Day 394...Gapped It!

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Up before dawn and awake throughout the early hours of the morning way too often, waiting for my alarm to ring. In fact, in the end, I just got up before the alarm went off and started to get ready for a paddling day, for I was determined to get moving north. I was, however, a little concerned today as when the weather rolled last night the wind forecast had, of course, picked up. How typical and if I didn’t get out of Raglan today and further north I would maybe miss an opportunity.

With Bianca on her first day as support crew along this coast, we got ready. We drove Cuzzie to Manu boat ramp and ignored the wind as I climbed onto the roof and unloaded Louise. Then came the routine of loading and getting ready for the paddle. Bianca kept me company out in the cold and soon I was ready. Today it was already my wish for a magic wand to be able to race to the end of the day. Twenty-two days with no paddling and now I was about to punish myself with an 80km day! Off I set at 5.30am. Off the boat ramp and out to the wind blowing at my back! I go wide so as not to get near to the harbour entrance and any crazy rogue waves on the bar. The wind was certainly blowing and I had bigger than welcome swells to deal with. When they rolled through they weren’t pleasant, that I can tell you, but it was most certainly a paddling day and that was what I had to focus on.

The first leg was Raglan to Port Waikato (50kms). The nice thing was that at least I was whizzing along and it made a change not to have a head wind. It took six hours but the swells in the river mouth as I got past Port Waikato slowed me down somewhat as I had to negotiate choppy, rough brown water. I kept looking to the horizon for calm, blue water. It took a while but, at last, it was passed.

I arrive at the second checkpoint before Bianca, so we chat by mobile phone. I’m pleased not to be landing at this beach as the waves look horrible and the not at all pleasant. Further up the coast, I see para-gliders enjoying their day soaring high in the sky; not something I would like myself. A little like the ocean, this coast is rough and rugged. It has been worn away by the wind and the ocean; a little hard to photograph as the swells lift me up and down too much to get a great shot.

Soon enough, I arrive at today’s final destination and the swells were still up. I chat to Bianca and we discuss a kamikaze-style landing. I lock down my gear in readiness and turn my attention to the waves behind me. There are also others on the beach waiting and watching (bloody brilliant). Whenever it looks like there’s going to be a rough landing, I always seem to attract an audience! It takes me a little while to sort out my brain, trying to work out my landing procedure. Then it’s time to paddle, paddle, paddle; let's see how my kayak-bracing goes today.

I nail at least three waves really well, then brace a little too hard and, suddenly, the wave had gone from under me. Into the water I go, but I have my feet on the ground and then manage to grab Louise’s tail and get swept in by the next two waves; a bit like being on a boogie board! All things considered, today’s landing was a damn good one for me and the watchers on the beach seemed to be impressed! I was equally impressed with Bianca as she was up to her shorts in water but still managed to grab Louise and then I was on dry land! Trish had come to watch me land and I hadn’t seen her since January of this year. Holy crap, how the year has flown by! We spend the next few hours chatting and cooking dinner. Wow, how cool to see a familiar face.

My smiles today:
Friendly locals who have been wonderful to us both today.
Deigh and Valerie, wonderful people who gave Bianca donations to my charity MHFNZ.
My crazy beach landing.
Bianca and Trish cooking dinner.

My thoughts today:
At the end of the day, I’m only thankful that my blessings are bigger than my problems.

Tired but happy. Goodnight from Red and Bianca. 

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

Lynn leaving with the moon.

Lynn leaving with the moon.

Cuzzie and the view.

Cuzzie and the view.

The couple.

The couple.

Day 393...All About Cuzzie

Tuesday 22 November 2016

On my early morning run on the surf beach, I watch three keen surfers hit the waves for a pre-breakfast session. Wow, what a way to start their day! Then it’s a quick, cold shower for me. Jeez, if I wasn’t completely awake during the run, then I damn well am now! Bianca and I sit in the sun, sheltering from the wind, and have a long leisurely breakfast. We chat about the next leg of my coastal paddle and I try to get her up to speed with the various systems (VHF, satellite messaging, etc).

After that team lesson, lucky Bianca heads off for another day in and on the Raglan waves; day 2 of surf lessons for her. But, before she heads off, we stop in at the cutest little Raglan shop, a tiny place, where the bread is amazing (or so Bianca assures me). Then, sadly for me, I have to spend the day having Cuzzie fitted with new front tyres. For this, I have to drive into Hamilton (Frankton) then wait while the new tyres are fitted, balanced and the alignment done. Thanks to the helpful and generous team at Bridgestone who made it as painless as possible for my pocket.

Then it was off to grab some food for the empty fridge and back to Raglan. No time for me today to sit around in the sun, or rest and watch surfers, or go for a hike. I tried telling myself that it was a blessing to have noticed the badly-worn tyres, even if it didn’t help my wallet. But a monetary blow-out is doubtless a whole lot better than one of the other kind and at least they are now fixed!

Tonight I have stuff to get done, brownies to cook and gear and equipment to recheck; it always being best to do rechecking of gear before heading out on another paddle, which I very much hope to do if Mother Nature stays true to her forecasts. But, as we all know, anything can happen over the next twenty-four hours. I have to say that I am also blessed to have the continued support of so many people and thank those who are one hundred per cent behind this journey and myself. If it weren’t for them, and for continuing financial help, it would have been an even tougher challenge each day. Anything anyone has donated, either in cash or in kind, has really helped, so thanks once again from the bottom of my heart.

My entire day today was all about Cuzzie. A day when, quite literally, we probably managed to stop her wheels from falling off!! But she needs and deserves some TLC for, without her on this journey, I would be nothing. Now, as the day draws to a close, it’s time for a quiet beach walk followed by a big yummy dinner and perhaps a little chat to Mother Nature, to ask her to be nice.

My smiles today:
Surfing pre-breakfast looked like fun.
Raglan, you have to smile.
Chatting to our camper-van neighbours.
I feel a paddling day approaching.
Cold showers, I’m used to them but that doesn’t mean I have to like them!
Cooking my famous brownies on the BBQ?!

My thoughts today:
The first place we lose the battle is in our own thinking. We have to change our way of thinking; we need to see every obstacle and each limitation as only temporary setbacks.

Goodnight from Red, Bianca and newly-wheeled Cuzzie. 

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

Day 392...A Frown Or Two

Monday 21 November 2016

Our morning was good. I went running along a lovely beach while Bianca did her yoga. As we sat and ate a wonderful breakfast, the day was looking amazing; stunning blue skies with not a chance of the clouds staying over the sun as the wind was blasting them along and making sure they didn’t hang around. The cold campsite shower was a tad refreshing, reminding me of the Fiordland waterfalls. Well, maybe not quite as cold!

