I awake in my Bunk bed, reach out for the handheld Vhf and turn on the weather. I then turn it off and roll back up in my sleeping bag; Gale force winds from the north again, currently blowing 17, gusting 25 and forecasted to increase in the afternoon to 35knts. I am here another day; which is quite cool, as I want to explore the coastline a bit any way.
I have a good breakfast with Kath and Ron, they are happy I am not going in the weather and invite me to stay another night. We eat while looking across the cook straight to the south island through the window. White caps run and rain clouds streak the western sky, yet south the sky is clear and the coast of Kaikoura on the south island, looks like you can touch it. My heart aches a pang at the thought of not getting there this trip, yet the coming weather storm from the south reminds me; this isn’t the time of year to be pushing south.
The coming storm is already causing heavy downpours on the south island as I moves up, and it is predicted to hit the north island hard, particularly on the east coast. My last chance to get to wellington is tomorrow, if a gap doesn’t come; the storm looks to hold me up for about 5 days and the swell caused by it may extend it to 7. I am eager to run ahead of the storm to wellington if it gives me the chance.
The day is quite lovely; despite the strong wind, and I go for a walk along the beach exploring and enjoying the strange items and machinery in the village as well. I sit and contemplate the trip while gazing across the Cook Straight to the South Island. The feat of the length of the North Islands East coast isn’t super human; though it wasn’t easy either. I am mixed with disappointment and pride at what has been achieved; I have learnt so much about myself, the sport of sea kayak expeditions and my country. This is a momentous point for me in my life, the step towards dreams I only hoped could be possible and now I can taste; from this point I can only see up. So much more scope and possibilities are obvious realities to me now. This new mindset is a huge victory for me just on its own; yet I don’t feel joyous, I feel real, I feel sad nearing the end, and now near the end it all seems so minor, my new reality is just that; a reality, no longer a point to strive for, but a constant that is an achievement of the past. I morn all I have lost in order to achieve this point in my life, I embrace the new gifts I have received in return and I feel stronger and wiser for it. An adventure is not a true adventure unless you lose something to achieve it, as only then can you gain.
The rest of the afternoon is spent exploring cape Palliser light house and sitting by a wonderful rock pool that forms at low tide. At this time of year, young seals are learning to swim, and a natural pool like this makes a great play pen. As I sit on a rock, young seals frolic about me within a couple of feet. There must be 50 young pups splashing, diving, leaping and biting. Their youth brings curiosity and lack of experience brings no fear, they approach people on rocks, sniffing shoes, they chase over curious kids from the water edge, not in aggression; more like they want to play yet the kids run. The watchful mothers sit and tolerate a surprising amount of close interaction with humans. It is mesmerizing and wonderful, I could sit all day.
The forecasted winds come in the afternoon and Kath, Ron and I retire to their place for dinner. Looking at the weather map and listening to the marine forecast, I am gambling that the supposed SE Gale force winds won’t come tomorrow and if they do they will simply push me to wellington. I am counting on the change of wind direction from decreasing north wind over night to SE east Gales, to mean a solid period of calm weather and slowly building winds; the proverbial “calm before the storm”. We will see.