Back into the adrenaline packed beach launching on the West Coast. There is no reason for coffee on days like today. Another heart in mouth launch. As I have said before it will be the adrenaline in my system that kills me. As I get out the back on a calm West Coast day, I have a quick chat with Martin to say thanks for the good launch and the yell of encouragements as I hit the first foaming wave and battled through a few more. I think the worst was the mountain of water that loomed in front of me and all I could do was tell myself to paddle and tell the wave to please start to break. It listened and I got over the top and thumped onto the back of the wave. It could have been a lot different, but today I was soon safe far past the breakers. But it does not leave your mind; each of these escapes, and all along the coast, you are reminded to keep a watchful eye over your left shoulder for a wall of water aiming your way. Just when you think you have headed far enough away from the shoreline, a big rolling wave seems to loom down on you. Not breaking, but making damn sure you remember they are there and just waiting to catch you out!
A few checkpoints today. Probably as much for me as for Martin. Waitarere Beach, Foxton Beach, Himatangi Beach, and then the end of today was ahead of me. I was now not looking forward to much, as I was certainly going to have to swim part of this beach landing. The coastline just keeps on with the same intense waves and crashing into the beach. The sweeps are small at the moment. Holy heck what would it be like on a stormy day? It is not worth thinking about as some of these breakers make me feel a little sickened by their strength. I drink my fluids and I try and to eat, but all of today was focused on the landing and on counting wave sets as I paddled up the coast, asking myself if I could see a pattern or could I see a possible dry landing. I was also telling myself that it is going to be the same for many days to come so best you get used to it.
Foxton River, what a nasty looking piece of water. I was way out the back and still I nearly did not go far enough and had to turn and paddle like heck over one huge wall of water that tried to hurl itself upon me as a surprise! I was thinking earlier it could be an option! That was a bloody stupid idea.
Tangimoana. As I sat and weighed up the beach, way out the back of the breaking waves, I sighed, ate, drank, and then as planned, waited until I could see that big wave come through and pass under me. Then I quickly checked I had it right and that nothing else was lining over my shoulder, and I paddled. I was a long way out when this sprint started and had to dig and dig and dig even deeper to keep going. A foaming mass tried to get me as I got within metres of the beach. But my side bracing saved me from a total swim and I was safe with Martin dragging my kayak in towards the beach as I waded along in ankle deep water, still panting from my long sprinting session, but happy with another firm landing being nailed. Don't get me wrong I am not bragging as Mother Nature will win a round soon enough and nail me upside down in the water, but for now I can feel proud.
As I get to the edge of the beach I am greeted by a wonderful sight. I see a couple of known faces on the beach running towards me. Trent, it's so great to be on your coast at long last. Thanks for the wonderful welcome. We chat as I pack up my wet gear, get warm and start to load up Louise onto Cuzzie. Once locked and loaded we aim back down the coast to Foxton in order to pick up a food and supplies parcel. On the way we get a call from Melz and Max Grant and we catch-up for a chat. Thank you for coming to see me, it was totally wonderful to meet you both at last. I reckon it is not the last time we will see each other; the weather is about to blow again and so I am planning more coastal checks, tourist sight seeing and watching the beaches as the swells pickup. Tonight I can hear the waves on the beach. The crazy West Coast, it is relentless.
My smiles today:
Success on my beach launch and landing
To my old and new friends. Thanks for taking the time to come and say hi.
Max and Melz. Thanks for the beautiful book.
To the support crew. Who make this all possible.
My thoughts today:
Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.
Goodnight from Red.
Ma Te Wa.