A trip into town to drop Bianca off at her surf lesson for the next three hours. As for me, well I sat up high on a hilltop, watching the surfers below and looking out at the surf breaks and the waves, certainly glad I wasn’t on the water. I also had to recheck that my kayak was well-tied down because the wind had really picked up in force and everything was rattling. Come lunchtime, I had a change of scenery, moving location by going back to watch my favourites, the kite-surfers, in action. I also watched a very skilled young girl get rigged up and go out on the water in a huge wind. Just watching her, I got a few tips, but it’ll take me many more lessons before I ever get that skilled. Then it was back to lie in the sun for a while until Bianca returned from surfing. Sheltering from the wind and simply enjoying the warmth of the sun’s rays was really pleasant.

Once Bianca had eaten a late lunch and she had warmed up from her three hour surfing stint, I suggested we drive to Raupuke to take a look at the coastline and a surf beach. At the first lookout, as I was walking back towards Cuzzie, I looked at the front tyres and noticed that the tread on the inside was worn; so worn, in fact, that I could see thread and feel wire!! Holy crap these tyres were fitted in Napier and are only one year old! My heart sank and our tour was abruptly cut short as we headed back towards Raglan in search of a tyre repair shop! Alas, even though I had the most helpful crew, they didn’t have a tyre and couldn’t do an alignment on Cuzzie. A few phone calls later, arrangements had been made for me to head to Hamilton tomorrow for new front tyres, a balance and a wheel alignment. How and why has this happened? Well, apparently, when they were fitted and balanced in Napier, there was no alignment done! What? Really! How come? I’m convinced I asked for this all to be done, but obviously it wasn’t even though the report they have on their records states that I was charged for it! I’m more than a little gutted but will now always check my bills and repairs more thoroughly in future. Tyres, balance and alignment, triple check!!!

What else could possibly make me frown today? Oh, yes, the news of a landing further north that will now need to be shortened. Without boring you or ranting on needlessly, this is just another frustration to end the day. Somehow it’ll all get sorted out, maybe by making a few more phone calls or maybe with the help of a kind heart or two I might discover along the way. How have I resolved this all in my head? Well, I had to ask myself: “Is it a life-threatening situation?” "No." Then, as a very good friend would say to me: "Settle petal!"

For dinner tonight, we are the guests of the surfing school. Greenwaves, thank you so much for the invite. Bianca has made a beautiful salad to take along, while I write my blog and drink kawakawa and lemon tea, thinking maybe it will calm my frustrated mood. Ah well, as they say "shit happens" but why does it always seem to happen to me!?

My smiles today:
Stunning beach for my run.
Watching others enjoy the ocean.
Kawakawa tea to calm my frazzled soul. Thanks, Jen.
Enjoying another day of sunshine.
Dinner with new friends.

My thoughts today:
"On particularly rough days, when I'm sure I can't possibly endure any more frustrations and setbacks, I like to remind myself that, so far, my track record for getting through these bad days is near on 100% and that's pretty darn good!"

Goodnight from Red, Bianca and Cuzzie.

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

The Raglan Ocean.

Day 391... Welcome Bianca

Sunday 20 November 2016

Crazy gale force winds last night and white caps and waves on the lake this morning. But my mind was not even bothered by this because, actually, the lake looked spectacular. I was on a mission today. Firstly, to immerse myself in swimming pool therapy; secondly, to catch up with local Taupo friends; thirdly, breakfast; and finally, to pickup Bianca, my new support person. Then it was back on the road towards the ocean, the waves and home for a few more days (Raglan). Once on the road, we drive, we talk about New Zealand, about life in general and just enjoy the sunshine streaming into Cuzzie. Oh, and try to keep driving in a straight line as the gusting wind is horrendous. Bianca is from Germany (Nuremberg), she has been travelling since the start of September and has just joined me on my crazy adventure. It is just incredible finding liked minded people when you need them and again seeing NZ from another's travelling eyes. Also, how exciting is this: Bianca can fly hot air balloons! Wow now that is cool!

Once back in Raglan we pass the huge windmills on the hills spinning at top speed. By the time we arrive, my stomach is rumbling, so it’s a real pleasure to pull up by the harbour and eat some lunch. Afterwards, we go wandering round Raglan so that Bianca can soak up and enjoy the casual Sunday vibes. We check out the surf beaches at Ngarunui and there are numerous groups out on the waves. We investigate the cost of group lessons and for a while stand and watch the waves peeling in and the learners going up and down on their boards. We also drive around a little so Bianca gets to know the layout. Then we had booked her in for surfing lessons, not me though. I’m just going to watch from the safety of the sand dunes.

Then it’s off the watch the incredible skill of the insane kite surfers at the harbour entrance. The wind and the weather is perfectly suited to these guys, a dozen or more of them are out on the water and many more are getting ready to join them. There are no learners out in this windy weather, only experts and they are flying high! Kite boarding is a skill I have to master but, even after a few lessons, I’m still not very good. In any case, how many sports can I do before running out of time to master them all!

By now it was time to head to our campsite and get settled and rest after a long day’s driving. Time for Bianca to get acquainted with Cuzzie and to try to load her gear into the cupboards on board. As for me, it’s time to do what I always do at this time of the day, check the weather forecast! Still a few days of sitting and waiting, of watching for the weather high to approach New Zealand, hopefully with calm seas and the wind in the right direction. Until that happens. I’ll be paddling in circles round the harbour, running the beaches and chasing more Geocaches.

My smiles today:
The amazing waves on Lake Taupo.
Swimming pool therapy.
Sharing Raglan with Bianca.
Watching surfers and kite-surfing gurus.
The approaching weather "high".

My thoughts today:
One day you’ll wake up and there won't be any more time to do all the things you've always wanted. So, do them now!

Goodnight from Red and Bianca.

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

Kite surfing gurus.

Kite surfing gurus.

Surfing lessons on the beach below.

Surfing lessons on the beach below.

Day 390...Found Me!

Saturday 19 November 2016

Raglan, I discovered, has an amazing fish and chip shop just down by the wharf and after a really long hike into town last night, we were both starving and enjoyed the large selection of fish on offer with some wonderful hand-cut potato and kumara fries, heaps of salt and lots of tomato sauce. Then a huge windy, cold hike back to Cuzzie. It was another blustery night, accompanied by more heavy downpours. For me, it’s now easier to sleep with wind and ocean noise than when it’s silent and calm, so a great night’s sleep for me!

Saturday in Raglan. Lots of people were in the little township when we headed back to the wharf after having an amazing cafe breakfast at Rock-It Kitchen. Jase was happy as the food and coffee was just wonderful. Then it was time to wander and just look in a couple of stores, watch Jason spend money and before too long, we again had to say our “goodbyes”. Jase was heading home and me, well I was off to drive inland, to pick up my new support person, Bianca, who is joining me on this leg of the paddling adventure. 

My rendez-vous for tonight was in Taupo. What better to do than sit in The Terraces hot pools on a wet and windy evening. What total heaven, totally worth the drive. Weather check, emails and now dinner in my camper-van world looking out at another incredible view. Some days, I feel a little like that game called "Where's Wally?", always on the move and always popping up in a different location. Dinner time, then into my huge camper-van bed for yet another night on the road dreaming of home.

