Weather: Sunny with passing storm fronts
Swell: small SE
Wind: Slight N – NW
Camp: Brucie’s Cabin Mangawhai
Meal: Mrs Black’s Roast Lamb
Impression: Fantastic, succulent and tasty, could have eaten it all night!
Stars: 10 out of 10
Feb 22nd; 32miles to roast lamb and hot showers
OK finally I got dave to write the daily Blog, so here it is!!
Todays mission…. to get up at 04:00 a.m. and paddled 32 miles. The obvious question is…. why the need to get up so early and paddle such a long distance? Well, with the right choice of carrot dangling in front of our noses…. in this case a favorable tidal current and the prospect of staying at a friend’s cozy Oceanside home with hot shower….. the answer becomes quite obvious. So, up at 04:00 and on the water at 5:00 a.m.... that was the easy part.
As planned we caught the tail end of the outgoing tide….. the same tide that made coming into Ngunguru such a slog was now helping propel our kayaks out to the ocean. It was such a pleasant and peaceful start to our day…. slowly paddling in the moonlight…. guided by the stars, distant lights and the rhythm of the ocean. After a couple of hours we stopped at a small lagoon for our breakfast and were treated to a beautiful sunrise. As with most of our stops this was both pleasant, but brief. Soon we were back on the water and back on our long day mission.
We paddled for a few more hours before we decide to stop at another beach….. our last reprieve before our approach to Bream Head and our 10 Knm crossing of Bream Bay. We land at the beach and quickly make PB&J sandwiches before jumping back into our kayaks. A massive back cloud had been approaching from our stern and threatening to dump us with rain and winds so we got going asap to avoid getting thrashed in the increasing surf and to take advantage of NE winds.
On approaching Bream Head wewere struck by its impressive rocky spire….. a tall beacon visible from miles away and now dwarfed us under its mass. The ocean swell around the headwaters gave up the usual bathtub sloshing from side-to-side treatment as though we were on a ride at the local fair. Once around the headwater we got our first glimpse into Bream Bay…. well, it was actually pretty foggy at this stage so we didn’t see too much. Anyway, we set course for crossing the bay and set about the task at hand. It’s now 11:30 and we’ve got approx. 15 knm under our belts. The journey across Bream Bay is pleasant…. a steady NE breeze gives us a much welcome push and we slacken the pace a bit to paddle side-by-side and immerse ourselves in conversation.
After a couple hours into the crossing my legs are getting restless and I’m already being distracted by thoughts of getting onto land and stretching my legs. Of course the fact this isn’t a possibility just makes matters worse…. I’m sure there is a life lesson here somewhere, which I’m sure I’ll have time to explore during tomorrows paddle. Anyway, we complete the crossing and head towards Mangawhai Heads. Our goal almost achieved, a couple of final hurdles were presented….. big surf waves, which we successfully negotiated….. yeah!.... and the dreaded falling tidal current. Of course the place we are now staying at, is at the end of the inlet! We dig deep and expend the last of our energy reserves and reach our goal at 4:15p.m.….. 32.6 knm.
At this stage it’s raining, we’re getting cold and we are definitely tired. But yes……we are rewarded. It was touch-and-go for awhile, but we got word that the key to house we had hoped to stay at, was with neighbors across the street….. the Blacks’. It’s about a 5 minute walk up a reasonably steep hill to the house from the beach, so the task of taking our gear and stowing our kayaks began. After my first load of gear to the house I’m approached by an elderly lady from across the street….. I’m assuming Mrs. Black. We had barely made introductions before she offered us a hot meal. Before I had a chance to answer she added….. “you’d probably like a meal as much as you like breathing…. Huh?”. Well, I had to agree.
After sorting out our gear and having a glorious hot shower we headed over to the Blacks house for roast lamb, sweet potatoes, green peas and pumpkin. It was a challenging day, but very rewarding and what made it so very special was meeting the Blacks….. strangers who invited two grubby kayakers into their home for a hot meal. Ahhh yes….. these are the moments that remind me we are blessed to be doing this adventure.
Note from Jaime
Sadly we also came to discover that Christchurch; a town in the south island where I was born, had been hit by more earthquakes (first one hit in sept 2010), and had been devastated. 65 people where known dead, many more trapped in buildings and power and sewerage systems out. The news footage showed what looked like a war zone. My good friend Tom who lives there, had his life still, but lost his home, our thoughts go out to the victims and of the disaster, it makes the slight suffering we are choosing to put ourselves through a joke, and I feel guilty at continuing the trip and not flying down to help, though it was made aware that at this point more people down there would be a hindrance as there is no power and sewerage and not enough accommodation for the homeless let alone the helpers.
For now we continue south, my mind heavy with the suffering and carnage happing as we enjoy our luxurious kayak trip.