Progress Report 11/27/07 Tuesday – updated by Freya

Weather update from Karel Vissel:

Update by Freya 28.11.07:
Meri and Ian Leask picked my at 5.30am, and we carried the kayak over from Bruce and Gloria’s house just across the road. Thanks for storing it in the backyard and garage!

Oreti beach tues mrng w 4bft noon w 4bft aft w 4bft seas 2.50 mtr frm sw

Colac bay tues mrng w 4bft noon sw 4bft aft w 4bft seas 3.50mtr frm sw Colac bay

wed mrng w 3bft noon w 3bft aft sw 3bft seas 3mtr frmsw

Satellite Text Messages Received from Freya:

46.22 168.02 Riverton very tough day but satisfying (now…) I had enough! 🙂

Packing went fast, and I was on the water at 6am, waving Meri, Iand and Bruce good bye. It felt good to wave some good people good bye! They were all very helpfull, thanks again!

The morning tide flushed me easily out of the Bluff harbour entrance, and I started turning west soon. The sheltered harbour became soon windy as forecasted around the rocks, and wind and swell against created lovely waters es expected…but there was still that more quiet gap between the main stream (race) and the rocks, not really an eddy, as the stream was still strongly with me. But I didn’t at least had to paddle in the main tidal race area. But it felt like paddling against a wall of wind…there might have been force 4 further down at Oreti beach, but around that rocky shoreline it was funneling somehow harder. But the tide was stronger than the wind, and amazingly I made still good progress of about 6km/hr. Not too bad!

Means I arrived at my tida lunch stop Bombay Rock in time at 10.30 am. Going more into the Mokomoko Inlet showed that in that shallow area the water was breaking in wide big surflines, nothing inviting to cut across, but I was sneaking close to the rocks again and caught only one big surfwave sideways I had to brace into. The water bacame soon quiet, and I landed on the first inviting beach at low tide whith the one and only farmhouse. I guessed I might walk up and knock at the door if there would be a place for a hot cuppa to warm up a bit.

Two dogs were barking loud as I approached, I waited for about 10 min with the dogs making that noise if someone would show up somewhere, but either the people didn’t care about the dogs barking or they weren’t at home, what I guessed, as I didn’t see any sign of life anywhere.

I decided this won’t be a good place to wait for the tide turning, as the end of the sandy beach was still under the high tide line with big boulders, and I paddled a short distance to teh next remote one, which looked a bit longer sandy.

Walking up and down didn’t really warm me up, I had a bit of a rest in a sheltered hey stack of the farm, but I guessed at 1 pm better get going even with the tide still against you rather than freezing here and getting bored…

Passing the surfline again close to the rocks, and then I headed directly to Howells Point, still hoping I could make it to Colac Bay tonight with the helpp of the turning tide later.

The first two hours weren’t a good decision to start paddling already, as the tide across the bay was not extremely stopping me, but enough to make only about 2-2,5 km/hr…nothing really worth the effort. But I realized later it was good I started already…

Wind force 4-5 from west, swell 2,50 – 3,50 m from sw, and the tide still not with me…who wants to paddle that? At least I got warmer than waiting at the beach.

The swell was breaking frequently, and sitting on a 3m high swell with breaking crests on top is wet sometimes…I had to concentrate every second watching what the water was doing, and leant several times fully into the breaking wave not to get knocked over. I couldn’t tell I was uncomfortable, actually felt just right challenged, but when I *really* had to roll…who knows.

I shouldn’t have been out there, and I shouldn’t have cut across. But I did. I was underestimating the weaker tide not helping me too much later in the open beach compared to the stretch from Bluff to Bombay Rock.

My main concern was the "estimated arrival time" on the GPS, which showed the 100 m marks extremely slowly passing by the first two hours, my only motivation measurement to keep on going. When the tide turned the "estimated arrival time" must get down from "midnight" to a decent arrival time at Howells Point I thought…actually I almost prayed "please, tide, help me, this is too slow otherwise to reach the other side…" and turning to Oreti Beach was not the most inviting option either for a safe landing.

Looking at the rough stuff around me I thought a kayak is much more suitable to wriggle around those waves in slow speed than any bigger motorboat with higher speed would be happy to go…in fact there was no boat to be seen anywhere. And I was wondering if there would be a rescue boat or a helicopter coming, just in case…but I’d rather paddled into the night than giving up.

Some sea birds struggled hard in the strong wind to do their circles around me as usual, one almost landed on my head!

Mental strengh and good balance to keep me going without big breaks is something I do have in such situations, and I usually feel pretty strong paddling into headwinds, but due to the windshelter of my open palm mitts I didn’t open my hands that frequently on paddling as usual, as it would be just more freezing, and my right wrist and shoulder started to really hurt. Don’t listen NOW to your body, you have to keep on going…I found out the water was warmer than the windchill, and sometimes just stucked my hands in for kind of a wrm up and relaxing. Or paddling with the right hand upside down gave some relief…at the end when the water became more quiet I padled for a while with my hands only to relax my muscles, that felt good! But generally it was more stiff cramped muscles than a serious upcoming joint or tendonitis problem, I knew that.

When the tide turned the push was much less than expected, but at least the 100 m marks on the GPS turned faster, and the "estimated arrival time" showed a general increasing speed, cut down to arrival at 9 pm at the end. And it was that time when I slowly headed into the quiet waters of Riverton, deciding already way out there still heading generallya to Howells Point I will have to turn *right* to Riverton instead of *left* to Colac Bay. What a good feeling when the braeking swell was slowly getting behind me…I was pretty cold by that time then, some heavy rain and hail showers didn’t really add to my comfort feeling. No way of thinking about eating something or peeing on the way…

I got pushed more off by the wind from the south western part of Riverton to the eastern side of the town, guessing I will land then on the first remote beach on the east of the town. But soon when the water was more and more quiet I saw a lovely remote beach showing up close to Howells Point, and I turned left to head finally for that. Some smoking surflines to cross, but they turned out to be only 50 cm high on very shallow ground on low tide. Nothing could shock me anymore or prevent me from landing on that beach…

Happy I made it at 9 am almost in last light, I just had to haul the kayak again up to the hight tide mark on a shallow, long flat beach on low tide…where is my trolley???

A campsite on top of the narrow gravel was flat, but *very* close to the clearly to be seen wet high tide mark, but the other option to climb uphill on the grass wasn’t too inviting in fading light, too. Some frequent cars passing by to the Point, whose passengers enjoyed shouting at me when they spotted me down the beach made me deciding for the narrow gravel campsite. I just had to check at 3.45 am if the water was *really* still safe enough away…

I woke up at 4.30 am, by the sound of swapping water against rocks closeby, but obviously I didn’t get flooded at night as high tide was already over…no risk, no good campsite :-))