My smiles today:
Breakfast in a cafe! Real luxury!
Driving along more back country roads.
Chance meeting with Paul and Anna Lawrence.
The hot pools; bliss.
Green, rolling Waikato farm land.
Camper-vans parked in a row at the Taupo spot.
Making a new friend. Welcome Bianca!

My thoughts today:
When life gives you a hundred reasons to break down and cry, show life that you have a million reasons to smile and laugh!

Goodnight from Red, Cuzzie and Bianca. 

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

Found by Paul Lawrence. Love ya! 

My bedroom view.

My bedroom view.

Day 389...Driving Back South

Friday 18 November 2016

Pink skies and an eerie calm greeted me this morning as I got up and on with my day. Port Waikato beach looks pretty fantastic today; foaming white waves tumbling in from far out, set after set seeming to be coming from the horizon. I had a beautiful run today. I even discovered something in the sand that the wind had exposed: the remains of a dumped car wreck at the river mouth entrance.

This morning was to be my last Port Waikato beach run. It’s time for me to head away in Cuzzie to do a trip into Raglan and start to focus on the up-coming fine weather that’s meant to be blowing my way next week. I have a bit of a plan for my road trip but firstly it’s time for breakfast and then, as I get ready to go solo for a few days in Cuzzie, I stop to give Anouchka and Mark a huge hug. Yet again, I can only say “thank you” to both of them even though that doesn’t seem nearly enough; their hospitality has been amazing. Jeepers, I’ve been parked in their backyard for twelve days! But now it’s high time this gypsy kayaker evicted herself. With Mark’s guidance, I reverse out of their narrow gateway and say “goodbye” while promising to wave to them when I paddle past! Mark is threatening to do a low flyover with his drone as I go by and I promise to smile!

Back on the road I go and, at a junction just near Tuakau, I pull over and check a couple of things that are rattling about. But, as I get set to drive off, I notice a camper-van behind me and the people in it are waving and calling me over! Initially, I think I must have left something dangling off Cuzzie, but they wind down their windows to say they recognise the camper-van and the kayaks from when they had parked next to us in Monkey Bay in the South Island (my last port of civilisation before heading off into Fiordland). We stopped and chatted for ages about camper-van life then, as we both were heading for Raglan, we drove off in convoy for a while, until they found a spot to stop for coffee, and I continued on.

Raglan welcomed me back with blustery winds, but at least I had clear blue skies. After I’d grabbed some supplies, it was off to a new camping site to eat lunch in the sunshine and just enjoy the late afternoon until Jase arrived from Auckland to catch up with me and get out of the city rat race. Now, as the sun disappears and the air starts to get a real night chill, we wrap up warm and head out for a beach walk and, who knows, maybe we’ll end up in the town centre for a snack. I had a great feeling about today from the first moment I woke and that feeling has stayed with me all day; smiles from the inside!

My smiles today:
Anouchka and Mark, you guys rock!
Port Waikato, such a beautiful farewell.
The lovely camper-van community.
Jase driving south.
Mother Nature seems happy and smiling.
Lovely emails, Facebook messages and long mobile chats.

My thoughts today:
If you give up, it’s over. But if you don't, the day will come when you'll be glad you didn't give up.

Goodnight from Red, Jase, Cuzzie and Louise.

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

Morning sunrise. Monster surf.

Morning sunrise. Monster surf.

Sad end to a day on the beach.

Sad end to a day on the beach.

Day 388..All Seasons Today

Thursday 17 November 2016

I take my camera to the beach every morning, hoping to see something exciting on my run but, as yet today, the exciting things are those I’m not able to reproduce in pictures; the wind blowing the sand like ribbons across the beach and up over the sand dunes, the sand stinging my shins as it’s blown full force at me and the pelting rain drenching me as I run! There’s not a single picture that would show you what it’s really like, so you’ll just have to imagine these experiences as best you can! That’s the way my morning went before breakfast today, but it was still fun and I was still smiling on my return. That’s me, crazy as ever!

To my surprise today, I located a couple of oyster-catchers standing up by the sand dunes, looking rather perplexed about the weather as well. Crazy birds, but I was strangely happy to see them. They remind me of some of the many wild, remote beaches on which I have spent other long waits.

Once back home, I hitched a ride into Pukekohe to go swimming. This routine may sound boring to some but, for me, it’s what keeps me focused. Especially as I have this continual nagging feeling that I need to stay paddle-ready, and I’m even starting to recognise the daily regulars at the pools. This morning, I smiled at a couple of them before I ducked my head under the water and submerged into my own little world for the next hour or so. Afterwards, as I shower, the changing rooms are invaded by a large group of pre-school kids after their swimming lessons. I’m impressed with the speed and skill of their staff as they dry and dress and match a backpack to each kid. I’m also impressed that the kids are there learning to swim; to my mind it’s a must-have skill for each and every kid.

We head back to Port Waikato, rain and wind alternating with hot sunshine and clear skies and this typically crazy spring weather continues all day. I find my sheltered spot in the garden, eat lunch, finish my book and do some writing. Then, as the sun was shining and I could hear the deafening sound of crazy waves, it was time to go and watch them, so off I walked towards Sunset Beach. I stood on the cliffs with the fine black sand blowing directly towards me, determined to become embedded in my eyes! Another heavy rain storm arrived and I had to shelter in the public changing rooms. Once the rain eventually subsided and the sun had returned, I decided that the only safe place to avoid being sand-blasted was on the rocks down on the beach. I manage to find another little sheltered corner away from the wind and sit watching and admiring the waves in the sunshine. I could have sat there for a lot longer but, all too soon, another heavy rain-filled cloud arrives, so I head back to the safety of my camper-van. Dinner, chats and we watch the news. Oh, and the weather forecast of course!

My smiles today:
My morning on the wild beach.
Smiling at the local pool regulars.
Sunshine, when it eventually appeared!
Sitting just staring out at the waves.
Kids learning to swim.

My thoughts today:
We have to realise that the world we live in is far too beautiful to waste our time being angry or sad when, instead, we could be enjoying what life has to offer. 

Goodnight from Red. 

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

Stormy west coast beaches. You have to love them.

Stormy west coast beaches. You have to love them.

Beautiful day on the horizon.

Beautiful day on the horizon.

Day 387...Enjoying a Mostly Fine, Sunny Day

Wednesday 16 November 2016

I ran this morning in the rain and the wind, next to the ocean, daring it to try to get my shoes wet. I start to look around me with a new set of eyes on this deserted Port Waikato beach. The eroding sand dunes have a beauty about them this morning; the colours of the wet layers on sand making up the crumbling dunes with the tussock grasses golden and soft grey-green against the early morning soft blue skies, looking like a calendar picture. Nothing to which my camera can do justice so I don’t even stop to try and take any images.

The hills inland seem far clearer today, with no haze and I’m ever hopeful that it will soon stop raining, but not on this run today. The grey rain clouds keep being pushed over me and dumping all their contents on where I’m running. The wind is also slapping me about. My mind wanders for a little while, actually wondering how I could bottle my crazy motivation for others and wondering how many people are still tucked up in their bed, making excuses for not exercising? I make a mental note to ask Jason later about how many may have cancelled training sessions today with some lame excuse. Perhaps sadly, I’m exactly the opposite of this, finding it impossible to pull the bedclothes over my head and go back to sleep. Quite simply, it’s just not part of my mental make-up.

