|Posted by Tara Mulvany on January 28, 2014 at 4:15 AM|
After a couple of days in Auckland, Peter drove me down to Huia while the rest of the city was still sleeping. I packed my boat by the waters edge and then we slipped onto a dark but glassy sea. An orange glow slowly crept over the edge of the hills as the world woke to a new day. The hills were silouetted and the air was still. I felt good. The tide had just turned and a strong current swept us towards the harbour entrance, about 5km away. Peter paddled with me till the entrance, then after a quick goodbye, he turned and paddled back the way we had come. A big thank you Su and Peter for making me feel at home in Auckland, and for your help and genorisity.
At the mouth I jumped out of my boat and climbed up a big rocky outcrop. From halfway up I could see a reasonable channel heading north through the breakers. It looked good. But what I soon discovered was that at kayak level, this channel was near impossible to spot. For the next half hour I dodged huge breakers the size of houses until I was about 5km offshore. It wasn't ideal. If I had known it was going to be that exciting I wouldn't have been out there. Or at least I would have kept another pair of undies handy.
Once past the bar breakers I relaxed, pulled off my jacket and slowly worked my way back in closer towards land as I paddled north. I hadn't planned to paddle far that day - only as far as Muriwai Beach, the last 'good' place to land for a long way. A 20 knot north easterly wind made life a bit more wet than I'd hoped, but I couldn't complain. Any strong north easterly would only be a good thing as I knew it would flatten off the swell. About 6 hrs later I approached Muriwai. There were lots of surfers. Not a good sign.
I sat and watched for a long time, thinking to myself that if my landing was spectacular, and if I managed to pull off a front loop then at least I'd have an audience. I tried to see the funny side of the situation because in all honesty, I was shit scared. Sitting behind the surf zone I watched set after set come through, tossing giant barrels towards the beach. A few crazy surfers were being towed into giant waves behind jet skis, a bit further along the beach.
Then my chance came and I went for it. There was no time to double check my timing. I was inside the breaker zone and committed. I paddled hard. A huge wall of broken water flew at me and I launched into it sideways. I rode it for a while before it spat me off, and again I paddled fast. After two more very out of control surfs I landed on the beach. Success. The only casualty was my drink bottle that was clipped on behind me. Not bad odds I figured.
I spent the afternoon playing tourist and lying on the grass in the sun, watching half of China wander by. A random German guy asked me what I was upto, and after hearing my story he gave me a watermelon. It was a delicious dinner after a fail to get my MSR cooker going. Despite having pulled it to pieces a million times, and having recently spent $90 on getting it fixed and cleaned, my cooker seems to have reached the end of its life. So it's looking like il be eating crackers and marmite for dinner for a while!
Lucky for me, just as I was about to set up camp in a bush near the carpark, I got a call from Steve, a friend of Tim Taylor. With the kids in tow, he came and picked me up and soon I was having a hot shower, a feed, and being introduced to their pet deer that roamed around the lounge. At 5am the next morning Steve drove me back to Muriwai, ready for a big push north to Kaipara Harbour... Continued in next blog post..