Saturday 26th March.
4am awake! 5am up and ready to step into T2 by 5.30, I actually paddle over to Black Pearl firstly to leave them my final few Easter eggs and a thank you note. Then in the moonlight I paddle out of Beach Harbour toward the entrance of Breaksea Sounds, it was a strange feeling once I went from the flat calm of the sounds back out onto the rolling swell of the open ocean. As I headed north so was a Crayboat, so I VHF them as it was still dark to say my tiny light they may see was me in a kayak and could they please also let Meri in Bluff know I was all good that hey had sighted me. It was nice to chat to them and they said there was no wind just the swell to deal with.
I actually like paddling during the pre sunrise, I seem to be able to zen out for this period and the km ticked over well. Coal Point Bay I soon passed and then the entrance to Dagg Sounds. The swell was manageable and by the time I got to the entrance of Doubtful sounds I had a tail wind and good swell running, which helped me get in as there was a current running out of the entrance. Down towards the Gut I headed and there were so many ferries and large craft about racing along, it was way busier than Breaksea. Through the Gut I speed and hit the 62km mark at Blanket Bay, where my food parcel had been left for me ten days ago. I paddled around for a while, actually hoping it was not the first place I found as I was not keen on having to clamber out of T2, balance on the large tractor tyres and then clamber from the tyres onto the wharf itself. Of course that is where my parcel was, so with great skill and a holy crap this could end badly thought, I crawled out of T2 gingerly, got out and onto the wharf and found my food drop tucked around the back as the guys from Chasin' Beaver had explained. It was heavy and there was no way I could put this stuff into the front storage hold from the wharf so I balanced the parcel on the tyres while I gingerly clambered back into T2 without falling out, then heaved the parcel into my lap & stored all of this between my legs and pulled my spray skirt back over everything. I felt like a submarine or a heavy container ship! I was thankful nothing went wrong with my exit and re entry of T2 from the wharf.
Then it was my final push down to Deas Cove. I turned into Thompson Sounds and I had a head wind on and off for the final 15km. I tucked in as close as possible to the majestic cliffs to keep out of the wind and paddled hard. At last we made it, stopping to eat something sweet for energy and also take picture of the water falls, the scenery and check GPS location. Just before I get to Deas Cove, I ask a local charter what was better out of Deas or Necks Cove, he said use the hut at Deas no one in it and it is sheltered from tomorrow's bad winds. Off I paddled, he was in the same cove tonight so sent a couple of people onto shore to help me lift T2 well above the high tide mark. From there I emptied and carried my gear up to the hut, lit the potbelly fire in the hut, got warm, fed and ready for bed. Big day, big seas some of the time, and now another few big days off the water again to rest!
Yes I am happy with my paddle of 77km, yippee I am in and past Doubtful Sounds. Moving north. Exploring tomorrow before the rain arrives and looking at my new food delivery and wondering how and where this is going to fit. I counted 30 small potatoes jammed into T2 as of yesterday!
My smiles today:
Delivering Easter eggs to Black Pearl pre dawn.
The schools of little fish jumping all along the open ocean today.
Doubtful Sounds, at last I made it.
The DOC hut and fire, I am a happy camper.
Exploring a new location .
Being greeted so warmly by Deas Coves sandflies as I arrived! I so love my repellant.
My sleeping bag.
My thoughts today:
Paddle stroke by paddle stroke I am actually heading north.
From me Goodnight, T2 is in the trees, safe.