Again the low tide seems miles out. As I turn at the river mouth, I see a small dinghy whizzing along the narrow stretch of water towards a favourite fishing spot. I also look down the river and see a couple of early morning white-baiters (scoopers) already on the river banks. I hope they fill their buckets before breakfast.

Today, as I return to my camper-van, it’s still pouring with rain but it actually only stops as I step back out of my shower. Typical of Mother Nature to employ such hideous tactics! My next mission is to get a good solid swim completed before lunch, so that involved a drive into Pukekohe to the pools. On arrival there, I was a little stunned that the car park was really full, as indeed, was the pool itself, with three lanes having aqua aerobics in full swing. As I was climbing in, luckily they were all just finishing up so, without further ado, I was quickly into the water and underway. I had a goal and got into staring at the black line on the bottom of the pool routine fairly early on. In fact, I was really pleased with today's session; 4kms completed and feeling good about my day.

I chatted to a lady in the changing rooms about an ocean swimming event on Saturday, sand to surf and I have to confess, I’m a tad interested. Only 2.6kms. but there’s a slight glitch as it’s over on the East Coast at Mt Maunganui (do I dare!?). It’s so tempting but, maybe not! Showered, changed and back into town. Stock up on supplies from the local supermarket, then a drive back along the very swollen river. As you all know, it’s a big high tide and it looks like there’s no room for anymore water in this river at the moment. Unless, of course, you want it going over its banks. Yikes! Full, gigantic moons, huge big tides and strong winds, not a good mix at all!

It’s wonderfully sunny as I return to Port Waikato so, with lunch in hand, I find a great sheltered place on the back lawn and watch the twins bouncing on the trampoline and others doing gardening maintenance while I sit, write and lie in the warm sun. But, after this morning’s training session, I reckon I deserve to spend some time in the sunshine, as well as some time reading the news and studying the damn weather. But very quickly I decide to give up on that insane habit. Well, for a few hours that is. This was my Wednesday. I’m still trying to see the massive moon we are all meant to see, maybe tonight!

My smiles today:
The beautiful West Coast beach.
Rain and wind. I have to smile.
Swimming; me in my happy place.
Sitting in the sunshine, sheltered from the wind.
Huge, ripe locally-grown avocados only $1 each!
Huge, farm-fresh eggs only $5 per dozen.
Simple, clean, basic living.

My thoughts today:
The greatest source of happiness is the ability to be grateful at all times.

Goodnight from Red. 

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

Goodnight.

Goodnight.

Day 386...Not A Lot

Tuesday 15 November 2016

As I wake, I listen to the wind. I’m amazed to hear no rain and am determined to get out and on with my morning run before the predicted downpours arrive. Running gear on, with not too much trouble, and I’m out and on my way by 6am. Daylight has arrived and I’m on the beach with a rather strong headwind, blowing the wet sand along the beach effortlessly in stinging clouds around my shins! The positive side to this is that, on my return, I’ll have the wind in my back pushing me along. I hang on to that positive thought every time another big blast hits, making me nearly come to a complete standstill a couple of times. It’s a really low tide this morning, making it relatively easy-going running as, underfoot, I’m landing on very hard, wet sand.

Today the sun has a chance of shining through the thick layers of cloud. Was the run enjoyable? Well, once I got back and into to my camper-van it was!! As I climbed back into Cuzzie, I had to smile as at that very moment the rain started to fall, getting more intense by the minute and it stayed like that until well after lunchtime today. 

The rain and mist has stayed with us all day and even I have had almost a whole day indoors in Cuzzie doing Internet stuff and trying to finish reading a book! But I’m also extremely grateful that in my little nook of NZ there have been no floods or tremors to contend with. Most of you would probably find this utter bliss but for me, to be stuck on a laptop trying to read, is probably at the top of my least interesting “to do” list and a really big challenge. After all, me having to sit still at all is a skill I still have to try to master. I challenge myself to finish my book by the end of this evening but, long before that, I’m heading into the kitchen to help the others with producing a crispy roast pork dinner with kumara and other trimmings.

To the kayakers who are still patient enough to have borne with me, I have nearly worn out my laptop, scanning the forecast for a possible glimpse of favourable weather in which to paddle. But, most certainly, it isn’t going to be this week! To everyone else: stay dry, stay safe and here’s hoping that Mother Nature starts to play favourably again soon.

My smiles today:
Running on a deserted beach.
Actually still being able to run!
Having to sit still!! Frown-provoking in the extreme!
E-mail chats, thanks to my friends.
Problems RE: support crew solved. Yippee!

My thoughts today:
"Thank you to all the difficult people in my life, for you have shown me exactly who I don't want to be!" (With special thanks to Nat for this little gem.)

Grateful to have rain on the roof of Cuzzie rather than on a tent in Fiordland. It’s Goodnight from Red. 

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

The bright part of my day.

The bright part of my day.

Day 385...Fixed

Monday 14 November 2016

Monday started early. For some in the house, it was just after midnight. Yes, the quake was felt in Port Waikato as well. Not by me in Cuzzie, as I probably just rolled over thinking it was another gust of wind gust rocking me to sleep! I did, however, wake just after 2am for a couple of hours and read the terrible news about the quake further south. Kaikoura is such a beautiful area of the South Island and I feel so much for them. Sending all a huge “stay safe" message from myself and the Redz NZ team.

My morning was, firstly, a one-hour run on the beach. Past crumbling sand dunes that are quickly disappearing into the ocean. Erosion is a major concern on this coastline, with not a lot that can be done it seems; except pray your house is not on the cliff edge. With each month’s storms, a new section of the dunes disappears. The Surf Clubhouse has been moved twice already!! Once back, it was to get breakfast over and done with quickly and jump into Cuzzie with Anouchka to head into Pukekohe to take my faithful camper-van to have some auto electrical work done; never an exciting experience for me. All I did was spend my waiting time holding my breath while some work on the tail lights was done. Then I had to part with a small amount of cash! Thankfully it wasn’t too painful on my wallet.

It would seem that I have wandered around many shops on this journey while otherwise waiting to get going again but, now, I’m more than a tad numb about getting any excitement out of shopping. I’m happy to say that this girl is not in need of any retail therapy. I already have more than enough, although I could perhaps do with a new pair of black leggings (just kidding!). 

Back towards Port Waikato I drive. I’ve been talking about a possible paddle down the river but, as I get out of Cuzzie to have a closer look, the wind whistles past me down the river. I shake my head and even I could not convince myself to get into launch mode. Neither did it help matters that I was really hungry and couldn’t focus on much except for food at that stage!! As I drove further along, I soon regretted my decision but, by that stage, it was a little hard to turn, to change my mind. But that was a bad decision as the fresh air and the water would have been good for my soul today. I had received a message earlier today that was at the forefront of my mind and I had that new problem to deal with. In one brief sentence, my newest support crew is unable to join me, so I had to switch to Plan B (back-up). However, as the day has panned out, luck and my Plan B seem to be coming together and I look to the sky and thank Mother Nature for her perfect timing and for the blowing of a storm just now and for a little longer.

