Wednesday 4th March
Tonight I lie and so wish others could share this moment as my words, my descriptions, even my pictures do not tell the real story. I wish that others could smell the burning fire, taste the food cooked over it, be lying in a tent listening to the fishing boats passing and the waves lapping, feel the wind on the tent and be curled up in a sleeping bag and feel how blissful it all is. Words and pictures do not do this place justice, we all need to experience it, feel it and say 'WOW,' far better than any other world. The wind, yes, it has arrived, but I am protected by the trees. Today I think I have discovered a new meaning to awesome, beautiful and amazing! I need new words.
This morning I was up at 5am, a big day, ten hours paddling I hoped for. As I packed up everything, I sat for a moment on the sand before departing to hold my pounamu and asked for me to stay careful and safe. Off I set at the same time as three other fishing boats, they also had been in Port Craig overnight. I hugged the coastline until they had all passed and then moved out and away from the upcoming waves and rocks. As I got further along most of me was glad I had not padded further yesterday, the beach landings were all rather yuck and looked like disaster zones for getting a dry, easy launch the next morning. Sand Hill Point was fine, but I had to keep way out past Waitutu River, it all took some time and patience today. Each ten km were ticked off and as I got to my forty km mark I thought, yep, I am going to nail this. Along this section a a fishing boat pulled up to say hi and ask where I was heading. He was gong to Preservation Inlet, Dusky and then back so said he would keep an eye out for me and let Meri back at Bulff know he had seen me.
He dodged in and out of the Green Islets and then wind gusts hit me. What? They are not meant to be until later in the day. Holy crap, as I pass into the other side of Green Islets it was a huge swell, head on winds big gusts and just plain nasty! Then another boat came up beside me and he asked where I was headed. "Preservation," I replied. He said "mm, it's blowing 30 plus knots up there, the wind has arrived early! Would you like a ride to Gates Harbour?" I declined but he said he would check on me. Thanks guys :) They motored off but I could hardly see them as they dipped in and out of the swell. It was horrible, actually nasty. Another ten km of this to get to Gates Harbour would be asking for trouble so I turned back to Green Islets.
Maybe the winds would have dropped, maybe not, but, better safe than sorry on this coast, better to respect the locals knowledge, they know the weather more than me.
Green Islet is beautiful, so are the sandflies. I have a new scheme, if and where possible I stay in the water and smother myself with repellent before I land. When I land I quickly put my scarf up over my head and cover my face, then strip off my kayaking clothes, lie them on the beach and get changed. The sand flies seem to like the smelly kayak gear, so it gives me a couple of minutes peace before they return. The insect repellant works, they stay off my skin.
I am feeling a bit gutted today, I was going so well, I got so close and then Mother Nature (MN) won. Oh well, I must respect her, 52km done today and that is not bad.
I gather firewood and light a fire, the smoke helps to keep the sandflies away. It takes me a while to decide what to cook for dinner, but eventually I make up a large pot of food, with enough for tomorrow too. Venison mince, potato, beetroot and onion all together to make a stew, it is actually yummie and I cooked it all on the fire, saving gas, brilliant. The night arrives and I retreat to my tent, the fire is out. Tomorrow I will explore, no paddling for me. Big winds, huge swells, it could be days before I get out again. So close to Preservation, but still so far away.
Thanks to my support team for the weather updates, thanks to the others who remind me not to be gutted about having to stop, but to be happy and enjoy the places so few other people have seen, I am privileged.
My smiles today;
3 dolphin sitings
Sunrise this morning magic
Todays paddle, 'half epic'
My location, awe inspiring
Mother Nature, you won today
Killing sandflies in my tent
My thoughts today:
For everybody out there who has had a bad day and is caring for someone dear to them through depression big hugs, you deserve it! keep smiling, I know how it feels, totally.