It was a normal "let's go paddling" routine again this morning. There was also some new and very constant rain fall, just as predicted. The saying was going around in my head: "are you made of sugar!" No the rain is no bother, the fact of not being able to see through the mist and the rain was a little more concerning, but we had set up a track on my Garmin GPS unit to keep me in a straight line and going in the right direction.
At last it was light enough for me to get out and into my routine of another paddle day. As we wandered across the road, towing Louise behind us on her wheels, a lady walks up to us and introduces herself. Mary how lovely of you to come and see me off this morning on such a wet Saturday morning, and thank you so much for enjoying my blogs and my journey. I wished I could have stopped and chatted for a while longer, but I left Mary in safe hands talking to Jason, and hoped he would make her a coffee back at our cafe called Cuzzie!
Now the fun of paddling across this stretch of water began. Not only could I only see about 1km in any direction, I was a long way out with all the container ships etc heading into the Nelson port. I am so little in comparison, just a dot in the waves. The Garmin was working a treat as there was no horizon to aim at just mist, and so I had this clipped onto my deck bag to follow. It was a messy ocean and a SW wind. Meaning it was blowing onto my right side the entire crossing, and so it seemed was the swell. I could not wait for this to be over and that was at 5km.
Jase planned to called me each 1.5 hours and it was a call I looked forward to, but as the mobile rang it took me several attempts to answer it as touchscreen phones hate wet screens and cold fingers. I stop and take my headscarf off from under my rain jacket, hat and beanie to wipe the screen. Then at last manage to swipe the screen to answer his call. Once I had it on loud speaker I place the mobile back in its waterproof bag and talk while paddling and dodging whitecaps. It was a tough 10km and I still was not in the middle of this huge Nelson Bay.
Again I push on, with a big container ship to my left that I see in the distance. I aim at the stern, but it seems the ship is going very slow. It took a couple of kilometres to realise that it was anchored!! I redirected my paddling direction and continued on. A bigger swell and white caps and not great visibility was making this tough going. The next call came as I was negotiating another ship and more waves. Now a bloody whistling wind had joined in this increasingly unpleasant time on the water. In my ears rang words from the support crew this morning: "it is looking perfect once you get across!" Well I muttered loudly to myself: "it ain't perfect at the moment I can tell you that!" I managed to answer and eventually shoved the mobile in my PFD and talked. I said that if it stayed like this I would not be making my time cut at Pepin. Anyway the next call was due at midday. I paddled, fumed and had some "I hate" moments of "holy crap this is horrible", all the time hoping the wind would drop soon, but also thinking "you have had worse" and that I would be closer to the other side and it would be calm.
The other problem was that it was so hard to stop and manage to eat or get a good amount of fluids in me, so I just kept pushing on. I could now see Pepin island in the distance but it took me until after 1pm to actually get there, and the wind kept blowing me sideways. I had received from the support crew and then I had called back. I was tired but I had planned a further 30km today and I did not think I would make it in time. I did not make a lot of sense to the crew. I wanted to push on, but my energy levels were way down. With no food or fluids I was like a car running out of fuel. I hate pulling in early but, with frustration tears joining the rain water rolling down my face, I had to agree with the support team. Day over agreed. I paddled into Cable Bay and a lot of me wanted to turn and paddle back out onto the rough ocean as it was calm inside of Cable Bay.
I paddle up onto the beach, cold now and disappointed but I am further north. In fact once I got a few brain cells working again I had to laugh at myself. I can be a stubborn so and so. There was an argument over the crew phone; they were right to tell me to stop at Cable Bay. Oh how I hate that! We planned, we talked, we looked at French Pass, and we looked at where I need to get to. I am so close, but not there just yet. Tory Channel is where I first came to the South Island so that is where I need to return to. It will take a few more days or weeks yet. As always this is depending on Mother Nature.
Tonight while cooking dinner we meet a local and he had just hot smoked some of the most delicious lamb I have ever tasted. We gave him some of Jason's fresh cockles as a thank-you for some slices of the lamb. It was divine! Dinner. An early night and not so great winds tomorrow. What a bummer.
My smiles today:
I saw dolphins today.
My lemon and honey hot drink.
Cable Bay campsite locals.
Smoked lamb. Divine.
Fresh cockles. Go Jason.
My fried, unfed brain!
Garmin tracker. It rocked today.
My thoughts today:
There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you have had enough.
THANKS SUPPORT CREW.
Goodnight from Red. Ma Te Wa.