Back home in Port Waikato and pleased to be staying here as I understand there is now a news story about short supply water in Raglan, so that makes my decision easier. I will stay put a little north of Raglan for a bit longer it would seem. I sit here this evening, hoping to see the huge moon tonight. I would also say to anyone around the Auckland Harbour tonight to look out for the firework display on a barge in the harbour because our wonderful Nat is playing Miss Pyrotechnics! As for me, it’s home-made Kiwi burgers (yum!). But more stormy weather due later.

My smiles today:
A cheap repair on Cuzzie.
Running on the beach. Well, I smile at the end.
Retail therapy is not for me!
How everything happens for a reason.
Homemade fresh food. Yum!
Nat in a very happy place as the "Pyrotechnics Queen".
Problem solving.

My thoughts today:
Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including yourself!

From my safe little corner of NZ, goodnight from Red. 

Ma Te Wa.

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Day 384...Lovely Sunday

Sunday 13 November 2016

You have to have a lovely Sunday. Well, at least I think that’s the way to set yourself up for a great start to a new week. Doing everything you possibly can that’s enjoyable and with others. Today, I lay reading for a couple of hours so as not to disturb Jase from trying to sleep in until a more civilised hour. I succeeded until about 7.30am, by which time I was sure that it was late enough. Well, maybe not because any normal person would probably disagree with this being a sleep-in. Hate to say this out loud, but I’m not exactly normal!

A slow, Sunday breakfast, with many subjects to chat about such as “A team for Godzone!” and a possible “Masters game entry”. (Oh dear, now I’ve put that in writing!) Then, there are other jobs to add to my list of things to keep me busy. I had Jase do a couple more fix-it things on Cuzzie and we also crawled underneath to check a couple of minor issues. It’s always great to have a second opinion. Yes, once in a while, I do listen!

What was on the agenda today? Another quick haircut. Jeez, it seems rather a common occurrence. I have to smile. After all, at the moment it’s the least I can do for the team in exchange for helping me. Then, before I know where the time has gone, it’s time for Jase to head back to Auckland where he has friends to catch up with and lots of stuff to get done before his Monday morning rolls in. As for myself, the family and I have got an afternoon planned down at the river, white-baiting and swimming. Maybe not a swim today for me, but the kids for sure will be up to their necks in the water by the end of the afternoon!

I spend a great few hours helping sieve and sort out the whitebait that was scooped up today. I have to admit that we were a little bit slower netting them today but we still got just over three kilos. Once the white-baiting session is over, I chicken out of a swim and just sit in the warm sand dunes watching the kids, wearing wetsuits and life-jackets, float down in the river current between the two adults. Oh, how cool it is to be kids!

Back home, the whitebait is weighed and safely in their freezer packs, and it’s time to relax before Sunday dinner. Time for me to get my attitude sorted for a great week out and about, discovering new places, meeting others and, generally, totally enjoying my days off the water. I have to laugh at this brave little statement, because I do so try and enjoy each day, and I really do love my altered lifestyle. Although, just once in a while, I do lose my newly-discovered calm mind and start to rant about the weather, the crazy waiting game, and I start casting the finger of doubt at myself! But I have managed to wait and win this weather game before, so wait I will.

To the kayakers following me, I hate to have to tell you yet again, but this up-coming week I’m not going to be able to tell you stories about ocean kayaking, so you are advised to tune out now! Instead, I’ll be looking for some DOC hiking tracks and inland adventures. More storm-watching is certainly on the agenda, as well as some new, vigorous few weeks of training. I have a few goals in the pipeline, I have to say, making sure I’ll be ready to continue this dream of mine and, now it seems, a couple of new challenges after this event.

My smiles today:
Sitting in Cuzzie eating breakfast.
My really simple life.
Families enjoying life.
The sunshine, gosh it’s so good!
Helping forage for food.
“Hi‘s” and “Goodbye's”.
Hairdressing. Really?
Strolling the streets of Port Waikato.

My thoughts today:
Just go outside, your day improves instantly!

Goodnight from Red.

Ma Te Wa.

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Day 383...Jandal Day

Saturday 12 November 2016

In the early hours of this morning, I woke to heavy rain on Cuzzie’s roof. It was only 2.30am but I was wide awake. In order to not wake up Jase, who had arrived yesterday after work, I lay in my sleeping bag reading news and other stuff on my mobile phone. Most people would probably be upset to be wide awake at this time of the night but, for me, it really is no bother. A couple of hours later, I drifted back off to sleep until the sun got up. Then it was okay to stir and get up to enjoy a Saturday morning in Port Waikato with Jase and the Anderson family.

Walking to the beach with Jase and Jade (their dog) was nice, no rain and we had a stop at "Sylvia Cafe", a nice little weekend local. Back in time to see the results of the rugby league and the NZ Maoris, then a discussion on whether or not to go fishing. The decision was quickly made, no fishing or white-baiting today as the wind was blowing, the rain storms were becoming more frequent and so, by lunchtime, we decided to wait until tomorrow for a fishing excursion.

Then it was “What can I/we do this afternoon?” Thankfully we were told about a short walk in Oniwhero to Harpers Reserve and Vivian Falls. Off we headed in Jase’s ute with rain jackets but the incorrect footwear; jandals!! This really was a mistake because the hike was downhill, some of it was on gravel but a lot of it was clay and mud. Jandals on clay and mud, we really should have known better!! This really caused us both lots of slips and slides and, in the end, it was bare feet that won the day. Otherwise, the short forty minute each way hike was pleasant and the falls were really beautiful, even on this wet, blustery day.

I got up as close as possible, clambering over moss-covered rocks to stand and look upwards at the falls, the torrents of water and the way it cascades over the rocks. Jase was in charge of the camera and was laughing at me for being full of frowns when asked to look and smile. Today he got a couple of good, stern looks on film! But the great thing today was the large information board with the local history of the area and the falls (see the picture below of the story board).

Homeward bound, we take Klondyke Road which wound up and over the steep hills, then back down to the Port Waikato Road, another off-the-beaten-track trip and yet another place I would never have found or driven on but for this mad crazy journey I am on.

The river is brown and swollen, with white caps galore and, as we drive back to the surf beach, to my delight there are two kite-board surfers getting rigged up and heading out onto a foaming ocean. Even the ute was being sand-blasted and blown about today. We sat and watched in awe the amazing skills of the two guys as they literally flew up and down the beach on the waves and did jumps into the air, sometimes hovering for a long time while the kites carried them along. Skills I wish I had, maybe one day!

