Day 309...Away We Go

With us all up way too early, and Nat collected and bundled in the back of Cuzzie, we were all off out to Titahi Bay for my launch. It seemed very long this drive, probably my nerves were kicking in and probably for good reason. It was a longish paddle for my first day and even though I do trust my weather reports, I also have a nagging doubt some days.

This morning Titahi Bay was a calm mill pond and I got myself ready and onto the water just after 7am. Well, after I cleaned my croc of the dog poo I managed to stand in! Now that ain't a smile to start the day. Nat and Martin stood by as I launched, and Conrad had also come along to say farewell. Thanks guys for the farewell waves! Then I was on my own. I was actually unsure of what to expect. Initially it was a lovely coastline with rocks and lovely bays. Mana Island seemed huge this morning and as I settled into my paddling I started to feel okay.

The first checkpoint at 18km was just a little slower than I would have liked. But I was moving forward and we rescheduled the next checkpoint for 14km up the coastline. Then the current and the wind changed and I slowed to under 6km per hour. Today I told myself to just forget the pace and keep going steadily forward. It was not rough, just a battle with the tides and a steady head wind. Eventually I talked with the team and Nat mentioned that I had slowed from my normal pace. It was now to be a chat every 10km as we tried to locate somewhere that looked half okay to land! I had started to check out the waves. I tried to count sets and watch the big ones smash into the beach, and I continued to check if there was going to be any gaps and a chance to wing a dry landing, or was it going to be a swim to the beach scenario as I got nailed by a big thumper wave.

I am not sure of anyone else but it starts to weigh heavy on your mind as you watch them roll underneath you, lifting myself and Louise up, and then when they get closer to the beach they crash and then foam up the beach. I kept assuring myself that there had been worse beaches to land on and chatted with Nat about the upcoming coast. Otaki came and went and then we got as close to Waikawa Beach as possible and soon I saw the pink shirt on the beach. We then had a discussion about the waves and what the landing plan was. "Yuck" I said. I felt nervous and the adrenaline started to pump. I sat and ate a chocolate bar, sucked back some sweet Ribena, and then wave watched and counted. Then I turned and paddled at the back of a biggish wave. I seem never to have the speed to keep on the back of these waves. But paddle, and brace, and paddle I did and today I stayed dry; there was no swimming to the beach. Martin grabbed the front of my kayak and hauled me up the beach. Still sick to the stomach I clamber out. Happy, but knowing full well it will not be like that every time. But I will take the congrats from the support team and I accepted the two of them carting the kayak back up the beach to Cuzzie. Day one done and dusted.

Hot coffee, sweet hot popcorn and then load and on the move. We drive and drop dearest Nat at the nearest train station. Waikanae and then head back north to camp for the night. I do laugh as we setup to cook dinner. There is zero cell phone or internet coverage. Crazy but true.

Anyway dinner cooked, blog written and now it is time for bed. The native frogs are singing. A friendly young cat has arrived asking for food. Now this I do find sad. Where and who does this kitten belong to?!

Martin has successfully completed his first day with the team and is running solo with me tomorrow. I am grateful for his help for the next few legs of this journey and then he will head south to check out more of NZ.

Until tomorrow. Goodnight.

My smiles today:
Me and my nerves!
Nat back on the team for just today.
Huge and yummy homemade sausages.
Success with my beach landing!
Phone calls from a couple of true friends.

My thoughts today:
Ninety-nine percent of everything you worry about never happens!

Goodnight to you all from Red, Nat, Martin and my star kayaks.

Ma Te Wa.