Wednesday 20th April
The morning was dark with no moon. Breakfast cooked, dressed and ready off we headed, always hopeful for the sky to lighten. We staggered up to the beach to check out the waves and swell, it sounded calmer but we could see nothing! Pitch black it was and there was no way I would be launching from Mussel Point before I could see the waves and negotiate past them. We staggered back along the sand path and curled up to keep warm, Nat returned to her sleeping bag, I just curled up in the front seat as if I dared to get back in my sleeping bag I would not have ever got on the water!
By 6.30 am it was getting light enough to unpack T2 and get ready to launch. By 7.30 I was off and out onto the water. Yippee, the sunrise was amazing and the dolphins said good morning briefly. I was thrilled to see the best rainbow this entire trip, Nat was extremely happy and had her camera out taking pictures along the beach. As I looked over my shoulder she was still on the beach taking shots of the morning, slightly different pics to yesterday and the carnage of the bigger swells!
Before I left today Nat suggested I try and eat lots during the day to get myself through this long day. I set off on this calm morning with a little breeze but nothing of concern, it took some time today to get going and at last the first 20km was ticked off, I was tracking ok time wise. I then pushed to 35km and I have to say that was a huge mind game for me, it is really hard to explain but just sometimes when you commit to nailing a big day my mind starts to doubt the sanity of it all! I begin to feel every paddle stroke and every km, it is mentally painful and it seems to take forever. Today the only way to push forward was to give myself really small paddle sections to do then stop and have a couple of minutes break. 5km, a break, then repeat this all the way until I got to the 65km mark. It was a day I could not just switch off and it was I day I looked longingly at many beaches and wished I could just stop, but also I knew if I stopped I would be internally annoyed at cutting this planned section short, so I paddled. Luckily I had a tailwind at the end and it did help, I reminded myself I was lucky to have this wind and swell helping me along the way.
I did do a dumb thing today and instead of going outside of all the rocks and rough waters on the points, I cut through. Now this tested me and my bracing as a massive wall of foaming white water appeared on my shoulder, what an idiot I screamed at myself as I braced with all my might into the wave until stable, paddling furiously out of any more chaos cursing me and my complacent brain. That was the wake up I needed, wet and with my heart pounding from such a stupid mistake I reminded myself to get a move on and get my damn mind into gear. The other thing that was bothering me was I had eaten a can of tuna on the way and it was not sitting well in my stomach, very soon I had to stop and vomit, then I felt better. Mental note no tuna when paddling!
The remaining 10km gradually ticked over, I was pleased to see Bruce Bay, but for the life of me I could not see a pink crew shirt on this beach! After 5 VHF calls and still no reply I started to doubt myself and my location so I sat and re read messages while I checked my maps, I was in the right location but no Nat. I paddled along for a little while, I felt tired and a little sorry for myself, my lack of food, water and energy. A tear or two flowed down my face see what happens when you deplete yourself too much at the end of a long day, Red make sure you eat and drink more fluids! Then Nat's voice chimed over the VHF, she had been having petrol cap issues on Cuzzie and had only just arrived.
I was tired, I paddled in bracing on the waves and with legs that did not want to work I staggered and fell into the water. What a way to end a long day, 70km done and so was I. The good part was we are freedom camping tonight so no need to roof rack T2, she is on the ground ready to be launched in the morning. A hot cup of coffee was what was needed then dinner and a great rest. Tomorrow it is a repeat of today. "Eat sleep paddle repeat."
Rest days are coming as the weather turns bad for the weekend. For those who ask, I have mentally tough days on the water and today was one of them. Small paddle strokes kept me moving forward and I am happy with the final outcome.
While I write this blog Nat is doing her Physio exercises up and down the middle of the camper van, she is as obsessive with her knee rehab as I would be, hence why us two females seem to stay great mates. Obsessive natures.
My smiles today:
Ha, the Dolphins.
The perfect rainbow.
Sun and no rain.
A blessed tailwind for most of my paddle.
The bracing skills I have learnt saved me today.
My mental game to squeeze out the 70km!
When I get old I want friends to say "what crazy adventure is RED doing now?!" No way am I being trapped into sitting still. We are a longtime dead!
Good night Red, Nat, T2 and Cuzzie.