To end a pleasant Saturday, we sit in Cuzzie eating my most-loved "Proper" parsnip crisps and, when Jase isn’t looking, managing to have a mouthful or two of his beer. It’s cold, wet, windy and basically a bloody yuk weather day, but thanks to time spent chatting with my sounding-board person (Jase) I have a new list of things I need to do while I am stalled on this coastline. I have also managed to rationalise this most recent waiting game, having talking and discussed other moments which were, or seemed, way worse. Calmness has been restored! Well, for today anyway!

As the day draws to and end, I am still totally enjoying my time away from the crazy working world in which I was involved and I value each day as I am now. Thanking everyone for their continuing support and encouragement, that is and will be what will eventually get me back to Takapuna.

My smiles today:
The wild beach this morning.
Walking in jandals on clay, what a ridiculous idea!
Mud flicked all the way up my legs and back. Horrendous.
“Proper” parsnip crisps, what a treat!
My camper-van Cuzzie. I simply adore my life in her.
Hiking in the rain.

My thoughts today:
After this is all over, what will really matter is how we have all treated each other.

Goodnight from Red and Jase.

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

The Look!

The History of the Falls.

The History of the Falls.

Kitesurfers at Sunset Beach.

Kitesurfers at Sunset Beach.

Day 382...More Fishing

Friday 11 November 2016

My Friday is a lot more restful than most I would say. I wander to the beach, check out the waves and the wind, then take a short walk along the beach. The tide was near on high, so not the longest beach to walk on but it’s always lovely walking on the beach really early in the morning; what a great way to start my day!

A couple of cups of tea in Cuzzie, then it was to be a morning for me to help around this wonderful household, doing some chores with Anouchka and Mark; a bit of digging and sorting out some plumbing issues. It was hot work so, once finished, we headed on the quad bikes down for a swim, something that had seemed like a good idea until we actually got over the sand dunes and felt the brisk wind racing across the river, but we soon jumped in to swim and cool off.

A chilled-out afternoon. I even had time to read a couple of pages of my book. Then we were on the quad bikes again, back to the lucky fishing spot. Within forty-five minutes, we not only had more than enough fish to feed ourselves but had also thrown a couple back! Mark was so busy with the fish we kept catching, that he didn’t even manage to sit down in his fishing chair!

A rain storm arrived and we all got a little wet, except for little Louis (the very old Jack Russell) who had his dog jacket on and also because I had wrapped him in a blanket. Back we raced along the sand track, managing to miss the next rain shower, and then it was time for dinner. What a day, with lots of fun things to do and with me helping out where and when I could.

My smiles today:
River swimming.
Crazy outdoor plumbing job!
The kids sitting in Cuzzie pretending to drive.
More fishing, what fun!

My thoughts today:
Just be yourself. Let people see the real, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful and magical person you are!

Until tomorrow, goodnight from Red and friends. 

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

The only calm moment of our fishing.

The only calm moment of our fishing.

Day 381...Gone Fishing!

Thursday 10 November 2016

No Lotto win in my life, so I took a morning walk to the Surf Club instead and then a road trip to the swimming pools, along with a quick, smart shop which had a small hiccup, as someone decided to wander off with our half-filled trolley! Not sure where our strawberries and fresh veggies ended up or who has them but I’m sure they are every bit as confused as we were!!

Anyway, back we went to start filling up a trolley again. I am sympathetic towards the trolley thief, as I’ve done exactly the same thing unintentionally a couple of times myself. But, on this occasion, thankfully there were no wallets or bags lost, just a simple case of trolley identity error! It all happened so quickly, because we were on our normal tight schedule for picking up the kids from kindy.

The swim was really good for me. It’s always great, both physically and mentally, and although I find it difficult to explain to non-swimmers, the feeling of swimming freely is great for every part of me (not to mention a tad addictive). But, fortunately, today I had a time limit and had to get out of the water sooner than I might otherwise have done as I was being picked up and there was no time to waste.

By now we were hungry and all needing lunch. As we drove the winding roads back to Port Waikato, the kids pointed out cows! As we drove along, they sang to us in the language of three-year-olds! Back to Port Waikato we went, out into the shelter of the garden and the sunshine. Then we got out Mark’s "drone" to fly it over the sand dunes. It’s such fun just to sit next to Buster (the rabbit) but unfortunately there was still some more work to do on Cuzzie. The sand and salt water she doesn’t like at all, so I’m trying to keep the paintwork looking tidy. In the warmth of the afternoon sun, I climb up on top of Cuzzie and set to work. I certainly won’t qualify as a professional car painter but the result still looks pretty good to me! While I was busy at it, the drone flew overhead, taking a movie of me at work!! Hah, just imagine if Nat could get her hands on such a drone to shoot footage of me on this trip!

Later this afternoon, we all jumped on the quad bikes and headed to the river to go fishing. The kids are soon up to their chests in the cold water swimming, while Mark and I are pulling in fish as quickly as we can bait the hooks and cast the lines into the river. I actually did attempt a cast, a pathetic throw, to say the least! But, in the space of one hour, we had lots of fresh fish for dinner and the kids had literally to be fished out of the water; teeth chattering but not all that keen to get out. We head back and, just at the end of the quad bike ride, the twins start telling us with much fingerwaving and tears that we had dropped something, convincing us to turn round and go back. Luckily, we did because we had dropped a rod holder. Good on you, kids! Tonight fish and chips (yum!). Kayaking? Who knows where, who knows when? I, for one, surely have no idea!

My smiles today:
Swimming.
The twins in the river, fluoro vests, no pants!
Catching fish on the river.
Buster the rabbit.
Quad bikes.

My thoughts today:
Everything can change so quickly, so forgive often. You just never know when you may not have another chance.

G’night from Red and friends.

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

Port Waikato river.

Port Waikato river.

Fishing, Port Waikato style.

Fishing, Port Waikato style.

How to wear your fluro vest.

How to wear your fluro vest.

Day 380...Whitebait! Lotto! White House! Awaiting Results

Wednesday 9 November 2016

The wind had dropped and the sea looked less wild this morning as I walked to the Sunset Surf Club just on 7am. Despite the wind blowing, this corner was a little protected and looking average this early in the morning, maybe because yesterday looked just so darn terrible.

This morning is about getting ready to go white-baiting, so it was onto the quad bikes, dogs and kids onboard, and across the tracks on the sand dunes towards the river. We saw just one other white-bait scooper on the river-edge and soon we were also in the water and filling our nets. What a lovely few hours we spent in the shelter of the dunes and warmed by the black sand, while sorting the whitebait into the huge bucket which was actually filling up rather quickly. Within a couple of hours, our bucket was full and our tummies rumbling in expectation. We loaded up and returned to the house to bag and weigh our catch and, even more rewarding, to have some large whitebait fritters for lunch. What a successful few hours we had!

The sun kept coming out from behind the clouds and then hiding away again as it was time for me to fling open Cuzzie’s doors and carry on my repairs and maintenance on my wonderful little camper-van. I revisited the problem of the satellite on the roof but trying to get it sorted and working is still a negative. No real worries, it’s now become more of a game than a need to actually get it going.

