Saturday 12th March
At 4am my alarm went off, firstly I could not work out why I could hear wind chimes in my half asleep mode. "You idiot, it is your alarm!" I turned on my light and slowly went about my inside tent pack down, got my kayak gear on and all my dry bags packed into one pile by the door. We all have systems and once this is done I put my headlamp on and head outside my tent. Firstly I pack down a very wet flysheet, then grab my carry bag and load everything into it. Last but not least I fold, roll and stuff my tent as tightly as possible into a very damaged and sad looking dry bag. Then I Iook around at the still very dark morning. There is still a small pile of firewood, I move it onto yesterdays embers and hope I will get lucky. I pull T2 onto the beach near the water, the tide is still going out so I do not stress that she will start the trip without me. Then I methodically carry all my gear down and slowly pack all my gear into her storage cockpits. Everything has a place and now I have eaten seven days worth of Nat's never ending potato stash (I luved them actually) she is a little lighter.
I head back to my campsite to check for what I have missed in the early morning haze and find a tent peg. Back down to T2 I put my lifejacket and spray skirt on and wait for my final weather update. The news is good, my calm weather window has increased and I should get a bit further than I initially hoped. It is not yet dawn and it is too dark yet for me to navigate Green Islets rocks and swells, so I look to check that everything is in its correct place. I look over to my campsite and like magic my campfire springs to life, so for twenty minutes I stand by the fire and feel the warmth. I stop and say thank you, this had been seven days, each different, my emotions changing as quickly as the weather.
By 630am it is getting light and I am ready to go. I throw sand on the fire, jump in to T2 and push off. I am treated to the most amazing sunrise showing though the hole in the rock, black, orange, red pink. INCREDIBLE! It deserves a more descriptive word but caps will have to do. It is as though Green Islets are saying their final farewell, I will never forget this departure, this stunning sunrise, this place.
Calm and tranquil we glide out. I am anxious, I have a dry mouth and I am praying for a smooth paddle to Puysegur and beyond. MN looked after me today, it was beautiful, the way I wanted it to be. Simple and easy we slipped along, up and down two meter swells, out past rocky heads. I saw a fishing boast far off in the distance and soon the first 20kms were done and the lighthouse was in sight. I stopped and ate a Sante Bar and had my first drink since leaving the beach. I was on track for Welcome Bay but thought I would check in with the support crew to see if I could push on further. They said the wind at Preservation Inlet was picking up and to paddle quickly as the wind was picking up and there was not much time left.
If I was not superstitious before then I am totally now. No sooner than I had been cleared to paddle on this calm, windless ocean and tucked my InReach safely away MN sent big wind gusts, turned the ocean to white caps and raised the swell, all within five minutes. Holy Crap! Okay, okay, I am listening to you, thank you for letting me paddle, I will only go as far as Welcome Bay, like I promised.
Until I landed on the beach MN slapped me with every massive gust of wind she could, how dare I want to go any further than 30km! I climb up into the beech forrest and locate my tent site, then the set up begins, tent, gear, fire, food. Then I take time to mentally unwind, I am chuffed to have been allowed such a smooth passage around Puysegur Point, I feel blessed. Mentally this section has played on my mind, MN has shown me over the last seven days her many dimensions of strength while I was sitting at Green islets.
Happy, warm and tired, I have hot food, hot coffee and a nice bed, high and dry. There are only a few sandflies and I am mostly hidden from the huge gusts. Dare I say it, but at last I have been allowed to slip past Puysegur and nail this section. I am looking forward to Fiordland.
My smiles today:
Blessed with the most special sunrise.
Blessed with a smooth and tranquil Puysegur passage
MN and her strength.
Beech trees and my campsite.
My support crew and their weather reports.
The sound of a tranquil beach.
The many sandflies that have just found me!
My thoughts today:
Be disciplined, set yourself great goals. If you learn patience and respect, are determined and willing to sacrifice, I reckon we can all achieve. Sacrifice, how much do you really want that goal?