|Posted by Tara Mulvany on December 26, 2013 at 1:55 AM|
I spent Christmas Day living the hobo dream, camped behind some bushes near the river and hidden from the road by a derelict train. My goal for the day was to eat as much as possible, in an attempt to get fat for the week ahead. The long range outlook was good, and I mentally prepared myself for long days on the water, for at least a couple of days in a row. It was critical that I made the most of small swell days and south easterly winds. In between feasting on lolly cake, carrots and hummus, cheesy bread, eggs, chocolate, mangos, peaches and more chocolate, I spent most of the day reading. I've been reading 'a dip in the ocean' by Sarah Outen. At just 23, Sarah rowed solo across the Indian Ocean from Australia to Mauritius. Her story is just incredible. At the moment she's half way into a human powered circumnavigation of the world - I think she's an absolute legend! Her website is www.sarahouten.com if anyone's interested in following her trip.. way more exciting than mine!!
Anyway on Christmas Day I was faced with a difficult decision. That was to either wait another day in Wanganui, which would be my 4th day of waiting.. Or prepare for an early departure bound for Patea on the 26th. The forecast in terms of wind for the 26th was good - 20 knots of south easterly, which would blow me quickly west. What concerned me was the 2-3m Westerly swell that was predicted. This sort of swell would not usually worry me at all, if I was certain of a good landing ahead. But despite the fact that the Patea River is protected with concrete breakwaters, I was not convinced the entry would be okay. I reasoned it was too early I'm the game for a decent beating in the surf, especially one that could be avoided. So I waited.
I woke this morning from my sneaky campsite down near the river to discover that I had in fact been caged in. I have camped in many strange places over the years - under bridges, in bushes, in children's playgrounds, in parks and inside an abandoned building in an abandoned town. But never before have I woken to find myself inside the fence of a street motorbike race, having avoided the $30 spectators fee. So the challenge for the morning was to find my way out, out into the city and towards delicious food. The poor guy at the gate looked a little confused when I tried to explain that I really didn't want to be inside, that I hadn't come to watch the race, and that Id just rolled out of bed. Random times.
So tomorrow the forecast is for 20knots of easterly wind, which is prefect for me, and hopefully an easing swell. I guess there is only one way to find out, so tomorrow is the day! I'll slide my boat onto the murky waters of the Wanganui River and paddle 5 km downstream to the mouth, leaving just after high tide at around 6am. From here to Patea- where I'm aiming for is about 50 km, so I should arrive late afternoon when the tide is still coming in, maximising my chances of an okay landing through the surf. Then on Saturday I'm aiming for Opunake, a big 70km jump along the coast. Then from there to New Plymouth is only another days paddle. It sounds so close when you break it down like that. If only it was.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm not going for any sort of time records on this trip. Just incase you hadn't worked that one out already. For me these sorts of adventures are about living simply close to nature, avoiding work - working is really over rated! and taking things day by day. So tomorrow is the day, and I will enjoy every moment of it with my new yellow companion, Slo. I hope she doesn't live up to her name.