As we sit watching and waiting for the USA election results and also the Lotto result, I’m not sure which will end up being the more shocking or exciting! What’s making me happiest right at this moment is the fact that I’m off to make pizzas with the kids, crossing my fingers and toes for the results we are all awaiting on. In the meantime, we have the pizza oven heated up and the toppings ready to go. I’m sure the results of our efforts are going to be divine! Weather reports rolled and my down paddle continues. I have most definitely waited lots longer.

My smiles today:
Catching whitebait.
Sitting on warm, black sand dunes.
Being outside, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine.
Sweeping black sand from every crevice of Cuzzie.
An outdoor pizza oven.

My thoughts today:
Always look for good in people.
Not everything you hear or read is necessarily the truth.
Only speak words of kindness.
Never expect anything from anyone, then you’ll never be disappointed.

Until tomorrow, when we will doubtless awake to the headlines to read and discuss interminably.

Goodnight from Red and friends.

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

Whitebait scooper at work.

Whitebait scooper at work.

Hard at work.

Hard at work.

Day 379... How Lucky. I Think?

Tuesday 8 November 2016

My world seems to be filled with numerous days of extreme weather at present. Can the winds get any more intense? Last night and all of today, it has blown a howling gale. Nothing has been this intense since I was at Kaihoka Lakes back in July. The sand and sea spray has clouded all of the dunes in a fine haze and, from a distance, I’m unsure if it’s sand or sea spray; probably a combination of both!

As this weather put the white-baiting and fishing on hold for yet another day, a back-up plan was needed to keep me busy and occupied. What to do on a day like today? My mind is all about wanting to get on the water to paddle to get further north but this is just not happening. An opportunity comes to head with Anouchka into Pukekohe. Yippee! There’s a swimming pool and I had the chance to see the country roads along the way from Port Waikato this morning. To be honest, being able to get into a pool and swim gave me back my sanity today. I’m just every bit as over weather-waiting as everyone else is at the moment and I’m trying hard to ignore the slow, painful process up the coastline. Instead, I’m trying to look at this area with new adventure in my eyes.

Anyway, today, I have been amused and entertained by this wonderful family by whom I have been welcomed and with whom I’m staying (including the twins and the dogs) not to mention the daily fun in which they get me involved. A beach walk, whilst staring out at the ocean, is what keeps me entertained this afternoon, as is walking the reserves and the sand dunes. Sometimes it’s hard with the sand blowing in your face but being outside is always fun for me. I also spent a couple of hours looking around the streets of Port Waikato. I head off to get a Lotto ticket. Let’s see if my donation to Lotto gets me any kind of return. Hah! Probably not. The last time I purchased a ticket was way back in Takaka! Wow, how time does fly, and I collected precisely zilch from those tickets!

The wind is still blowing but it continues to be stunning, blustery spring weather so for the moment, there’s nothing else I can do but explore. Another early, restful night. Optimistic as ever, I’m hoping for some white-baiting and fishing tomorrow. This West Coast wind still seems to be causing my frown lines to increase on a daily basis but let's see if I manage to get some success tomorrow.

My smiles today:
Swimming pool redemption. 
Kids on the drum kit, indoors.
The random animal art display in a paddock.
Learning lots about the West Coast.
Whittakers dark chocolate.

My thoughts today:
Happiness comes a lot easier when you stop complaining about your problems and you start being grateful for all the problems you don't have.

Goodnight from Red and friends.

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

The Sunset Beach.

The Sunset Beach.

Random art in Port Waikato.

Random art in Port Waikato.

Port Waikato waves.

Port Waikato waves.

Day 378...The Wild West

Monday 7 November 2016

Wet on the West Coast overnight, also windy as the forecast predicted. I spent a few early hours reading until the sunshine arrived then after breakfast, even with the rain falling, Nat and I decided to go walking. With raincoats on, we headed out to explore Port Waikato and to go GeoCaching. In the first location, the cache had been removed, oops!

We continued walking to the next location and, gradually, the sunshine appeared. This next cache took us a while but was finally located and, smiling, we headed back for lunch. My hairdressing skills were then released on Nat’s hair for a little while. We also clambered about Mark and Anouchka’s converted bus, admiring how much room and space there is compared to Cuzzie. By now, a wild westerly was blowing but nevertheless, we decided on a walk on the beach before high tide with the family dog, Jade. Nat competed in some sprint races with Jade while, for once, I just wandered along frowning in frustration at the sea, at the foam and the breaking surf. Maybe one day soon it will change. Yeah right!!

While I wait, I keep counting the days, but have had to dig deep into the new patience I have learnt. At the moment, I’m okay with the wait! Nat has now headed back to the big city for work and I’m so happy to have spent time with her. Tomorrow, with the help of Mark, it’s time for some white-baiting and fishing, here’s hoping my luck will still be in.

My smiles today:
GeoCaching luck.
Nat benefiting from my erstwhile hairdressing skills.
A little bit of sunshine.
Wild West Coast weather.
Walking with a dog on the beach.

My thoughts today:
Appreciate where you are in your journey, even if it’s not where you really want to be.
Every season serves a purpose.

Goodnight from Red and friends. 

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

Port Waikato. Surf Club.

Port Waikato. Surf Club.

Come on kids! Lets go to the beach and play!

Come on kids! Lets go to the beach and play!

Day 377...So Close to Home and Yet So Far

Sunday 6 November 2016

Calm and tranquil; no fireworks in my world last night. At this little location there are four other camper-vans with me tonight but, there is so much space in this freedom camping area that it feels like I’m totally solo. Hamilton Gap is down a dead-end road on a very windy, black West Coast.

This morning it was already windy with intermittent heavy rain. Between showers, I threw my doors wide open and, for a change, lay in my sleeping bag for longer than normal, reading my book and managing to concentrate on it for nearly one and a half hours. Then I braved a really cold campsite shower that certainly had the effect of waking me up!

Back on the road out to the lighthouse at Manukau Heads, I sat and stared at the Bar, studying it for a while from a sheltered seat in the sunshine. But an empty stomach and the urge to drive and have a closer look, encouraged me to head off to a few of the Manukau Heads and many different bays, none of which made me feel comfortable as I kept seeing the Sky Tower. As I was sitting eating lunch, I got a call from Nat to say “Hi, where are you?” and “Do you fancy a visitor?” That I did for sure, so we planned to meet back in Port Waikato. Off I drive to spend some time with Nat for the day and then to stay with friends in Port Waikato for the next day or two.

Here I am, walking among the sand dunes, listening to the Port Waikato waves, played against the background noise of kids having fun on the flying fox in a nearby playground and just generally enjoying the company of others. Freshly-made Raglan sausages for dinner. Time to talk about the coastline and the waves; also a bit of time in front of the TV watching Country Calendar and some programs about the ocean. All in all a wonderful weekend, largely thanks to so many friends.

My smiles today:
A really cold shower!
Discovering so many great bays I never knew existed.
So close to home, yet still so far.
Kids playing on a flying fox.
Watching Country Calendar.
The prospect of fishing and white-baiting in the next day or so.
Visiting friends.

