Ok, I’m here.
33 exhausting hrs of a quiet flight, but two hours before I touched base with NZ territory in Auckland first, I was grounded already for some days… :-((
I forgot to ask Air NZ for a sponsorship for keen circumnavigational kayakers providing a comfi buisiness or first class seat and (as usual…) I had to squeeze myself into these less than shoulder wide – at least my size shoulders 🙂 -economy class seats.
Waking up after a nap I felt an unbelievabale flashing pain in my left shoulder, obviously a squeezed nerv. I couldn’t lift my arm any more, it hurt permanently like hell…I can tell you I was close to tears feeling temporarly disabled on such an early stage…
But who knows what it’ts good for, a good portion of humility for staying healthy in future and a bit of a delay in my start isn’t a problem, as the weather has been horrible the last weeks on the South Islandanyway, and I knew it was a risk to leave home that early.
Nora was so kind to pick me up from the airport, but I felt like an old woman not even being able to lift my bags in her car…
Nora Flight and Bevan Walker are a great adventurous couple with two lovely strong kids, and I felt in good hands being hosted by them the first two days. Thanks to both of them!
Bevan has circumnavigated the whole of the South Island, too, but within 6 years. He gave me already some good advices, looking into maps and showing up potentional camp sites.
As I couldn’t think about getting an early start anyway, weather- and shoulderwise, I followed Paul Caffyn’s invitation and drove up on the second day to his home on the West Coast near Greymouth, in Nora’s old, but trustwothy car. The Walker family was happy to go out on Labour day’s long weekend on a tramping trip into the bushes.
I could hardly shift gear with my left hand, but it was at least not the first time driving right-handed on the left side, and I arrived safely after a long 5-hrs ride through on the first sunny day since weeks. But I seemed to have been quite a traffic obstacle for the Kiwis beeing used to drive that scenic windy road in a different pace…
I could reply Paul’s hug on seeing him again only with an "auuutsch, please be careful!", but he took instantly up on a good job on treating my shoulder well with Arnika ointment and pain relief pills…
He offered me good local instruction on the next days, and how else can you feel more diving directly into the NZ seaside although still being comfi dry and warm, than sitting in Paul’s lovely house with a great view on to the surf on the West coast, enjoying a good brew and talk.
Actually an outstanding place to live…he has a little outdoor pool on the small beachfront, which was used to be covered with some logs making a temporarly helicopter landing site when he got picked up every morning for his geologistic research work. Not to mention his hot whirlpool in the garage for cold winter days, and the miles-long library of kayaking and adventurous books of all kinds…seems like the ol’ chap knows how to enjoy life! :-))
When I’m writing this now Saturday morning, he is off to guide a group through an old mining cave until lunch time, and it is the first time I take a bit of a quiet break to post something about my trip.
You might be wondering why I was so short on posting being still in Germany, but changing my main ice-cream shop as every year into a x-mas shop with 5000 items on 100 square meters takes a bit of time, love and effort.
A big "thanks" to my great long-term managers Ilona and Andrea, and to all of my 30 loyal young women working for me, that I’m able to take that long and often time off for my kayaking adventures!
I’m sorry I can’t answer any e-mails so far (but I can read them!), as Paul’s apple Mac computer doesn’t let me for some reason…but it’s good at least I can let you all know I’m safe and sound, but heaven know’s when I’m gonna start paddling…