DAY 238...New Friends

It was hard to sleep last night. I woke up about 1.30am and thought about just getting up then and there and reading until daylight! I decided against that idea, and lay drifting in and out of sleep, listening to the rain as it fell lightly onto Cuzzie’s roof. When the birds started singing, I eventually got up, well before sunrise. It was nice just sitting and drinking coffee. I read the news on my laptop. Not much seems to have changed really, nor even improved. It seems rather sad and I didn’t miss hearing or seeing the news while I was in Fiordland. In fact, it was blissfully nice not having to listen to it.

Back to my morning. It’s a Monday and I’ve had two days off the water, without any practice paddles so, today paddling is a must. The mood I’m in is making it harder to get out and about and on with my day. But I do actually get to the water and onto it by 7.30am. There’s not a soul in the car park and there’s absolutely no-one else on the water. It’s all mine and mine alone! I’ve got on my warm gear (really warm gear, as it was heated by blow heater in the camper-van first, a real luxury, definitely to be recommended). I’m out and on the water quickly, so as not to find any excuse not to be! To be honest, it was no hardship to launch into another calm Nelson morning. I aim for the buoys and then out to the furthest marker I can see. This took just on an hour, then it was back towards the port entrance. To my delight, there are some large seals resting on the rocks. They seem happy to have their pictures taken. Round the island, back out to my marker and, then in towards the beach. Now it’s time to do the cold water torture of my “must do” rolls. No wonder the seals weren’t in the water, it was cool; real cool! The first couple of rolls were okay, but I get cold quickly and I’m relieved to have achieved them. Although there’s always someone on the beach, giving me a look that says “why on earth are you purposely getting wet?”, but they never actually ask and I don’t bother to explain.

Afterwards, I’m blessed to have Cuzzie in which to get changed, with the heater on full blast. Dressed in warm, dry clothes again, I load Louise back on top, grab some homemade sausages from downtown Nelson, and then drive past my favourite café. Today, even though I’m tempted, I don’t stop because I need to leave, to get some different, new scenery into my brain. Back towards Motueka we go, then up and over, aiming for the Flora car park at the base of Mount Arthur. With only 12kms to go we are forced to stop due to the steepness of the road which, unfortunately, is contraindicated for camper-van access! Perhaps some other day, perhaps some other time, for this particular walk. In the meantime, I have to go visiting, as well as say “hi” to some people in Ngatimoti. Frankly, meeting and chatting is just exactly what’s needed, apart from the fact that they have the most gorgeous in-season produce at their farm gate! I’m lucky enough to have a large glass of sweet, freshly-pressed apple juice while I sit and chat and listen.

All too soon it’s time to make my way over the Takaka Hills before dark. With Cuzzie leading the way, we climb up into the mist and clouds before whirling down the roads into the valley below, heading back to Golden Bay and the campsite in which I stayed last week. Easy paddling, lots of small walks and some time to myself. Perhaps to do some reading once the storms arrive. I have fresh produce for dinner and a warm, dry camper-van in which to rest up, so I’m feeling somewhat happier now. Tomorrow is another early start and my motto echoes the T-shirt I’m going to look at each day: EAT, SLEEP, PADDLE, REPEAT (thanks Star Kayaks) it has become my training regime mantra.

My smiles today:
Seals, beautiful creatures.
Driving over the Takaka Hills in cloud cover.
Fresh, seasonal home-grown produce. Nothing but the best!
Fresh apple juice, like nothing else many of us have ever tasted.
Eskimo rolling. I sit and talk myself into these daily at the end of my paddle!! I know. Harden up!
A training plan. It works and I smile when it has been completed.

My thoughts today:
It hurts but that’s all it does.
The most difficult part of the training is training your mind.
You form calluses (painful, thickened areas of skin) on your hands and feet in order to be able to endure the ocean and the roads you have to travel.
You form calluses in your mind as well, in order to endure the pain.
And there’s only one way to do that. You have to get out there and train.

Until tomorrow. Goodnight from Red. Ma te Wa.

My new found friends in Nelson.

My new found friends in Nelson.

Fresh Produce, the only way to buy.