Saturday 9th April
This morning started started early, at 4.15am I pushed off onto the water from Anita Bay. I had my options of where to pull in but I did not want to opt out early today. It was calm and the entrance to Milford Sound was okay to navigate in the dark. I had sat and stared at it for the last three days and decided I could manage this with not too much stress. It seems weird to many I am sure, but when it is dark and calm I zone out, just listen to the waves and paddle. Time goes quickly and soon I have notched up 20 kms and the sun is just about to rise, cool I think, all is going well.
It rained on me from 8am-10am, from Martins to past Big Bay was the worst section, outgoing tide against blustery winds, all rather mental and not like paddling in the Sounds, I was back in the open ocean. I did start talking to myself at times and complaining that I was disliking Big Bay intensely. It was never ending, wet waves washing on to me and just generally unpleasant, oh and it was taking forever to clock over the kms. Ah well it has to happen , just to make me work for this distance. I was pleased when I Was away from Big Bay. I stopped after 40km for food, a rest and to message the team. Then it was ten km breakdowns for the next 30km before the final push on to Barn Beach, being mindful to find a nice soft landing. I did, it was a pleasant and easy setp out of T2 onto the beach.
When we stopped I got out and started to drag T2 up the beach, it was low tide at the moment and a really high tide due tonight. Yes, I will be checking on T2 before then. I found a location to pitch my tent, hopefully safely behind flax to protect me from wind and out of harms way if it rains. As I was bending the tent poles one snapped, thank goodness for gaffa tape, I bound and mended it, the tent is erected. I then grabbed all my gear and staggered up the steep stone banks and along to my tent. Tired and hungry, it took about fifteen minutes to heave T2 high and dry. As I finished I sat and looked at the sunset and said thank you for this epic paddle today, I have to admit I had my eyes set on maybe being able to Push to Jacksons Bay but I missed my cutoff times to this bay so I had to stop and end my day here.
Wrapped up warm and cosy in my tent, tonight I am now tired. I cannot seem to cram anymore food into me tonight, I am still hungry but I will feed myself well tomorrow. Of course MN is not letting me paddle tomorrow, don't be ridiculous! Why would she. I have a huge beach to explore, bush and marshlands, exciting for sure. A big high five to myself today, 75 km, pretty stoked and not as many sandflies, well let's see if they arrive tomorrow.
Sunset was amazing tonight, just to finish my amazing day. I hoped to see dolphins today but alas not one, but I did see a little phosphorescence in the water at the start of my paddle. My hands tonight are tender from the days work, so sleep and rest needed.
My smiles today:
The sounds have all been passed.
To an epic paddling day.
To my wonderful friends who message me.
To fried kumera, yumbo!
To talking to the weather gods, maybe I am insane, maybe not.
My thoughts today:
Sometimes we just need someone to simply be there, not to fix or do anything in articular, but just to let us feel that we are cared for and supported and they are proud.
Goodnight from Red T2 and my tent
PS. At 11.45 pm I woke, one hour before high tide. I had snoozed off for a couple of hours. I got up and even though I knew I had pulled and struggled and used the last of my energy to get T2 high and dry I wandered to check on her. The sky was a brilliant array of stars so I stood with my torch off and stared up at the sky. No way of taking a picture of this, no way to describe fully this moment. It for a moment reminded me of a bedroom I have at home in my little blue villa, the ceiling is awash with glowing stars which I will never remove, I have always found them pretty, but now the memory will mean so much more.
I climbed back into bed, pleased to pull the sleeping bag hood over my head, it was a little chilly at his hour. Before returning to sleep I quickly ate more food as I was having another Nigella moment. Then I said goodnight to a few people by message and fell back to sleep.
PPS. On another note after a big days paddling I seem to find it hard to sleep with out waking often. Normally I take a few magnesium capsules to help but since Milford Sound my supply is gone, so on this night I wake often during the next few hours. I just lie and listen then drop back to sleep. A part of me wished this section was over, another part of me was telling myself for off for not pushing a bit further on one or two days, then I would be at Jackson Bay by now and tucked up in Cuzzie. That is the part of me that I do not even dare to try and understand.