warm shower and were away from the pools and back in Cuzzie just after 9.00am.

Now another crazy thing to do: we go and locate the second-hand shops. They always have interesting goodies, as well as very entertaining staff and other shoppers and Kaitia didn’t disappoint us. Actually, the shoppers were the most entertaining but there were some equally entertaining moments as we discovered some brilliant items!! The final second-hand shop was the best. "This place is like having a huge wardrobe!" said the owner. She was even selling her home-collected honey in little glass containers, each in the shape of a bear. I just had to buy some, probably the most expensive thing in the entire shop! Shaz in the store was also hilarious and her blunt local humour had us both laughing as we left, me with my jar of honey and Bianca with her $3 dress.

Food was now at the front of our minds, so we quickly got back to our beach at Ahipara, sat in Cuzzie (being buffeted about by the wind), laughed at this morning’s events and then I bravely suggested sitting on the beach for a while, trying to keep away from the sandstorm blowing along it. It was nearly all good, until the wind sent a sandstorm into our last couple of mouthfuls of chocolate cake just as a huge rain cloud arrived overhead. Bianca saved the day by suggesting a quick retreat back to the dry camper-van and we made it just in time. The rainstorm came and went and then the sunshine returned.

Did we go hiking today? Em, no, our day ran away with us and we both decided to do that some other time. It seems as if we have been granted our wish to spend a few days in Ahipara! We got out the blanket, sat in the sunshine and planned my next paddle day in minute detail; timings, check-points, tides, etc. It felt so good to have got that done. We headed back to the beach where we marked out a sprint track on which we proceeded to expend any remaining energy we had.

Then it was time for the weather update, and that was when my day started turning to custard. Although, this time, I can’t really explain why such a great day just started to go downhill. Perhaps because I didn’t want to hear what the weather forecast was saying. But, to say that I was gutted, to describe my mood as despondent, is an understatement. There had been a glimmer of a weather window before but now, it was all but gone. I know, I have been doing this long enough to think it would get easier! Yes, I knew there was a real possibility that this would happen and that I shouldn’t have got my hopes up, but I never seem to learn. My head was saying “wait”, my heart was saying “not sure” and the crazy devil inside me was saying "gap it, others have!” I sat in total disbelief, staring at the bloody weather app. I still have no magic weather wand. Not even my tears of frustration worked, they didn’t change a damn thing and only served to make me feel bloody pathetic. I truly dislike marginal weather days, they are neither one thing nor the other and test my patience to the limit every time. Bianca sat looking a tad helpless. Oh, the poor support crew! Oh, my poor tormented team! They’ll all need a good night out once the journey is over, to get together and tell crazy nut-bar "Red" stories.

Once I had managed to convince myself to eat something, and stop moping about something I can’t change, we sat eating hot pumpkin soup and I actually enjoyed my dinner. Bianca then busied herself making choc brownies before discovering that the damn communal kitchen oven was being used. She’ll just have to wait as well, rather like me with the bloody weather!

I paused while writing tonight's blog, unsure whether or not to share my “lows”. Sometimes the waiting is tougher than the actual paddling, I reckon. But, at the same time, my “lows” sort of help me realign and stay grounded, so here I am grounded yet again. Along this journey I have had to wait time and time again and nothing has gone as originally planned. But I would just like to add that, whatever has happened, I have always tried to be really open and honest about each day, sharing both my “ups” and my “downs”. As I’ve said before, this is far more than just a kayaking adventure; it’s about me and my journey and, hopefully, it’s also for the benefit of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. As they say, every day the sun rises, so I will roll the weather again and set about playing this crazy waiting game again! As I wait, my mind wanders to the others who have paddled this coastline before me and we all know what a tough game this coastline plays.

My smiles today:
The outdoor swimming pool.
The wonderful Northland sunshine.
The banter of the friendly locals.
Sand sprinting.
Bloody weather highs and lows.
My support crew.
Second-hand shops. Most entertaining!

My thoughts today:
There’s no point in consistently worrying about everything. What will happen, will happen regardless; so breathe, look on the bright side, have some laughs, accept what you can't change, and carry on. To actually live is courageous; most people only exist, that’s all!

Be safe, and stay sane leading up to Christmas. Big hugs from Red and Bianca. 

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

Smiling with my honey-bear!

Smiling with my honey-bear!