Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 21; Where The Wind Blows I will Go!



Date: April 21, 2011

Weather: Sunny turning overcast

Swell: Moderate SW, NE building

Wind: variable turning NE 15knots

Distance: 27.5NM

Camp: Tora Beach

Back Country Cuisine Food Review


Meal: Fruit Salad Trifle

I have come to realized that on this trip the backcountry Cuisine Deserts have had little written on them despite their major role in the enjoyment of the days spent on this trip.

Impression: Fruit salad trifle is a great desert, it is a large serving of warm custard with cake bits and fruit; Very tasty and thick. Perhaps not great for those texture freaks, however it is a favorite of mine; Easy to prep and yummy.

Stars: 8 out of 10


I awoke to my alarm reluctantly. It was nice and warm in my sleeping bag sleeping on the lounge floor in mikes cabin, I had to invigorate my mind to get up and get going. The wind was perfect; there was none, the forecast was for a 15 knot NE right on my back, the tide was just on the ebb, all these things where good for me to get to Tora Beach today, and the forecast looked good for a few days, when I checked in the morning.

To Tora BayI packed up and shipped out, no sign of Mike and luke or their boats, so I wrote a note of thanks and hoped to see them on the water as I paddled south. I pushed out from the shore into the small surf; the funny thing with small surf is I always underestimate it and it tends to get me more wet than bigger surf. Paddling by the dunes on time at 9am, Steve walked down from his house and waved me off, I hope to see him soon in Alaska.

I headed off away from Flat Point, the wind picked up at my back, clouds started to cover the sky and on the horizon just after lunch, I see two Cray Fishing boats racing up the coast. They turn towards me and flash there lights and pull in close, it is El Toro, Mikes boat, and running with him is Luke in his new boat. We stop and chat for a bit I meet Mike’s brother from the south island, I thank them again for the bach (cabin), generosity and trust. We say our goodbyes and were are off in separate directions.

The day goes well and I chew up 25 NM by 3.30pm then I start looking for a good place to land. Man the coast is sooooo rocky down here, it is hard to find a place to land that isn’t rock or blocked by a rocky reef. I look at coming in on a sheltered rocky beach-ish place then a steep dumpy beach and finally see some crayfish boats further south and come in on a sheltered sandy beach with small surf. As with my tendency to under estimate small surf, I paddled in ( wearing a helmet which I force myself to do when I there is any sign of rocks) towards the beach, a reasonable wave builds up behind me, I back paddle; I don’t give it quite enough the wave rears up right on me, I brace and the wave sets up to surf me; I see rocks on the beach and to my right in the surf, oh shit. I am dead straight on a green face, and the nose of the boat dives as I drop into a surf, I lean the boat onto its side hard hoping to get it to pop out into a side surf; it doesn’t, I end up upside down in the surf, Amongst rocks. I roll up and find my self facing back out to sea, and the bow is buried in the water still, the tail in the air at a low angle, I Then pop out flat. Hmmm! interesting I seem to have done a pirouette on my bow; I was amazed at and thankful that the bow (or my head) never touched the sand or rocks and stunned such a small wave did that to my fully loaded boat.

I quickly landed on the beach and sorted out my boat, I was soaked, water sloshed about my feet and ran down my back. I was wearing To Tora Baymy dry pants with just my pull over storm cag on, and my acrobatic roll in the surf had swamped me with water, ugh. oh well. I walked up to a nearby farm house to ask if it was ok to camp on the beach front, and I was greeted by the farmer’s son, Sam. No worries he said, and also gave me a weather update…. Gale force warning for tomorrow, what! Looking at the maps and forecast it seems the high pressure system is moving fast and by the end of tomorrow is gone; Following right on its heals is an intense low which means lots of wind and crap, oh man.kayakdownundernzleg3-00691

I should be able to run with the wind tomorrow to my next stop before the Gale force winds come, and then I will have to sit out a day or two again to wait to get to wellington which is still potentially another three paddling days from here. I set up camp on some nice grass, had a cow come and graze right next to the the tent as I was rinsing gear in the river. I hung gear to dry, ate dinner and hit the sack.


It is really cool that here at Tora and along most of this coast, they allocate areas for free camping, and provide toilet facilities, I happened to land right on one, the free camp site that is, not the toilet.

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