My thoughts today:
Breathe in inspiration and trust yourself. The answer is “Yes, you can!”

Goodnight from Red and friends.

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

Light house at Manukau Heads.

Light house at Manukau Heads.

Manukau Heads ocean view.

Manukau Heads ocean view.

Day 376...A Peak Further North

Saturday 5 November 2016

This morning I had decided I have sat for long enough in one location. It has been helped by others visiting and having the Raglan Harbour to paddle in. Also, again, it was so lovely to have more company yesterday afternoon and until after lunch today.

Jase is always lots of entertainment, he can be talked into hiking, GeoCaching, eating at a local cafe, and also general repairs and maintenance on Cuzzie when he visits. On top of that he always tries to keep me rational and level headed. We have lots to chat about and the time goes so quickly. He brought us salmon for dinner last night; thanks so much.

This morning after breakfast I was determine to drag him along a very windy and rainy beach to look at the surfers and the harbour. As we depart the Raglan campsite we quickly stop as, just a few hundred metres further along, we join others to watch many small aeroplanes arrive and then some depart for what seemed like scenic flights out and over the coastline, and then back to land. A weekend away for these many little planes. We watched for a while as they roughly bumped or gently touched down in this large paddock; the gusting wind did not seem to help the landings. Nat would have loved this as she so wants to learn to fly.

We arrive at the surfers beach, a few surfers were already in the water and black clouds threatened to drench us at any moment as we headed off for our beach hike.At one point we did think seriously of ducking under a large tree further in the sand dunes, but as we climbed further towards shelter and Jase disappeared into the toi-toi that were well above head height, it became obvious to us both it was easier to get wet.

Dogs raced along the beach happy to be parted from their leads and their owners, a couple of horses trotted along as well and it was nice to see everyone out enjoying themselves. The wind at times was so cool and strong I thought I was going to get blown sideways and my ears ached. Many other times it has been worse but at times today it was tough going. But then the sun would shine and you would be sucked into thinking it was a nice summers day until the wind blasted you again. Did I wish I could surf? Yes, I looked and watched and actually today I did think about locating someone to give me lessons. Boogie boards just do not seem that they would fit in quite the same.

Both our stomachs began rumbling by now and off we went to a little cafe we had driven past a couple of times. Rock-it, a great choice and nice location. Ribs and a steak sandwich for Jase. Then a quick stop back in Raglan to sit in the sun with the locals for a little while and it was time to say "bye bye" as we both had things to do and places to go, well sort of. Me I had to get out onto the coastline as far up as Manukau Heads looking at checkpoints and beaches where and when I could. As for Jase, back into Auckland he was heading.

I had to smile and cringe at the same time today, I could faintly see the Sky Tower! (From the road way out on Manukau heads.) I did not make it out to the lighthouse as the gates were shutting at 5pm so I may well return tomorrow. I looked out at the water on a very windy, blustery day and then in at the harbour which also had white caps. I watched a smallish boat bounce along back towards the sheltered harbour bays and I loudly sighed. Maybe November is going to be my toughest month. The crazy spring weather has most certainly arrived; wind, rain and sunshine all in one day. To make matters worse I have scanned the weather forecast for the next possible day of paddling and can see nothing. I will just have to work on a tan! That or someone to taking me on surfing lessons.

As said on an earlier blog, this is as far north as I go and tomorrow I head back down into Port Waikato for a day or so, then back into Raglan during the early part of this week to paddle the harbour and locate some more GeoCaches! I have to also say congrats to Sandy Robinson for her EPIC paddling achievement; totally incredible.

My smiles today:
Mr "Angry" Duck returned!
Spring weather! Wind, rain and sun.
Many funny sights today.
Wonderful food with wonderful company.
Hamilton Gap; freedom camping.
Zero mobile or Internet coverage.

My thoughts today:
"Knowing others is intelligence.
Knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength.
Mastering yourself is true power." - Lao Tzu (Thanks to Jase.)

Goodnight from Red, Cuzzie and Louise

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ. 

Hamilton Gap.

Hamilton Gap.

Tall, tall grasses.

Tall, tall grasses.

Day 375...New Hobby

Friday 4 November 2016

Wind blowing with cold rain, what more could you ask for when you need encouragement to get out and on the beach for a run! To make it even more fun this is all before 6.30am. I did manage, as you would expect, to find the motivation needed to get out and onto the beach! It was colder than I wanted and even my hands went numb for a little while but I was now officially doing it, so each footstep was one closer to finishing!

Low tide meant I could get a long way today before needing to turn and in the end I was happy with my 10km run. The best part was at the turn around as I had the wind pushing me along. It is always a great feeling no matter if I am running, biking or paddling; it seems just that little easier. There were others out on the beach for early morning runs or walks, and plenty of dogs were running in and out of the water having an amazing time. As I got closer to finishing it absolutely bucketed down with rain, but by this time it was a welcome and refreshing rinse off at the end of my run. 

Back at Cuzzie I sit inside and get dry. I did a few weights inside the camper-van then it was breakfast, and later on the skies cleared so I flung open the doors for the day. I have always got a bunch of off the water things to get done and after being in this camper-van for 1 year there is lots of repairs and maintenance to be done, so while it blows and is not raining I just get them done.

I get a couple of cool phone calls from friends today so I chat and continue my chores. I have the GeoCache locations set and ready to track later this afternoon. Jase arrives from Auckland and quickly I jump into his ute  (oops) not seeing the small cake in a ziplock bag on the seat, it was a little squashed by the time we both realised but he still ate it. Before he could even say no I had dragged Jase along to discover 3 more new hidden caches! I am actually thinking it could be my new hobby; it's better than book reading! For someone like me who can never sit still this is great. I am most certainly only doing the easier ones. It gets me wondering how many may have been in the Fiordlands area.

Back at the campsite many more camper-vans have arrived for the night, and also weekend holiday makers, so there is much to watch and be entertained by. Tomorrow I am feeling like Cuzzie and I may be needing a change of location just for a day or so to check out the coastline a little. A wonderful dinner tonight, I have been spoilt with company this week and I have to thank everybody for the calls and visits, as I have said before it is making my weather waiting far more bearable. Salmon, asparagus and crispy baked potatoes with fresh lettuce for dinner (yum).

Enjoy your weekend and have fun with your fireworks. More adventures tomorrow, maybe a couple more GeoCaches to uncover! ( I blame Nat).

My smiles today:
Running in the cold rain
Trying to do a workout in the camper-van!
More GeoCaches located.
Trying to sit and just read! It never happened, I cleaned cupboards instead.
Daily visitors, thanks to you all.
Mother Nature and her continued wind torture!.

My thoughts today:
A year from now you will wish you had started today!

Goodnight from Red.

Ma Te Wa.

PLEASE TXT REDZ TO 2446 TO DONATE $3 TO MHFNZ.

 Standing on top of a hill looking out over Ngarunui Beach.

 Standing on top of a hill looking out over Ngarunui Beach.