DAY 204...Returned to the West Coast.

To continue on from last night I have to say that Reefton did not disappoint.  I received some gold last night in the form of some really generous donations to Redz NZ Journey and I have to say the hugest thank you to the generous people I meet.  I hope you truly appreciate how much of a huge help this was to me and yes you have agreed to what was said.

I can't return home until it is completed!.

Early morning waking is still a habit of mine so even when I get to sleep after midnight it is impossible for me to sleep in.  Pre-sunrise I am awake, it is a chilly one this morning, the temperature is only 1 degree.  I brew myself a hot drink, turn the heater on and read some news, which I now feel really disconnected from after not being in any one fixed location for 200 plus days.  I ponder on the upcoming day and respond to yesterdays emails, answering later than I normally would have due to me driving all day yesterday.  The early start has me meeting my friend Helen, (we have known each other for over 25 years) John, Jackie & his wife Lily for a quick coffee and a chat before we all head off for the day.  Me back to the West Coast, Jackie and Lily on a road trip back to Christchurch, Helen and John are both based in Reefton.

I am a little envious of this small town location, Helen is running a quiz night for Redz NZ Journey next Thursday to raise funds for the charity MHNZF.  A big thanks to her and the team at the Reefton Autolodge, cheers for suggesting this and if I am still land based I promise to return for the nights entertainment.  The day is slipping away and I have a couple of walks and beaches on the coast to checkout so off Cuzzie and I speed.  The roads I have travelled on before, as it is sunny today everything seems brighter, greener and different to my last trip across the roads.  I stop once in a while to take some pics, I detour into Westport briefly to fill up with diesel and then arrive to go on a couple of beach walks.

Trumans Track, now this is a gem of a short walk.  The tuis and bellbirds say hi, as I start my walk a Weka sat on the side of the track and pretended he could not be seen!  The oyster catchers walked away chattering to themselves and the beach just beside is spectacular.  The blow hole was only being active when I turned my camera away so no pics, but the power of the water, the raw and natural beauty was everywhere.  The tall, native trees soared above me, the water falls over the rocks, some are smoothed rocks and then there are others that are all pitted.  It all had me just standing there in awe, pictures and words do not do this beach justice so put it on your list of places to visit.  I found it great to be able to get up close and personal and not be on a platform or fenced away from the rocks and the beach, it was a pleasure.  Not being able to feel and touch is a negative for me.  As I stepped onto the beach I am barefoot and the small tiny stones feel like smooth beads underfoot.  There are a few others' foot prints on the beach, but I am alone while walking to the end of this small bay.  I need to say a personal thank you one day to people who have suggested these places to visit.

I also stopped at Fox River (thanks Helen) and looked out towards the rocks and the beach, mindful to go for a walk when I am heading back past.  The West Coast has a deep intense feeling and is not somewhere I have been able to just pass by without looking over my shoulder and feeling I have missed something.  In a crazy 'red' way I am pleased to be back and I am sure I will discover many more reasons why I love this place, somehow, somewhere it seems to have helped and taught me about vulnerability, or more to the point acceptance.

On a crazy side thought today, as I drove along in Cuzzie I had a feeling I have recreated the meaning of putting wheels under your kayak to get across dry sections of the coast.  I have created a Redz way of portaging, my wheels are called Cuzzie.  Not very easy to stow into your kayak but making my journey achievable and really enjoyable.  I would recommend having a camper van, I would recommend this set of wheels when you need to turn your back on the stormy ocean and I would recommend just going, doing, dreaming and seeing places when you can't paddle.  I have had my days just sitting on a beach waiting for the ocean to calm but I have to say it is damn fun to be on dirt farm tracks, on bush and forest hikes, catching up with new and old friends.  Thanks to this trip everyday still I meet a new friend or reconnect with an old friend and I have to thank my camper-van life for this.  It makes me mobile and it removes my frustration.  I actually have to thank Mike and Jan for encouraging me to buy Cuzzie and Sonja for selling me her wee camper-van, she is a true gem.  If any of you mad keen kayakers have a partner or friend who is not as keen on the water as you get them to join you on the tiki tours you do via the road, then all will be happy paddling campers enjoying this amazing country!

At present as far as I can see in my forecasts I am land based so bush hiking, trail running and caving seem to be my direction.  It is a continued game I seem to be playing with the weather patterns.  I am hopeful it will calm but it was always going to be tough, I just have to wait this out, learn and immerse myself in this world and location for awhile.  It is incredible and I am blessed to have to stay for this long.  Dinner needs cooking and I need an early night.  I am back on the coast, the waves are crashing on the beach behind me in the darkness.  They are big, unforgiving and very much part of the West Coast, maybe a day paddling on the lakes again soon...

My smiles today:
Singing loudly to my Spotify tunes! Anyone who knows me will smile at this, I can actually sing.
The West Coast, I am back.  I have returned to say hi and absorb your magic and your soul before moving on.
The incredible feelings this coastline sends to you if you open up to absorb.
The raw untouched beauty, it is exactly like a piece of unpolished Pounamu that is found on this coastline.  Beautiful with spirit and soul.
The crashing waves tonight, I need to hear them to sleep soundly.

My thoughts:
Life is like the motion of the ocean, some times the waves are soft and rolling and other times they come crashing down upon you.  In the challenging times always remember there is beauty and purpose in all of it and the best wave of your life is on its way.

Goodnight to you all from Red, Cuzzie and my Stars (T2 and Louise).