Another big day was planned for today, Monday 8th Feb. We were up at the normal crazy Red time of 4am, we dressed, feed and watered ourselves. The weather rechecked and after a quick catch up with fellow kayakers Christine & John, we were all heading towards Buff today. As I set off I wished them good luck and hoped to see them at the campsite this evening, or on a beach somewhere if the winds and current got to much for us.
As I paddled out of Porpoise Bay and around the rocks at the southern point the wind was behind me and started to push me along, I gathered speed and momentum quickly today. It was a little cooler than I had hoped for and also the wind started to change directions, as predicted. Our first checkpoint was at Slope Point (the most southern point of the South Island). As I arrived to check in there was no answer on the VHF, oops, I checked my watch and I was way early for my arrival. Very soon I see Jase running to the point to chat to me over his VHF. Today was to be the comedy of crew to kayak communications, the VHF was having moments, the mobiles, well Vodafone lost coverage for the entire day, so that was useless. My Inreach was working but as no internet or txt messages being received by the support crew...we were having fun, not. We did manage to get messages to and from hill tops so soon I set off for Waipara Point.
It was still early and the sun had not broken through the clouds as of yet, I was half wishing I had put on my gloves for this first section of paddling but I could see it was going to get warm very soon. I made a mental note to put them on my paddles everyday moving forward, I hate cold hands. As I got closer to Waipara Point there were many waves breaking off this point and I had to head way out towards the back of them to feel safe about going around. There were some big breaking waves on rocks, not something I was wanting to get wrong. I would rather paddle and extra kilometre or two to not see a wall of white water looming down on me. Once past I again try and chat with Jase, we make contact and then I head off again to do this bigger leg across ToeToe Bay. It is about 25 km as the crow flies across to then aim for Bluff.
It had calmed a lot by this stage and it was hot and sunny, the ocean was smooth and I could not have asked for a better day to be heading to Buff. There is a long long stretch of white sand beach that goes from Fortrose all the way to Bluff harbour mouth that took me awhile. The current was not in my favour and after my attempts to contact Jase via VHF and mobile halfway across this huge Bay I had to just put my head down and push hard for the last 28km. It did take some effort. I gave myself motivation chats like, "it could be worse," "you have had it way worse," and "at least you are not going backwards!" Every six km I allowed myself to rest, drink some water and eat a snack, it was easier this way mentally as I clicked over the kms.
Finally I got me there! I was very happy to see Jase on top of Cuzzie and paddled towards him. The beach he had selected was great when he got there but now it was getting towards low tide so we had a few boulders to clamber over before I could sit on the beach and rest for awhile. 66km done and dusted and I was actually in Buff! It is really hard for me to actually even comprehend this. I try and just pretend that it is a training day with new scenery each day, I try not to think to far ahead and I try and just look at each day. At present this has been working for me, so am keeping it simple and the same.
Off the water I get there is a huge container of popcorn covered in honey and coconut oil, oh my goodness, it is amazing. As I scoff this and drink more water, we load up Cuzzie and then I head to the Land Ends sign post (this is a first I have never been to Bluff) and today it was an amazing day, the weather has been awesome, and I am truly blessed.
After 11 hours in T2 I needed to stretch my legs so we went for a walk around the waters edge of Bluff. We watched many gear up to go hunting for Paua in the rocks as the tide went out. Also we were looking firstly for a fish and chip shop, but alas, we were to late, they had all closed for the day by 7.30pm. After a really brisk walk we headed back to cook in Cuzzie instead. Dinner consumed and feeling happy and tired, I may even have a sleep in tomorrow as the Bluff wind is due back and that's a good thing because there is some serious planning and prep to be done for the next leg and some logistical matters to discuss about timings and where to next.
Bed is calling and so is my cup of tea, so to conclude today.
My smiles today:
I AM IN BLUFF! That makes this little old Auckland lady really happy and grinning.
My Thoughts today:
To dream by night is to escape your life. To dream by day is to make it happen. I am glad I do not dream at night :)
Good night Red, Jase and Cuzzie.
PS: I am going flying my kite tomorrow in the Bluff winds... YIPPEE