DAY 162...Bligh to Anita Bay

Tuesday 5th April

Last night before I went to sleep I said a huge thanks to my close team, actually the biggest thank you was for their continued faith in me and my dream, their unfailing belief.  I had dared to think I may have seen them by now, but alas I am not near Jacksons just yet, but getting closer, each paddle stroke.

I am hoping my equipment issues have all been sorted and now, I am hoping for some more settled autumn weather.  As a close friend said, "It is going to be tougher than you ever imagined and it will hit hardest in the last half."  Oh well, head down, enjoy your paddling, your camping and every day of this incredible journey.  I re read my reply email from my letter of resignation and I try hard not to read between the lines of the response, but I still do.  Now that door has shut I wait for a new opportunity to open 

The best news in this email is that your incredible journey has exceeded your expectations.  I haven’t told anyone here just yet about your resignation while it sinks in.  V3 will continue to pay the monthly allowance until the six month date as agreed, which is about three more weeks.  After the six month point I can send you a statement of RedNZ account but you don’t need to deal with it just yet.  Once you’ve completed the journey we can have a catch up to discuss the repayment plan.  For now, just enjoy the amazing experience.

Throughout the entire night the stags roared, at least three or four different animals and at one stage they were really close.  At 4.30am my alarm was due to go off and still the stags roared, though one seemed to be losing his loudness.  My alarm went off and I started to move and pack my gear into the correct dry bags and get packed down inside my tent.  Then I relit the fire and started to pack down my tent and gradually carry my gear toward T2 and the steep bank she was on.  Gradually my head lamp started to dim, and I had to stop and find new batteries.  As I was just about to launch the sandflies came to say goodbye so quickly I jumped into T2 and pushed off with some still clinging to my hands, desperate to come along for the ride, crazy, crazy bugs.

I paddled out towards the entrance of the Sound, it was calm and the wind was was not sure where it was coming rom.  I said goodbye to Bligh Sound, this is always a little unpleasant as the tide was racing into the sound and the wind was racing out, for the next few kms it was unpleasant, not nasty, just unpleasant.  As we got gong into a paddle rhythm it was actually pleasant on the water, I was soon 21km done and I stopped for food and a 15 min break.  I thought about maybe going further today but decided just wait till you get to Anita Bay.  Poison Bay was passed and ticked of my mental list, Retreat Beach had a dumping swell on it so I took note, these beaches up along the coastline North would be the same.

As I got to Milford Sound entrance I made the decision to head into and stop at Anita Bay.  Forty kilometers is enough for today and I am okay with it.  Nat messaged to ask if I was okay and just stopping for lunch!  I replied and told her that this was me finished for the day, yes a short day.  Once unloaded I set up my tent inside the remaining walls of an old stone cottage, then I was ready to wander the beach looking for pretty rocks.  I did find a few nice small pieces and then collected some mussels to add to my dinner.

Back at the cottage I lit the big fire, sat in the swing in the tree and swatted sandflies.  By 5.30pm I clambered into my tent with my dinner to get some time away from the pesky bugs.  The weather report was in, but it was not brilliant, I am unsure if I try and nail a small 20km section or sit and wait another four days.  Let's see in the morning what the weather decides.  It is about two big days till Jackson bay, or three smaller ones.  Then I will be reunited with the support team and officially out of Fiordland.  At the moment I have just realised my best polished stone has been stolen by a pesky weka!  LOL, now that is one crazy bird.  It will have it out it in it's nest of stolen items for sure.  Ah what else did I lose today, my Sharkskin beanie became lost to the sea today, it just fell off my deck bag, I did not even notice it happen, it had just gone when I looked up, bugger, it was a great head warming garment.

Fire warm, hottie full and a final check on T2 as high tide arrives and sleep is needed.  No stags roaring tonight, yay for that, I actually would have shot them last night if i had a gun!  Nat is back in the South Island waiting for me to complete this section, over thirty days and still counting, it has been a long time.  I sit and think about where, who and what I have seen on the Fiordland section and smile.  Milford is the last Sound to cross and then it is back to bays and beaches, some nice and some gnarly.  Always a challenge coming up on this West Cast.  Fiordland has looked after me so far, shown me beauty, her soft and tough side, how majestic and totally amazing this place is, nothing has compared to this place so far on my journey.  The scenery, the people, the birds and bountiful food available.

So bed is calling, and I am unsure of what tomorrow is going to hand me, but I do know that this section of my journey has has an incredible emotional effect on me and it will be a section I can say has altered my mindset, my thoughts and some of my feelings towards life.  Each Sound has had a different feeling to it, some a happy smile, some deep reflection, some very spiritual moments and yes for sure this place I will return to an show others these incredible Sounds.

My smiles today:

Actually paddling into Milford Sound with T2.
The stone cottage I am camped in.
Weka stealing my best polished stone.
My mussels and crayfish for dinner.
Dry, warm and physically tired, Nice.
No roaring stags!
I am nearly there!  Nearly!

My thoughts today:
I love this saying...
The same boiling water that softens a potato hardens an egg.  It's about what you're made of not the circumstances.

Goodnight from Red and T2, we had a good day today, united again.

 Poison Bay

Poison Bay