Oh my, how we tried! We are nothing if not determined! This is how today panned out and it was anything but boring.
5am: Weather update read and re-read. Swell down a little, wind up and some rain forecast. Paddling was still possible. The chance of getting out was okay, the winds weren’t great but if I got out, then I would just have to suck it up.
5.30am: Discussion began as Cuzzie got buffeted by a couple of good gusts. I turned on the light, opened a curtain and stared out at the weather, feeling the wind rocking the camper-van, and so closed the curtain again. Placing the weather report in Jase’s hand, I said “Read, please!!”. The swell was down, like yesterday, so an attempt was a “must”.
6.30am: Lights on in Cuzzie. I started getting up, opened a curtain again so I could see when it was light enough outside to head to the beach, all the while throwing questions, comments and general “what ifs” and all of my ‘”maybes” at Jase. Oh how the support crew are suffering! But, let me tell you, this was only the start of their torture today.
7.15am: I’m on the beach and, to me, it was sort of looking okay. The wind was my main concern, one that I voiced back at the camper-van. Damn the wind, a rather over-the- limit north-westerly. “Shit” was my initial thought but, I had to at least try to get off this beach today. Further north, the fishermen said it had flattened off, but the wind was starting to blow. No need to torment them anymore until I actually get on the water, and that was truly the fun stuff to look forward to. I forced breakfast down my throat. As we ate, it started to rain. How marvelous!! (Not!) But, what’s a little rain when you have to get through the waves? All my gear is sorted and ready. We triple check that we have everything we can possibly think of, get down to the water’s edge, climb into Louise and skirt up. Jase stands in front, holding Louise into the waves and keeping me straight. I’m ready. Then, as we watch the waves, the conversation goes something like this: "Can I go?" “No!!".
Okay, I can see the breaking waves out the back. Just sort of waiting for me to get to them, then thump the crap out of me and Louise. This conversation repeats itself again and again for the next hour and a half. During this time we even relocate 200 metres down the beach and try again. Jase getting smashed by the ocean and me also just waiting, counting, and hoping after each massive set that there will be a break in the waves. Just enough to get out. A couple of times I screamed loudly: “Now!!”. But the reply was “NO!! You can't see what I can see!”.
11.15am: We went to try another location, dragging Louise with all her gear and shoved the entire kayak in the back of Cuzzie!! Sand, grass and two very wet people racing 2kms along the road to another beach, to another location we had thought yesterday might be another option. With Louise on wheels, we drag her through and along this track, but these wheels are not made for the off-road, big, muddy puddles in which we are wading ankle deep!! Down onto the beach, we set up again, but again we have the same scenario. This time with even more pressure on us as we agreed that we only had till just after midday. This would still mean me paddling for two hours in the dark, which was not ideal but, now I wanted to get out there.
We sat and watched and, yet again, the same scenario: “Can I go?”. “NO!! You’ll get smashed!!” Then I started watching the time and with every minute that passed, I realised it was slipping away. Also, I could see Jase shivering violently as he held the kayak and counted and watched the wave sets. As he turned and looked to me, I had such a look of determination on my face. But by now, it was already 30 minutes after my final deadline!! Jase just looked and said: "Sorry, it ain't going to happen today”. He was now shivering so badly that I sort of forgot about my own crazy fool attitude. Then and there the decision was made to put down the paddle. Shit, I was gutted. But by now, it was more about getting Jase out of his wet clothing and into warm leggings. We stood on the beach in another rainstorm, him shaking, trying to pull on warm leggings, me throwing on my sharkskin jacket and trying to get warm. We ran as quickly as we could, trying to pull Louise back up and along the wet and muddy track. As soon as we got back to Cuzzie, I switched on the gas heater while Jase jumped inside the camper-van and started trying to get warm. It took a while and, as I slowly unloaded Louise and put my gear away, he sat by the gas heater trying to defrost and dry out. I think he was even more gutted than me and he was the one now having the “maybes” and the “what ifs” that are the torment of the support crew.
Simply put, it was just not meant to be today, and from all accounts, the weather was not that suitable for me further north either, so it was probably a positive. It took us some time to warm up, to get loaded up and be on our way back into Karamea and the the Four Square store. Both me and my crocs were still covered in mud when I jumped out of Cuzzie. The rain was falling heavily and the gutter at the side of the road was full of water, so I slipped off my crocs and left them in the drain to get clean. Into the store I dashed to buy some food, then back out to Cuzzie. To find my crocs had washed away!! What an idiot! Now I’m running down the road, trying to retrieve my crocs which, by this time, had gone over the top of the storm water grate!! Holy heck, I have to admit that, by this stage, I was crying, half in frustration and half with laughter at my own stupidity. The sight was hilarious. Actually the funniest moment of the day!
Back we go to the Karamea Domain, a really cool campsite. Last time we arrived, we got whitebait fritters. Today it was lemon and cream cheese muffins. We were also welcomed with big smiles and lots of chatter. Then we cooked up a late lunch before Jase was sent off to help the ladies bring in a flounder net, as if he hadn’t been in the water enough for one day!! I had washed and dried all our gear by the time they arrived back with twelve large flounder. Jase even had a smile on his face, probably (no, definitely) for only the second time today!! Poor man. It later transpired that he had even managed to drop a flounder and it had swum off, saved from being eaten by Jase!! Tonight, we have fresh flounder for dinner and our sights set on tomorrow, when we will start all over again. Another day, perhaps another chance.
My smiles today:
Such determination this morning, but the waves were even more determined.
We’ve all heard of babies being chucked out with the bathwater, but whoever heard of crocs being washed away in the rainwater?
Fresh lemon and cream cheese muffins.
The support crew suffering from hypothermia.
Sunshine and calm later today, too little, too late.
Flounder nets and ladies in waders, go the women of NZ!
Mother Nature wins again!
My thoughts today:
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.
The most certain way to succeed is always to TRY just ONE more time.
Goodnight from Red and Jase. Ma Te Wa.