I awoke to a most beautiful sunrise, striking orange across the sky and backlighting beautiful hollow faced waves that reared up in most stunning sets that roared across the reef in front of my tent sending spray into the air off their crests like diamond dust thrown into the rising sunlight. But wait!!! Big beautiful waves across my reef!! Shit the surf is up and it is big, churning up my entry exit point, there are lulls however so I know I can time my way out, so I get up and start to pack.
I am nervous there is now a Gale warning out for today in the cook straight, I gave myself the rule to not paddle on Gale force days, but the day seems good, the wind taking me south, however it is already blowing quite strong and it is only 6.30am, plus the surf is quite decent. Tomorrows forecast (thanks to the local Farmer, Tora, his wife Jen and sons) is looking kind; at same and a big stinking low is brewing in the south. I am not sure what to do.
A surfer, who had camped up last night to surf this swell, comes over to chat. His name is Matt and he is a builder in wellington and knows the coast quite well. He was a bit ominous about the wind and suggested it would only blow harder if it is blowing like this already, plus he said the swell is dropping tomorrow and there is a music festival on here for the weekend. I then meet another surfer Dave from California, we all chat for awhile and I decide I can afford to wait a day and hope the winds drop tomorrow. The boys head out surfing and I then meet the Harvey’s, a family from Auckland who are now camping next to me. There is Mark and his wife Jenny, their kids and the grandparents ( I hope they can forgive me for forgetting names I know granddad was Malcolm and one of the kids was Mathew, ugh I am meeting so many people) I end up enjoying their company, telling stories, eating food and then gathering Abalone (Paua) on the reef to cook. Good fun and tasty. The Paua was collected easily on the reef at low tide at about ankle to waist deep water and tasted great thinly sliced and fried in a pan with butter.
I also wandered up and meet Neil who was helping organize the concert on his property, it was a great deal $30 for two nights camping on the property (wonderfully located at the foot of bush covered hills, looking out over the ocean with many private campsites amongst trees and shrubs), toilet facilities and two nights of 3 bands playing per night. Neil invited me to move up and camp with them and he would lend me his truck and trailer to do so, though I felt I was better where I was as I would need to sleep and get up early and get on the water tomorow, however I would attend tonight’s concert for a bit.
On the walk back I bumped into Dave from California again, with his NZ wife and her relative Steve, they invited me up for dinner at their Bach down the road, so later that night Dave picked me up and I got to meet the Harley family, they had prepared a wonderful steamed meal in a Beer keg and it was fantastic. The Maori traditionally would dig a pit light a big fire in it that would super heat larva rocks, then they would layer food in it and bury it, all to cook by steam, this was called a Hangi, the Harleys had done a Keg Hangi!
After meeting some wonderful folk, and talking about the seas and adventures of life in all choices of lifestyles, Dave and I then went up to enjoy a bit of the live music; which was an awesome eclectic ensemble of talents. An old truck made the stage and along with a great bomb fire and even pyrotechnic explosions; that ripped into the sky as huge fireballs that doused you in heat, it was an awesome night., the pyrotechnics where thanks to another surfer and sea kayaker, Steve. Steve and his buddy Pete are surfers and Sea kayakers form the wellington area and I had meet them earlier in the day and had talked about their sea kayak journey around the east cape some 12 years ago, they had had some amazing travels and we shared accounts of the mighty East cape and coast.
The day in general had been amazing and the weather was good as well, I felt guilty I hadn’t paddled today as the weather ended up being amazing, though they day was so eventful and fun I was very happy to have experienced it. So when I reluctantly drew away from the Fire, live music and fun; to go get some sleep for tomorrow, I knew it was a day well spent.