Day 121...Stewart Island, Complete!

Wednesday 24 February

I finally got to bed well after midnight and with an early morning alarm set there was only time for a few hours sleep.  This is typical of me sometimes, sleep seems such a waste of time when there in so much to jam into a day.  Everything was ready to grab and pack for my days paddle.  There was a section of Stewart Island I still needed to pass by to make me happy and make me feel it was completed.  

When I got up I heard others packing their tents away and I was pleased my tent could stay put as there was light rain and wet tent pack downs are not fun.  I loaded my gear systematically into my large white carry bag, triple checked my electric bag had everything and that I had enough food packed for energy snacks then I headed to the kitchen to cook breakfast, extra large portions so I had spare to be packed for lunch.  I was starving as I had missed dinner last night, see what happens when I am left alone, I skip meals!  My friendly fellow paddlers had saved me cooked potatoes from last night and I gladly cooked them up with my eggs and bacon, I am in luv with cooked breakfasts!  They are great at the moment when I am paddling big distances each day.

I had some breakfast chats with my fellow paddlers, Mike and Grant, then we all were ready to head to the wharf.  Me to load T2 for my days paddle and the guys to jump on the water taxi to go to Port Pegasus for the next two weeks.  Now that sounds really pleasant!  It is still dark as we stroll down the street at 6am.  Big hugs to them both we wish each other luck and I will see them both when I get back to Titahi Bay.

T2 takes no time to load and I triple check I have got everything.  Then, off we go onto a peaceful Oban Harbour, I pray for Dolphins, but alas none today.  I head out today to nail this last small section before the tide changes and the wind arrives.  36 km from Oban to Black Rock where I actually started to hug the Stewart Island coastline on the 13th of February. The initial 15 to 20 km went really well and it was far too easy.  Soon the wind was in my face and I seriously wondered, how strong was I going to need to be to push into this?  What drove me on was that soon I could turn and head back and have a dream tailwind, tide and swell.  The last 16 km was fought hard for sometime even my pace was down to 1 km every 20 mins!  The wind was being an absolute demon.  I pushed on into it giving myself small bite size targets.  Five hours later I touched Black Rock Point.  MN was awake and testing my strength and as we turned it was a relentless strong tailwind and T2 and I nearly flew back towards Oban.  Every km was done between 5 and 5.5 minutes.  It was a strong tailwind with a small swell and the current all pushing us along now.  No time to stop for a rest just a massive race all the way.  Three and a bit hours later we were back at Oban Harbour.  So much for thinking I would take it easy today and grab a water taxi from Christmas village!  Instead 72km nailed and back on the beach by 4pm, damn that was fast.  Some patches nearly too much wind, but I made it.

For those watching on the new tracker (www.share.delorme.com/redznzjourney) I was obsessed to have the dots join up.  Now I am content, Cook Strait done, Foveux Strait had been done and there was not a urge on a blustery day to even need or want to attempt this dodgy patch of water again.  T2 and I will treat ourselves and grab a ride back to Bluff.  In a perfect world today would have been a paddle from Oban to Colac Bay, but not everything ends up being perfect

Once I was back at the campsite, fed, watered and showered, it was time to talk with new friends.  I must say a huge THANKYOU to Viki at the backpackers campsite for her generous nil charges for my next two nights, her help and her shampoo!  My new look of dreadlocks has gone and I can get a comb through my light ginger locks again.  Tired and content it is now bed time.  I luv my tent life, I luv cuddling into my sleeping bag.  Tomorrow is going to be a great day.

My smiles today:
T2 and I flying on the waves and wind today.
Completing the entire circuit.
Being so truly very happy from the inside.
Getting a comb through my matted sea sprayed hair at last.
Enjoying fun and excitement in my life.
Making a new friend each day, this still this amazes me.

My thoughts today:
Keep smiling and one day life will get tired of upsetting you.

Good night from Red, T2 and Oban.

 Recycled chess set in Oban

Recycled chess set in Oban