5am, it was freezing cold, dark and the wind was not meant to be blowing, but Cuzzie was moving and rocking this morning! She had been all night actually which had meant I had a really restless night, so much for a calm morning and a great paddling day. I still dragged myself from my warmish sleeping bag, turned on the heater and threw my kayaking gear next to the heater to warm them up before putting them on. Cuzzie rocked in the wind gusts and all I could do was frown, wondering what the heck was going to happen this morning.
We drove the short distance to the now very familiar beach to launch and as the wind gusts belted into the side doors I moaned out load, "You have got to be joking, it can not be!" We sat for a little while until we could just about see and then I wandered out to the cliff edge to look out and survey the ocean. There were wind gusts rippling across the water, they were not gentle and they most certainly were not in the right direction. We then wandered down the track to look at the ocean up close and personal, it was more Jase groaning in horror than me. It was to be honest better than yesterday but not that fantastic. I had to try so up the hill we went to grab the gear. I had knots in my stomach and in the end I had to vomit up my breakfast. Nerves of steel, not! I was nervous about this morning, it had been too long off the ocean!
We got ready and with the help of Kirsty, Paul and the two dogs I was ready and into T2 quickly, actually too quickly I discovered later on. I made it out today with not even a wet face or clothes from the launch and heck I paddled until I was way out the back of these swells and breaking waves. Once I got out the back I set my tracker going and got sorted for my paddle north. I looked down at all my gear and went oh no, I had left my iphone in my red jacket pocket! No mobile communication today. It was often out of coverage anyway so VHF and satellite messaging to communicate today.
Off I headed to the first check point. The wind was not playing nicely out the back today and it was racing down any gully, valley or gorge it could find and whistling into my ears, along with the white caps it was stirring up. I was gutted, in fact if I had any breakfast left in my stomach I would have vomited again out of sheer frustration. I did the first VHF check in, the wind was making it hard to communicate. I said I wanted to end the trip there and then, 10km into the days paddling. I could not get a visual on the support crew, they said the beach was hideous to land but if I really wanted they would get me on to dry land. As we talked I paddled and the wind dropped, it was easier to paddle. We agreed to head on to Little Wanganui, so off I went.
The seas calmed and the day sorted itself out, I just looked at the horizon and paddled, until I got to the mouth of the river, looking for a sweet landing I had been told about. I could not locate this sweet landing spot. The satellite phone was taking forever to send messages and I was a little brain fried. Then Jase crackled into life on my VHF and suggested it was not the beach to land on. I pushed along the coast until we reached Karamea Beach but it was no better. Jase said he was happier when we back at Little Wanganui.
To cut a long story short, lots of breakers, but not that big. I got nearly in and then slam it was all over. I jumped back in T2 and paddled to the beach. It was now 4.30pm and my day was done. I am still not sure who is more relieved, probably Jase to be honest. I had under achieved but also I was happy to be heading north slowly. We loaded as it got dark and headed to a campsite in Karamea, recommended by a local Jase had meet (thanks Peter Gibson you are far to generous for paying for us tonight). What a cute little domain campsite and even better was the yummy whitebait fitters they shared with us both, devine, delicious.
I have had a really long, hot shower followed by dinner and I am falling asleep writing this blog. Today was a good start, a yuk middle and a crash test dummy end. Some days it is tough.
My smiles today:
Being back on the water.
The day has ended.
The sounds of birds as I fall asleep.
My hot long shower.
Being exhausted physically.
My thoughts today:
The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.
Good night from Red and Jase