Last night still is very much making me smile a lot. To end the day sitting in front of a blazing outdoor fire-pit, wrapped up in many pairs of leggings and jackets and hats, sipping on my single glass of champagne, watching the flames leaping into the sky while looking at the incredible stars in the sky. There was not a breath of wind and the sky seemed never to totally go dark.
To be in Totaranui in the winter is very special. There is no one else; it is like we are the first to discover the beach and I try to imagine what it must have been like for the true original adventurers to these shores. We head to bed relatively early and set the alarm so that weather reports can be checked. I am wanting at least to get a mornings paddle in before the stronger Northerlies arrive and with them the rain. As we turn off the heater you can feel the chilling outside air cooling Cuzzie down rather quickly, but good quality sleeping bags have saved us on these cold nights, and woolen leggings! I am not sure what it will be like when I have to return to sleeping in a normal bed with a duvet and an electric blanket! Probably very foreign.
Anyway during the night I wake, check the time and then roll over for a couple more hours of sleep. Eventually 5am arrives. I roll the weather and it has not changed, so it had been decided that I would paddle the coast close into the shore, and to get setup for a crossing of the Nelson Bay while trying to dodge the shipping lanes and container ships. But that is not to be today.
The morning is always a bit of fun. I am far more chatty than most in the morning, so while the support person lays in bed trying to stay warm and grab a couple more minutes rest, I get my damp paddling gear in front of the heater. Putting warm damp clothes on is far more preferable than damp and very cold ones, but there is one complaint. Warm sweaty used gear (after 10 hours of use) does not have a fresh lavender aroma. It is not always fun when a blow heater is on them. There is a few humorous minutes as we throw verbal banter back and forth at each other.
I am at last dressed and have my hat, jackets, ugg boots, and layer upon layer. Then I sit eating breakfast with a hot coffee. I again declare my love of my ROK coffee machine. It's a brilliant piece of equipment and no power is needed. Soon it is light enough to head to the calm golden beach to launch. In fact today the sand on the beach is nearly orange with the lighting of the sunrise. If I could have found a reason to stay another day I would have. Thanks DOC this is a gem; a true NZ slice of paradise. I am glad I waited to visit, it was like a present to myself after all of the hard paddling days on the West coast.
As I sit in Louise a couple of sandflies arrive, so that is a sign to hit the water. I am not used to these gentle beaches and we laugh at how high and dry I end up. Waiting on a wave of water to wash under me. Well that was not going to happen, so Jason had to pull me into the waters edge. There were no waves on this beach. I wave bye and am off. Today I skim the shores. I am sometimes only metres away from the rocks, the beaches and the islands on my mornings paddle. It was beautiful. The dark turquoise water, open gold beaches, and bush clad hills. But today I was being chased by the rain and the dark grey skies, so there were few picture opportunities sadly. I tell Jase, with a big grin, I will have to return and paddle this section again in the summer and with others. I will be the tour guide. We will hike the Abel Tasman track and then paddle back to the start. I am planning my return all ready. Now that is scary.
Past Tonga Island. Past Adele Island. Then onto and into a lovely Kaiteriteri Beach. My very easy 28km paddle done. Jase helps pull my kayak up to the campsite, while all I could do was laugh at the amount of camper-vans and houses as this is the most built up location I have paddled into for months. I actually cannot stop giggling and am a little unsure of my feelings. The West Coast has really spoiled me in certain ways. Those who read this blog from the coast will be giggling too.
We spend the afternoon away from the cold rain. Me washing and drying my gear while eating popcorn. Jase updating my Garmin stats and trying to make Cuzzie's TV work. We have never used it once on the entire trip! Today I just looked around and saw all the other camper-vans had their Satellite dishes up and transmitting and thought maybe I am missing something. I doubt it but at the moment it is a case of a missing remote and Jase trying to read the manual. It is not looking promising at present. Best I go get my gear from the dryer and leave Tim the tool man to his manuals.
A calm cold night. In a campsite with many camper-vans and caravans. In the summer it must be a very busy, chaotic location. I am happy to have visited in the colder, winter days.
My smiles today:
The morning skies.
Clear waters, no big swells and no crashing waves.
Clean, fresh, dry kayaking clothes.
A friend saying I have been away a VERY long time.
My thoughts today:
Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.
Good night from Red and the Redz NZ Team.
Ma Te Wa.