Saturday, April 30, 2011

THE END (for now)

After arriving in wellington, Leona and I loaded my boat on her car with inflatable roof racks loaned to us by Fergs kayaks and headed to her place. I spent the next 5 days enjoying wellington area and catching up with old friends and family. The storm finally came the next morning after I arrived and proceeded to rain and rain and rain; plus the wind; my, my how the wind blew. This storm travelled north and proceeded to devastate coastal Hawke’s Bay with the biggest floods in 100 years, destroying parts and cutting off many of the coastal villages I enjoyed along the way. No one died, though many people lost homes and farms, I was quite epic. I am thinking of a title for this trip, maybe “ In The wake of Disaster: kayaking the north island of NZ during a summer of chaos” after all, there had been the Christchurch earth quake, the Japanese quake and tsunami, the Myanmar Quake, Floods in Australia and now the floods in Hawke’s Bay. We will see, it is probably to ominous a title.
April 28th was my Birth Day; I turned 30 years old, I couldn’t think of a better way to roll (or should I say kayak) into my 30’s. it has been an amazing 29 years of life so far, I can’t wait to see what more is to come. I celebrated with a small collection of friends and relatives who were around and available for dinner and drinks. Leona made an Awesome kayak cake. What a great little night at a South East Asian Restaurant called Monsoon Poon; it was very funky and the food tasted great.kayakdownundernzleg-01073
My father drove down after the storm passed his land in Hawke’s bay hadn’t been kayakdownundernzleg-01088affected luckily. We drove up and camped on the west coast looking out at Mount Egmont; it was a fitting way I felt to end things: the boat on the racks of a car, camping back on the west coast and watching the sunset into the Tasman, me sitting in the kayak on top the car as we drove along, setting up the tent in the dunes; all reminiscent of how Dave and I began the trip on the North west coast and now I end it In a similar way. We awoke the next day to a beautiful morning, it was a flat day on the west coast, the snow caped peak of kayakdownundernzleg-01103mount Egmont glowed in the morning light and ever so slightly a tingle felt in my belly, an urge filled my mind, the call to paddle on started whispering in the back of my mind…………….. and I knew there would be many more adventures to come.
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

KAYAK DOWN UNDER NZ UPDATE April 17th; Gifts from the Cray Fishermen

Date: April 17th
Weather: overcast
Swell: 2M SW
Wind: 10knots SW
Distance: 10 NM
Camp: Mikes Bach, Flat Point

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I awoke to find the surf area at low tide riddled with rocks awash, hmmm. The surf was big enough to be tricky though there was a good channel through the rocks kayakdownundernzleg3-00530straight out from my camp, and swell lulls were often. I packed up camp without a rush, allowing the tide to come in a bit more and to let the morning sun dry my wet tent before I packed it. As I ate breakfast and loaded the boat down on the beach, big dark clouds rolled in and the sun started to get covered, by the time I decided it was time to work my way off the beach through the rocky surf, only patchy sunlight came and went.
kayakdownundernzleg3-00531I Sat and watched the surf to find some patterns, but when I launched and held my ground amongst the rocks in the wash, the waves seemed to pick up in intensity with no lulls. I sat and sat; fighting to keep in the channel and off the rocks, waiting for the gap in the surf; so I could safely break out back and not risk getting back surfed on to an exposed reef. Finally after 8 or so minutes the gap came and I powered my ass out through the green lumpy swells that started coming in again; breaking left and right. it was well timed and I had no incidence.
kayakdownundernzleg3-00557I was only paddling a short way today, to find a good place to camp up for 2-3 days to let the coming bad weather pass and then I can move on, though as I paddled south, the wind blew up in my face a bit, and I got worried that I was getting caught out by the bad weather early, however I could see my destination, flat point, ahead; so I pushed on. Nearing flat point I could see only rocky shores, and started doubting whether I was going to be able to land; though as usual, when I am in doubt, I see a tractor and boat trailer and know that if they can kayakdownundernzleg3-00536launch and land a power boat in that part of the surf, then I can land as well.
I came up next to the tractor, through surf much smaller than it initially appeared, just as the EL Toro (a Cray Fishing Boat) came blasting up onto the beach on the other side. I had always wondered how they got these big boats up onto the trailers, now I got to see. The Cray boat was now high and dry on the beach, after a full speed landing; now the Trailer was backed up to it, and a winch pulled the trailer under the boat as the tractor backed up. The boat didn’t move until the trailer tilted forward and lifted clear, then it all went like normal; however I guess in this case the whole process was normal.
kayakdownundernzleg3-00563At this point I meet Mike and his Son Luke, they where instantly intrigued by my story and within 5 minutes of talking, I had been given a Cray for dinner, had help lifting the fully loaded kayak onto part of their boat trailer, and  transported up to their ocean side Bach.
At the front door of the Bach I was given the key and told to make myself at home. kayakdownundernzleg3-00571“ sorry we can’t stay and talk, though we need to get going back to town, we will be back 3 days probably, so as long as you can figure out the stuff inside by yourself, we will see you once the storm passes; enjoy!” said mike as he and Luke then drove off up to their Lobster shed.
Here I was given the use of a brand new, fully furnished modern beach Bach and I didn’t even know these guys, wow awesome. I had been prepared to hunker in a tent for 3 days while some crazy winds and rains came through and now I had a warm little house to hide in, but still also be right on the water. Perfect; even had a Fur Seal as a neighbor.
The evening went very still and got very sunny, so I cleaned some gear and hung it to kayakdownundernzleg3-00580dry and had my doubts about the coming weather. I then cooked the Cray for dinner, sat out and watched the moon rise over the ocean, while eating my meal and drinking a beer, then very quickly the night turned, the Calm before the storm was over and the storm was here, the winds picked up fiercely, clouds rolled in and I went inside to listen tokayakdownundernzleg3-00586 music and read a book. Soon rain came and poured down while the wind whipped the sea into a fury; while I was warm and comfy inside eating chocolate, reading a book and listening to music. I am  happy I am not in a tent. Thanks Mike.