Monday 26 December 2016
When Mother Nature gives the green light to paddle, I sure as heck take the opportunity, so getting on the water before light, was a necessity in order to try and have as much time on the water as possible. Today the wind came from every direction at some stage during the day; briefly it was on my back, then it blew to each side and also often into my face. It took a long time for the sun to break through the clouds and it was after 10.00am before I felt warm enough, as I had left a few layers of clothing off this morning.
During the first two hours, I nearly regretted this decision, paddling across Rangaunu and then Doubtless Bay seemed to take a very long time. Once past them, I enjoyed the beautiful coastline, also the regular checkpoints were helping. Every 2.5 hours seemed to be the pattern today, and there were a few planned. I was on time and tracking well to plan so, when I got to Taupo Bay, the only thing I could do was push on and try hard just to focus on small 6km sections, and tell the crew I just had to see how the headwind was going to affect me at the end of a long day. The wind was actually pleasant. Although it did slow me down, I was coping mentally. Gradually it got easier and I was now glad I had not listened to the lazy part of my brain when it tried to convince me to stop at Taupo Bay. It took a lot of inner chatting to push on furthe but, by gosh, I‘m happy I did. The closer I got, the more determined I became to nail this complete and successful day. When, eventually, I landed on this sandy beach of Matauri, we were all smiling.
Today, the funniest thing was trying to dodge the numerous boats on the water. I probably saw more boats today than on the entire west coastline! It has been an amazing day and most boaties were out making the most of the sunshine and the calming waters, with the ocean getting calmer as the day progressed. There were also lots of other kayakers on the water in the many bays I paddled past and everybody seemed to be doing some kind of outdoor activity on this beautiful Boxing Day.
Gannets, fish jumping and cute blue penguins, shags and also the dainty little birds that seem to just about walk on water, they were all out today. I’m certainly in a very beautiful part of New Zealand and it’s wonderful to be able to skim among rocks and through small gaps, something that made today's paddling so much more enjoyable than going parallel to a long straight sandy beach. Today was about achieving and it was a personal distance record: 85.24kms and we’re all happy about that. We load up everything and head for the campsite. I now have to force food down my throat, grab a shower and get ready for another day. “Eat, sleep, paddle, repeat” I chant to myself.
My smiles today:
Setting a goal and achieving it.
A calm, still night.
A hot shower!
Further down this coastline.
My thoughts today:
Today reminds me of the saying "How do you eat an elephant? One small bite at a time!"
Goodnight from Red and the team.
Ma Te Wa.
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