BLOG 246..Where to look, what to do?

Normal and rather routine morning. I am up, I read, put on my kayak gear and paddle because I think it’ll make everything feel better inside. I think “just enjoy”. It’s nice, peaceful and calm where I am, so as the sun rises, I get into Louise and I paddle. I sort of go into remote control, with nothing to think about and easy paddling. The sound of the water on my paddles in the silence is bliss. I look towards the distant point and aim, only turning once when I hear a splash and a snort from nearby, only to see a seal playing and munching on fish while totally oblivious to me. As the seal tossed the mutilated fish in the air a few times in between mouthfuls, it was almost like watching a cat playing with and torturing a bird. It disappeared soon afterwards and I continued on my way. A few shags ducked under the water as I passed by, but no dolphins. I find myself scanning the horizon, looking for a fin for company, and to help with today and the paddling. But, alas, not a single one. Out to Separation Point I go, before turning for home, meandering along by the rocks and looking out for someone or something new. As always, I see a sight to remember. The sand, the hills, and the sky are all incredibly clear and bright today. No need for foraging as I’m still eating my huge supplies from my last adventure and from the wonderful gifts of food I have received.

Today needed to be about routine. My mind has started to become a little scrambled, so I push along and once I have completed my 30kms, I head onto the beach, dragging Louise onto her wheels, and walk the longer distance across the sand to my camping ground. I washed Louise down and then just sat in Cuzzie. That didn’t last for long as I had to keep busy, doing things that were on my list such as: emailing, making calls, and doing all the usual things (you know, the stuff that never seems to disappear, even when you’re somewhat off the grid). Some of the business world really can’t comprehend that I have limited access to the Internet, that my cell-phone coverage is also limited and that I am still in the South Island of New Zealand.

Somehow the afternoon zips by. I have a momentary meltdown or two concerning the damn weather forecast. Sometimes I wish I had a magic wand. I’m frustrated!! All I can say is “thank goodness I’m solo at the moment”. While dealing with the delays and the changing weather, I’m not a dream to be near. It is so very, very hard. The other day, I tried to describe it to someone who had the temerity to suggest that I return next summer. “So, when an endurance race gets tough, do you simply pack up, go home and return next year to run the last 20kms?” Absolutely not! That’s called a DNF (did not finish). If you return the following year, you have to do the entire race all over again. I just have to be patient, to wait until the weather pattern starts to make sense, until I feel at ease and everything lines up! (Easier said than done.) I think I’d better stick to the water-torture rolling games.

I will continue to go round in circles. I will continue to try and have total faith in my weather prediction and the online system we have used all the way so far, I will continue to curse myself and the others who are close to me chanting “eat, sleep, paddle, repeat”, and I will keep asking myself: “Red, where would you rather be, paddling round in circles or stuck in the frantic, working world?”. A really good friend said recently “I’m sitting in a crowded tube train while you are in Golden Bay, New Zealand, paddling. I think I know which one of us has a great life!”. Best I stop my inner tantrums! Best to stop fretting about what I cannot change. Tomorrow I’m going to climb some huge hills!

While on the water today, my mind wandered all over the place. I thought a lot about MHFNZ, my charity, and about depression; about the damage that depression and mental illness is causing in our world. Then I found a quote from a recent post on social media that seemed to say it all: “We need much more openness, transparency and understanding. It’s okay to talk about depression as an illness. But it’s not a weakness, it’s not a moral shortcoming, it’s not something people have brought upon themselves.". Thanks to John F. Greden (MD).

Also a big “thank you” to all of you who have shared their stories with me along my journey so far. Stay strong, keep breathing, and laugh with me as I endeavour to stay sane, paddling round in circles in the South Island winter. I still have the crazy dream of paddling the New Zealand coastline.

My smiles today:
Pre-sunrise on the cold waters of Golden Bay.
Watching the sea life enjoy their day.
Actually having time to think and dream. Now, that is a new skill.
Frustration, it drives me more than a little crazy.
The birds and the many seals, but no visible fins.
Pipi fritters. Yum!

My thoughts today:
Life is like a merry-go-round. It’s full of ups and downs and, more often than not, you feel you’re just going around in circles. But, when the ride ends, you’ll want to do it all over again!

Enjoy the rest of your evening. Red.

Great start to any day. Paddle time.

Great start to any day. Paddle time.

My seal mate.

My seal mate.