Day 294...French Pass

As I woke this morning, well before the 5am alarm, I decided it was time to get up and sorted as typically, we had gone on a reconnaissance trip and the weather had turned fine a day earlier than expected. Now we were situated at a campsite in French Pass and were having to drive back to Cable Bay for an 8.30 or 9am launch, so as to try and time the turn of the tides
at French Pass. As I told Jason the time, his reply was "are you telling the truth?" As I have been known to say it is later than the actual time! Sorry Jase it is 4.45am. This is a worse time than he ever gets up in Auckland! He will be glad to get home.

We pack down and then hit the road. We have a 2 hour plus drive on windy roads. As we leave French Pass it is 11 degrees outside. By the time we get to Cable Bay it is down to 2 degrees and there is a frost. I get ready and by 8.30am I start my paddle. My first checkpoint is 21km, or 3 hrs at the entrance to Okiwi Bay. I was surprised to get VHF coverage and instantly chatted to Jason. We are to make contact again in 2 hours. But if there is no coverage then I am to see him at the beach just before the start of French Pass and wait until the tides turn. No luck on a total slack tide. But at least I will not be fighting a river running at full force towards me!

It was a beautiful paddle today. The large cliffs are mostly cleared for farming and covered in grass. There are sections of the landscape covered in pine forest, and then paddocks. It looks like the hillsides have had a clipper cut, or at least that is the best way for me to describe
it. I am always blown away by the fact that someone, a very long time ago, had to remove all of the native bush to turn these hills into pastures. Now that is an incredible amount of man power, all by hand and with much labouring that would have been done. 

I tucked close to the cliffs, the beaches and the rocks. As of course once I got closer to the pass the tide was aiming at me. But it was okay. I stayed well away from the middle of the harbour/bay. I meet Jase on the beach and we sit and wait for the flood tide to subside. This will be a mad dash just on sunset. Jase shows me a video on his phone of what the French Pass looked like at 3pm; a raging river with whirlpools and it sounds like a river! As we look out at the markers they are slowly standing tall and not being bent flat against the water. The white caps and eddies are less, but I tell you it is a long wait. At last the tide looks good to go. Off I head thinking have I got this right?! I sit waiting for Jason to get to the lookout. Now this was way too easy! It's typical that the things you worry about just never seem to happen! Such is life. As I paddle into the beach I stop and my rudder cable snaps! Brilliant just at the end of a day. Perfect timing. 

A quick hot shower in Cuzzie, then dinner and an early night. There is more paddling to be done tomorrow by the looks of things.

My smiles today:
More dolphins. But only briefly.
Having to drink ALL my fluids!
A lovely paddle today. Thanks Mother Nature.
Waiting on this crazy tide to turn.
Waving to Jase as I glided through French Pass.
Cuzzie's hot shower at the end of my day.

My thoughts today:
Silence to me has a mysterious calming effect, allowing you to be at peace with your thoughts.

Goodnight from Red, Jase and Cuzzie.
Ma Te Wa.

French Pass.

French Pass.