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 Justine's Journal

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Homeless Sea Urchins
Saturday, February 02, 2008

'Homeless sea urchins' is what we were called by Jodi, an Omaru local who witnessed 2 bedragled kayakers dripping their way across the road to the Omaru rowing and fitness club, hoping for permission to camp outside and maybe even a shower! We got the shower, and even better she's taken us into her home, and she's even left us here while she's gone to work. Jodi works at the local whisky distillery and pub so we're going to visit her a bit later, just to be polite of course!

Today was just as Karel's forecast predicted, SE force 2 winds in the morning, swinging round to an Easterly F3, then a North Easterly which kept getting stronger. As we were heading south and then SW, we considered having a later start this morning and hoping the forecast would be right, but since we had 50km ahead of us, we played it safe and got up at the usual time of 6am and got on the water before 8. The first 3 hours were painfully slow and I wished we'd had an extra hour or 2 in bed; even a small headwind combined with a swell against us slowed us right down to 5.5km/hour, but as the wind swung round we gradually picked up speed and ended up surfing into Omaru harbour with a Force 5 pushing us along nicely.

Yesterday from Timaru was pretty eventful. It was pretty windless all day, with the odd Southwesterly gust which lasted about 10mins, but the clouds definately looked very ominous, big grey swirls in odd shapes that we'd never seen before. The pressure was steady but we paddled pretty hard, waiting for the predicted southerly. After 39km, the wind instantly picked up to a Force 6/7, sending spray flying and creating choppy waves for us to bounce through. Typically, we were half way along a 5km lagoon, where a narrow spit of gravel separated the sea from more water. There was absolutely no shelter along it that we could see, and we didn't fancy putting a tent up there. We weren't keen to go back so we battled on for an hour, making almost 3km progress towards some trees. After an hour of hard work, we were both pretty knackered, the trees were still about 2km away but we spotted some low bushes on the top of the beach and we figured we must just about be past the end of the lagoon. Landing didn't look fun, with a confused swell of a couple of metres slamming vertically into the beach. We put our helmets on and Barry went first this time. He tried to surf in on the back of a wave but it didn't take him far enough up the beach and the next wave sucked him back into it, broke on him and then surged him up the beach. He jumped out, pulled his boat up then came back to help me. I also failed to surf the back of a wave in and the next wave broke vertically on me and almost looped my kayak. I leant into the wave and it spun the kayak around 270 degrees and shoved me up the beach. Baz grabbed the kayak and started pulling. I jumped out to help and straight away got knocked over by the next wave,,, and the next one! All in all, quite eventful! But fortunately, we realised that we had landed within 30 metres of the end of the lagoon, right besides a line of trees which offered shelter from the wind. As the rain started, we hid in the tent, slept a bit, cooked dinner and slept some more!

you can see some new maps with blue lines on, on the blog. These are our actual GPS tracks for previous days. We aim to put these up for every day, thanks to one of our sponsors, Sanoodi. You can zoom in or out of them, view the satelite image or the map, and get more details about our speed, time on the water etc by clicking on the 'more info' tab at the bottom.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave from Timaru just to let you know today was as hectic for me as ever .. there I was about to go to the gym when washed up ashore in front of me were 2 sea urchins ... cold and tired .. and adorable .. well it was more Justin having to sleep in a tent without a hair dryer that got me .. so take them home I did in true kiwi style .. they did wonder what a rumpus room was???? But alas I will set them free tomorrow well slept and ready for another day at it .. I could drive them to Moraki in 25 minutes but some of us must take the long way .. all the best to two wild souls xxx Jodi

2:01 pm  
Blogger the old folks at home said...

Gosh! what a day you had on the 2nd
Quite scarey I would imagine, but haven't you met some lovely people what a kind person Jodi is.
We woke up to a scattering of snow this morning,quite boring really, when we think of what you're going through.
We're surprised at the distance you've done up to now, far greater than we expected. Keep up the good work.
It is smashing now as we're getting pictures, it makes it much easier to imagine what you're going through.
Well cheerio for now. Love from the old folk. xx

3:30 pm  

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