When I wake before 5am, I know I’ll never get back to sleep. I was up and checking the updated weather reports because, last night before sleep, they were still playing heavily on my mind. It hadn’t calmed at all by this morning. I got myself sorted, sitting in bed with my laptop, and refreshed the weather...and really? Honestly? I just don’t believe it! Calm Nelson Bay was playing on my mind. Maybe, just maybe, something was wrong! (I know, before you all say it, what is wrong with me?) I’m hoping for a miracle! But it’s not going to happen it seems, at least not for the time being! As agreed, I talked with Jase as he drove to work (pre-6am) and in the end, we decided to chat again this evening. But that wasn’t good enough for me! What to do? Go paddle in more circles and drive myself insane with the calm bay, or drive 4 plus hours to check out if the wind is actually blowing as badly as the forecast is saying. You know what? I drove those 4 plus hours! My other excuse was that I needed to know what this river access would look like as an option to try and land on a sort of shit of a day!
Off I set. I was on the road before 8am. There I was, heading up over those mountain ranges towards Anatori River mouth. Along I sped, through Motueka on route 60, then turned and went past Kaihoka Lakes, past the Wanganui Inlet lookout points. I saw a White Heron, but there was nowhere to stop to take a picture. Lots of weaving and winding along the gravel roads and, as we got more and more buffeted by the wind, the more the tension eased and I started to relax. It was certainly looking unpleasant on the water. It was flecked, as if the ocean out on the West Coast had dandruff (and that was looking out from way up in the hills). It wasn’t nice at all.
Now, having checked it out for myself, at last I believe what I had been told. I was so relieved, if not exactly happy. I got to the end of the road, turned and headed partway back, stopping at Paturau River mouth to stare at these waves and confirm it was certainly a “no go” in this weather. As I whizzed past Kaihoka Lake Road, I was really tempted to call in to say “hi” and stop for a while at the farm but Joyce, if I stopped right now, I would become a squatter and I would rather see you when I eventually touch the beach with my kayak. I have very fond memories of my few days on the farm and smiled as I passed the turn off. But I also wanted to get out to Farewell Spit today so I headed that way. The tide was out as I passed many estuaries of mud flats and bare sand.
Eventually, I arrived at the DOC car park, sat and ate some lunch, wondered why I had water on the floor of Cuzzie, and then realized that I had switched off the fridge!! What an idiot! Well, it did need to defrost a little. Lunch eaten, a couple of emails received and answered, then it was a walk as far as I was officially allowed to go out onto the Spit. Then I returned to the wide track that a tour group used to drive along and walk to the other side to Fossil Beach. Now this beach is a welcome sight. Calmer, long and sandy, with lots of sand dunes and long, dune grasses. I sat high in the dunes for a while, well at least until a few sand flies found me! Time was ticking by, but this beach I found stunningly beautiful. It’s remote, for sure, but today it’s rather calm and tranquil. Almost like I imagined this section would look like (so I wasn’t disappointed). Somewhat weirdly, I found a ping-pong ball in the sand dunes, so I picked it up and, to do my part for conservation, I popped it in my pocket. Just imagine, a ping-pong ball in the middle of nowhere! How bizarre is that?
My reconnaissance complete, notes were duly taken for access purposes. This beach had great cell phone coverage so, worst case scenario, at least the team will be able to communicate with me by VHF or other means. Somehow it seems okay today to be looking forward and looking at places I might otherwise have wanted to by-pass. Normally, I hate such thoughts but, today it seems I would rather know what’s ahead of me. Back I slowly strolled, and then it was decision time so far as a campsite was concerned. I wanted to make up for today and be an early bird to launch onto the beach tomorrow to have a morning paddle. I need and want to be close to the water, maybe to see the sun rise. Thanks to the NZ Rankers/Camping NZ app, I head to Pohara Beach Campsite. It’s a Top Ten Park but, at this time of year, they are more or less empty and it’s only a stone’s throw from the beach. A calm, tranquil bay so I’m looking forward to a nice, pre-sunrise paddle. When the sun comes up, I aim to have a coffee on the water.
Now, I’m parked for the night, content and about to refresh the weather reports (go my weather app!). Today, I liked it a lot because it was correct and that rekindled my passion and reminded me to have faith. I’m not sure about other keen paddlers but, sometimes, I doubt what I’m seeing. When I’m not in the same location as where I’m meant to paddle from, I sometimes start having doubts that, maybe, it’s not right! But, today, those doubting moments were well and truly vanquished!
Tonight I was treated to an amazing sunset. I’m sure they have thousands of them at this location but each, individual one is more incredible than the one before. I felt extremely privileged to see this particular, beautiful glow, that changed from blue to pink to orange, followed by dark shadows and the outline of the ranges leading out to Farewell Spit to my left. It was a magical moment, just sitting and watching, it's something I never tire of, a sunset at the end of a each day is like seeing a rainbow. Part of me is settled, most of me is calm but I’m still actually waiting for all the weathers to align again for me, but maybe, just maybe, this is the right location in which to sit and watch and wait. At least for a day or so.
My smiles today:
Awake pre-5am. I actually love it.
Having the entire back bed of Cuzzie to myself to sleep in (note to self: buy a Super King size bed on my return home!).
Walking in the winter sun with the sand under my feet.
Standing on Farewell Spit. It was nice to have time to just sit and breathe.
Wonderful, accurate weather apps.
The sunset. Magic for sure.
A new location. A new beach to explore. A new bay.
My thoughts today:
There’s nothing wrong with taking a break from everything and concentrating on yourself for a change.
You’re not responsible for fixing everything that is broken.
You don’t always have to try making everyone else happy.
Make your own happiness and peace of mind your priority.
Goodnight from Red. Ma te Wa.