The winds took a little while to wake up this morning or perhaps more to the point, they stayed on the other side of the ranges in the early part of this morning. The sun and the clear, blue skies encouraged me to get into my kayak to go for a paddle. Westhaven Inlet was like paddling on mirrored glass at first and I was enjoying being back on the water, hugging the edges and admiring the wonderful bush that in many places, cascades right down to the high tide mark. There are also numerous little, sandy beaches, so it would be a magic place for summer picnics.
At high tide, this inlet is totally beautiful to paddle on but it’s all too easy to forget that, when low tide arrives, it’s mostly drained of water, leaving only mudflats. But I still had hours to go before this happened, so I continued exploring. As I got further south, I disturbed lots of black swans that flew quickly away. Where they landed, a little bit further out, I noticed the wind was starting to white cap the inlet. However, it wasn’t bothering me at that point, so I kept paddling until I got about ten kilometres away from my boat ramp. Thankfully I turned, as by then the wind was really starting to pick up. It was certainly nicer to be surfing away from it rather than having to bash head on into it! As I turned, I headed towards a road bridge under which I had to paddle in order to get into another arm of the inlet, away from the wind. I hugged closely to the sides of the steep bush-covered cliffs, staring up at the naturally landscaped bush. It was absolutely breathtaking, perhaps no golden beaches or blue ocean, no dolphins or orca, but this inlet has seriously wonderful little secrets to share. In some way, it reminds me of Pegasus Bay in Stewart Island. If anyone has time to come and paddle in these waters, plan it so you have high tide during the day and you will be more than pleasantly surprised! The place is unique, serene, utterly untouched and steeped in history. In fact, the only thing that felt out of place was me!! Gliding along in my kayak, I felt I really needed to be in a wooden canoe to fit into this location but as it was, I looked like a woman from outer space!!
The fantails flew past, a few small ducks quickly left the lagoon and I just skimmed along, looking up at the crazy Dr. Seuss-like trees towering above me. I actually had to remind myself to get out of the inlet before I became stranded in the mud! As I returned back under the road bridge, I was hit by the blast of the South Westerly. The main inlet was now totally whipped up by the wind so I smashed my way back against the wind and the white caps until, at last, I was safely back at my little boat ramp. Twenty kilometres done and dusted and a thoroughly enjoyable time spent on the water (well, mostly enjoyable, mainly thanks to the beauty of this place).
I get changed, reload my kayak and gear, cook up a batch of popcorn, then head off to return some library books, do some stands and spend some time just sitting in the sun in my camper-van by the road side. I did have a bit of a drive to get back to the cottage tonight, so I hit the road and made it back to the farm just before 7pm. My day has been one I won’t forget. I haven’t had an exploratory paddle like this for a while and it took both me and my mind back to happy places again. Now dinner is cooking, the fire is blazing and I have warm ugg boots on my feet. What more could I possibly need or want? (I need and want to head further north.)
My smiles today:
Calm, tranquil paddling.
Beautiful bird life on the water.
A chat to a dear friend.
A rather long drive in order to return my library books.
Another full moon reflecting on the dark ocean.
My thoughts today:
When obstacles arise, you change direction to reach your goal. You don’t change your decision to get there.
Good night from Red. Ma Te Wa.