100 days on the road, it had to be a good omen. I was up bright and early, the day ahead was planned out, Taieri Beach to Kaka Point was the planned route. The normal routine, I set the alarm and got up the support crew, they do not even want to know the time they just say, "When you need us, wake us!" They reckon it is better that way than to know what crazy hour I have them up at. As I head to the kitchen I bump into the horse riding girls, they are also up early and getting ready to head further north today, up the east coast. We hug and laugh at our craziness, they are off to brew coffee and I am heating up food for breakfast. The time speeds by quickly and I am mindful I need to get on the water as early as possible as the sun rises to get on with the day before any bigger winds hit me later on.
I quickly force the food down and scull my cup of tea. We drag T2 on her wheels down to the beach and then I get ready to launch. The trouble with eating and sculling your first meal of the day and then heading up over the sand dunes is it did not give me time to digest my food and by the time I got to the waters edge, to the support crews horror and slight amusement, I am wanting to vomit! Now that is not the best thing for the start of the morning, I am not sure who is more amused, me or the support crew Jase. What's the saying, better out than in? I was soon feeling way better.
Paddle, paddle, paddle, out over the small foaming waves and as normal. The last wave smacks me in the face and gives me the morning wake up I have grown to expect. It was then game on and I headed south to Toko River mouth. 24 kms to the first check point, it was a lovely paddle, a lovely day and a nice start. Waves, sunshine and a cool coastline, what more could I ask for? As I got closer I took a wide berth of the breaking waves on the rocks and then talked via VHF to Jase. All was good and the next two checkpoints were shorter distances, 10km, 10km then the last 10km to Kaka Point. Something about today was feeling good and I skimmed along enjoying every moment. I got to the north side of Clutha River mouth and we touched base, the tail wind had picked up and I was enjoying the surfing. The support crew were going to arrive at about the same time as me for the end of this day, well I thought so, at the speed I was hoofing along at. It turns out the Clutha river mouth had other ideas, honestly I was surfing along thinking yippee I am going a great speed, then I looked at my watch when it buzzed a km and went shit Red, best you paddle a bit harder! It was like being on an escalator going the wrong way, I was surfing along but the amount of water that was coming out into the ocean had me for 3km only covering 1km every 10.5mins! (Previously today I had been averaging over 7.5kmph) Holy heck, I had to muscle this bit, thank goodness for strong arms and determination.
Soon I was near to landing and today was hot, I actually did not care if I got wet on this landing, I was finished for the day and I wanted a swim. I landed, unpacked and got everything stowed away then we went to the beach to eat and sunbathe for a while.
After a short time we decided to head along the coast road to the furthest lookout to check out over the hill and also see the penguins from the lookout. There was no access to the beach at all during this time of the year, we were only allowed on the viewing platform, way up on the cliffs. We looked down into Roaring Bay from the Nugget Point lookout, we tried to spot the yellow eyed penguins but there were none to be seen when we were there, never mind, I will see them when I am on the Ocean I am sure. Back along the road to a small bay to go for a swim, just look in all the rock pools and be amazed at the clear water and the massive size of the kelp, it is huge! Then we went and booked into the campsite. Clothes rinsed, gear on charge and dinner is eaten.
I got a call tonight from a lady called Christine, she and her paddling buddy are the ones I saw way back at Oamaru paddling behind me. They are in Kaka Point as well, camped on the beach, apparently they followed me for most of the day but were further off the coast than me. Hoping to catch up with them tomorrow as weather is not looking to good, the winds are all over the place and the the swells are starting to pickup. I am pleased to have had a great day paddling as it maybe a good few days before I get further around, my weather forecast looks bleak! Knitting, kite flying and Catlins trekking I am thinking, but I suppose at least I do not go backwards when the weather is blowing, I just stay put and start pacing!
My smiles today:
The tailwind, the sunshine, the wave riding, the day
Playing in the ocean in the rock pools with the kelp and enjoying the refreshing water after a long days paddle, lying on my sarong in the sun.
Talking to a fellow paddler.
Having a gorgeous note given to me by the Horse riding girls, that rocked my world first thing this morning. To the kindred spirits out there, big hugs.
Support Crew did a great job today as well and secretly spent far to much time sunning on the beach waiting for me to arrive at checkpoints! Jase has stories to tell but I am sworn to secrecy.
Being in a part of New Zealand I have never been in before, now that is special.
The weather is going to make me have some off water adventures again, now that could be fun!
My thoughts today:
It felt like Summer in my world today and that is fantastic, I would happily chase summer days for the rest of my life to keep smiling This Summer put your phone away for a few days, make some memories that no one knows about. Make some memories that are just yours. I love this statement.