It's so quiet it’s weird but, in the far-off distance, if I listen really hard, I can hear waves on stones and a little sigh from the ocean. The normal routine occurs. I check the weather forecasts and settle back in my sleeping bag, I think about trying to read a little or maybe getting up to go for a pre-sunrise walk. Instead I lie still for a while, just listening and thinking. The brain is a crazy thing once it wakens and this morning it is awake and busy in my head having an angel and devil kind of conversation, I call it. Part of me says, “Get up and start your day," but the other side is saying, “You have all day to get your paddling in, so take a chill pill!” Eventually, I do get up. The poor support crew soon have the curtains open and there is a rustling of sleeping bags and of gear being packed away. The only time I get a glimmer of a smile from Jase is when I suggest that I head to the kitchen to brew us some coffee and he is left in peace for a little while, able to sleep for a few more minutes. The kitchen is empty. I fill the kettle, stand and look around, wait-ing for the water to boil. It seems to take forever, that’s because I had forgotten to switch the darn thing on! First dumb thing for the day.
At last, with a plunger full of coffee and extra hot water in the thermos, back I arrive to supply coffee to Jase. This is me being nice, a gesture of thanks to him for coming to the South Island to assist me on this last section. It’s also my way of saying thanks to any of his clients who happen to be reading my Blog, my apologies to you all that it’s taking so much longer than expected but it looks like he’ll be back real soon to torture you all. He’s only here until the weather clears up for a few days, so keep watching this space. Soon we are on a little bit of a reconnaissance to look at Cable Bay beach for a landing. We had also hoped to be able to drive or walk out and onto Pepin Island but we discovered this is a private island with no access, so we may well have to ask for permission if I need to land on the far side.
Next, Delaware Bay. It doesn’t look like a pleasant place to land at all but at least we have now looked and know what it’s like, more planning needed! Then it’s back towards Nelson harbour area for me to paddle. Let me paint you a picture. I like to train as soon as I get up. The longer I wait to go and do my training, the more intolerable I become. As we drive, I start to mumble something about being like a water beetle, going round in circles, asking myself what’s the point. Then it starts to rain. It’s not the actual rain as I don’t really mind it. It’s just me talking out loud, knowing I have to hit the water and get some hours in my kayak each day while I wait for the weather to clear. My, what a mental game I play with myself!
We arrive and slowly I get my gear out, stalling a little. Jase just quietly ignores me, brings my stuff and silently keeps the pressure on me. A couple of guys walked up and had a chat about the journey which was nice and I managed to stall a little bit longer, talking with them about the paddling and the ocean in front of us. It was a little windy and there was rain. As I got my gear on, another outrigger stopped for a nice long chat but then I had to make myself get going, promising Jase I would only be one hour on the water. That would be enough, I said.
Once I was actually on the water and settled, it was okay paddling in the rain. Only a small swell, so out to the buoys and harbour entrance poles, around a small island, a large monument of a rock, zig-zagging back and forth, smiling at a fellow female outrigger paddler as we crossed paths. All power to her for being on the water! Once I achieved the initial first hour, then I pressed on so as to be on the water close to the two hour mark. That’s always the way, don’t I know it too well. The day you find it hardest to get out and do your training, is the day you actually seem to feel the strongest! It’s weird but true. At last I surf back in on a couple of small waves and am greeted by Jase as the rain comes down even heavier than before.
I get out of my wet clothes and into Cuzzie. Jase has cooked lunch and I’m now hungry and ready to dig into a wonderful lunch, hot mashed kumera and potato, fresh spinach and tuna, with lashings of olive oil. There’s a fight for seconds, I can tell you! Then it was over the road for a coffee. In hindsight, it wasn’t needed and spun me out for the rest of the day. Mental note to self, no strong coffee late in the day, not a good mix! We took a drive into the city to check out a crazy, second-hand tool store, a place that Nat and I had discovered a few weeks ago. I thought it would be of interest to Jase but, actually, this crazy red-head seemed even more interested and found this amazing old style knife she really wanted but she managed to resist and left it on the shelf. Maybe if and when I actually get onto this coastline via kayaking, I’ll feel able to treat myself but for the moment it was a no.
I then had a few emails to send, trying to convince airlines to maybe help out with a couple of discounted or free flights for the support crew to get up and down the country as and when needed in case we happen to see a clear space to paddle in. Emails sent and the sun is nearly setting. We have driven to some cool Japanese gardens in Nelson so we go for a quick exploration and, even in the rain, this is a beautiful place. Ten out of ten to the designers of Miyazu Gardens, inspirational, even on a misty, wet evening.
We then head back to a campsite where I have already stayed for far too many nights, to set up and get dinner cooked. We’re hoping some courier parcels arrive tomorrow so we can complete the thigh brace changeover and make some other small alterations. It’s been a day of doing, a day of one step in front of the other but, at least, I managed to gain some momentum. It took time but I‘m now pleased with the day. I met great, liked-minded people who love paddling. Chatting and talking was food for my soul. It gave me the energy I needed to get out and about today, it even gave me the energy to smile. To support crew Jase, and Jason the Nelson outrigger, high fives, big hugs and many thanks.
From a very wet Nelson, we’re about to see if the repairs to the roof to stop the leaks have worked!
My smiles today:
Kayaking in the rain.
Lunch today, warm, yummy and filling.
One too many coffees (expresso overdose).
A patient, silent support crew. How I terrorise them, sorry.
The Salvation Army Store in Nelson, it’s the best.
Meeting keen fellow paddlers, go the outriggers!
My thoughts today:
Always remember to take your vitamins:
Vitamin A for ACTIONS
Vitamin B for BELIEF
Vitamin C for COMMITMENT
Vitamin D for DISCIPLINE and, not least,
Vitamin E for ENTHUSIASM.
So, with a mug of my faithful KawaKawa tea in hand, it’s goodnight from Red. Ma Te Wa.